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State laws regulate posting of political signs in communities

Q: I live in a homeowners association-controlled condo community. Is there a state legal standing on displaying political signs? The management company for our HOA has told me I cannot display any.

A: Under Nevada Revised Statute 116.325, your association does not have the right to prohibit the displaying of political signs as long as the resident is abiding by this restrictions under this statute. The political sign cannot be placed in the common area but must be displayed where the resident has the right to occupy and use exclusively. The sign is not to be any larger than 24-inches-by-36 inches.

If the home is occupied by a tenant, the owner of the home cannot place a sign on his property unless the tenant consents to the sign in writing. You may have as many political signs as desired but may not have more than one political sign for each candidate, political party or ballot question.

All political signs are subject to any applicable provisions of law governing the posting of political signs, i.e. county regulations.

Q: I’m from Southern California and never had an HOA. Ten years here, and all in houses with HOAs. Yes, I know we agreed to all of this when we bought but it is still hard to imagine a group of people being so incredibly nitpicky about truly insignificant things.

Is there proof of the value that HOAs provide? Are housing values really higher or do they just promote the most bland, dull and similar communities I can imagine?

I imagine you make your living being involved in this area but do you really think they are a good thing? If so, why?

A: Yes, I am a regional director responsible for the management of multiple homeowner associations but let me address your email to me on a more personal level.

When I first moved to Las Vegas from Connecticut, my home that I purchased had recorded declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, (CC&Rs), but I was not living in an association. There were many developments during the late 1970s where homes had similar restrictions, declarations but no associations. I soon learned what that meant on a practical level.

The first set of homeowners that surrounded my home were responsible owners that took great care of their property. A year or two passed and one of my next-door neighbors now was renting his home to tenants. The ownership kept changing. Picture my home. The landscape properly groomed and colorful next door to the uncut landscape.

I finally decided that when I would mow our lawn that I would do the neighbor’s lawn as the condition of their home was effecting the value of my home. Yes, I actually took care of my landscape!

As tenants changed, the situation became worse. Vehicles were parked on what should have been the landscape. From there, the conditions worsen. In fact, as I drove through my subdivision, it became very apparent the neighborhood was changing. Residents stop caring. This deterioration happened within four years of my purchase of a home in a brand-new development.

Now, my neighbor was in violation of our CC&Rs, but the only way to enforce the regulations was to file a complaint with the county or file a complaint in court. I decided to sell my home and move.

I moved not more than a mile away to another development (built by the same developer) that also had CC&Rs but now was governed by a board of directors. I was now officially living in a homeowner association. I have been living in this association for more than 18 years. My home is extremely marketable because my association has governed with intelligence and care. The only way that you would now how old is my development is by the mature landscaping. Rules and regulations were meant to maintain the community in order to enhance the value of the homes.

I could take you through a tour of Las Vegas of other developments. Just by driving through them, you will see many in the same condition that caused me to move from my home.

Do I have statistics to show you? No, but you can certainly speak with any real estate licensee as to the difference in value between homes in associations versus homes in non-association developments.

For me, the difference in value became real evident. I was able to sell my home at a great price before the sales prices weaken.

Q: Every Sunday I read your column in the Las Vegas Review Journal because of its informative and educational content. And, as you know I have written to you several times with questions that you always answer and even have published two of them.

Here is another topic I would love to get your advice and opinion on. Several of our homeowners in our gated HOA community placed a yellow bow on their mailboxes in silent protest of an action the board was considering. Instead of being asked by the board what the meaning of the bows were, the homeowners received a phone call from the community manager advising them that it was illegal to do that because it meant altering HOA property, which is not permitted. They were given the option to remove the bow or have HOA do it for them. Some opted removing the themselves. However, before all phone calls had been made all bows were removed by a community safety officer.

There was no inquiry by the board about the meaning of the bows.

We have searched our bylaws and CC&Rs without success for the rule that had been stated by the community manager and therefore I am asking you to please point us to the NRS116 statue that deals with this regulation.

A: It is my understanding that the United States Post Office has a regulation whereby the yellow bows would be in violation of the use of the mailbox.

According to one of its regulations, mail carriers must have safe and unobstructed access to the mailboxes. Nothing is to be in contact with the mailboxes. As to the yellow bows altering association property, this is somewhat stretching the association’s regulations.

If homeowners truly want to be effective in voicing their opinions, they should attend the board meetings and let their thoughts be known. They can encourage other homeowners to attend. They can communicate with their neighbors, sending emails or mailing flyers to them.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager 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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