Federal law supports residents’ right to access mail

Q: My homeowners association and board of directors have recently decided to control access to many of the amenities by implementing an electronic Key Fob system. These key fobs cost $50 each. This system can be programmed to deny access to areas such as the pool, gym and mail room to residents that are not current in their HOA dues and/or fees that are imposed for violations of the rules and regulations. I can understand its right to deny access to the community areas but does the board a legal right to deny any homeowner or renter access to his or her mail? Can an HOA require a $50 key fob for residents to be able to access their mail?

A: You can obtain the support from the Post Master General as to the specific regulation. The homeowners association does not have the right to restrict the residents to access their mail. The homeowners association will have to re-evaluate its security key policy and procedures.

Q: During a recent board meeting, a quorum of four were present. A member (past president) asked to be appointed to the board since there were three vacancies. The vote was split so she was not appointed. We asked the property management company if all the four board members were in good standing to vote and current with their dues. We were told people not on board have no right to know who is or is not delinquent. Is this true?

A: Yes, it is a privacy matter covered under NRS 116.31175 subsection 1b. Now, you need to check your covenants and bylaws to see if there are any clauses that would preclude a delinquent board member from voting on any issue. NRS 116.31031 subsection 8 states that a delinquent board of director cannot participate or vote in any hearings held in executive sessions.

Q: Does the homeowners association have the authority to allow owners to accept Section 8 when renting a unit? We live in an age-qualified community. I have found that one family, not sure if they are over 55, living here under Section 8. We have eight vacancies in our community. I’m concerned this could become a problem.

A: Section 8 is a housing subsidy program where qualified individuals will receive assistance from the federal government to help pay their rent. Depending upon the individual’s financial and family status, its rent could be paid partially or fully by the federal government. The advantage to a homeowner in renting to a Section 8 person who could have a family, or be elderly is that the landlord will know that he or she will be paid rent. The advantage to the owner and to the association is that a renter under the Section 8 program would probably not want to lose his or her benefits and if there were problems in the community, the renter’s case worker could be contacted.

As to the renting to Section 8 renters, it is not a question if the association has the authority to allow them to rent at the community. They already have the right to rent per the fair housing laws of the federal government. If your association meets the qualifications to be an age-qualified community, then the Section 8 renter would have to meet those requirements.

Q: Our board does not have a secretary. This is an open position. There is another open position due to getting a board member out on a recount. At the last election, one person received more votes than me and now that member is on the board. Since there are two positions open, I believe I should also be on the board. The board did issue me violations because of my plants. I have complied and removed. I believe the other board members do not want me on the board.

A: It does not matter how many votes you received as a director in order to become elected to the board. The board votes on its own officers. It is a item that needs to be stated on a meeting agenda to the homeowners and voted upon at an open meeting of the homeowners. The president would ask who is interested in serving as secretary and if more than one person wanted the position, the best way to handle the voting would be by secret ballot.

Q: My homeowners association does not want any committees. Are they allowed to run the community without committees?

A: There is nothing in the rule book that requires an association to have committees unless expressly stated in the governing documents, for example, the architectural committee, is one that is most commonly found in covenants. Is it a good idea to have committees? Yes as long as it does its job, reports back to the board and stays within the perimeter guidelines established by the board for their committee.

Q: For many years it was lawful for collection agencies hired by homeowners associations to operate under the license of an attorney to collect fees. I understand this law was changed so that the collection agency must have their own license to collect. Where can I find when the legislation changed this law and read the new law.

A: I am almost quite sure that the law was passed in 2007 legislative session.

There are two sets of laws that you can review. NRS 649.054 is entitled Collection Agencies. In this body of law, under section 649.075, it describes what companies must be licensed in the state of Nevada.

NRS 649.025 is entitled Nevada Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You will find some interesting laws.

Barbara Holland, CPM, and Supervisory CAM, is president of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, e-mail support@hlrealty.com.

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