State, federal laws affect age-qualified communities

Q: Barbara, I enjoy your column and have questions that are now facing our age-qualified community. Is there a Henderson ordinance addressing renters that are a nuisance? Also, are there associations that can restrict buyers that purchase new homes on speculation and have no intention of living in these communities but turn it over to a rental?

Is there a way to legally restrict buyers, who are younger than 50, from purchasing a home in a 55-plus community? We are proposing to our homeowners association that our bylaws be amended to make sure we remain a 55-plus community. Can there be a requirement that a buyer must live in the community for a certain time frame before renting their home out?

A: Both the city of Henderson and Clark County have nuisance laws, but for the most part, someone has to file a complaint with the courts. Your association should have regulations that would address nuisance violations regardless of whether they were homeowners or tenants. Associations can fine homeowners and can pressure investor-homeowners to take action against their tenant, to the point of evicting them.

Until the Legislature changes Nevada Revised Statutes 116.355, if your association does not have any rental cap, your association would not be able to restrict investors from purchasing homes within your association for the purpose of leasing them. One footnote, this law will never change unless homeowners and boards start lobbying to modify it.

The Fair Housing laws and the Housing for Older Person Act state that at least 80 percent of the units must be occupied by at least one resident older than 55. Some associations’ covenants require the purchaser of the home to be at least 55 years or older. There is no federal or state requirement that the remaining 20 percent of the units be occupied by persons under the age of 55, nor is there a requirement that those units be used only for person where at least one member of the household is 55 years of age or older.

Note that the laws state that at least 80 percent of the units be occupied by at least one resident older than 55. There is no federal or state laws that would prevent the association from requiring 100 percent of the units be occupied by at least one resident over the age of 55. Some associations do have in their covenants the minimum age of any person living in a unit with a resident over the age of 55.

I don’t think you would be able to legally pass an amendment to your covenants that would require a buyer to live in the community for a certain time period before renting their home.

I do know that there are certain loans in which banks, Federal Housing Administration and Veteran Affairs might require a residency requirement of the homeowner.

Q: Barbara, I read your column every Sunday. Thanks so much for keeping our HOA properties informed. My question is about the hearings and fine for an HOA violation. If it does not go to collections, what good is a fine on paper? I know unpaid association dues can go to collection and then a lien. But an HOA violation, we might as well fine $10,000 instead of $100, since we are not going to get either.

A: An association can send a fine to collections for the collection agency to place a lien on the homeowner’s property. The association cannot foreclose on a violation fine unless it pertains to health and safety. Having a lien on your property can affect your credit rating and can affect a homeowner’s ability to get loans or even certain kinds of insurance. Depending upon the employment procedures for hiring, a lien could hurt a homeowner’s ability to obtain a new job.

Remember, you still have the opportunity to file a small claims action in civil court (maximum I believe is still $10,000) and if successful, attach someone’s salaries. Or if the person is an investor, you could attach their rental income. The Catch-22 is that you would need to first file a complaint with the Nevada Real Estate Division before going to court.

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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