Drought of Southern Nevada?
"Rip out your residential turfgrass and get a rebate" has been the battle cry of the Southern Nevada Water District for a number of years. It has never been louder than this year.This photo shows an SNWA water leak that has been gushing for at least five days while the HOA Board rips out the grass directly behind this leak, without permission of the homeowners.
This Board has taken this action because they are emboldened by recent changes to the Nevada Revised Statutes for Common Interest Communties. They're killing the value of mine and other homes in this HOA by ripping out our turfgrass, the dominant feature of this community for 23 years, ostensibly to save 80 cents per month per homeowner on the water bill. Can't anyone else see the sad irony in this?Nevada HOA Abuse: Retaliation, Fines for Exercising 1st Amendment Enabled by NRS
The Nevada Revised Statutes for CIC (Common Interest Communities) is enabling abuses that range from intimidation and retaliation by HOA Boards and management companies to threats of misdemeanor status for alleged, undocumented violations. These abuses include fines for exercising the 1rst Amendment right of Free Speech and retaliatory action for taking interest in how one's HOA fees are spent.
How do I know this? I was fined $100 as a continuing violation fine (weekly) for an alleged conversation between an unnamed person who reportedly lived in my condominium (the fine letter did not name anyone) and a sitting Board member of the HOA in which I live. I am a former President and then Director of this same HOA, and the retaliatory action/fine from the current Board came less than one week after I began to show interest in the way the current Board is spending our Reserves.
This same HOA Board holds their meetings at the corner bar, often during working hours, which, according to NV Attorney General Cortez-Mastro, is in violation of the spirit and intent of the law (quote and link at bottom).
The NRS for CIC allows for compensatory damages and attorney fees for victims of this type of retaliation by an HOA Board, but finding an attorney willing to take on an HOA Board, management company and/or the State of Nevada is very difficult if not impossible. A homeowner's lack of disposable wealth in the State of NV means that the homeowner is all alone against newly empowered Boards and HOA management companies.NRS 116.31183 Retaliatory action prohibited; separate action by unit’s owner.
1. An executive board, a member of an executive board, a community manager or an officer, employee or agent of an association shall not take, or direct or encourage another person to take, any retaliatory action against a unit’s owner because the unit’s owner has:
(a) Complained in good faith about any alleged violation of any provision of this chapter or the governing documents of the association;
(b) Recommended the selection or replacement of an attorney, community manager or vendor; or
(c) Requested in good faith to review the books, records or other papers of the association.
2. In addition to any other remedy provided by law, upon a violation of this section, a unit’s owner may bring a separate action to recover:
(a) Compensatory damages; and
(b) Attorney’s fees and costs of bringing the separate action.
(Added to NRS by 2003, 2218; A 2009, 2808, 2895)NV Open Meeting Law Manual:http://ethics.nv.gov/COE_website_files/coe_publications_and_media/OML%20Manual.pdf
(Text below on page 80 of above link)
Accordingly, NRS 241.020 requires that, except as otherwise provided by statute, all meetings of public bodies must be open and public, and all persons must be permitted to attend any meeting of these bodies; NRS 241.040 makes wrongful exclusion of any person from a meeting a misdemeanor.
Public meetings should be held in facilities that are reasonably large enough to accommodate anticipated attendance by members of the public.
Sometimes controversial public issues generate a larger than expected crowd and a change of location or other methods (e.g., video transmission in adjoining rooms or areas) may have to be employed in order to accommodate those persons seeking to attend a particular meeting. But even if reasonable efforts like these prove inadequate to accommodate everyone, the meeting still would qualify as a public meeting for purposes of the Open Meeting Law. Gutierrez v. City of Albuquerque, 631 P.2d 304 (N.M. 1981).
Public bodies should avoid holding public meetings in places to which the general public does not feel free to enter, such as a restaurant, private home, or club. While perhaps not in violation of the letter of the Open Meeting Law, a meeting in such a location may be in violation of the law’s spirit and intent. Cf. Crist v. True, 314 N.E.2d 186