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HOA boards struggle with virtual meetings

Q: Our homeowners association hasn’t met in person since November for obvious reasons. We continue to see violations ignored, unresolved or whatever, and that should subject the homeowner to a hearing. We’ve tried to have Zoom HOA meetings without rousing (major understatement) success. We did hear from one homeowner who said they were unable to “attend” a “cyber” executive session hearing for “technology reasons.” Does such an excuse have merit? What are other HOAs doing regarding hearings? Some of our residents are grumbling that situations are simply being ignored. Obviously, the board can’t comment on violations and with the hearing situation, it’s making the board look incompetent. Very open to suggestions. Thanks in advance.

A: With the recent changes in the meeting restrictions, association boards can continue to do successful hearings using Zoom or Webex. For those homeowners who do not have the ability to attend a virtual hearing, association boards can schedule a personal meeting with the homeowner, abiding by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, such as 6-foot social distancing and all wearing masks.

Q: I am a 20-year resident of Las Vegas and have served on an HOA board in the northwest part of our valley for the past 18 years. I want to personally thank you for your column in the Review-Journal every Sunday. I find it extremely informative and you have taught me a great deal.

I am currently having an issue with the management company and HOA in the condo that we own in Summerlin. Our daughter has lived in this condo for more than 15 years and has thoroughly enjoyed her time there until recently. She is single, works from home and is basically home by herself just about all of the time.

In the beginning of December, three packages were stolen from in front of her door while she was home in the condo.

On Dec. 4 she emailed the management company informing them of what happened and asked if she could install a Ring Doorbell so that the motion sensor could alert her when packages were delivered — as Amazon does not normally ring her doorbell. The camera on the Ring also serves as a deterrent to thieves as they do not want their picture taken.

No response was received, so a week later, Dec. 11, she sent a follow up email expressing concern for her safety because of thieves and various unknown individuals watching her entrance for deliveries and the possibility that these acts could escalate into something more serious.

Our daughter finally received a response from the community manager later that same day, apologizing for the delay. The manager also said that an email was sent to the board asking about the Ring Doorbell and if an Architectural Review Committee request would be required and that she expected to hear back soon.

Just three days after the community manager’s response, our daughter sent another email, Dec. 14, informing them that two more packages were stolen from her front door. One was taken just 15 minutes after the delivery time stamp, so somebody is obviously watching her condo.

In that same email our daughter stated that she is a single female who has lived in that condo for over 15 years and she no longer feels safe in her own home for fear that these crimes could escalate (i.e. breaking and entering). She asked again about the Ring Doorbell but to date still has not received a response.

I would also like to mention that time is of the essence regarding this matter as the property management company has informed us that their offices will be closed from Dec. 24-Jan. 5.

Based on everything that has happened, I have several questions:

Do you have any suggestions regarding our daughter’s safety?

Do you have any recommendations or suggestions regarding getting the community manager and/or HOA board to respond to these emails in a timely fashion?

Since the community manager and board have been put on notice several times that our daughter fears for her safety, will they have any liability if this situation does escalate to a more dangerous level?

Thank you for your time in listening to a concerned father’s problem.

A: Thank you for your kind words about my column.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been recommending for months that residents check to see if deliveries can be sent to lockers at various stores. For example, Amazon has lockers in some of the Albertsons stores. Your daughter needs to check that option for retrieving her packages.

As to the association, she needs to contact the management company and have it send to her the architectural request form. She will need to complete the form and send it back to the association.

Most governing documents have a deadline for which associations have to respond to architectural requests. If requests are not processed within that time frame (anywhere from 30 to 45 days in most documents), the request is approved by default as long as the request is consistent with the architectural requirements in the governing documents.

As to liability, I don’t think the association has any as to the missing packages. Your daughter will definitely need a different option of retrieving her packages to avoid these continual thefts.

If your daughter is so concerned about her safety and crime within the community, she could review the weekly crime information in and around her community that is produced by the Metropolitan Police Department. Access their website and click on crime mapping.

At the next board meeting, your daughter can express her concerns about security within the community during the second homeowner forum and to see what steps, if any that the association is implementing to improve security within the community.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager and holds the supervisory community manager certificate with the state of Nevada. She is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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