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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Meetings, Meetings, Meetings (Part I)

Posted by on Jun 11, 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

Since the early 1990s, community associations in New Jersey have been legally required to operate “in the sunshine” by virtue of amendments to the Condominium Act, the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFA), and regulations promulgated by the Department of Community Affairs. Many board members are still confused about the types of meetings that associations conduct as well as the characteristics and legal requirements of each. This blog is about the different types of meetings. In future blogs, the legal requirements for notice of meetings and proper meeting minutes will be discussed.

It is important initially to distinguish board meetings from membership meetings. Membership meetings are those meetings authorized or required by the governing documents at which the unit owners or homeowners are the decision-makers. The most obvious example of a membership meeting is the annual meeting, where the members decide who will be elected to the board of trustees/directors. Meetings where owners vote on a proposed by-law amendment or the approval of a capital improvement project are other actions taken at membership meetings. The governing documents generally specify the issues for which owner approval is necessary. In some associations, the annual meeting is the only required membership meeting, but most documents also provide for special meetings of the members to be called by the board or by petition of the members to deal with specific issues. Because meetings of the members are “open” by definition, community association open meetings laws do not address membership meetings but rather concern meetings of the governing board.

Board meetings are those at which the decision-making body is the board of directors or trustees. Just as the governing documents define those questions or decisions reserved to the members, they define the authority of the board to act as well. For example, the authority to make rules, enter into contracts, hire employees, and determine the annual assessment generally is granted to the board by the master deed (or the declaration) and by-laws.

There are three basic types of board meetings: (1) business (open) meetings; (2) work sessions; and (3) executive (closed) sessions. Each type of meeting may be “regular” (periodic and regularly scheduled) or “special” (called when there is a special need or emergency between regular meetings).

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Perl to Speak at the CAI-Pa/Del Val Conference & Expo on Thursday, May 9, 2019

Posted by on May 2, 2019 in CAI, Fair Housing, Speaking Engagements

Ronald L. Perl, Esq., CCAL, partner-in-charge of Hill Wallack’s Community Associations Practice Group, will be speaking at this year’s CAI-Pennsylvania/Delaware Valley Conference & Expo on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA.

Ron’s educational program, “Expanded Fair Housing Liability for Associations – Exposure for the Illegal Acts of Residents,” will take place from 9:45 A.M. to 10:45 A.M. The program description is as follows:

Most community association boards and managers know that the Federal Civil Rights Act prohibits housing discrimination and that the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 added handicap and familial status to the groups protected by the law. Less well-known is the fact that in 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enacted regulations which expanded the scope of community associations’ liability for housing discrimination. The regulations establish potential liability for associations based on the discriminatory actions of residents over whom the association has no direct control. This session will discuss these regulations and why associations now must be actively involved in addressing resident vs. resident discriminatory conduct.

Hill Wallack’s Community Associations Practice Group will also be exhibiting during the show, which runs from 10:45 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., so stop by to talk to our attorneys and drop your business card for a chance to win our giveaway.

For more information or to register to attend the Conference & Expo, click here.

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