HOA on "poop patrol" lands in Contact 13's Hall of Shame
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Frivolous and inappropriate at best. Abuse of power at worst.
That's what a homeowner and the state are saying about the actions of a local homeowners association.
As Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reports, the HOA is going to the dogs and landing in our Hall of Shame.
Meet Toby, the Toy Yorkie.
"He's four pounds, so it's not very big."
His pint-sized poop got his owner, Amanda Rhett, in deep doo-doo with the West Trop homeowners' association.
Amanda: This will be my second violation.
Darcy: Second time someone's peered over your wall to check what kind of business he's doing?
Toby's not peppering poop all over the grass or sidewalks or any shared space in the complex.
Amanda says she's being antagonized by her HOA because Toby has the gall to do his business in his own backyard.
"He literally came out here, did his business, I came home from work, got a notice and they had taken pictures."
She said it was a matter of hours between the time Toby was out on the patio, and the time someone snapped a picture.
Yes, you read that right. Two little pieces of poo started a firestorm of letters and threats of fines up to $100.
"This is just... it's crazy. A defecation that is literally the size of my pinkie!" marvels Ron McMenemy. He's commercial real estate broker, investor and a board member of a different HOA, and he owns the West Trop condo.
Darcy: When you first got the Notice of Violation, what did you think when you read that letter?
Ron: I thought it was the silliest thing I ever saw in my life.
Ron and Amanda had to fight the threatened fine at a recent board meeting.
"I had a reality check in the board meeting when it was very clear, from management to the board, that their focus is really on harassing owners, tenants, invitees and whatnot," said Ron.
According to the West Trop CC&R's, patios are considered limited common areas in that the HOA can tell you not to hang laundry, use a barbecue or store trash there.
"But," Ron points out, "That doesn't give them the right to lean over, watch, harass, peep onto other people's properties."
The only way to even know what's on the patio is for somebody to walk through the landscaping and get up close and personal, peering over the wall so that they can see the ground.
"And what about the people who live on the second story?" Amanda wonders. "Are they climbing ladders to see what's going on on their balconies and taking pictures? It doesn't make any sense."
Amanda also worries about how close the HOA photographer is getting to her sliding glass door.
"The people who are photographing, I was told in the board meeting, are either the property manager or board members," said Ron. "And so I said OK, so we're all here, so who took the photograph? Well, we can't tell you that. It's confidential information."
So they can invade her privacy, but stand fast when it comes to protecting theirs.
In fact, the HOA president told Contact 13 the same thing when we called to ask him for an interview.
He wouldn't talk on camera, and said if the unit owner has a problem, they should file a complaint with the Real Estate Division.
A source at the Real Estate Division tells Contact 13 that it's absurd to think this type of enforcement is what owners monthly dues are paying for.
They called it frivolous, inappropriate spending of HOA funds which borders on abuse of authority.
"We're talking about being reasonable."
Something Ron says is severely lacking in the West Trop HOA.
"We hope that they will target their focus on other things like safety, like ingress and egress, like lighting, like keeping things repaired and in top condition."
But in Amanda's case at least...
"I'm being watched all the time. Feel like I have no privacy."
It seems they're focused on something else.
"They're focused on Toby," says Ron. "Toby's poop. And you know, it's laughable."
After getting Contact 13 involved, Ron and Amanda successfully fought the fine, but they've been warned that if the violation occurs in the future, there will be a financial penalty.
So apparently, Toby's bathroom breaks are still under the microscope.
If you think your HOA belongs in our Hall of Shame, send us an email at email@example.com.