Q: Is it lawful for a homeowners association to shut off the water on a unit that a renter is occupying, because the owner is not paying his HOA dues?
The owner of this unit is in preforeclosure and is not paying anything to the HOA. Last week I received a notice on my door and in the mail that cites NRS 116.345. They say that they have the right to shut off the water to my unit because the owner has not paid dues. I was told by the community manager that the only thing that I can do is pay the HOA dues and outstanding fees. Is it lawful for them to do this?
A: NRS 116.345 subsection 4 states that an association may not interrupt any utility service furnished to a unit’s owner or a tenant of a unit’s owner except for the nonpayment of utility charges when due.
The interruption of any utility service must be performed in a manner which is consistent with all laws, regulations and governing documents relating to the interruption of any utility service. A written notice is to be sent to the owner or to the tenant at least 10 days before the service is interrupted.
Please note the wording of the law that the interruption can occur if the owner dues not pay for the utility charges when due. Technically, it does not state that the interruption will occur because the homeowner did not pay his assessments, only a portion of that assessment which pays for utility services.
The association would have to inform the owner of the amount of money that is due for the use of the water only. The law does not state that the owner must pay his full assessments.
In addition, this is a very sensitive issue. The turning off of water affects health and safety codes. Water is needed for sanitation. If there is a fire in the unit and there is no water for a tenant or an owner to extinguish the fire, there could be some liability issue for the association for turning off the water, especially if there were personal injury or death.
For the owner of the unit, the turning off of the water is against NRS 118A under the various sections of habitability, sections 118A.290 and 118A.355. The tenant could vacate from the unit per the procedures of NRS 118A if the water service was not reestablished.
Barbara Holland, certified property manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.