Q. We are a small condo association of 12 units. Our president is very unliked. She went after a unit owner with a vengeance over a $25 fine, got an attorney, and cost us owners over $6,000 in legal fees so far. How do we legally remove her from the board? Please help.
—Desperate for a Change
A. “Sadly, this type of thing happens in communities large and small, condo associations and single-family residential associations,” says attorney Steve Loizzi of HOA Lawyers Group in Las Vegas. “There are just some people who get a little taste of power, and it drives them mad. Those people should not be on the board of an owner’s association—condo or single family—because they misunderstand the reason for having an association, they make it a miserable living situation for the other owners rather than a positive and neighborly one, and they continue the growth of the negative stigma of living in a community with an owner’s association.
“As an initial matter, pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 116.31034, subsection 18, each board member is required to review the community’s governing documents, NRS 116, and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 116, and then complete and submit a form required by the State of Nevada entitled ‘Declaration of Certification of Common-Interest Community Executive Board Member’ certifying that the board member understood the governing documents of the association and the provisions of NRS chapter 116 and NAC chapter 116. Within NRS 116, there are a number of sections governing behavior by board members, and sections covering removal of board members. This board president seems to have overlooked the sections about fiduciary duty, business judgement, and prohibition of harassment and hostile environment—which I won’t delve into here, but can be found in NRS 116.3103 and 116.31184, respectively.
“There are three ways that the unhappy members of the board and the other owners can get rid of this tyrant: 1) ask the HOA’s attorney to send a letter to the board president advising her that her conduct is illegal and violates her fiduciary duty to the board and the community, and demand her resignation; or 2) pursue removal of the board president via the removal process set forth in NRS 116.31036; or 3) file a complaint with Real Estate Division through the Office of the Ombudsman whereby this board member’s violations of the rules are reported to them, and request that they do an investigation into her actions and punish her for her actions under NRS 116.745 through 116.795, which can include removal from the board, or removal from the board and prohibition from ever running for the board again.
“In this particular instance, with an association of just 12 members, removal via NRS 116.31036 is probably the best option, because it’s likely that most or all of the other owners are tired of this type of nonsense. Being removed by a recall election of the other owners in the community sends a strong message that this type of leadership is no leadership at all, and that your neighbors will not be treated like peasants.”