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Homeowner has basic questions on HOA rules

Q: I’m just getting myself educated on homeowners association board matters and I have several questions. I hope you may be able to shed some light on my them.

I have questions to my board about a rule recently implemented, and I’ve been told that I need to address them at the board meeting in January. Should my HOA office be forthcoming in providing the board members names, and where to send my correspondence?

What is the best way to find out how rules instituted by the board are to be enforced? Since they are not a law enforcement organization, and the covenants, conditions and restrictions don’t spell out fines for offenses added on by the board, how can the board enforce rules it comes up with?

What rights to the homeowners have when the board institutes rules by fiat?

Do homeowners have the right to question the process/guidance the board used for a rule? In other words, can the homeowner ask what guidance the board used to make its decision? I mean specifically — written guidance.

Finally, (in one of your previous) article it states: “While Nevada law permits board meetings to be held via teleconference, there is no ‘virtual’ equivalent for meetings of members.” Does this mean that the HOA is holding member meetings via zoom against Nevada law?

Thank you for your time.

A: I will answer your questions one at a time.

1. First about the new rule. It will help the board if you would send your remarks and concerns in writing before the board meeting. You can send your remarks to the community manager and/or to the individual board members.

2. As for the second question, generally speaking, the board can develop an enforcement fine policy. Nevada Revised Statute 116.31031 pertains to fines. Your association board can review this section of the law as a direction and guideline. You normally would not see a list of fines in the CC&Rs because of the difficulty of changing the fine schedule without going through the formal amendment process.

3. Your third question is a good one. As long as the rules and regulations are consistent with the CC&Rs, and as long as the association provided notice of the rule changes to the homeowners on their board agenda, the board can make changes to them. As a homeowner, you have the right to receive notice of the potential rule change. You have the right to comment upon the changes to the rules and regulations but only the board has the right to vote upon the rules and regulations.

4. And as to your fourth question, you probably will not see any written guidance. Rule changes are often in response to changes in the laws, in response to issues within the community and for clarification of an existing rule. There are times when a rule has been recommended by the Nevada Real Estate Division.

5. Your last question is a really good one. Your association should be including the homeowners in their board meetings, via teleconference or by Zoom or Webx.

Q: I have a situation where I feel that my HOA’s board of directors are not in a position to deny an Architectural Review Committee request that I have placed. I would love to have your opinion on the matter. I have requested to place a ribbon driveway on my side yard, the same length as my current driveway to allow for an additional vehicle to be parked. I have been denied two times now and have been provided no reason as to the denial, besides one of the board members saying “Because we did…” in a closed meeting where I had asked to have it reconsidered. Our CC&Rs state the following regarding ARC approvals:

The Architectural Committee shall approve plans and specifications submitted for its approval only if it deems that:

(a) the construction, alterations or additions contemplated thereby in the locations indicated will not be detrimental to the appearance of the surrounding area or the property as a whole;

(b) the appearance of any structure affected thereby will be in harmony with the surrounding structures;

(c) the construction thereof will not detract from the beauty wholesomeness and attractiveness of the common elements or the enjoyment thereof by the members;

(d) the upkeep and maintenance thereof will not become a burden on the association.

I have received approval from my neighbors and do not feel that my request is something that hits on any of the four points permitting a denial. Though it is a very small number, this type of driveway has been established in the neighborhood, but there is a gate behind it. In the future I do want to place a gate but do not want the expense of a cinder block wall and gate at this time. There are stipulations in the CC&Rs regarding parking on a side yard though I consider the ribbon request to be a driveway extension.

Your thoughts and time would be greatly appreciated in this matter, thanks in advance!

A: It would have been helpful if you were given a reason so that you would have an opportunity to submit a revised request that could be approved. From what you have sent to me, it appears that you need to include the gate in order for the ribbon driveway to be approved.

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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