Legal Fees, & Replies to Complaints

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Legal Fees, & Replies to Complaints

Home Forums Where I Stand Legal Fees, & Replies to Complaints

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    Rana Goodman

    On another community blog, several of the SCA residents have vocalized the need, in their opinion, to make anyone filing a complaint about SCA Board of Directors actions, pay the fees the association incurs.

    I have stated the following several times before over the years, but it seems people either don’t know or don’t remember the rules of this procedure. Therefore I am posting it again so that, hopefully some residents blood pressure will drop and others will be a little bit more informed.

    No matter the complaint one may have, with either the board or management, there are several steps that must be taken prior to filing a complaint with the people who are supposed to be “the watch dogs” of HOAs in this state. I say “supposed to be”, but it is rarely the case these days.

    It should also be noted, for the benefit of thosecommenting on the other blog, that there is a $1,000 fine for anyone filing a frivolous complaint. That is posted on the Division forms.

    Step #1: A certified letter must be sent to the HOA Board of Directors by the person with a complaint, then wait for a reply within a reasonable time frame, usually 7-10 business days. Only if there is no reply, or an unacceptable response can a complaint then be filed with the Ombudsman’s office within The Nevada Real Estate Division known as NRED.

    Step #2: The complaint must have attached; the green card from the post office, a copy of the letter sent to the board and their response. Then follows the complaint in detail with any proof one may have.

    Step #3: An NRED investigator will determine if the complaint warrants a hearing with the Commission that governs the conduct of HOAs and their management. Unless a complaint passes through the investigator it cannot move forward.  It is only then that a homeowner can take the complaint to small claims or district court if they wish to.

    Step #4: If the investigator moves  the complaint to a hearing, it is not with the Ombudsman but to the commission. there is NO FEE FOR ANY OF THESE STEPS TO THE COMPLAINANT OR THE HOA.  No attorney is needed, all actions are owner vs. Board or management.

    In this particular HOA, since the early years when I came to Anthem, the boards (plural) have opted to use the attorney for the association to respond to these complaints, thus the legal fees attached. With each phone call, the clock starts ticking and it is totally unwarranted if the complaints are not a financial issue. Usually the worst thing that can happen, if a homeowner is given a hearing, is that the board MAY get a reprimand. The only time I have EVER seen a financial aspect to a complaint is in the case of a CAM committing theft, or some other infraction that is fraudulent.

    In my early years the Ombudsman was a lady named Lindsey Waite. She used to refer to stage 2 of the process as a civil discussion between the owner and the board representative with her as moderator, as a chat to try to straighten out the issue, hopefully stopping the process there. SCA’s boards have NEVER been willing to participate in that method of settling things, they prefer to toss it to the lawyer…..CHA-GING goes the cash register.

    The bottom line is, in my opinion, grow up and try to settle things like adults, civilized people don’t need lawyers to settle petty disputes but the lawyers like to make the boards THINK they do. After all, how else would they justify their insane fees?


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