Q: I live in a homeowners association in Pahrump. I was appointed to the board on May 2018 and I resigned August 2019. I resigned because of the reckless and (uncaring) behavior of the other board members about the Nevada Revised Statute 116. The president said it twice — in an illegal closed meeting — that the NRS 116 is for HOAs in Vegas only. This president has been on the board five years, and was assigned the president duties in January 2018.
The other board members are playing favorites with some of the owners. They were ignoring their violations of the covenants, conditions and restrictions, and we’re making illegal decisions regarding the owners they dislike.
I had a showdown with one illegal decision, and they finally conceded. But one of the board members tried to sneak it in again later on. Our HOA had not had an election in five years, until I joined. There is no agenda. They were having a closed board meeting each month, calling it an executive session, even though they were not. Most of the board members did not have a copy of NRS 116. I printed a copy for each board member, but I think only the president briefly read it. I could go on and on about how the board is breaking the Nevada codes.
I, being one out of the five, kept fighting until I resigned.
I completely disagree with this assumption that NRS 116 is for HOAs in Vegas only, and not (all of) Nevada. Is this is true?
A: NRS 116 is a state law. It is not just a Las Vegas law. There are certain exceptions in the law that differentiates the kinds of associations and their locations.
Q: I have an excessive fine that my HOA has placed on my account and I would like your expertise.
On May 10 of this year, I was sent a letter accusing someone living in my home of reckless driving. My condo is in Summerlin, while I live in Lenexa, Kansas. Apparently, either my tenant or his son drove into the community through the exit gate. I was not sent any proof of this, but I was informed of a hearing on July 31. The letter also said that the board could impose a fine of up to $100 for this violation. I forwarded this letter to my property manager and she went over the alleged violation with my tenant. He told her that he would speak with his son but would not attend the hearing. I informed the HOA management company that this issue was discussed with the tenant. Since I knew nothing of the event, I saw no reason to fly to Las Vegas for the hearing particularly for what I thought would be no more than a $100 fine.
In early August, I received a letter from the HOA management company that the HOA board assessed me a $500 fine for the above infraction. My tenant has now moved out and has refused to pay the fine. I am left holding the bag.
I have several issues regarding this fine.
1.) I was never given an proof that my tenant or his son committed this violation.
2.) I was told that the fine could be up to $100, but I was then assessed a $500 fine.
3.) I believe that a $500 fine is excessive/abusive.
4.) You have said in previous articles that a homeowner cannot be assessed a fine committed by a tenant unless the unit owner participated in or authorized the violation or had the opportunity to stop the violation and failed to do it.
The HOA management company says that I am responsible according to the CC&Rs. I just don’t know if that is factual or not.
A: With all due respect, you need to hire a new property manager, one who understands association procedures. Both you and or your property manager should have taken steps to communicate with the association as to the allegations and as to the evidence supporting the association’s claim. Your property manager should have requested from you authorization to speak on your behalf at the hearing. By failing to have representation at the hearing with the tenant and your property manager, you lost an opportunity in presenting your side of the alleged event. An association can assess a fine even if the parties are not present at a hearing.
Assuming that the facts are accurate that your tenant or his son drove through the exit gate, the association could consider this violation a health and safety one which would allow the association to increase the fine to $ 500. You would have to look at the violation/hearing notice to see if the association did consider it a health and safety fine.
If you review your CC&Rs, it probably states that you as the owner of record are responsible for the actions of your tenant. Your property manager upon leasing your home should have provided the tenant with a copy of the rules and regulations of the association and should have reviewed them with the tenant.
Please check your lease agreement. Is there any addendum which includes the association’s rules and regulations or any section of the lease agreement that would allow you to charge a tenant if you as the owner were fined based upon the tenant’s action? In processing the vacating tenant, did your property manager recommend either filing a small claims action or sending the tenant to collections as you do have those options.
Although I can appreciate your concerns, unfortunately the proper actions were not taken that could have mitigated your damages.
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 email@example.com.