State laws trump HOA’s bylaws any day

Q: I understand the governing documents of a homeowners association are the bylaws. The Nevada Revised Statutes is a reference for issues that come up that are not referenced by the bylaws or areas that may be ambiguous. Is this a true statement?

The management company that supports my HOA continually references the NRS for every issue that comes up.

A: Most associations have the following structure: articles of incorporation that establish the organization with the state, the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (think of those like the U.S. Constitution) and then the bylaws, which are more specific as to how the association is to operate. Other documents could include rules and regulations and architectural guidelines.

Associations and association management are governed by NRS 116, and Nevada Administrative Code 116. NRS 116 consists of laws, many which supersede what could be written in your bylaws. NAC 116 are regulations that further define the laws, and are passed by the Commission for Common-Interest Communities and Condominium Hotels.

Your statement is not completely correct. Depending upon the issue, NRS could override your bylaws. For example, your bylaws may not have the proper wording for the use of proxies. If your bylaws were silent on an issue, you would refer to NRS 116 to see if it is addressed in the law. There are topics that are not written in NRS 116 such as committees that could be found in your covenants or in your bylaws.

If your management company continually raises NRS 116 in dealing with association matters, your board may want to consider engaging the services of an attorney to update your bylaws as there have been many changes in the laws that override your bylaws.

Q: At our HOA, 51 percent of the homeowners signed a petition to recall the board president. The petition was presented to the board at the last HOA meeting. Since then, the board privately voted to cancel the recall stating that the next election was soon and that homeowners would have an opportunity to vote out the president at that time. Is this legal? When faced with a petition, what choices of action did the board have? Was privately voting to cancel the recall one of their choices?

A: No, it is not legal. Please contact the Nevada Real Estate Division.

Note: The state Ombudsman’s Office has scheduled several free HOA classes in November. Some are: executive board responsibilities, 2-4 p.m., Nov. 13, Sun City Anthem, 2450 Hampton Road, Henderson; an overview of Nevada’s HOA law (NRS 116), 2-4 p.m., Nov. 14, Bradley Building, 2501 E. Sahara Ave.; administration and enforcement of NRS 116, 2-4 p.m., Nov. 15, Bradley Building, 2501 E. Sahara Ave.

All classes are free and open to the public. To register, call Ken Richardson at 486-4480.

In addition, the Henderson Police Department will hold a free Crime Free Housing Program Workshop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 15. It will cover crime prevention with a focus on gangs and drugs, criminal background checks, servicing eviction notices and other related topics.

It will be held at the station at 225 E. Sunset Road in Henderson. This class is for property managers of apartments and single-family rental homes. Email to attend. Space is limited.

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 385-3759, email is

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