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Homeowner says builder has not provided guard-gated community as promised

Updated May 1, 2020 - 4:04 pm

Q: Our HOA board is still controlled by the builder with two declarants and one resident member who is the HOA president. We live in what is being sold as a guard-gated community. It has been over three years, and there is still no gate guard. However, we’ve been told we will be getting a guard soon. Also, the gates to the community are left open during the day. The HOA board said it is for convenience for potential buyers to access the community. With the current pandemic, the sales office is by appointment-only. Yet the gates are still left open during the day. Our community is divided in half by a vehicle bridge. The HOA president said the bridge would not be open to vehicle traffic until the community walls were completed and secured. The bridge has been opened, and the walls have not been completed. So, obviously the builder and HOA board members have lied to residents and potential residents. My question is do we have any recourse we can take against the HOA board or builder for their false advertising and outright lies regarding living in a guard-gated secured community?

A: You need to review the public offering statement you received when you purchased your home. The public offering statement normally informs a new homeowner of what he or she can expect as to the development of the community.

It is not unusual for a developer who still controls the board to have the gates to the community left opened during the day. Often, the gates are opened for not only prospective buyers but also for construction.

Normally, I would inform you to attend the next board meeting and under the second homeowner forum to raise these issues with the full board. With the quarantine, it is more difficult. You should contact the community manager to ask when the next board meeting will be held. In addition, you should contact the sales office for assistance.

You can contact an attorney to represent you and have the attorney send a formal letter to the developer and the board as to when a security service will be in effect. Unfortunately, much of the security is wrapped around the construction of the community, and you may just have to wait longer for its completion.

Q: Our homeowners association board changed, without any homeowner input, restrictions on the time before an election that political signs could be displayed on one’s own property. Before March 2019, there were no restrictions as to when they could be displayed. They changed it to 30 days before an election, always had to be removed 15 days after an election. They have used Nevada Revised Statute 116.325 as their authority for this action. This is a violation of free speech as outlined in the First Amendment. Does NRS 116.325 have more authority than the U.S. Constitution? In other words, are their restrictions legal? I’ve gotten many different opinions from lawyers and elected officials.

A: I am not a constitutional scholar, but NRS 116.325 pertains to the displaying of political signs within an association. State law has specific requirements. One of those requirements states, under subsection (1c), that political signs also are governed by the applicable laws of city or county ordinances.

You should refer to the city or county ordinances as to the 30 days before an election and 15 days to be removed after the election. If you find this information is not correct, and the ordinances have other requirements as to the displaying of the political signs, you should submit that information to your association.

As to the First Amendment rights, free speech and political signs, you would need to address those questions with an attorney who specializes in constitutional law.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager (CPM) 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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