Home Government Pending N.J. Bill Could Affect Brick Homeowner Associations’ Governance

Pending N.J. Bill Could Affect Brick Homeowner Associations’ Governance

Winding River Village, Brick, NJ (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Winding River Village, Brick, NJ (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Local officials have pledged to fight a bill pending in the New Jersey legislature that would lead to a state agency becoming more involved with the governance of homeowners association. If enacted, the effort would affect complexes ranging from senior citizen communities to large-scale condominium developments such as Maple Leaf Park.

The so-called Common Interest Community bill has passed the state General Assembly and is now pending in the Senate. The bill would rework the way homeowners associations are governed in New Jersey, and give the state Department of Community Affairs a significant role in regulating them. Proponents say the bill would provide homeowners more recourse in corralling association boards and allow for easier recalls, but those who oppose the measure argue the state would inject itself into local communities and could even impose fees to support a sizable bureaucracy.

The bill, sponsored by Assembly members Gerald Green (D-Union) and Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland) would define homeowners’ rights over common property in a community, establish statewide standards for board elections and access to records, plus provide a uniform recall process. But state Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Ocean) said he opposes the bill for the role it would grant the DCA in overseeing the associations.


“This single provision is very alarming in that it would most certainly lead to the state interfering in the operations of homeowners associations,” Connors said. “How would the state know how better to run a community then its residents?”

The bill would provide the DCA – the same agency which faced criticism for its management of post-Sandy recovery grant programs – with “any rules and regulations that may be necessary to effectuate” the legislation.

A key difference in the current bill pending in the Senate is that it would not impose a fee on homeowners to support the DCA’s management of local associations, though Connors said it would be inevitable given the task at hand.

“Many argue that the department is already understaffed and, as such, cannot fully carry out its existing responsibilities,” said Connors, adding that it would be “only a matter of time” before residents would face fees.

The bill passed the Assembly June 25 and is now before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, on which Connors serves. In past legislative sessions, Connors has used his committee assignment to stop the advancement of previous versions of common interest community legislation, and has pledged to do the same this time around.

“Some relief may be provided to residents governed by ineffective boards, but enactment of this legislation is likely to be a case where the cure ends up being worse than the disease,” Connors said.

  • Frank Rizzo

    Union côunty has few if any of these associations. Maybe a few condo complexes that’s it. Nothing to the extent we have in Ocean County. Why cannot these people just do nothing when there is nothing to do. Why constantly come up with these laws and bills which just make a mess of things for there own publicity.

    • Dennis

      You obviously aren’t familiar with the problem. I live in a Brick condo that is controlled by the property managers for over 3 decades, by use of intimidation, threats of lawsuits, extortion, manipulation and so on. With the help and protection of their attorney, free and open elections are prevented; fraud is perpetrated on the owners; illegal fees are protected and charged to benefit the managers. Cronyism is rampant and the law of the land is only as it is written by the property managers to protect their paychecks and contracts. None of which has disclosure or vote by the owners. So to say there’s nothing to do would be absurd.

  • Mac

    What’s the problem? This is NJ. One can never have too many little generals in any mix.That’s why NJ voters continue to reelect the same old, same old each and every year. It’s just business as usual and this sad fact is unlikely to change in any of our lifetimes.

  • Count_Iblis

    Not surprising that something that calls for more bureaucracy and new fees would be the brainchild of Democrats.

    • Olen

      You obviously don’t own a condo and are completely unaware of the abuses that rougue, tyrannical HOA boards can perpetuate on the neighbors they’re supposed to support. You’re just using this forum as an excuse to spout political rhetoric. You need to “get a life” and stay out of things you know nothing about.

      • Mac

        you do make a legitimate point

  • Its about time

    Something needs to be done about HOA’s across the country they are so out of control and homeowners have no recourse. These bills do make a mess of things but as I see until they are abolished all together, the scam that sold the American dream in HOA on the back of homeowners by real-estate brokers, lobbyists, lawyers and venders for this great money scheme on the backs of homeowners, by their non disclosures, adhesion contracts and every changing rules the scam becomes worse then what Bernie Madoff did.

    • Mac

      so what you are saying is that the 9th District is supporting a scam worse than what Bernie Madoff did again? – for $500 a ticket and up you can purchase a ticket to some purchase your own drinks party or get-together in order to voice your opinion to them in person like the HOA’s do

    • Dennis

      This was and is a planned strategy used by real estate investors and developers. Real estate brokers, lobbyists, lawyers and vendors specifically all profit as an after market by-product, not a scheme. The basis of the common interest community was to increase the number of residents that could occupy available square footage of land. This benefited investors, towns taxing capabilities and even homeowners who wanted to save by sharing in the combined costs of having others care for the exteriors and grounds maintenance.

      The corruption started when the developers pushed to keep control of the associations by keeping themselves on the boards, to maximize their own investments. Unfortunately, this attracts cronyism and other more criminal minded people to continue the power and money grab from the homeowners.

      The bill spoken of here, would help to take, at least a small step, towards making the associations’ control openly in the hands of the entire ownership and not a corrupt few.

  • Maryann Finnen Kohrherr

    I hope it does pass I have had many problems with homeowners association when repair the same problem 4 times and then keep telling me I have to pay damages inside 4 times is very wrong.

    • JW

      The senior communities in Lakewood that are being taken over by the Hassidim are getting pretty unbearable for the goyim residents. Either do away with these things altogether or get them to act with some sense- and that means upkeep and not letting them become mini-theocracies.

  • Dennis

    Too bad this is a bias article. It would have been tribute to the skill of the author if there had been comments from a supporting politician. Instead this piece is lacking in any real information. The opponents of this bill push the “idea” that the DCA “might” someday add a fee for this new responsibility. The fact is, the DCA has been in charge of overseeing the HOA’s for decades. The problem they had to contend with is the lack of authority to do anything. The NJ Condominium Act started out with real authority and then removed it to get it passed. This new bill, gives the DCA the authority it needs to really help the homeowners who are stuck with corrupt and manipulative boards, run and controlled by the property managers and power /money hungry directors, who make a career out of being on the board for their own profit and enjoyment. Not the homeowners or the association’s benefit or welfare. With all the misdirection of politician’s rhetoric it a wonder any bill gets to become law, especially when it’s more for the public good instead of someone’s pockets.
    For those who don’t have to contend with governing boards or have a honest board, congrats. For those of us who are still fighting to fix the ones we’ve been conned into, this is one of many bills proposed to fix the problems that exist. The same problems requiring solutions as reported in a NJ State Report in 1997. Every time a bill comes along to fix something, the lobbyists for property management companies and controlling interests bombard the politicians with phone calls and letters to stop them. This bill gives authority back to the homeowners and keeps it out of the hands of corrupt directors. For the HOA’s who are run as per state requirements that have existed for decades, this is a mute point. For the HOA’s who are held hostage, it’s a life saver.
    I live in Burnt Tavern Manor and hope this bill becomes law soon. Like several other associations controlled in the same way, we are blocked by illegal activities, attorney representation that protects the property management, and are required to resort to an expensive lawsuit, paid by the owners, to bring the state in to make a change.
    So when the Senator spouts “what-if’s” as a reason to fight a bill, then the reader needs to read the bill and ask, “why not talk about the facts and keep bogus speculation out of it”.

    • disqus_l8TkhXQrWO

      @Dennis I too live in a HOA which does not provide the disclosure that is required and controls the election process to keep things “in the fold.” I don’t read this as a bill to expand DCA, rather it is to give DCA authority to help in the gray area when management hides behind lawyers to keep the “trouble makers” in their place.

      • Dennis

        Sounds like we have the same property manager.

  • Concerned

    A bill of this type is
    needed. I own two condos and I see many abuses. A board president that hires
    their boyfriend and the boyfriend’s father (come to find out later neither are
    insured or licensed). The boyfriend is
    given a Home Depot credit card for petty purchases with no oversight. Another
    board that puts restricts on realtors who want to show units. However, the board president’s realtors have
    full access. Election ballets are mailed out without a listing of who is
    running, just the names of the current board members. I could go on but you get
    the idea. State oversight is needed.

  • Scott

    Don’t buy property in these type of areas in NJ. If prices went down boards woukd get in line and become more responsive.

    • Mac

      Just imagine how many more situations like this exist around the neighborhood that haven’t been exposed yet! This situation didn’t suffer from falling through the cracks. The cracks were widened by greed, greed, and more greed.

  • Rich

    There may be more than 1,000,000 residents of HOAs in New Jersey (perhaps a half million units). A $25 per year fee for state oversight ($2 per month) wouldn’t be unreasonable, and could fund the overseers.

    Having objective people watching over the shoulders of board members, so-called “professional” management companies, their governing processes and their spending habits would be PRICELESS.

  • Dennis

    It recently came to light by statement made by an owner/officer of the property management for the condo I own in Brick, all 366 units are intentionally charged incorrect maintenance fees in order to discount a minority of units. Guess who owns some of those discounted units.

    This would seem to mean that all 366 deeds/titles are damaged and potentially unmarketable. Since all deeds are marked with a percentage interest in the common expenses and determines the monthly maintenance fees of each unit, by extorting an additional fee from the majority and in effect giving it to a minority, this would appear to taint the original titles of all owners. By the condominium association not disclosing this fact, then consumer and/or real estate fraud could be an added component, to selling and buying.

    If the protections, that the property managers and corrupt association boards use, to stay in control, are not removed to benefit the owners, then the owners will be forced to continue to provide protection money to criminals.