Reader has issues with view, parking, neighbors

Q: In 2006, a reader sent a letter to their new management company pertaining to many different issues. The first pertained to their neighbors who never comply with the rules and regulations concerning the screening of their backyard. Their trash cans, various car parts, and other clutter continues to accumulate. One of the reasons to have a homeowners’ associations is to help homeowners maintain the value of the homes.

The second issue is that the reader paid a $ 7,000 lot premium for a “view.” The association, in its efforts to control bees in the neighborhood, installed some kind of “contraption” that is now affecting her view. One of the workers even used the reader’s hose and water without her permission when working on this “bee contraption.” The bees have all but been eradicated. But the reader is an avid gardener who now has to pollinate all of her normally “bee-pollinated” plants by hand. She asked if this contraption cannot be removed, can it least be moved to a more secluded spot, further back towards the mesa?

The third issue the reader wrote about was a rundown truck has been parked and never moved in front of her house for several months, thereby limiting her parking. The registration plates on the truck have expired. She did not know the association’s jurisdiction over parking on city streets.

Her next issue pertained to the water pressure. Her home is the highest on the hill and furthest away from the pump station. Consequently, she has the lowest water pressure. Over time, the association did pay for some pumps for some of the houses with the lowest water pressure. It did lessen the problem inside the house but not the outside. Later, the city of Henderson came in and increased the water pressure. Yet, the reader still does not have enough water for plants that are the furthest from her house. She has paid for three different sprinkler configurations for the backyard along with removing turf to allow the 12 stations to work over a smaller area of land.

The last issue in her letter to the management company concerned the neighbors across the street who revamped their front lawn and never informed her. She thought there was some sort of process that allowed neighbors to be included in the approval process.

The new management company sent back a letter, stating that the association would only be involved if the beehive was in common area. The manager indicated that there had been no bee control over the past three years and that she had no knowledge of this issue. She stated that there were certain types of pigeon control devices, none of which would interfere with anyone’s view. As to the water pressure, the matter was not within the association’s scope and that the issue needs to be handled with the builder or with the local water authorities. No other issues were addressed.

Since 2006, there have been other letters sent to the management company. The issues pertaining to the neighbor with the unscreened backyard, water pressure and the appearance of her neighbors’ yards still remain unresolved problems. What can be done?

A. The association apparently has contacted the woman’s neighbor to clean their side yard, which they do on an inconsistent basis. There still is no screening. The reader did not send a copy of the governing documents, so there is no way for me to know if the screening is in fact mandatory. If it is mandatory and if the association has not written the appropriate letters and has not followed due process for compliance, the reader can file a formal complaint against the association with the ombudsman’s office.

In a later letter, the reader states that the bee issue occurred around 1996 or 1997. Obviously, in 2007, this issue of bee control within the association is no longer an issue and has not been an issue for quite some time. Apparently, there had been a serious problem that required the association to take action. Many people are allergic to bees and actually can die if they are stung by them. As to the location of the “contraption,” I can only speculate that it was strategically located to help eliminate the bee problem.

Over the years, many readers have complained that they have paid a premium for their lot and that the premium was for a “view.” I caution readers who are planning to purchase homes that require premiums for their lots. In most cases, if you read the sales documents very carefully; the developer is not selling you a view. Often, you are paying a premium for the lot size and for the location, not the view.

Associations with streets that belong to the municipalities can only fine homeowners who are in violation of the associations’ parking regulations. If the parking violation is also against the municipality’s ordinances, the association can contact the local police department and ask that the vehicle be towed. It is one thing to have a vehicle parked in the street in front of your house with expired license tags, and another thing to have a vehicle parked in front of your house with a valid license. In the case of a valid licensed vehicle “limiting” your ability to park in front of your house on city street, there is nothing the association can do. You, as an individual resident, can certainly ask the owner of that vehicle to park in a different location, if one is available.

As to the water pressure, much history has occurred since the developer built the community and installed the water system and the pumps. The water system is now controlled by the city of Henderson. You will need to contact the city to assist you. As to your landscape, you should contact the Southern Nevada Water District. Their people should be able to assist you with your landscape watering issues.

Finally, as to architectural approval by the association, most associations’ governing documents ask for neighbor’s approval or disapproval as a means of obtaining comments or opinions. In most governing documents, neighbor’s comments are advisory. They are not binding upon the board and the association.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. She is a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management. Questions may be sent to Association Q. & A., P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, NV 89125. Her fax number is 385-3759. Questions may be shortened and are subject to editing.

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