Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2014

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REAL ESTATE:

Collection companies lose arbitrator’s HOA ruling

An arbitrator’s ruling siding with investors in their fight with collection companies over delinquent fees they pay for foreclosed homes is likely to curtail any compromise on a pending dispute before a state board.

The Common Interest Communities & Condominium Hotels Commission will meet Dec. 7 in Las Vegas to decide on a cap limiting what collection companies can charge.

The proposal calls for a cap of $1,950 on those collection-related fees that are on top of delinquent assessments. The seven-member commission is considering a cap proposed by collection companies after investors complained they were being gouged for thousands of dollars in fees.

Investors had been talking with collection companies about reducing that cap as part of a compromise.

That may be in doubt after arbitrator Pershi Mishel said investors are responsible for only nine months of delinquent homeowners association payments, and that collection companies can’t tack on their expenses.

The ruling is not binding and has set the stage for a lawsuit in District Court and likely appeal from there to the state Supreme Court no matter the outcome.

Gail Anderson, administrator of the state Real Estate Division, said the arbitrator’s ruling could come into play with the commissioners’ decision but said that won’t be known until Dec. 7.

Collection companies maintain they’re entitled to the fees to cover their expenses on behalf of the HOAs whose budgets have been harmed by the foreclosure process and homeowners failing to pay their association dues.

They’ve labeled their opposition as greedy speculators profiting off flipping houses.

Rutt Premsrirut, one of the investors who brought the lawsuit, said Clark County, Republic Services and other taxing districts don’t hire third-party collection agencies that charge thousands of dollars in fees to collect their accounts. Republic Services charges the homeowner a fee of $36 to file a lien while HOA collection companies charge $325, he said.

Las Vegas economic report

An index that predicts the Las Vegas economy rose for the second consecutive month.

The Southern Nevada Index of Leading Economic Indicators grew by 0.21 percent in October, according to the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV that released the report. The index measures economic activity in August and provides an outlook through Feb. 1.

Strong growth in gross gaming revenue was the primary contributor to the gain, said Stephen Brown, the center’s director. It rose 16 percent.

“For the past 18 months, the index has provided no clear direction for the Southern Nevada economy,” Brown said. “Given the relatively small gains in the index over the past two months, a stronger showing is needed to provide evidence that the Southern Nevada economy is on the rise.”

In other news:

• Silverleaf Financial in Salt Lake City said it has acquired a loan with an unpaid balance of $43.7 million, which includes collateral for three retail complexes with 17 retail buildings.

The developments include the Commerce Marketplace Center in North Las Vegas, a 12.2-acre site that includes a Taco Bell, Auto Zone and Pizza Hut.

The second is the Oquendo Retail Center in Las Vegas and Arroyo Place Center in Henderson. It has 15,500 square feet of retail and a 2,500 square-foot building.

• Nevada Association Services, a Las Vegas collections firm, has partnered with the Nevada Fight Fraud Task Force to host a free seminar Nov. 18 for homeowners association board members to learn how to deal with foreclosures.

The seminar will address warning signs of foreclosure and how to deal with residents facing foreclosure.

The speakers will include NAS President David Stone and Elisabeth Daniels, chairwoman of the task force, a statewide consumer protection group spearheaded by the Nevada Business & Industry Department.

The seminar will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, 6671 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 300 inside the Town Square.

Seats must be reserved by Nov. 12. For more information, call 804-8885.

• The Center for Business Economic Research will host its 2011 annual economic outlook Dec. 15 at the M Resort. It runs from 8 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. The center will provide a briefing on the strengths, weaknesses and likely economic performance of the state and nation. For more information, call 895-3191.

• The Business & Industry Department is holding a Thanksgiving food drive that runs through Nov. 19 to help needy families. It is partnering with HELP of Southern Nevada in Southern Nevada. Canned and boxed food can be donated to the Sawyer Building, 5555 E. Washington Ave. or the Bradley Building, 2501 E. Sahara Ave. Suite 100.

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