Editor’s Note: This is the second column in a three-part series about the recent state laws that will affect Southern Nevada homeowners associations.
These laws were passed during the 2017 legislative session and will have an impact on our HOAs.
• Nevada’s Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) — In effect now.
This law is similar to the Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act but is not identical to the one that our state legislators passed. In essence, it protects active-duty servicemembers from foreclosures on their homes by both the lenders and the homeowner associations. In some case, the law may extend to servicemembers’ dependents.
A servicemember includes anyone in the armed forces such as, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and, in addition, a reserve component or the National Guard.
Active duty is defined as full-time duty on active-duty orders pursuant to 10 USC 1209 and 1211. A servicemember who works full-time at a local military base and returns home each night is considered active duty.
Associations may not initiate foreclosure during the period of active duty or deployment of a servicemember for one year. Violation of this new law is a crime and the association may be liable for actual damages, attorney fees and costs.
Courts will consider any due diligence that an association made prior to initiating the foreclosure in determining whether to reduce the association’s liability. The association can ask the court to determine whether the ability to pay assessments is not “materially affected” by the fact that homeowner is on active duty or deployment.
Associations were required to send a notice to each homeowner to inform them of the new law and its protection and to give each homeowner the opportunity to provide the association with the information needed to verify their military status that included their social security number and date of birth.
Associations must make a good faith effort to verify if any of their homeowners fall under this law’s protection, i.e. making reasonable efforts to use all available resources to verify status including the information found in the Department of Defense website.
Another very important point: If a servicemember fails to provide notice to the association and if the association were to commence the foreclosure action, the servicemember can still send documentation of their status at which time the association would have to unwind the foreclosure actions and clear the homeowner’s account of all collections fees and costs.
• Condominium water and sewer leaks
Anyone who has ever lived in a condominium home or had to manage a condominium association absolutely knows the nightmare that comes when addressing water and sewer leaks. Senate Bill 239 seeks to remedy some of these nightmares by amending Nevada Revised Statutes 116.30312, the abatement charges.
If a condominium unit is vacant, the association, including its employees, agents and community manager, may enter the grounds and the interior of the unit to abate a water or sewage leak and to remove any water or sewage that may cause damage to the common elements or to another unit if the unit owner fails to abate the water or sewage leak.
After providing the unit’s owner with notice but before a hearing, the association may remove any furniture, fixtures including without limitation the flooring, baseboards and drywalls that were damaged as a result of the water or mold damage resulting from the leaks to the extent that the removal is reasonably necessary because the damage threatens the health or safety of the residents or will result in the blighting or deterioration of the unit or the surrounding areas and would adversely affect the use and enjoyment of nearby units if the unit owner refuses or fails to remediate or remove the water or mold damage.
In addition, the association can remediate any water or mold damage under the same conditions expressed in the previous paragraph if the unit owner refuses or fails to remediate or remove the water or mold damage.
After providing the unit owner with proper notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided in NRS 116.31031, the association may order that the costs of any maintenance or abatement or reasonable cost of remediation or removal, reasonable inspection fees, notification, collection costs and interests be assessed against the unit. Following the proper procedures of the law, a lien can be imposed upon the unit that would be prior and superior to all other liens. (See NRS 116.3116 subsection 2a and 2c).
• Electronic delivery of documents: Effective July 1
SB 255 amended NRS 116.12065 to state that governing document changes can be delivered electronically to any homeowners who has provided the association with an email address for the purpose of receiving notifications per NRS 116.31068.
SB 255 also amended NRS 116.41095, which will require management companies and associations to revise their resale disclosure packets to incorporate a change in the wording of the informational statement: “Before you purchase property in a common interest community, did you know.” The amended wording is that the prospective purchaser of a resale home may deliver notice of cancellation by email.
Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.