By Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.
In an unpublished Appellate Court decision – The Glens at Pompton Plains Condo. Ass’n, Inc. v. Van Kleeff – the New Jersey Appellate Division made it abundantly clear that condominium associations must offer alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) for any “housing-related dispute,” including the non-payment of assessments/maintenance fees, prior to filing any non-emergent legal action against a unit owner.
The New Jersey Condominium Act, N.J.S.A. 46:8B-14(k), requires condominium associations to “provide a fair and efficient procedure for the resolution of housing-related disputes between individual unit owners and the association, and between unit owners, which shall be readily available as an alternative to litigation.” Although, the Condominium Act does not specifically define the term “housing-related disputes,” that issue was squarely addressed in by the Appellate Division in Bell Tower Condo. Ass’n v. Haffert, which was decided in January 2012.