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

This week, Massachusetts-based pizza chain Bertucci’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware (seeking joint administration under case No. 18-10894). Bertucci’s operates 59 stores, 29 of which it plans to reject.

According to The Wall Street Journal, an affiliate of Chicago-based investment firm Right Lane Capital LLC has agreed to purchase the chain’s assets, but that bid will be tested at a bankruptcy-court supervised auction.

Continue Reading Pizza Chain Bertucci’s Files for Chapter 11 Protection

Today, Claire’s Stores, Inc., along with seven affiliates and subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware (Case No. 18-10584). Claire’s is a well-known specialty retailer of teen and young women jewelry, accessories, and beauty products, as well as ear piercings at local malls, based in Cook County, Illinois.

Back in January 2018, I included them on my list of Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2018.

According to Court pleadings, the company negotiated a restructuring support agreement and plan term sheet with an ad hoc group of its first lien noteholders and is seeking approval of up to $135 million in DIP financing.

The company lists 92 stores to close, on top of the 100 that it closed last year. Still, Claire’s indicates that it intends to operate the remaining 1,600 Claire’s and Icing brand stores through a restructuring.

Continue Reading Teen Fashion Retailer Claire’s Files for Chapter 11 Protection

In general, the time to contest a Last Will and Testament is very short. An in-state resident who is aware of the notice of probate will have four months to challenge a Will from the time it is submitted to probate. On the other hand, an out of state resident would have six months to challenge a Last Will and Testament once it is admitted to probate.

Continue Reading Challenging a Previously Concealed Will

Does a private pipeline company have the right to file a lawsuit to take private property to build a gas pipeline?

Under the Natural Gas Act, a pipeline company can apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. If FERC issues the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and the pipeline company meets many other conditions, it can obtain the power take private property.

Continue Reading Frequently Asked Questions About Defending Eminent Domain Actions Filed by Pipeline Companies

After a person passes away, their assets are typically divided into probate assets, which are assets which pass through the Estate, and non-probate assets, which are assets which pass outside of the Estate.

Probate assets are those to which a beneficiary is not specified, and thus, the assets become part of the Decedent’s Estate.

Non-probate assets those in which a direct beneficiary is specified by the instrument itself, and therefore, these assets pass outside of the Estate.

Traditionally, an IRA, a joint bank account, and other investment vehicles are considered non-probate assets provided the beneficiary designation or survivorship designation is properly executed.

Continue Reading Payable on Death Designations for IRA and Non-IRA Accounts

Property managers are often tasked with leading a board or member meeting. These tips will help to keep the meeting on track and productive. Before doing anything else in preparation for the meeting — double check compliance with notice requirements. No notice = no meeting.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance – “The Five ‘P’s”

Preparation is the key to a successful meeting. Determine what type of meeting will be held – that is, a board or member meeting. Create a clear and concise agenda. Remind the board that it is your role to keep the meeting on track. Organization helps to start things off right and keep the meeting on the right track.

Continue Reading Tips to Help Property Managers Effectively Manage Meetings

It would be unusual for a large to medium scale construction project to be completed without the general contractor experiencing issues with at least some of its subcontractors or suppliers.

Under such circumstances, it is typical for back charges to be assessed by the general contractor against the subcontractor or supplier who failed to perform properly pursuant to the terms of their contract. If the possibility of litigation looms in the future concerning such issues, or even if it may not, it is suggested that the general contractor carefully document any potential back charges against the subcontractor or vendor.

Continue Reading Documenting Backcharges on Construction Projects

The New Jersey Public Recreational Bathing Facility Code, N.J.A.C. 8:26-1.1, et seq., (“Bathing Code”), has changed as of January 16, 2018 and all pools in community associations with three or more dwelling units will be impacted.

Some of these changes are minor and most community associations will have no difficulty adapting to them. Other changes will result in increased costs to pool vendors, which may be passed onto the association. A few of these new requirements will require substantial unexpected and unbudgeted costs to associations. There may even be some confusion regarding who is obligated to comply with the Bathing Code.

All New Jersey Community Associations Must Comply With the Bathing Code

One may think that the Public Recreational Bathing Code would not apply to private community association pools. However, community association swimming pools, wading pools, and hot tubs/spas are considered public recreational bathing facilities as long as they are used by three or more dwelling units. Even though the general public cannot use these facilities, they must be operated in compliance with the Bathing Code.

Continue Reading Recent Changes to New Jersey’s Public Recreational Bathing Facility Code Will Impact All Community Associations