Short-term rentals create problem for condo community

Q: I’ve enjoyed reading your column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The question that I have is about homeowners associations and Airbnb.

I reside in an older condo complex with close to 100 units. An issue that has arisen in this community are owners using their units for Airbnb and short-term vacation rentals. This is clearly a violation of our bylaws, policies and procedures, (as well as I believe a county ordinance) as renters must have a lease for a minimum of six months or longer.

The guilty parties of this offense are trying to cleverly outsmart the rules by saying these short-term renters (usually here for a weekend) are families and friends. On one occasion, a listing for one of these units was found on an short-term rental website, and one of the previous vacationers stated in the comments/feedback area that the point of contact said that if anyone asks who you are — you are to tell them you are family or friends of the family. The matter was presented to the property management company. Once this was brought up to the owner, they vehemently denied it was their unit (although the ad was very clear it indeed was). The ad was subsequently removed. As you can see — this is very hard to challenge and prove. Do you have any suggestions as to what can be done to prevent this from continuing and to discourage others from trying to do this?

A: These short-term rentals, vacation rentals and Airbnb rentals will continue to plague association boards and their resident homeowners. Until the law changes, or until there are court cases here in Nevada pertaining to these various short-term rentals, your association will need to look at its own governing documents. Most associations have at least a minimum of 30-day rental. The way many associations are catching these homeowners who are violating their residency requirements is to keep watching the various internet sites. In your case, the owner can deny all day that he is not using his home as an Airbnb rental, but if the association has the ads, as well as the comments that are often left as recommendations from past renters, it does have the right to fine the homeowner. Even though there is a Clark County ordinance of a 30-day minimum residency, don’t expect much help from them.

I would also recommend that associations have their legal counsel review their residency regulations with recommendations of what changes can be made to strengthen the enforcement process.

Q: We are writing this to have clarification of HOA rules. We, many condo owners and renters, have concerns what a board has the power to do without the approval of the majority of condo owners.

1. Can the HOA members approve and implement new construction of cameras, internet and replace the gate to swimming pool with keyless entry? Total cost being in excess of $8,000.

2. Can the HOA members designate one person on the board, to access and monitor the cameras and internet?

A: There are restrictions found in most community rules that list what actions the board of directors can take that require homeowner approval.

Often, these restrictions on the board’s authority include obtaining loans, reducing or additional more units to the community, amending the rules and bylaws, special assessments related to construction, capital improvements and altering the amenities or the architectural design of the community.

The board can establish rules and regulations as long as they are consistent with the rules and that any proposed changes have been noticed to the community and published in a board meeting agenda. There also maybe restrictions on the initiation of lawsuits.

The association budget must be rejected or ratified by the membership before it can approved.

Nevada Revised Statute 116.3103 states that a board of directors cannot amend the declaration, terminate the community association or elect members to the board (not to be confused with appointing director(s) to fill a vacated seat).

NRS 116.3102 lists about three pages of the powers of the association. Unless otherwise stated in your association’s governing documents, under 1f and 1g, the board may regulate the use, maintenance, repair, replacement and modification of common elements and may cause additional improvements to be made as part of the common elements. Please note, the caveat as these powers may be restricted by the community rules

As to your $ 8,000 question, if these projects were included in the operating or reserve budgets for 2018, the board would have the authority to implement the work. Was there some major security issues that caused the board to propose this expenditure?

You will need to review your governing documents as well as the 2018 budget.

As to the second question, the answer would be “no” as that would be a board decision.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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