“Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” in Washington DC, in Trenton, and whenever New Jersey Community Associations Impermissibly Seek to Exceed their Authority to Govern the Property Rights of the Association Members They’ve Been Entrusted to Represent
Community Associations in New Jersey are permitted by statute and, ideally, result in well-run communities where fellow property owners share the costs of common areas, municipal services, insurance, taxes, etc. Sometimes, these shared costs include amenities such as swimming pools, retention basins, nature trails, capital improvements, etc. In the best-case scenarios, these Community Associations also […]
Community Associations in New Jersey are permitted by statute and, ideally, result in well-run communities where fellow property owners share the costs of common areas, municipal services, insurance, taxes, etc. Sometimes, these shared costs include amenities such as swimming pools, retention basins, nature trails, capital improvements, etc. In the best-case scenarios, these Community Associations also help property owners form social bonds between families and other association members that perhaps would not have been formed without the establishment of the community association.
These effective Community Associations are accordingly governed by elected boards of trustees who appropriately recognize their fiduciary obligations to the members of the Association they have been entrusted with representing. These Community Associations provide their members with the benefits of common ownership without unduly and/or illegally impairing the rights of individual property owners/Association members to quietly and peaceably enjoy the use, occupancy and/or ownership of their residential and/or commercial property.
These elected boards of trustees do, however, sometimes over-step the powers they have been granted under our New Jersey laws and applicable governing documents (e.g., Public Offering Statement, Master Deed, By-laws, Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions, Rules/Regulations). Sometimes, these elected boards of trustees act beyond the scope of what New Jersey law permits, engage in self-dealing, award contracts based upon their personal relationships with vendors, discrimination, and/or otherwise breach the fiduciary obligations owed to each member of the Community Association. Association members are entitled to both procedural and substantive protections when dealing with the “little governments” elected to govern their Community Association; Association members are entitled to due process and, in New Jersey, to demand alternative dispute resolution in response to any “housing related dispute” the member may have with his or her Community Association.
The attorneys at Davis and Mendelson have represented both the boards of trustees of Community Associations and have represented members of Community Associations seeking to address issues and concerns with their elected board of trustees; we would accordingly welcome the opportunity to help any board members, Association members and/or management companies with issues of and concerning New Jersey Community Associations; as an attorney, mediator and/or arbitrator.