Associations and Our Pools – What should we do?
In this unusual and unprecedented time, many Associations are wondering how this pandemic will affect their existing contracts, such as pool contracts. Many are contemplating whether they should even open their pools at all this season. These are all great questions and because some contracts are already executed and in place, it is important to thoroughly review your contract to see what the fine print says. Most contracts will not include spot-on provisions that apply to our current unusual situation. However, a lot of contractors may have policies set into place about how they will operate for the upcoming season.
The Coronavirus Tragedy of 2020: The Community Association Guide
COVID-19, which is being commonly referred to as “Coronavirus” is considered a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Coronavirus Tragedy of 2020 continues to impact the entire world. The Federal Government declared Coronavirus a National Emergency. Areas where large amounts of people gather have been closed or prevented audiences to be present (Broadway, Disneyland/Disney World, etc.), including sporting events (NBA, NHL, UFC, MLB, etc.). Italy’s recorded deaths surpassed those of China recently. Coronavirus is a continuously increasing threat to the entire world.
Conducting an Association Election by Mail
Community Association elections are generally performed based upon a combination of statutory and By-Law requirements. Not all By-Laws are the same, however, and before conducting an election it is essential to review the By-Laws for your particular Association.
Dealing with Absent Owners in Communities
A condominium association works as a whole because each separate unit is individually owned but has an undivided interest in the common elements appurtenant to each unit. But what happens when a Unit Owner decides to leave for an extended period of time or chooses to lease its individual unit out to someone else? For example, there was a Unit Owner who was oversees and she was leasing her unit out to a tenant who vacated, without providing notice. The absent Unit Owner had no ability to find a new tenant, especially being out of the country. Since there was no one paying rent or maintenance fees to the association, it was essentially an abandoned unit.
Like it or not, our climate is changing. The number of hurricanes and tropical storms has grown over the last several decades in number and intensity. Here is a brief summary:
EXTENDED LIEN PRIORITY TO EXTEND ASSOCIATION BUDGETS
A new bill, passed on April 29, 2019 (N.J.S.A. 46:8B-21), signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, extends lien priority for condominium associations and creates similar lien priority protections for homeowner associations. For many years, the New Jersey Condominium Act has permitted the filing of liens against condominium units when assessments remain unpaid. Homeowner association, because they were not included in the Act, provided for the filing of liens in their governing documents. These liens served as the basis for foreclosure against units in serious arrears. The ability to file liens and foreclose provided a substantial benefit to the fiscal stability of community associations throughout the State. Without the ability to file liens and foreclose on them, abandoned units, units falling into serious disrepair due to owner inability to afford to pay maintenance or afford repairs, and units in which residents are otherwise judgment-proof, would substantially increase the monetary burden on those who do pay their maintenance fees, and would reduce the marketability of all Units in the community.
RESPONDING TO A LAWSUIT
Lawsuits arising from claims between landlords and tenants, or between community associations and unit owners, are unfortunately not uncommon. Whether acting as the Plaintiff or Defendant, it is important to understanding the basics of each type of suit before initiating or replying.
ONLINE SALES IN NEW JERSEY
Over the years, an increasing number of shoppers purchase products online. This reality is especially true during the holiday season. While many buyers make these purchases through large retailers or companies with offices all over the country (e.g., Amazon.com, Target.com), many people still purchase from individuals who post advertisements online. With that in mind, it is essential that consumers be aware of what obstacles they may face when buying a faulty product from an out-of-state seller.
Using Fines and Penalties Fairly in a Community
Rules and regulations are part of community association living, and as everyone knows, Rules and Regulations are useful only if enforced. Back in the early days of community association law, enforcement proceedings typically did not include the right to issue fines. Enforcement was by way of injunction. That turned out to be unreasonably expensive and impractical. To have to bring a matter to the Court over someone parking in the wrong place, for example, was unhelpful in the extreme. Fortunately, the industry learned from its mistakes and began to include the right to issue fines, as an alternative to litigation. It may be hard to explain to some people that the ability to issue fines is a money-saving mechanism that inures to the benefit of both the Unit Owner and the Association, but it’s true.
REDUCING THE CHARGE FOR ELECTRIC CARS
Fully-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are becoming more-and-more popular. At the same time, would-be drivers find themselves encountering more legal “potholes” en route to owning fuel-efficient cars. One such barrier is the fact that many community associations in New Jersey do not permit the installation of electric charging stations. However, proposed bills indicate that there may be some legal changes on the horizon.