Homeowner drowning in plumbing problems

Q: Here’s my problem; I have called a plumber several times, at a goodly expense, to fix a clogged drain problem. Each time it is a short-term fix and the problem occurs again. Finally, I recently called a plumber, at a high price again. He put a camera down the pipe. He was able to determine the problem is in front of my home in the street. He also thinks this problem was there when I bought the property less than six months ago and nothing was declared by the previous owner.

The homeowners association board is saying the problem and its cost to repair is mine.

I do realize anything on my property is my responsibility but what about in the street? Also, if this repair expense belongs to the HOA should it also be responsible for my previous plumber bills?

A: Would it surprise you when I tell you that I hate plumbing problems in associations?

Half the time the governing documents do not make it crystal clear as to who is responsible for the repairs and the other half of time, we spend chasing down homeowners who share the responsibility to pay for the repairs.

One rule of the game in determining who is responsible for the repairs is to determine if the plumbing line is a designated line that runs directly to your home and to no other units. If that is the case, then the responsibility to repair that line would be your responsibility.

You can also check your association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions as the maintenance sections will be located in them.

Q: I read your column regularly and appreciate your depth of knowledge.

Our small HOA has had hotly contested elections the past several years. Our manager mails ballots and election material to owners, even those who live in other countries, via standard U.S. mail just 30 days before the annual meeting and election.

Our manager also insists that the out-of-country owners must return their ballots via standard mail; no other form will be accepted. There is no way the out-of-country owners can receive and return their ballots in time to be counted using this method.

Can you suggest a method that would allow out-of-country owners to have their ballots received in time to be counted?

A: Good question, I’ve never been asked that before. The law only requires that a ballot be sent no later than 15 days prior to the counting of them at an open board or annual meeting.

Your manager has taken that into consideration when sending the ballots out 30 days in advance of the election day. The law does not allow email voting.

The only way to make sure their ballots reach the association in time is that these out-of-the country homeowners will have to pay for some kind of express mail, UPS, Fed Ex, etc.

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 the Association Q&A, P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, Nev., 89125. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is support@hlrealty.com

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