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Homeowner wants HOA to have tougher rules on trash cans

Q: My name is Lisa, and I live in a homeowners association community. As I have Googled this topic, I am understanding that you are an authority on trash can storage. So, I am hoping you can give me your input on trash can regulations. Specifically, my HOA management company and board, has not been citing residence for keeping their trash cans in plain view as long as they are on the side of the garage and not the front of the garage or in the front yard.

I have had numerous emails and phone calls with the management company throughout the last year and even went to a board meeting several months ago to address this issue. The management company has informed me that the community rules are in direct violation of Nevada Revised Statute 116.332, which they say prohibits an HOA from controlling where residents are able to store their trash cans, even if they are in plain sight. I have reviewed all laws and regulations, and it is my belief the management company is misreading the NRS and is therefore misinforming the board of directors. There is an upcoming board meeting in which an agenda item is to change the rules so that it simply reflects the city of North Las Vegas municipal code 8.20.120: “As long as the trash can is not in the front yard, residence will not be cited.

In my HOA’s covenants, conditions and restrictions, it says that when trash cans are stored out of the pick up area, they must be stored out of sight:

“Such containers shall be exposed to the view of the neighboring subdivision interests only when set out for a reasonable period of time (not to exceed 12 hours before schedule trash collection and 12 hours after scheduled trash collection hours).”

Additionally, the rules state: “When not in use, containers must be stored out of public view, be covered and kept in a sanitary condition.“

The city of North Las Vegas Municipal Code 8.20.120 Receptacles states: “…it is unlawful to place, keep, store or locate any solid waste or recyclables container within the right of way of a street, sidewalk or alley, or within any front yard as defined in the zoning regulations of the city;”

And of course I am sure you are familiar with NRS116.332: Universal Citation: NV Rev Stat § 116.332 (2013).

1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, an association of a planned community may not regulate or restrict the manner in which containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials are stored on the premises of a residential unit with curbside service.

2. An association of a planned community may adopt rules, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents, as defined in subsections 1 and 2 of NRS 116.049, or the bylaws of the association, that reasonably restrict the manner in which containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials are stored on the premises of a residential unit with curbside service during the time the containers are not within the collection area, including, without limitation, rules prescribing the location at which the containers are stored during that time. The rules adopted by the association:

(a) Must:

(1) Comply with all applicable codes and regulations; and

(2) Allow the unit s owner, or a tenant of the unit s owner, to store containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials outside any building or garage on the premises of the unit during the time the containers are not within the collection area.

(b) May:

(1) Provide that the containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials must be stored in the rear or side yard of the unit, if such locations exist, and in such a manner that the containers are screened from view from the street, a sidewalk or any adjacent property; and

(2) Include, without limitation, rules prescribing the size, location, color and material of any device, structure or item used to screen containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials from view from the street, a sidewalk or any adjacent property and the manner of attachment of the device, structure or item to the structure on the premises where the containers are stored.

3. An association of a planned community may adopt rules that reasonably restrict the conditions under which containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials are placed in the collection area, including, without limitation:

(a) The boundaries of the collection area;

(b) The time at which the containers may be placed in the collection area; and

(c) The length of time for which the containers may be kept in the collection area.

Could you please help me by telling me your current understanding of this topic? Is the HOA management company indeed misreading or interpreting the NRS? I specifically bought this house in this HOA because of the strict trash can no-visibility policy. Additionally, in my job I travel to many, many HOAs across the valley and see strict trash can compliance where there are no trash cans visible even in brand new developments. One would think that if it was illegal, according to NRS to mandate that trash cans are kept out of sight, that new HOAs would not state as such in their regulations.

A: Under NRS 116.332 (1), an association may not regulate or restrict the manner in which containers for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials are stored on the premises unless the association’s restrictions are in accordance with the remaining sections of this law.

Subsection 2 of this law states that an association may adopt rules to restrict the manner in which containers are stored on the premises. It does not require an association to adopt regulations to restrict the placement of the containers.

Unless the your board decides to impose additional restrictions per NRS 116.332, its regulations will follow the North Las Vegas municipal code 8.20.120 and homeowners will not be cited as long as trash cans are not in the front yard.

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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