Hill Wallack Expands Community Associations Group with Three Leading Attorneys and New Cherry Hill Office

Posted by on Oct 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hill Wallack LLP announced today the growth of its Community Associations Practice Group, adding three leading attorneys, Gregg A. Shivers, George C. Greatrex Jr., and Jennifer A. Webb. This group provides counsel to condominium and homeowner associations, cooperatives, and real estate developers, working closely with association governing boards and committees, management companies, and other professionals to ensure proper and cost-effective operations throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Located at Cherry Hill Plaza, this new team and location have expanded the firm’s presence in southern New Jersey, joining offices in Red Bank, New York, Princeton, and Cedar Knolls. Ronald L. Perl, Partner-in-Charge of the Community Associations Practice Group, stated, “This is a very exciting opportunity for all of us, as we will easily be the state’s most geographically dominant community association practice. In my view, we are leaders in terms of talent as well, and now with George and Gregg aboard, we will seek to continue our group’s expansion throughout the entire state.”

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New Law Mandates Flexible DCA Inspections For Multiple Dwellings

Posted by on Aug 27, 2019 in DCA, Legislation

By Loren Rosenberg Lightman, Esq.

A new law amending New Jersey’s Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law changes the schedules for inspections of multiple dwellings throughout the state. While a primary purpose of the law is to allow for flexible inspections for substandard apartment buildings, the law also encompasses multiple dwellings including condominiums and cooperatives. This flexibility is potentially good news for some multiple dwelling owners and perhaps not as positive news for others.

Prior to the amendment, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Bureau of Housing Inspection inspected multiple dwellings in the state every five (5) years. Depending on the findings from the initial inspection, there would either be a follow-up inspection or there would not be another inspection until the next 5-year cycle. Under the new law, there is now a “flexible” inspection process that will potentially lessen the frequency of multiple dwelling inspections. The law goes into effect immediately and is applicable to the next new inspection cycle for each multiple dwelling.

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Client Alert: Hill Wallack Responds to the DCA’s Proposed Radburn Regulations

Posted by on Aug 9, 2019 in Board Meetings, DCA, Elections/Voting, Legislation

By Ronald L. Perl, Esq. CCAL

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has proposed new regulations to implement the “Radburn Act,” which was enacted in 2017 to address procedures for board elections and voting participation rights in community associations. The proposed regulations would have a significant impact on the way associations conduct elections and tally votes as well as other issues, including board decision making on confidential matters.

Hill Wallack submitted a comment letter on behalf of its clients, with suggested changes to a number of proposed regulations. Click here to view a copy of Hill Wallack’s comments. Comments received by the DCA will be considered by that agency and it is anticipated that the final rules will be adopted and published in the coming weeks.

To read all of the proposed regulations, click here.

For more information on this or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw, on Facebook at: njcondolaw, and on LinkedIn at: Hill Wallack Community Association Attorneys.

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Michael S. Karpoff Receives 2019 CCAL Best Manuscript Award

Posted by on Aug 6, 2019 in CAI, First Amendment Rights, Legal Decisions, Speaking Engagements

Hill Wallack LLP partner Michael S. Karpoff, Esq. was honored recently by the Community Associations Institute’s College of Community Association Lawyers (“CCAL”) as co-author of the 2019 CAI Law Seminar Best Manuscript. Karpoff, a fellow of the CCAL, was joined by co-authors Kevin M. Hirzel, Esq., Edward Hoffman, Jr., Esq., and Todd A. Sinkins, Esq., in preparing and presenting a paper and program entitled Religion in Community Associations: Fair Housing or Free Speech? Thou Shalt Not Violate the Law.

The 40th Annual Community Association Law Seminar was held in New Orleans January 23 through 26, 2019. The Law Seminar explored trends and practices in community association law for attorneys and other industry professionals. The Religion in Community Associations program presented legal requirements, obligations, options, and ideas for community associations concerning religious practices of residents, to help attorneys and other professionals advise and guide their clients appropriately. The paper was selected as the Best Manuscript by the Law Seminar Planning Committee and the CCAL Board of Governors.

To read the full manuscript, click here.

For more information on this or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw, on Facebook at: njcondolaw, and on LinkedIn at: Hill Wallack Community Association Attorneys.

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Hung Out to Dry: Dryer Vent Cleaning Is An Important But Often Overlooked Task

Posted by on Jul 23, 2019 in Safety

By Jessica Baker, Esq.

The laundry room can be the most dangerous room in your home. While a clothes dryer does not seem threatening, according to the National Fire Protection Association, it is the cause of approximately 15,000 house fires each year totaling millions of dollars in damage.

Dryer lint is very flammable. It quickly accumulates inside the dryer vent and ductwork, putting your unit and potentially the entire community at risk. In addition, dryer lint buildup reduces airflow, increases costs, and can lead to mold and mildew. To prevent this, dryer vents and ducts should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Community associations have a legitimate interest in making sure that all the dryer vents in their communities are properly maintained. The relatively minor cost of having a professional clean a dryer vent and ensure it is in working order can help prevent significant damage to the community.

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New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Adopts New Regulation Requiring Use of 10-Year Sealed Battery Smoke Alarms

Posted by on Jul 9, 2019 in DCA, Legislation, Safety

By Caroline Record, Esq., CCAL

Effective January 1, 2019, the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code, State Fire Prevention Code, was amended to require that all multiple dwellings have an approved 10-year sealed battery single station alarm installed. The proposed reason for this change is that a battery cannot then be used for another purpose, or not changed for an extended period of time, thereby reducing the number of non-working smoke alarms in a building. Thus, any existing smoke alarms that may use a 9-volt battery must be replaced with a 10-year sealed lithium battery type alarm. If the smoke detector is hard-wired, it will not have to be replaced. Likewise, any carbon monoxide detector does not need to be replaced unless it is combined with a non-hard-wired smoke detector.

After January 1, 2019, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will be citing those units which do not have the new, required alarms, during its 5-year inspections. Therefore, all unit owners must be advised that their smoke alarms must be replaced. In addition, upon the resale or rental of a unit/home after January 1 date, the new smoke alarms will be required.

For more information, please click here to read the DCA press release.

For more information on this or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw, on Facebook at: njcondolaw, and on LinkedIn at: Hill Wallack Community Association Attorneys.

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Meetings, Meetings, Meetings (Part II)

Posted by on Jun 19, 2019 in Annual Meetings, Board Meetings

By Ronald L. Perl, Esq. CCAL

How to Sort Out the Legal Requirements for the Various Types of Association Meetings

In Part I, we discussed the difference between board meetings and membership meetings. We also described the difference between business meetings of the board, workshops, and executive sessions. Now we can focus on the specific matters that are deemed confidential by New Jersey law, which can be the subject of executive sessions for the purpose of both discussion and decision making.

Statutory open meeting requirements are found in both the New Jersey Condominium Act and the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFA). PREDFA requires an association’s by-laws to include:

A requirement that all meetings of the executive board, except conference or working sessions at which no binding votes are to be taken, shall be open to attendance by all unit owners, and adequate notice of any such meeting shall be given to all unit owners in such manner as the bylaws shall prescribe; except that the executive board may exclude or restrict attendance at those meetings, or portions of meetings, dealing with (1) any matter the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of individual privacy; (2) any pending or anticipated litigation or contract negotiations; (3) any matters falling within the attorney-client privilege, to the extent that confidentiality is required in order for the attorney to exercise his ethical duties as a lawyer, or (4) any matter involving the employment, promotion, discipline or dismissal of a specific officer or employee of the association.

The Condominium Act’s provision is very similar and contains the same exceptions.

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