HOA needs to take care of its irrigation water problem

Q: I would like your advice on an issue that I and other homeowners in my community are troubled about.

The homeowners lease the property on which our homes are constructed. The homeowners association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions require us to maintain our property to community standards. Those areas include the sidewalks, driveways, buildings and yards behind the common wall. In front of the common wall and adjacent to the driveways is a common area that is a green belt. According to the land lease and the CC&Rs, this area is the responsibility of the HOA, which must irrigate and maintain the lawns and trees in this common area.

The irrigation water’s high-mineral content of iron and manganese discolors the driveways and some walkways.

The HOA claims the homeowners are responsible for removing the stains. The HOA is aware of the water-quality issue and is in control of the three wells that are used exclusively for such irrigation. The HOA also knows there are systems that can be used to mitigate this issue, but refuses to invest in any such system.

The green belt is considered a common area, even though it is listed as part of the lot lease dimensions, and we are not allowed to maintain the lawns or adjust the irrigation. I am of the opinion the HOA has not made a good-faith effort to remedy the situation, so it cannot really require us to take responsibility for the stains.

In time, an annual acid wash on the driveways and walkway would cause damage, and require a new driveway to be installed. If we were to have some type of paint placed on these areas, that, too, would discolor and cost as much as $4,000 per driveway.

A: I have not heard of this type of ground lease in a development.

If the irrigation water is causing the discoloration and all agree the HOA handles landscaping and irrigation within the common area, the stain removal should be the HOA’s responsibility, not the homeowners’.

Having said that, this is why attorneys make a good living.

Q: Can an owner who purchased before 2004 lease his unit without regard to a rental list held by the board?

Is there a Nevada Revised Statute number to identify the law?

A: NRS 116.355 states that unless at the time the unit owner purchased his or her unit, the CC&Rs prohibited the owner from renting or leasing it, the association may not prohibit the owner from renting or leasing the unit.

NRS 116.355 passed in 2005. It basically froze any association from passing new regulations that would restrict the leasing or renting of a home. In addition, if the association had a rental cap before the law was passed, the new law prohibited associations from decreasing the rental cap.

You need to find out when the rental restriction existed for the association. If you, for example, purchased the home in 2003, and the association passed a rental restriction in 2004, the rental restriction would not apply to you.

The association is allowed to obtain a copy of the lease or rental agreement from you. The association may not charge you a fee for the registration or submission of this information.

If the association has a rental cap, and if it was reached, the law allows the association to grant a waiver to owners who can demonstrate that they needed to rent the unit because of economic hardship.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. Questions may be sent to Association Q&A, P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, NV 89125. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is support@hlrealty.com. Holland is also available to speak at your organization or company.

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