Q: I follow your column and never thought I might be one who would ever need assistance with a homeowners association issue. In 1998, I purchased a home in a 31-unit gated development on the west side of town. As one of the first in the development, I volunteered to serve on the three-member board and did so as president or vice president for 16½ years until September of 2014. Due to family medical issues and my age (78) I needed to move to a smaller layout and purchased a unit in another community.
I placed my 3,400-squre-foot, single-story unit on the market and the Realtor posted for-sale signs outside the community’s gate. Shortly after posting the sign, one of the two HOA board members (There is supposed to be three, but no one would volunteer to take my place) told me I would have to remove the sign. He said he felt the fact that someone was wanting to sell their house would cast a bad opinion of the neighborhood. The community rules state that no signs can be placed in the neighborhood without the board’s approval.
Last year, I submitted a request to the board for a waiver. In January, I found that the board had not acted on the request in its meeting and submitted another request. One of my neighbors is the listing Realtor for the property. Over the next few months, one board member continually harassed her to remove the sign. She told him to contact me. In the entire eight months, neither board member has contacted me. I had the phone number of one that I called and discussed the issue and he stated that it appeared there was a communication problem. He has not returned my subsequent voice mails.
I am unable to contact the other member as his listed phone has been disconnected. In early June, one of the board members told the management company to immediately remove the sign. The manager drafted the letter on June 9; mailed it June 10; and demanded I remove the sign by June 15. The manager sent the letter to the vacated address though the correct one was on file, and I received it June 21, six days after the sign had been thrown in my front yard.
We have never prohibited the erection of a for-sale sign outside the gate. We have never required a seller to request a waiver. Both board members are my close neighbors and served several years on the board with me. They never, in all the years, complained about the signs outside.
A home similar to mine (which had a sign posted) without a pool sold a few weeks before mine. I have dropped my price $8,500 below the closing price of that home in an effort to sell and get this off our backs and not lose too much. The board now refuses to even address my two requests for waivers that I submitted and say the rules prohibit the signs.
Our small development is off a main street. Since removing the sign, the traffic has virtually stopped on the property. My Realtor is trying her best and is holding open house events on a day each weekend. It’s listed with Prudential. I had made significant upgrades to the basic property and continue to make any recommended changes potential customers make.
My wife is 100 percent disabled with multiple sclerosis and just had a major operation. I have had four operations since listing the property. The stress of this refusal to honor a procedure that has existed since the start of the association and the terrible emotional trauma and tremendous financial loss that we both have experienced due to the apparent “personal opinion” of the board is taking its toll. I would appreciate any information as to who I might contact to try and get help with this issue.
A: What do the governing documents state? That is where you must start. If the governing documents, specifically the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, allow for sale signs within the homeowner’s property, then the association did not have the right to remove the sign.
Please note that the CC&Rs’ regulations are superior to any rules that the board may have passed over the years (and any rules that would disallow for rent signs). If the CC&Rs state that you must receive a variance from the board in order to install a for sale sign, then have your Realtor check to see if any of the homes that are currently listed for sale in your community have for sale signs on the property. If this is the case, then your board is not equally enforcing this policy as it pertains to you and you could file a complaint with the state’s Ombudsman Office.
As opposed to initiating some formal action against the board, since these board members served with you and were your neighbors, a friendly visit to their homes to discuss this matter may be warranted.
Q: I’mhoping you can point me in the direction to contact government entities that will actually act on complaints from taxpayers. There is an HOA in our area that is a limited-purpose association, which from what the management company informs me has no authority to enforce any CC&Rs. If this is the case, why does Clark County allow these types of HOAs?
This particular HOA has a home that has its back wall with a hole that has a pipe installed for drainage in the bottom brick. I’ve contacted the county’s code enforcement department regarding this. However, there has been no response. I also contacted code enforcement regarding all the black mold on the walls. Again, no response. This is a new management company for this HOA, the previous management company had the landscapers clear all the garbage on the street once a month. Really it should have been twice a month
This is a new management company for this HOA, the previous management company had the landscapers clear all the garbage on the street once a month. Really it should have been twice a month because there is a lot of tree debris that is on the street. Because it is no longer being cleaned up. Water is stagnating on the street. The Southern Nevada Water Authority has been notified of this, however, the violations continue daily. Our area hasn’t seen a street sweeper in months. There are two other HOAs in this area that keep their side of the street clean. Why can’t this one do the same?
Any help you can give me will be appreciated, or suggestions will also be appreciated, this street is getting to look like a slum, not to mention with the stagnate water and the smell it is beginning to be a health hazard. Meanwhile, taxes keep going up and services are disappearing.
A: First, Clark County did not create the laws pertaining to the limited purpose associations that can be found in Nevada Revised Statutes 116.1201. The Nevada Legislature created them. NRS 116.31073 created a limited purpose association for the maintaining the landscape of the common area. Under subsection 6b this kind of association is not authorized by its governing documents to enforce any restrictions concerning the use of the units.
I have no clue as to the rationale of the law because even the homeowners who live in this type of association can only enforce their governing documents if they are willing to spend their own money and file a complaint in District Court.
Try first contacting the new management company one more time. If that does not work, contact the Southern Nevada Health Department, which is not part of the Clark County government. Contact code enforcement again. If this does not work, find out who is your Clark County commissioner and contact that person until they respond to you.
Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.