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Mary W. Barrett has been practicing in Stark & Stark’s Community Associations Group since 1998. She concentrates her practice in the representation of homeowners associations, condominium associations, and cooperatives throughout New Jersey.

Governor Murphy has now announced that community association pools may open in New Jersey on June 22. If you didn’t hear that announcement, you probably did hear the collective cheers from Cape May to Mahwah.

But, just because pools and some other amenities may open, you must ask: should you open yours?

Continue Reading Pools (and Some Other Amenities) are Opening in New Jersey! Should You Open Yours?

Effective May 18, 2020, proposed regulations to PREDFDA were adopted and published by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Codes and Standards (DCA).

A Brief History

In July 2017, several amendments to PREDFDA (N.J.S.A.45:22A-43) were signed into law becoming known as the “Radburn Election Law” (P.L.2017, c. 106). These amendments broadly focus on membership voting rights, elections, and by-law amendments. In June 2019, proposed regulations to the Radburn Law were introduced and the public was given a period of time to comment on the proposed regulations. While comments were mixed, there was strong opposition to many of the provisions. The regulations have now been approved and published.

How This Impacts Associations

While the provisions of the Radburn Regulations are substantial, following are the provisions which are most significant and/or most relevant to the majority of community associations:

Continue Reading Radburn Law Regulations

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit issued an important decision in the case of Riccio v. Sentry Credit, Inc., approving oral communication as a method to dispute the validity of a debt. This decision overruled Graziano v. Harrison 950 F.2d 107 (3d Cir. 1991), a long-standing case requiring a writing to dispute a debt and will affect all consumer debt collectors including those collecting debt for community associations.

Continue Reading Validity of Debts May Be Disputed by Oral Communication: Third Circuit Rejects Requirement of a Writing to Dispute Consumer Debt Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

The coronavirus pandemic, with its stay at home mandates and work restrictions, is hitting the economy hard. Community association boards and managers should anticipate adverse impacts in the collection of assessments as early as April and must be prepared to address these delinquencies.

Continue Reading Staying the Course: Assessment Collection During (and After) the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you watch or read the news lately, the coronavirus seems to be everywhere. And that’s the problem, right? With the uncertainty of what might be coming, community association boards and managers may want to take actions to help protect their residents and limit the spread of this virus. Rethinking close quarters gatherings – such as social events and meetings – may be prudent or even mandated to help residents keep the recommended “social distance.” This coronavirus may run its course soon, but another type of crisis could be around the corner. Boards and managers should have contingency plans in place for meetings so that they and the owners can continue to conduct business.

Continue Reading Community Association Meetings During the Coronavirus Pandemic (Or Any Other Time of Crisis)

When community association board members hire a transition attorney for their condominium or homeowners association, they may not know exactly what to look for. They may not know much about transition to begin with, or may not know the right questions to ask in order to find the right transition attorney. If your association is looking for a transition attorney, or you are reconsidering the one you have, the following may help you to identify the right transition attorney.

Continue Reading How to Know You Have the Right Transition Attorney for Your Community Association

If your community association has a pool, you are probably well aware of the sweeping changes made to the Public Recreational Bathing Code (Bathing Code) in January 2018. You may not, however, be aware of two updates since those revisions were implemented.

Continue Reading Updates to Public Recreational Bathing Code Subsequent to January 2018 Revisions

In January 2018, when new Public Recreational Bathing regulations were implemented in New Jersey, interest in the specially exempt status of community associations spiked. This interest was fueled by community association board members hoping to avoid substantial costs for additional lifeguard personnel and equipment mandated by the new regulations. As specially exempt public recreational bathing facilities, community associations may legally choose to operate their pools without lifeguards. However, this decision must be carefully considered and made only after consultation with the association’s legal counsel, insurance agent, and pool operator.

New Jersey Bathing Code

The Public Recreational Bathing Code is part of the New Jersey State Sanitary Code set forth at Chapter IX, N.J.A.C. 8:26, et seq. (“Bathing Code”). It may seem counterintuitive, but community association pools used by two or more dwelling units are considered “public recreational bathing facilities” for purposes of these regulations even though they are not open to use by the public. The Bathing Code was updated by the New Jersey Department of Health on January 16, 2018 and community associations felt the impact immediately. Among other requirements, the new regulations mandate that all lifeguarded pools have an automated external defibrillator, lifeguard platforms are required at some pools that previously did not require them, and many pools must employ more lifeguards than previously required, each with their own lifeguard platform. The cost of the additional personnel and equipment is anticipated to be quite high for many community associations and this has led their fiscally responsible trustees to look for options.

Continue Reading Should Your Community Association Operate its Pool Without Lifeguards? Guidance for Specially Exempt Facilities