Welcome to our first newsletter from our new suite. As part of this first edition of our newsletter, we will focus on a topic that has come to the forefront of Nevada real estate law, which is homeowner association (‘HOA” or “Association”) laws and how they effect the residents of common interest communities. Below is a brief overview of the rules. If you believe you are being treated unfairly by your Association, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a Homeowner’s Association and how do they work?
Many new house or condominium purchasers don’t even know what an HOA is or how their derive power. Associations govern what are termed “common interest communities. Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute (“NRS”) 116.021, a common interest community is defined as “real estate, described in a declaration with respect to which a person, by virtue of the person’s ownership of a unit, is obligated to pay for a share of real estate taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance or improvement of, or services or other expenses related to common elements, other units or other real estate described in that declaration. Most residential communities in Las Vegas are common interest communities.
When a purchaser buys property in a common interest community they agree:
- To pay assessments
- Abide by the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
- The purchaser affirms they have read the CC&Rs; and
- Their failure to pay the assessments can cause them to lose their home. (See NRS 116.41095).
Associations operate on what could be termed as quasi-democratic principles. For instance, some decisions, such as amending the CC&Rs, require a super-majority of all of the homeowners. Other decisions are made by an executive board which is elected by the homeowners or committees appointed by the board. The CC&Rs and the association bylaws provide the rules for the association and define what assessments have to be paid by the residents as well as the powers of the board and the procedure for electing board members.
Do I have to join the association and follow their rules?
Yes, you do. Also, pursuant to NRS §116.3102, the homeowner must:
Pay monthly or annual HOA fees for the upkeep of common areas;
Pay special assessments;
Follow the Association’s rules; also,
Associations can enforce the rules by levying fines and assessments; and
The HOA can make and enforce parking regulations in the community.
Do the homeowners have any rights under Nevada law?
Absolutely! NRS 116.31065 provides that the rules adopted by the Association:
Must be reasonably related to the purpose for which they are adopted;
Must be sufficiently explicit in their prohibition, direction or limitation to inform a person of any action or omission required for compliance;
Must not be adopted to evade any obligation of the association;
Must be consistent with the governing documents of the association and must not arbitrarily restrict conduct or
require the construction of any capital improvement by a unit’s owner that is not required by the governing documents of the association;
Must be uniformly enforced under the same or similar circumstances against all unit owners. Any rule that is not so uniformly enforced may not be enforced against any unit’s owner. The association may enforce the rules through the imposition of a fine only if the Association complies with the requirements set forth in NRS 116.31031.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FEEL THE ASSOCIATION HAS VIOLATED MY RIGHTS OR MISTREATED ME?
There are remedies out there for residents who feel that they have been mistreated by their Association. First, the office of the Ombudsman for Owners in Common-Interest Communities and Condominium Hotels was created to assist homeowners and board members in common interest communities to better understand their rights and obligations under the law and their governing documents. The Ombudsman’s office provides education, informal mediation regarding governing documents as well as investigation of disputes. See their website for details on how to file a complaint against the Association. http://business.nv.gov/Homeowner/Homeowners_Association Complaints/.
Also, the Nevada Real Estate Division offers mediation services for folks who are involved in disputes with their Association. For further details, go to http://red.nv.gov/Content/CIC/Contact_Us
SO, what does all of this mean?
What it means is that you have to exercise caution when dealing with your association. Associations have significant power but they cannot act arbitrarily or enforce the rules at their whim. Remember, if you don’t pay your assessments, they can record liens against your property and foreclose upon such. Therefore, be cautious!
This is only a small overview of the current state of HOA laws in Nevada. Over the next few months, we will add more articles regarding HOA’s and if you feel that an HOA, or any board member has wronged you, please call us now for a consultation.
In other news
The Dobberstein Law Group has had a busy summer fighting for their clients. Eric Dobberstein successfully defended a local development company that was sued by a former independent contractor that was claiming he was an employee and was owed over $300,000.00 in back wages. Eric said, “not so fast.” Our firm geared up for trial and, at the end of the day, not only was the trial a complete victory for our client, but the former independent contractor who had sued our client was found liable for attorney’s fees and costs in excess of $84,000.00.
The Dobberstein Law Group has also had some changes in staffing. After 9 years with the team, Rhonda Long as decided to move into a new role as in-house counsel with GEICO and we wish her all the best. Additionally, Mary Burke has relocated to Washington and her workload will be reassigned to one of our other staff members. Over the next few months we will introduce you to the rest of our team so that you may get to know them and develop a comfort level that you are in good hands. The first person we would like to introduce you to is the author of this article, attorney Chris Fellows. Details regarding the author are set forth below.
Finally, as all of our clients and friends are aware, the Dobberstein Law Group will fight hard to protect your rights. If you feel your rights have been violated or, you are in need of legal assistance of any kind, please call our office for a free consultation, today. Our main office number is 702-430-8900, and we are conveniently located off the 215 and Eastern exit at 9480 S. Eastern Suite 252. If you or any of your friends have the need to reach us through the use of the Spanish language, then you may contact our Spanish speaking legal assistant, Luz Macias who can be reached at her direct line of 702-430-8351 or email of email@example.com.
SO WHAT KIND OF LAW DO you GUYS PRACTICE?
That’s a great question. The Dobberstein Law Groups primarily practices in three areas: injury law, construction and business. If you feel that you’ve been injured or you need help or have a question regarding any of these practice areas, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
about the author?
Attorney Chris Fellows is now entering his fourth year of practice here in the state of Nevada. Prior to relocating to Nevada, I was a personal injury paralegal in California. I have two wonderful children, Josh and Sophie, and I am married to my beautiful wife of nineteen years, Tania. The author is also an avid college football fan. Go Big Red!
This newsletter is not meant to provide legal advice to anyone or to provide any warranties or guarantees of any kind. Every case is different, and we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case. If you feel you have been injured or you need legal advice, please call our office in order to set up a consultation.