Homeowner questions need for armed guards

Q: I live in Topaz Ridge, a group of tract homes located in The Ridges. Recently we were notified that we are going to have armed guards patrolling the area. On Monday, I received a budget projection of $12 increase in monthly assessment.

This association has a history of selective enforcement. This additional increase in fees, without the members voting on it, is unacceptable. I was not aware of any incident that would have required an armed guard. In the past, we have always been told to call the local police department. Apparently this has worked satisfactory for about eight years.

Is a homeowners’ association required by law to notify residents of a proposed increase prior to submitting a budget ? Individual safety is a most important subject but to implement an increase in costs without proving the need is totally illogical.

A: The association is notifying you of a proposed increase in assessments by submitting to you and other owners the projected 2012 operating budget.

The association is following the law. Now, as homeowners, you must either approve the budget or reject the budget.

In order to reject the budget and thereby rejecting the increase, the association must receive a minimum of 51 percent, or a higher percentage if required by your governing documents, to reject the budget. (The law works in reverse — the association does not need 51 percent or more to approve the budget, just to reject the budget).

You have the right to contact the management company, and to obtain more information pertaining to the proposed increase, which may also be related to other proposed operational increases, distinct from the armed security, or related to the reserve study funding requirements.

In addition, you can find out why the necessity of armed guards. Ask of the management if the association has contacted its insurance company to see if it has any issue with armed security guards.

Q: Our HOA has been advised by our insurance company that protection against computer fraud insurance is a necessity. We have $50,000 worth of coverage with our regular policy. To get an additional $50,000 would cost $664 per year.

The agent indicates this is only to let us know that it is available. Is this something to be concerned about. Our general/reserve is more than $400,000. We have this amount covered with our fidelity/employee dishonesty coverage. Any comments will be most welcome.

A: Computer fraud has increasingly become a real issue not only for businesses, community associations but for individual homeowners. If your agent has indicated that the association can be protected by adding this coverage, and if the premium is affordable, you should add the coverage.

Q: We have a unit where the owner walked away about eight months ago. The unit was recently sold to new buyer. That buyer fixed up the interior and resold the unit about a month ago. That buyer is not living in it, but has other people in the home, which is a violation of the community rules.

The management company stated that we cannot send a violation letter because the unit is still in collections from the original owners. Is this correct? We can not act on a violation during the process?

A: You should have already received the delinquent funds. Contact the collection company to find out what happened to your assessments.

As to the current owner, you can send a violation letter. Check with the Clark County’s Recorders Office to verify ownership.

The two issues should be treated as separate and distinct, unless there is more information the management company has not informed you about.

I have yet to see a covenant that stated that only the owners can live in the unit. You need to check that out with legal counsel.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, email support@hlrealty.com.

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