Legislature to consider HOA bills

Note: This is the last in a three-part series of columns that look at proposed homeowners association laws the Legislature is considering this year.

I urge you to support Assembly Bill 334, and allow homeowners and property and community managers to arrange nonpermitted work to be done without the need for a general contractor’s license.

Under existing statutes, if property or community managers need to arrange for repair or maintenance on a property they are able to hire only one or two licensed contractors. If three are required, they have to hire a general contractor to oversee the work.

It should be noted that even homeowners are not exempt unless they occupy the home and do not put the home for sale or lease within a year. AB334 has an exemption for a homeowner who does not reside in the property to hire licensed contractors to perform work on the property.

This does not affect the handyman statue at all. Work under the handyman statute could still be arranged for less than $1,000.

Hiring a general contractor would still be a necessity if work required building permits and more than two tradesmen were on the job.

More important , AB334 would require that the authority to arrange for such work be in a written agreement between the owner and the property manager.

If you agree with me, you can register your support on line at www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/77th2013/A/

Now, back to Assembly Bill 34. This bill has generated much discussion. If it is not killed in committee, we would expect to see it significantly amended. In many ways, this bill creates greater concerns than those it tries to solve.

The bill, which is sponsored by the Nevada Real Estate Division, would create a referee program. The ombudsman would be able to appoint a referee to decide claims filed with the division per subsection 3 of Nevada Revised Statutes 116.765.

The award for damages could not exceed $7,500 and neither party would be awarded attorney’s fees.

The Legislature should consider changing the existing laws before it creates a system that does not eliminate the current arbitration mediation process.

In 1995 the Legislature provided a fast, effective and economical means to resolve contested claims. The law created the arbitration and mediation process that exists in NRS 38.300.

This provided the choice of the binding or nonbinding arbitration or mediation, and allowed losing parties to file appeals with District Court .

The courts liked this process because it reduced their homeowner association dispute case loads.

This program has existed for almost 20 years and has been remarkably successful in achieving its targeted goals.

State lawmakers are also considering other proposals:

■ Requiring board members who haven’t been re-elected to new terms to return association records to the association. The law does not include any penalty for failure to return these records to the association.

■ Requiring associations to have evidence to support beliefs that someone has committed violations before levying fines.

■ Requiring associations get the names and addresses of new owners of homes bought out of foreclosure no later than 30 days after the sale.

■ Adding to the actions in NRS 116.31031 that associations may take to mitigate water intrusion into units whether those units are vacant or not.

■ Suggesting that board meetings be held by teleconference.

■ Adding to the requirement that once every 100 days the association must review any accounts pertaining to funds from a construction defect lawsuit.

■ Requiring associations to conduct bidding to renew existing contracts for projects as defined in NRS 116.31086. The current bidding process, as required by state law, has proved to be most ineffective and has delayed associations’ decisions on necessary projects.

■ Sections 16, 18, 23, 24 and 25 expanded the administrator’s powers. Sections 19 and 20 expanded the ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

■ Section 28 would allow the state Real Estate Division to open cases without an intervention affidavit. The division would be allowed to open its own investigations and file its own complaints based on those investigations even if it received no complaints from the public. The section also would eliminate the statute of limitations (now one year from discovery) for filing a complaint.

■ Section 29 would eliminate confidentiality by the division of an alleged complaint before the filing of an official complaint.

■ Section 30 would prohibit community managers from having indemnification language in their management contracts if the association doesn’t carry indemnification insurance.

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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