New Jersey Lawyer Helps You Understand Your Rights as an Association Member in Camden County, NJ
When you move into a community with a Homeowners’ Association (HOA), there are many benefits you will enjoy. But, with the good usually comes the bad. HOA members have to follow “covenants, conditions and restrictions” (CC&R) which are legal documents that detail the rules about how the association will operate. The HOA’s elected Board of Directors or Trustees are the overseers of the community’s rules and, it’s not unusual for an HOA Board to overstep its bounds.
If you feel your civil or property rights as a member of a community homeowners’ association are being violated, you have a right to be heard. Contact the experienced HOA lawyers at Davis & Mendelson in Voorhees, NJ. We understand the nuances of HOA laws and we will fight to make sure your interests as a member are protected.
Common Problems that Take Place in New Jersey Homeowner’s Associations and Community Associations
Where’s your money going? Is the community in disrepair? Are architectural restrictions not being adhered to correctly? Are members being notified about meetings? Are you being refused your legal right to review financial documents associated with the HOA? Is the Board of Directors acting in a “capricious and arbitrary” manner?
If you feel your civil or property rights as a member of a community homeowners’ association are being violated, you have a right to be heard.
There are many conflicts that take place within a housing community, especially when the Board of Directors is comprised of resident do-gooders who can sometimes let power go to their head. Remember, these aren’t politicians; they are your neighbors who may not understand the HOA’s C&CRs to the fullest extent. They may have great intentions, but a lack of knowledge and possible misinterpretation of many rules can wreak havoc within an HOA. Many issues are serious and require having an experienced HOA lawyer by your side to protect your rights as a homeowner. The most common issues are:
Breach of Contract: If the HOA Board fails to follow the rules and bylaws of the association, or if they do follow the rules but in an arbitrary fashion, this could be considered breach of contract. You contracted with the HOA, agreeing to pay fees to receive services. If the HOA Board fails to fund those services, that may be grounds for a lawsuit.
Failure to be Fiscally Responsible: In addition to monthly or quarterly fees (assessments to cover operating expenses including insurance), HOA members must pay a share of the costs associated with other capital expenses deemed necessary and approved by a majority of the HOA’s elected Board of Directors or Trustees. Additionally, associations must keep a reserve fund to handle emergencies (fire to the clubhouse, for example, or an unrepairable hole in the pool’s lining) as well as routine maintenance projects such as lighting, fencing or playground equipment upkeep. When a HOA Board fails to be diligent about maintaining an appropriately sized reserve fund, the result can be incredibly costly for all members. Especially in an emergency situation, members will be asked to pay what could amount to a sizable fee assessment they weren’t planning on paying.
Failure to be Transparent: As a member of the HOA, you are entitled to be present at all meetings of the HOA Board. You must be made aware of the time, date and place the meetings will be held. You must be allowed to make comment on community business dealings. You must be allowed to view all documentation regarding the operation of the community. If the Board of Directors, or its staff, fails to provide you with information that allows you to retain these rights, you may have a lawsuit.
Discrimination: This is a huge issue in HOAs. If you are being fined for something that other members are permitted to do, this may be discrimination. For example, if the rules say each homeowner may have two vehicles parked in a common parking lot and you are being fined for having three, the Board is clearly within its right to fine you. However, if your neighbor also parks three cars in that lot but isn’t getting cited or fined, that may be discrimination. Further, if you can prove the discrimination is based on a federally mandated “protected characteristic” such as gender, religion, national origin, race, etc., you may have a good case.
Call Howard Mendelson at Davis & Mendelson for sound legal advice right away. He represents families in Voorhees, Medford, Mt. Laurel, Cherry Hill and surrounding towns throughout Camden County, NJ.
Voorhees, NJ Attorney Fights for the Rights of Community Association Members
Homeowners’ Associations must operate on rules and laws that all members agree to when they move into the community. However, people write laws; it’s not always a perfect science. Sometimes they can be ambiguous or misinterpreted by the Board of Directors.
Conflicting information may be the cause of a dispute that you are having with the Board. Or, perhaps, you feel you are being personally discriminated against for one reason or another. When you hire a lawyer to represent you in an HOA matter, you are sending a clear message to the elected board members: you are serious and deserve your complaint to be taken seriously. All of a sudden, it’s not them against you. It’s a legal matter and must be regarded with the respect and dignity your position on the matter deserves.
Contact a Seasoned NJ Association Lawyer Who Will Protect Your Rights as a Homeowner
Howard Mendelson has represented many homeowners, like you, who have been trying to fight overzealous HOA Boards without success. Once he is involved, you’ll see how the members sit up and take notice. He will fight tirelessly for your rights. Also, Mr. Mendelson is a proponent of ADR, Alternative Dispute Resolution – especially when it comes to HOA matters. He can assist you in working out a cost-effective, win-win compromise with the HOA Board. Call his Voorhees, NJ office today for a consultation.