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Homeowner vs HOA over backyard work

Q: I read your article regarding backyard rules. My friend constructed (and designed) his backyard when the association wasn’t established. It was a new community then, and the builder told my friend that he could go ahead with his backyard plans because it is like part of the construction process of that property. Now that the homeowners association has organized, they are fining my friend for not seeking approval of his improvements.

I will greatly appreciate your input. Thank you and more power.

A: Find out if your friend has any documentation from the developer allowing the construction. Any documentation for approval should prevent the association from any formal action. If there are no documents, see if your friend can obtain a formal letter from the developer informing the board of the approval.

Whether or not the “mechanism” of the association had been established, i.e. the board of directors, once the covenants, conditions and restrictions were recorded, the association technically existed. Check out that date versus the date of your friend’s construction.

Finally, if the board was aware of the construction for over a year and never had taken any action against your friend, the board might find that it will have a legal issue in trying to enforce the regulations.

Q: We have an upper unit that had a flood, and water went to the lower unit. The downstairs unit did not have homeowners insurance, or the tenant did not have renters insurance. But the unit was able to go through the condo association’s insurance.

Can you please clarify how an owner who has no insurance can put in a claim through the association’s insurance. Why are some homeowners paying for insurance if we can go through the association insurance?

A: Nevada Revised Statutes 116.3113 requires the association to maintain, to the extent reasonably available and subject to reasonable deductibles, property insurance and commercial general liability (among other types of insurance that do not apply in this case).

In the case of a condominium, the insurance maintained by the association to the extent reasonably available must include the units but need not include the improvements and betterments installed by the unit owner.

Even though the downstairs owner did not have additional insurance, his or her association assessments pay toward the association’s insurance policy.

Barbara Holland, CPM is an author, educator, expert witness on real estate issues pertaining to management and brokerage. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com

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