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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New Jersey Court Rescinds Fine Against Owner Who Had A Guest, Not Tenant, Living In Unit

Posted by on Dec 8, 2011 in Lease/Rental Restrictions, Legal Decisions

By Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.

The real-life case described below is a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when an association seeks to enforce rules and restrictions that may be vague, ambiguous or unclear.

When the Hampton Condominium Association’s board learned that a unit owner was allowing someone whom the board assumed was a tenant to reside in his unit in contravention of the governing documents, the board imposed a fine and recorded a lien against the property. The unit owner disputed the board’s actions, denying that the unit’s occupant was a tenant, and initiated an action to compel rescission of the fine and discharge of the lien.

After a bench trial, the court issued a written decision that, under the specific facts of this case, determined the occupant was no more than a “guest.” Militating in favor of the court’s determination were the absence of a written lease and the fact that the occupant was an employee of the unit owner who was only permitted to stay in the unit for a short period of time to effectuate certain repairs. The court held that the mere fact that a unit is occupied with the acquiescence of the owner does not by law or by implication create a tenancy.

The court also noted that if the association wanted to prohibit this type of occupancy, it must do so by amending its governing documents to specifically exclude such conduct. Accordingly, the court found that the tenancy had not been established and overturned the board’s imposition of a fine. And, perhaps more importantly, the court denied the association’s ancillary claim for the significant counsel fees it sought reimbursement for from the unit owner.

The court’s decision in Sabbagh v. Hampton Condominium Association, Inc., decided November 21, 2011, can be found here.

If you have a question about rental restrictions, fines or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys.

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Amendment Prohibiting Leases Valid if Reasonable

Posted by on Aug 5, 2011 in Lease/Rental Restrictions

By Michael S. Karpoff, Esq.

An amendment to association governing documents adopted by the requisite number of association members that prohibits rental of units is valid if it is reasonable, a New Jersey appellate court has held.  In Cape May HarborVillage and Yacht Club, Inc. v. Sbraga, the Appellate Division of Superior Court rejected the homeowner’s argument that since leases were permitted when she bought her home, the members could not amend the declaration to prevent her from leasing.  The court concluded that because the community’s declaration stated that homes were subject to the declaration and any amendments, the amendment would apply to an objecting owner provided it is substantively valid.  Agreeing with an earlier Appellate Division holding, Mulligan v. Panther Valley Property Owners Association, 337 N.J. Super. 293 (App. Div. 2003), and the trial court’s determination, the court applied the reasonableness standard to decide if the amendment was valid.  Noting that the reasonableness standard is fact dependent, the court concluded that based on the facts in this case, the members had a reasonable basis for adopting the amendment.  Therefore, all homeowners were bound.

You can read the court’s decision here.

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

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