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State law prevents rental caps in communities

Q: Is there a law that prevents homeowners from renting their condominiums? We live in a condo that we own and this community seems to be turning into rentals. Renters don’t abide by our rules and regulations; I would say it’s the owner’s responsibility to inform their renters of the rules. Our homeowners association was asked about whether the rentals can be stopped, but couldn’t give an answer.

A: You can thank the Nevada Legislature for turning associations into rental communities. In 2009, the Legislature amended Nevada Revised Statutes 116.335, which prevents associations from establishing rental caps. If you had a rental cap before the amendment passed, those caps couldn’t be made more restrictive; i.e. you could not decrease the acceptable percentage of rentals. Now, with the economy moving out of its slump, legislators should re-examine this section of the law to let associations re-establish rental caps.

Q: Our HOA board of directors sent us a ballot to accept or reject the budget. They gave us very few days to respond. They said that if homeowners didn’t return their ballots, their missing ballots would be considered counted as “yes” votes. Is this correct?

I have tried to find this rule in the NRS116, and cannot. Where I can find this rule?

A: If a homeowner doesn’t return a ballot, there is no vote; it’s not an automatic yes vote. There is nothing to count as no vote has been received. Unless a majority votes to reject the budget, the budget is approved.

Q: Many homeowners in our community are disillusioned with our board of directors’ performance. Specifically, we don’t know our rights for petitioning for things we want, such as increased security, and for acting against projects we did not approve, such as landscaping and recalling board members.

Are there ways that we can become better informed? Should we hire an attorney, a consultant? Who represents the residents in these matters?

A: First, it’s important to understand the governmental structure of an association and specifically, the board of directors.

Association government is a representative form of government. The members elect directors to manage their association. The directors’ obligation is first to the corporation and second to the membership. Association government is not a true democratic form of government, such as the “old town hall meetings” at which the citizens made the decisions. In many ways, association government mirrors that of our state and federal governments.

Members can petition the board, but the board doesn’t have to act upon those petitions. Whether this is politically smart or not is a different matter.

If you have an unresponsive board, you need to recall or elect new directors who will serve the association with an “open door” policy. Many associations have committees that serve not only to develop future board members but allow interested homeowners to be part of decision-making.

Many educational courses and presentations will help you get better informed. First, visit the Nevada Real Estate Division’s website and search under the Common Interest Communities tab. You’ll see a list of educational offerings. You can also email Sara Berry at seblv@aol.com. Chris Snow is the communication manager for the CAI- Nevada chapter and can be reached at 702-648-8408. The website is www.cai-nevada.org. Key Realty offers association classes and can be reached at 702-313-7000.

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 80360, Las Vegas, NV 89180. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is support@hlrealty.com.

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