Condo owners complain about secondhand smoke

Q: I’ve enjoyed reading your column for the last several years. We live in North Las Vegas but have a condo in Minnesota where we spend summers near family/friends.

We’ve only owned the condo for a year and a half and the secondhand smoke from our neighbor is causing us physical/emotional distress. We’ve gone through all the hoops with the HOA and are now about to speak with an attorney in Minnesota.

Doesn’t seem to be much in the way of legal precedence across the country for a lawsuit.

Can you give us your impression of what you feel our chances may be to have our neighbor stop smoking on his deck? He’s on the third floor. We’re on the fourth floor. We can’t keep our patio door or windows open or the smoke drifts in. Neighbor and his wife admit to each smoking two packs/per day (four packs of smoke drifting our way).

Appreciate any advice you’ve got for us. Thanks for all the great information in your columns. We’ll keep reading!

A: Interesting question. Please note that in responding to you, I do not know the laws in Minnesota.

Unless there was a state law that prohibits outdoor smoking in residential communities or unless the association’s governing documents designate smoking or non-smoking buildings or floors, I would think that you would have a difficult legal battle.

Q: I would like to know if a person who owns as little as 1 percent of a condo can be on a homeowners association board according to Nevada Revised Statutes?.

A: There are no NRS 116 regulations that would restrict a homeowner from being a board member based upon her percent of ownership of their home, consequently a resident who has a 1 percent share of ownership could be on the board of directors.

Q: We live in a gated community within the jurisdiction of a larger community association. This gated community has an advisory council that makes recommendations to the board of directors (and committees) of the overall community. The council holds an annual meeting to discuss what is being done within the “village” relating to expenditures, plans, etc. There are no recordings or minutes kept of the proceedings. Shouldn’t there be some documentation of these meetings since not everyone can attend and the discussions affect the entire village?

A: Although not mandatory, it would be an excellent suggestion for the advisory council keep formal minutes.

Q: Recently a homeowner requested a copy of a contract our HOA had made with an outside accounting company. A search of the NRS 116 Statutes excluded copies of contracts being given to homeowners or Realtors, only allowing the homeowner or Realtor to view the contract.( NRS 116.31175).

The Ombudsman’s office then told the president of the board of directors to allow the copy of the contract to be given to the Realtor involved in the transaction (sale of home).

Doesn’t the Ombudsman’s office follow the same statutes as what the HOAs do? Has there been a revision of that statute that is “hidden” somewhere in another portion of the 2015 Nevada Statute Revision?

Even in the resale package NRS 116.4109 statute, there is no mention of this being allowed. The issue arose when the accounting company raised the resale package dues without notifying the HOA first. I think the HOA and Realtors should have been notified of this rate change and am suspect of anyone doing business suddenly increasing fees without notice.

A: You need to read the next section of NRS 116, which is NRS 116.3118 subsection 2b that allows a member or her authorized agent to photocopy records. In this case, since the Ombudsman became involved, the president was directed to allow the copy of the contract to be given to the Realtor.

You made the statement, “raised the resale package dues.” You were not referring to the monthly assessments of your association but were referring to the resale package fee that the accounting company charges for any resale transaction between seller and buyer. You would need to read the section of the accounting company’s contract that pertains to the fee structure and under what terms and conditions allow for an increase in the resale package fee along with any notification clauses to the association.

NRS 116.4109 pertains to the resale laws. The law simply states that the homeowner who is selling his home is to provide to the buyer at the homeowner’s expense the resale package which must include specific documents such as the covenants, conditions and restrictions and various financial information pertaining to the association. The law does not address how much the resale package fee should be or how it is implemented.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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