In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the offices of nine Las Vegas homeowners associations with allegations of misconduct and corruption (see Reference section). The responsibility of a homeowners association (HOA) is to market, manage and maintain a community so it will be appealing to prospective homebuyers. Sometimes, HOAs can violate the rights of a homeowner, so it's important to know what you are protected from under Nevada law.
The Right to Information
According to a model Bill of Rights for Homeowners in Associations created by the Law Office of David A. Kahne and the AARP, homeowners should have the right to be made aware of all rules or charges imposed by the HOA before signing on a property. They should also have a right to know the names and contact information of HOA board members and directors, and be notified of all elections and board meetings in which the HOA participates.
The Right to Fairness
The homeowner is also protected by a number of rights to ensure the HOA is acting in a just manner. The HOA is not allowed to foreclose against a homeowner without judicial review. Homeowners have the right to create, amend and vote on policies and new board members, as well as run for a board position themselves. They have a right to fair litigation over their disputes, and if they win the litigation, the HOA must compensate lawyer fees to a reasonable level.
The Limits of HOA Power
The powers and limitations of an HOA are directly outlined in Chapter 116 of Nevada State Laws Revised Statutes (see Reference section). This chapter accurately describes the exact powers an HOA has over the homeowner, and the boundaries within which these powers can be implemented.
The Ombudsman's Role
The Ombudsman's Office of the Nevada Real Estate Division of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry was created in 1997 to assist homeowners and HOA board members in clarifying laws and helping to resolve disputes. The ombudsman can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner, while also assisting board executives in carrying out their duties legally. The ombudsman office is solely funded by an annual $3 fee from each house in an association within its jurisdiction. If you have any questions about HOA policies or would like to request information regarding your HOA, contact the ombudsman's office (see Reference section).