As busy volunteers, often with full-time jobs, families, and other commitments, community association board members may not be able to attend all meetings of the board. When this happens, particularly when an important vote is pending and the trustees are divided on the issue, a board member may wonder if they can authorize another board member to act as their proxy at the meeting. Such a practice is impermissible and/or inadvisable under the law and most governing documents.
While it was widely assumed to be so, a recent Ocean County trial court decision has held that claims under the Municipal Services Act are governed by the 6 year statute of limitations for contract claims. This means that a community association seeking past municipal services reimbursements may only be entitled to those which have accrued within the last 6 years. If your community association has not been receiving municipal services reimbursements or if you believe it has not been receiving all of the reimbursements for which it is entitled, you may have a limited time in which to formally pursue them.
As technology permits more individuals to work at home, the issue of in-home businesses in community associations continues to be debated. Most community association master deeds and declarations include a restrictive covenant that prohibits a residential unit from being used for anything other than a residential purpose.
A recent trial court decision in Ocean County held that all roadways within a qualified private community – such as a homeowners association or condominium association – which provide access to units and function as roadways are eligible for reimbursement under the Municipal Services Act. This includes third tier roadways which municipalities have previously classified as “driveways”.
The Super Bowl is fast approaching and most football fans are looking forward to a great game. For many condominium associations located near MetLife Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be held on February 2, 2014, it won’t be over soon enough. Why so? There have been reports of unit owners renting (and tenants subleasing) their units on a short-term basis during Super Bowl, some for thousands of dollars a day. The majority of these short term tenants will not be any trouble and will fly under the association’s radar. However, a short term tenant that has no ties to the building or the unit owner may not be interested in association rules; combining that with football, drinking, and winning (or losing) fans has the potential for disturbances and property damage.
Community associations with unenforced deed restrictions can enforce them – even after 82 years! So says a Morris County Superior Court Judge after a recent trial in a case entitled Unfair Share Lake Arrowhead 2010, Inc. v. Lake Arrowhead Club, Inc.
Many community associations are struggling with their highest delinquency rates ever and, with foreclosures stalled and housing values still recovering, there are limited ways to address persistent debtors. At the same time, it is discouraging to association members that delinquent unit owners continue to enjoy common services such as snow removal, street lighting, roadways maintenance, etc., while not contributing toward the cost of providing them. Unit owners and their tenants who continually defy association rules are similarly frustrating to members. Towing the vehicles of these delinquent and noncomplying unit owners – and their tenants – may provide a strong incentive to pay and/or conform.
Community associations should always record their respective Governing Documents and this becomes of particular importance if the documents provide for the creation of a lien upon failure to pay assessments. This is never more true than as reflected in a recent Bankruptcy Court opinion in In re Nacinovich, Adv. Case No. 13-1074, decided by the Honorable Michael B. Kaplan, U.S.B.J., May 31, 2013, in which the Court considered allegations that a homeowners association remittance of a statement to a debtor which included sums due beyond the amounts due in its pre-petition lien claim was a violation of the automatic stay.
The board of directors of a community association may have multiple meetings throughout the year. When these board meetings are “open” the members of the association are entitled to attend and observe. Having the right to attend a meeting is meaningless unless a member knows when and where the meeting will be held. Therefore, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:20-1.1, et seq., a board must ensure that proper notice requirements are followed.
Many homeowners and board members – and even managers and attorneys – confuse the different types of meetings that are held throughout the year for community associations. There are two types of community association meetings and there are important differences between the two.