MAINTENANCE OF COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION FIRE HYDRANTS
In some municipalities, fire hydrants are the main, if not the only, supply of water available to Fire Departments when battling fires. So why do such few people think about who is responsible to ensure that the hydrants are working properly and efficiently? The Legislature helped to resolve this question when it enacted N.J.S.A. 58:31-1, also known as the Water Quality Accountability Act (WQAA), which was made effective on October 19, 2017. With the overall goal of improving the safety, reliability and administrative oversight of water infrastructure, this law established new requirements for inspection and maintenance of fire hydrants by water purveyors.
HOW GRIFFIN ALEXANDER, P.C. CAN ASSIST IN CONDO AND HOA BOARD TRANSITIONS
A successful transition is one in which the owner-controlled board works with the developer to ensure appropriate governance, adequate financial resources, and a properly designed and constructed community before the developer steps away from the community. Starting a Condominium or Homeowners association from the ground up can be a difficult task, but you can rest assured knowing that the experienced attorneys of Griffin Alexander, P.C. can provide dedicated and thorough assistance in the transition of your Condo or Homeowners Associations’ Board from beginning to end.
DOCUMENT PREPARATION SERVICES FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS
The formation of a community association, whether it be a condominium or a homeowners association, can be complex. The creation of the Governing Documents is especially an essential and integral aspect during formation. The purpose of a community association’s governing documents is to provide for the legal structure and operation of the community. Normally, the documents included within are a recorded plan, Declaration or Master Deed, Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, and Rules and Regulations. Membership of the community association is automatic when one purchases property within the association and creates a binding relationship between each owner and the association. Since the governing documents establish the mechanisms for governing and funding the association’s operations, as well as define the rights and obligations of both the association and its owners, it is imperative to ensure that they are well written and all-inclusive.
CONFLICT OF INTERESTS FOR NJ COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS
New Jersey Community Associations are required by law to have in place a Board of Directors or Trustees to oversee and governs their affairs. Generally, the Board may only consist of unit owners, who are members of the Association. Most often they serve as volunteers, and without pay or compensation. Board members are chosen by nomination and election. Although membership on the Board is voluntary, these elected members are obligated to act as fiduciaries to the membership and must, therefore, endeavor to avoid conflicts of interest.
Updated Lien Priority Legislation for NJ Community Associations Becomes Law
On April 29, 2019, Governor Murphy signed new legislation that will enhance and expand the lien priority for condominium associations. It also, for the first time, gives a statutory right of the lien priority to homeowners associations. Prior to this, only condominiums in New Jersey were able to claim limited lien priority. Pursuant to the original statute, condominiums were afforded a six months of “aggregate customary assessments” following a mortgage lender’s Sheriff’s sale, so long as the association had a lien recorded prior to the mortgage lender’s initiation of the foreclosure process.
Sorting Through Legal Requirements of Various Kinds of Association Meetings
The board of a homeowners association, cooperative, or a condominium association owes a fiduciary duty to its members to act in the best interest of the community as a whole. However, sometimes members have concerns over whether board members ignore this duty and act only with their own self-interests in mind. This is why state and local laws support and serve to enforce the governing documents that have been created for a community. The governing documents are created for each community and state the policies in place for that community. They allow for each member of the community to know the expected duties, procedures, and limitations of the board.
DCA Proposes New Association Regulations Including Changes to Fines, Penalties & Elections
On June 3, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”) issued several proposed amendments to regulations under the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (“PREDFDA”). The regulations are intended to both carry out the 2017 amendments set forth by the “Radburn Act” and “to enhance resident voting participation rights” in community associations. Of particular importance is that several of these proposed regulations seek to implement obligations on Associations that exceed the obligations set forth under Radburn.
RESOLVING DISPUTES IN A HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION COMMUNITY
During the course of a community’s administration, issues can arise between an individual homeowner and the governing board. The Association, represented by its Board of Directors or Trustees, may believe that the individual homeowner is not acting in accordance with the rules or restrictions set forth in the Association’s governing documents. The individual homeowner may feel that the Association’s Board of Directors has overreached the limit of its authority.
Community Associations are not required to Accommodate All “Emotional-Support” Animal-Related Requests
One issue that has been plaguing community associations with pet restrictions in recent years is the increasing frequency of requests by unit owners seeking to keep emotional support animals in the community. While few Boards question the right of an individual to keep a service animal in their home when they truly need one, some Boards believe that individuals are making requests for “emotional support” animals in order to circumvent the governing documents.
NEW JERSEY PASSES FORECLOSURE REFORM BILLS AIMED TO ASSIST COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS WITH HOMES IN FORECLOSURE
On April 29, 2019, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy signed into law two new amendments that provide relief to community associations with homes in foreclosure. When a unit or a home in a community association is in foreclosure and does not pay assessments, it will ultimately be left for other owners in the community to pay them. Currently, the New Jersey Condominium Act allows condominium associations the right to collect up to 6 months of unpaid assessments when a condominium unit is foreclosed. The limited priority status of the lien allows the condominium association to collect the priority of its lien ahead of a mortgage lender and other lien holders.