Taking Action: Understanding the Nevada Legislature and How it Affects Your Community
If you’re a board member or resident in a condo or homeowners’ association (HOA) in Nevada, we have good news for you: Carson City is listening.
Your state legislators have a big impact on the rules that affect HOAs, and we’re fortunate to live in a state with a responsive legislature. And with big initiatives on the table nationwide, now is the time to speak up.
“Often, we feel that we’re at the mercy of legislation, instead of remembering that, as constituents, we have a voice in government,” said Chuck Fallon, FirstService Residential Chief Executive Officer. “When associations and residents speak up, we can be heard.”
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can do that – and a few important issues you should be paying attention to when it comes to community management and Nevada legislation.
1. What happens nationwide could happen here.
The industry group Community Associations Institute (CAI) tracks nationwide trends in legislation, and in a recent edition of Community Manager they’ve identified four biggies we all need to watch.
- Priority liens. In Nevada, most commonly known as “The Super-Priority Lien,” this allows the HOA to place a lien on a home when the owner defaults on their assessments and provides for the recovery of certain collection costs in addition to the up to nine months of assessments. Last year there were changes to this rule that came in the form of SB 306, which revised provisions governing the foreclosure of an association’s lien; requires the trustee under a deed of trust securing real property to provide a homeowners’ association certain notice concerning the Foreclosure Mediation Program under certain circumstances. It will take further advocacy by Nevada homeowners’ associations to help make sure the power of this tool isn’t eroded for HOAs – liens are a last resort, but are effective in making sure all residents pay their fair share.
- Construction defect warranties. Big changes happened in Nevada in the form of Assembly Bill 125. Now that it has been signed into law, it changes the definition of a construction defect, mandates specific descriptions of defects, reduces the statute of limitations for claims to six years, and no longer allows associations to file suits on behalf of homes in their communities. Attorneys’ fees were also affected.
- Mandatory arbitration. There’s a nationwide trend to make arbitration the law rather than a choice. Although, as an industry, community association managers support arbitration as a reasonable way to resolve disputes, making it the law is an overreach of state authority.
- Disclosure document fees. Supporters of these measures claim that this is an act of consumer protection. Yet capping these fees would leave insufficient revenue to cover costs. This shortfall would then be compensated for by association members in the form of higher dues or a special assessment.
How will new legislation affect you? What’s on the horizon? To find answers to these questions, get in touch with the local CAI office here. You can contact them by phone or by email – and once you have the info, make sure to take action. FirstService Residential in Nevada is also highly active in the legislative process and hosts several events surrounding legislation. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the laws that govern HOAs in our state, you can check out the complete law – NRS 116 – right here.
3. You’ve got a unique opportunity to get involved.
If you’re ready to get involved, you’re in luck. In 2017, FirstService Residential in Nevada is hosting its second “Day at the Capitol,” where the community management company facilitates a trip for board members to the Capitol to attend hearings and meet with lawmakers about emerging issues that will affect HOAs. It’s a great way to sit down with your legislators, face-to-face, and be an integral part of forward-looking solutions.
Of course, there are other ways to get involved, too. You can drop an email, make a call, or try something more personal by inviting your legislative representatives to an event at your community. That way they can see the benefits of common-interest communities for themselves.
Your voice matters – to your community and to others across the state. Now’s the time to be heard. For more information, contact FirstService Residential, Nevada’s community management leader.