Classic Condo Cases: The Glen v. June – The Obligation to Pay Condominium Fees is Unconditional

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Classic Condo Cases, Collections, Legal Decisions, Suspension of Privileges

By Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.

Hill Wallack LLP’s “Classic Condo Cases” is a continuing series in which we look back at precedential Court opinions and discuss why each decision is important for community associations throughout New Jersey.

The Glen, Section I Condominium Association v. June, 344 N.J. Super. 371 (App. Div. 2001)

Quick Take: The responsibility of condominium owners to pay common expense assessments is unconditional; however, an association board may not take punitive action against a unit owner if those actions are not specifically authorized either by law and/or by an association’s governing documents.

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Join Us at the 2014 New Jersey Cooperator’s Condo, HOA and Co-op Expo on Wednesday, May 7th

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Architectural Controls, Board Meetings, Books and Records, Collections, Contracts, DCA, Disability Accommodations, Fair Housing, FHA, First Amendment Rights, Foreclosure, Insurance, Lease/Rental Restrictions, Legal Decisions, Legislation, Municipal Services Act, New Jersey Cooperator, Speaking Engagements

BoothLogo (03361700)Hill Wallack LLP‘s Community Association Practice Group will be exhibiting at the 2014 New Jersey Cooperator’s Condo, HOA and Co-op Expo on Wednesday, May 7, 2013, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. Join board members, property managers, building owners and real estate professionals and meet building service companies, attend educational seminars and get your questions answered by a member of our team.

Hill Wallack LLP Partner Caroline Record, Esq. is among the featured panelists of experts at the Educational Seminar titled “Breaking Bad – The Insiders Guide to By-Laws & Rules.” This seminar will discuss how by-laws and rules are the keys to maintaining a harmonious community, provided that they are reasonable and properly enforced. The panel will discuss the keys to drafting, enacting and enforcing by-laws and house rules. Topics to be explored include when to change by-laws/rules; the proper and legal method of changing them; the role of your association’s attorney; how your governing documents affect by-laws/rules, and much more.

For more information or to register to attend, click here!

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DOs & DON’Ts: Community Association Assessment Collection

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Assessments, Collections, FDCPA

In the current economy, the prompt collection of common expense assessments is essential to the functioning of any community association. Accordingly, it is crucial that the board have a policy and use it to consistently collect the fees that it assesses to its members.

For some timely tips to enable you to collect assessments in a timely manner when a member’s account becomes delinquent, click here.

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Karpoff and Sauter to Speak at the 2013 Community Association Law Summit

Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Assessments, Board Meetings, Books and Records, CAI, Collections, Contracts, DCA, Legal Decisions, Legislation, Speaking Engagements

Hill Wallack LLP Partners Michael S. Karpoff, Esq. and Kenneth R. Sauter, Esq. will be speaking at the 2013 Community Association Law Summit. This seminar is presented in cooperation with the New Jersey Chapter of the Community Associations Institute and the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section.

Mr. Karpoff will be speaking on “Negotiating and Drafting Community Association Contracts – Getting the Terms Right,” and Mr. Sauter will be speaking on “Have We Weathered the Financial Storm? Dealing with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Foreclosures, Bankruptcies, Vacancies, and the Bell Tower Case.”

The Summit will be held at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and it has been approved by the Board on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 8.0 hours of CLE credit, of which 1.0 qualify for ethics/professionalism credit. CLE credit is also available for PA and NY, and CPE credits are also available.

For more information on this seminar or to register to attend, please click here.

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Karpoff to Speak at Legal Forum on Critical Cases for New Jersey Community Associations

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Alternative Dispute Resolution, CAI, First Amendment Rights, Legal Decisions, Legislation, Speaking Engagements

Recent judicial opinions in New Jersey have caused some confusion over alternative dispute resolution and restrictions on signs in communities. As a result of these cases, there are new twists to issues which previously appeared settled, causing association managers, board members and attorneys to seek definitive rules to guide their actions. Hill Wallack LLP Partner Michael S. Karpoff, Esq. will explore the current status of the law regarding these important issues and discuss standards and suggestions for association leaders and advisors to deal with such matters.

This seminar will be held at the Kings Grant Open Space Association Community Room, 50 Landings Dr., Marlton, NJ, on Friday, April 12, 2013. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Managers receive two hours of continuing education credit for attending this program. Registration fee includes continental breakfast.

For more information on this seminar or to register to attend, please click here.

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Bah Humbug!: Restricting the Display of Holiday Decorations

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Architectural Controls

By Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.

“Every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”

Ebenezer Scrooge ~ from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

With the holiday season in full swing, many community association boards are in the unenviable position of having to balance enforcement of their rules and regulations related to holiday decorations while trying not to come off looking like Ebenezer Scrooge (pre-ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, of course). And while an association of single-family homes may be less concerned about restrictions than a high-rise condominium or townhouse association, here are some obvious – but often overlooked – rules to think about when it comes to regulating holiday decorations on both common elements and homeowner property:

  • Be Consistent and Reasonable – Unless required by your governing documents or there is a compelling reason to do so, do not totally prohibit residents from decorating the exteriors of their homes for the holidays. Associations should adopt uniform rules and communicate these rules to the residents so everyone is on the same page as to what they can and cannot display (as well as where it can be displayed). However, if your association does have a blanket ban holiday decorations, it must be consistent and ban all decorations and displays.
  • Set Reasonable Restrictions – It is reasonable and appropriate for a board to enact regulations with respect to when decorations may be displayed and, more importantly, when they must be removed. It is also reasonable to regulate the time of day that lights or other features may be used so as not to create an unreasonable nuisance for neighbors or additional safety issues. Avoid, if at all possible, venturing into unchartered territory of restricting religious displays. Also, be mindful that not everyone celebrates the same holidays (for example, Diwali – the Hindu “Festival of Lights” – occurs in late October/early November each year).
  • Be Mindful of Decorations on Common Elements – Again, while it is not advisable to prohibit homeowners from decorating their own homes, it is perfectly acceptable to ban residents from decorating general common elements. It is also advisable to limit homeowners from affixing decorations to limited common elements if the association is responsible for their maintenance. And again, associations that do choose to decorate common elements, such as clubhouses, entrance ways or lobbies, should avoid religious displays and be mindful to either keep such decorations general – lights and wreaths, for example – or to take extra care to give equal treatment to all religious affiliations.
  • Do Not Argue Over Aesthetics – Not everyone has the same taste in decorating, but if the board or architectural review committee are arguing over what is tasteful and what is not, it may be time to take a closer look at your rules regarding decorations.

Overall, it is important to make your holiday decorating rules reasonable and even-handed. Concentrate on what is most important: location, time and place, size and safety, but not content or aesthetic appeal. And just remember, as long as they are not dangerous, the ten-foot tall inflatable Santa, Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman will not hurt anyone (and will not be on display forever).

For more information on this or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys.

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