The HOA Blotter: October 22, 2015

Dateline: North Las Vegas, NV – In what can be considered nothing less than an award winning display of hubris and arrogance, a North Las Vegas HOA was recently inducted into the Channel 13 Action News HOA Hall of Shame after ordering a resident to remove shade sails that he had put up in his back yard. According to the news report the shades were intended to reduce his home energy consumption and provide his children with a shady play area, out of harm’s way of the blistering desert sun.

Owner Tom Gilbert claims that the shade sails have reduced his household energy consumption by 10%; not a trifle matter in this era of global warming, drought and water shortages. He was also quick to point out that the shade sails were of the exact same color and design as those that had been in use for several years at one of the HOA’s parks only a few blocks from his home.

After racking up fines of more than $300 for “storing unsightly items on his property,” Gilbert hired an attorney who has asked the Nevada Real Estate Agency’s Ombudsman’s office to intervene in the case. At last report the Ombudsman’s office has agreed to look into the matter. So stay tuned!

Dateline – San Jose, CA: In another sun related story, a San Jose, CA resident was recently fined $300 by his HOA and ordered to remove solar panels from the roof of his home after the HOA correctly claimed ownership of the roof as a “common area” and then asserted its right to prevent owners from installing solar panels on the roof of their homes.

The situation has raised important questions about the rights of the individual verses the rights of the HOA. While California has long had some of the most progressive solar rights laws in the country, the statutes remain muddled on the issue of an HOA’s ability to prevent an owner from installing solar panels.

Vendors who sell and install solar panels have expressed dismay at the difficulty of dealing with HOA boards and management companies with some choosing not to do business with homeowners who live in HOAs; while others have started imposing a surcharge on customers who live in HOAs to make up for the added time and effort required to deal with Association administrators.

Dateline – Washington State: In an update to a story previously reported in the HOA Blotter, the consulting architect who sounded an initial warning back in 2013 has revisited the case of the neglected roof on a 10,000 square foot building owned by a northern Washington HOA. The architect, who has asked not to be named, reports that the roof is in even worse condition than had been expected even though the HOA is, according to its treasurer, “probably in the top 5% of all HOAs in the country in terms of its reserve funding.”

During his recent visit to the property the architect also found that the HOA’s fleet of fifty golf carts was still being stored outdoors, in an area that receives an average of 80 inches of rain each year.

In other news related to the Association, the HOA Detective has learned from confidential sources within the community that the Association recently hired yet another manager after firing the previous management company which had, according to the source, “engaged in a lot of talk, but little action.” At last count this brings the number of managers that have worked for the Association in the last seven years to at least six!

Proving once again that you really are buying more than a home when you purchase a home in an HOA!