Hot Tips for Dealing with a Cold Winter

Posted by on Nov 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

  1. Make sure you’re prepared for snow and ice even if the Association takes care of your walks and/or driveway.  They can’t be there every minute to treat the ice, so to protect yourself from liability, supplement the ice melt treatments.  If you are responsible as a homeowner for your driveways and walks, take care to keep them free from snow and ice as best you can.
  2. Schedule your chimney and flue inspections to keep fireplaces safe.  Many associations have rules requiring periodic inspections.  They are important to avoid fires so take this precaution whether required by your association or not.  Add dryer vents as well because they are a real hazard during every season.
  3. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors work.  This is required by code, but is especially important during the cold weather when heating systems and fireplaces are used.
  4. If your association allows generators, make sure they are set up and vented properly to avoid the effects of carbon monoxide.
  5. If you require medical care or treatment, make arrangements to deal with medical emergencies.  Make sure you association or a neighbor has emergency contact information just in case.
  6. Similarly, if you are a snowbird and will not be around in the winter, make sure you winterize your home to prevent unexpected damage or legal liability for frozen/broken pipes.
  7. Be vigilant—ice damming occurs in the winter months and the resulting leaks are sometimes undetected until there is serious damage.  Be aware of what is going on with your home—make regular observations to catch problems while still small and manageable.




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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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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 Law Mandates Notification of Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Architectural Controls, Legislation, Safety

By Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.

What do cold cuts, solar panels and an 11-alarm fire have to do with community associations?

On September 1, 2013, a massive fire destroyed a Dietz & Watson cold storage facility in Delanco, Burlington County, and caused the roof, which was lined with more than 7,000 solar panels, to collapse within hours. Solar panels, it seems, are particularly hazardous to firefighters in that they prevent a clear path to the roof and create a possibility of electric shock due to the fact that the electricity to the panels cannot be shut off.

The legislature responded quickly, and on January 17, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed into law Assembly Bill A-266 (S-507), mandating that building owners, including community associations, must provide notice to local fire officials of any solar panels mounted on their building’s rooftops. The law also provides that all municipal agencies that issue permits for roof-mounted solar panels must provide a copy of the permit to the local fire official within ten (10) days of issuance.

All residential and commercial structures are required to comply with the law’s requirements, which means that all condominiums and homeowners associations will be required to provide the requisite notice if solar panels are installed on its roofs.

In addition, the new law mandates the promulgation of new rules requiring the posting of an emblem on a building’s front entrance to signify the presence of roof top solar panels. The legislation will be implemented by the Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”) and takes effect immediately.

You can read the full text of the legislation here.

For more information on this case 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.

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