Liability, Responsibility…and Lint: Who’s in Charge of Your Laundry Room?

On the long list of building-related issues that multifamily boards and residents have to be concerned about, dryer lint is not likely uppermost. A leaky roof? Definitely. A boiler on the fritz in mid-January? Absolutely. But dryer lint, not so much – and that’s actually a problem, because when allowed to accumulate in heavily-used machines, […]

How to Deal with Difficult HOA Residents (NJ)

Dealing with difficult residents can be a challenging aspect of HOA community management. HOAs (or homeowner’s associations) play a crucial role in maintaining the quality and value of residential communities. When a resident becomes difficult, the Board may struggle to maintain the harmony of the HOA.  It would be easy to blame frustrated and disgruntled […]

How to assess a resident’s request for an emotional support animal

Multifamily housing providers are faced with increasing requests from residents with disabilities for emotional support animals (ESA). Requests for ESAs are generating more enforcement actions.  In 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that 60 percent of all complaints concerned denials of requests for accommodations due to a disability under the […]

N.J. Supreme Court Rules Emotional Support Animals Are Not Just Pets

Not all pets are created equal, according to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The state’s highest court recently held that housing providers, like condominiums, can’t rely on pet prohibitions to automatically deny residents’ accommodation requests for emotional support animals.  Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said that emotional support animals “are different from […]

A Guide to Community Association Governance in New Jersey

Living in a community association offers an array of benefits – well-maintained common areas, a sense of community, and shared amenities. However, a smooth-running community association relies on a strong foundation built upon a clear and documented framework called the “governing documents.” This framework, however, can be complex and downright overwhelming at times. The governing […]

Emotional Support Pets and Weight Restrictions

In a recent case out of New Jersey, Players Place II Condominium Association Inc., v. K.P., No. 088139 (N.J. March 13, 2024), the New Jersey Supreme Court evaluated whether an emotional support pet, which exceeded the community’s weight restrictions, was permissible under The Fair Housing Act (“FHA”).  The association in this case had a rule […]

Tips for Effective HOA Board Communication

Effective communication is not just a tool but the very essence of a successful homeowner’s association (HOA) Board. It is the thread that weaves harmony throughout the community. Without good communication, HOA Boards will deal with much more conflict and discontent from their residents.  Such an important skill deserves devoted study. That is why we […]

New Law Sets Reserve Requirements for NJ Communities

In response to the 2021 Surfside Condominium tragedy in Florida, many states and municipalities have adopted, are considering adopting, or updating existing rules governing reserves, reserve studies and maintenance schedules for multifamily buildings. New Jersey has passed new statewide regulations concerning all of the above.   Read the article…………………………….

Effective Committees: Maximizing Use of Community Volunteers (NJ)

In a typical co-op, condo, or homeowners association, residents have a lot to say about how their building or community is or should be functioning … but few actually step up to run for and serve on the board that does the actual governing. One reason is that board service can be a heavy lift, […]

Waterproofing Your Building Envelope Protecting Structure & Health (NJ)

With severe weather events becoming ever more common—and more intense—waterproofing your building’s envelope against rain, wind, snow, and ice is a growing concern. To counter the effects of climate change on buildings both old and new, our main focus must be on maintaining the integrity of the structural envelope. Proper, proactive exterior maintenance saves money […]

How To Effectively Handle Conflict in Your Community

When people live in a community, there is bound to be occasional conflict. Homeowners associations (HOAs) and Condominium associations are no different. Conflicts may arise between homeowners or between the board and homeowners.  No matter the reason for the conflict, how you handle it will greatly affect the atmosphere and overall well-being of your community. […]

New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms Condominium’s Ability to Limit Alleged “Emotional Support Animals,” Clarifying the Process To Be Used For ESA Accommodations

On Wednesday, March 13th, New Jersey’s Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in the Players Place II Condominium Association v. K.P. case. In 2018, a resident claiming to be disabled for New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) adopted a dog that would ultimately weigh almost 65 lbs. despite Players Place II’s rule prohibiting dogs weighing […]

Tort Immunity in New Jersey Community Associations (NJ)

The word “immunity” can conjure up many feelings, especially after living through the past few years of COVID-19. This is somewhat ironic because a different type of immunity became a flashpoint for community associations at the during the pandemic – tort immunity.   Read the article…………………………………

How To Handle Neighbor Disputes In A Fair Manner

Whenever a group of people live near each other, disputes are bound to occur. Even if your community is a peaceful one, sometimes neighbors have issues with each other. However, if your Board knows how to manage neighbor disputes fairly, they do not have to escalate into an out-of-control situation.    Read the article…………………………..

Free Speech vs. House Rules: Balancing Both in Contentious Times (NJ)

The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to free speech and expression – but how does that right apply to the residents of multifamily co-op or condo buildings? Does it apply at all? Can you – or the guy down the hall in 2B – display political, social, or religious statements from […]

Adequate Community Insurance Coverage: How Much is Enough? (NJ)

The topic of insurance can provoke fear in the most steadfast of board members. It’s both terrifying in what its purpose implies, and yet at the same time mind-numbingly boring. It’s also one of the most important components in protecting our communities.   Read the article………………………..

Resources for Multifamily Boards: Where Communities Go to Stay in the Know (NJ)

The Community Associations Network (www.communityassociations.net) is an online resource that aggregates news and information related to co-ops, condos, and HOAs. There, boards and service professionals can access the latest on legislation, events, and issues pertaining to association living and governance throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Read the article………………………..

Community Association Transition Litigation and the Selection of Experts

In the realm of civil litigation, the involvement of “experts” can make or break a case. An expert is a qualified individual with specialized knowledge, skill, training, education, or experience in a particular field relevant to the issues at hand in the case. These experts are called upon to provide their professional opinions, analyses, or […]

The Cheshire Cat and Insurance Carriers

Insurance carriers are like the Cheshire Cat. They lure customers with catchy advertisements, and then issue policies filled with complex and confusing terms. After major losses, they arrive on the scene, then suddenly disappear, citing one or more policy exclusions in complex terms, a la the Cheshire Cat.   Read the article………………………..

Dealing With Harassment: Separating the Impolite from the Illegal

While occasional annoyances and interpersonal friction are simply part of the cost of communal living, some behaviors cross the line from minor nuisance into legitimate harassment. Knowing the difference is important—but it can be tricky to discern, and even more difficult to address.    Read the article………………………..

Proposed Bill Would Extend FEMA Aid to Condos, Co-ops, & HOAs

A current bill working its way through Congress would correct a gap in the way the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) delivers recovery assistance in the wake of natural disasters. Sponsored by Reps. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) the bipartisan H.R. 3777, also called the Disaster Assistance Fairness Act, would […]

Appellate Division Affirms: Binding Dispute Resolution Provisions in Standard AIA Construction Contracts Are Enforceable (NJ)

In a recent unpublished opinion, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that an agreement to arbitrate set forth in the binding dispute resolution provision in a standard form American Institute of Architects (AIA) construction contract between a condominium association and contractor was enforceable.   Read the article………………………..

Nature in the Valley: Brandon Farms meadow offers lessons for all

My email box was completely filled with forwards of the New York Times Dec. 14 article entitled, “They Fought the Lawn. And the Lawn’s Done.” What made the story so compelling was that it had all the elements of a blockbuster film: a simple scenario with a relatable protagonist who overcame significant challenges in her […]

Legal Construction Column: Direct Action Statute (NJ)

In July 2022, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued an opinion, Crystal Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Kinsale Insurance Co., which considered whether (1) a condominium association that had obtained default judgments against a structural engineering firm and a construction inspection company resulting from construction defects, could assert claims against those judgment debtors’ insurance […]

Sign, Sign, Everwhere a Sign…..In My Association

Every year, usually around election season, the signs come out.  Let’s discuss some recurring sign issues that pop up (pun intended) in community associations year after year.   Read the article………………………..

When a Board Goes Bad The Cure: Get Involved (NJ)

Board responsiveness and transparency are critical components in the good governance of co-op, condo and HOA communities. It’s the responsibility of the board and its members to act on behalf of the community – a legal obligation known as fiduciary duty.   Read the article………………………..

NJ Supreme Court Ruling Addresses Enforceability of Arbitration Clauses in Construction Defect Disputes Involving Direct Claims Against a Judgment Debtor’s Insurer

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently ruled that a condominium association may bring a direct action to recover damages based upon construction defect claims against an insolvent judgment debtor’s insurer. The Court further held, however, that a mandatory arbitration provision in the underlying insurance policy will be applicable to such claims. The case is […]

“Direct Action Statute” Can Permit Judgment Claimants to Collect from Debtors’ Insurance Policies (NJ)

In Crystal Point, the Condominium Association obtained two default judgments for construction defect claims against a structural engineer and its companion construction inspection entity. The default judgment defendants could not be located and efforts to execute upon the default judgments were returned uncollectible.  Read the article………………………..

Who’s a Good Board? Pros Weigh in on Co-op, Condo, HOA Leadership

The 347,000 planned communities in the United States—a number that includes cooperatives, condominiums, and homeowners associations—are generally governed by volunteer members of the building or community elected by their fellow unit owners or shareholders. There are no requirements or prerequisites for serving on a board, other than what might be specified in the governing documents […]

Supporting Aging Residents: Empathy, Strategy, & Care

Aging shareholders often contend with two serious problems: declining health and limited finances.  As people age, it’s of course more common for them to live with health challenges related to genetic propensity, lifestyle choices, and the aging process itself;   Read the article………………………..

Transition not substantial completion starts the clock: New Jersey amends statute of limitations for homeowner and condominium association construction defect cases

In?2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court, in Palisades at Fort Lee Condominium Association, Inc. v. 100 Old Palisade, LLC, et al., held that the statute of limitations for construction defect claims brought by a condominium association begins to run upon “substantial completion” of the structure.  Read the article………………………….

Grilling in an HOA Community (Go-To Guide)

It’s officially grilling season, which means it’s time to fire up the barbecue and enjoy some delicious food. However, if you live in an HOA community, there are some guidelines that you need to follow to stay within the rules. Here are four helpful tips that’ll ensure your cookout goes smoothly.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Best HOA Summer Projects for Board Members

As the weather gets warmer, many homeowners associations (HOAs) are gearing up for their busiest season. There are a lot of things to do to keep your community running smoothly, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Let’s take a look at some of the best HOA summer projects for board members […]

The New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lender Questionnaire: To Answer, or Not to Answer, That is the Question!

Prompted by the Champlain Towers Condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) recently issued new temporary requirements as an attempt to mitigate risk in community association loan underwriting. Many other industries within the community association world, such as insurance, have adjusted […]

Co-ops, Condos, & Social Media: To Tweet…or Not to Tweet?

While some co-op and condo communities have tried social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter as ways to build community spirit and facilitate better communication between neighbors, management, and even the board, most have remained ‘old-school,’ sticking with newsletters, bulletin boards (both digital and cork) in the lobby or mail room, and email […]

New Jersey Legislature Amends Statute of Limitations for Defect Claims Brought by Condominium and Homeowners’ Associations

Common interest communities in New Jersey likely have more time to assert construction and design defect claims under the New Jersey Legislature’s 2022 amendment to N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1. Condominium associations, cooperative corporations, and other real estate development associations now have six years from transfer of control of the association from the developer to the unit owners […]

HOA Preparedness: Preventing Water Damage

It’s finally springtime, which means flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and the rain will soon be pouring. And all that rain can lead to one thing: water damage. If you’re an HOA board member, it’s essential to prepare your community association for the rainiest season.   Read the entire article……………………………….

New changes aim to protect New Jersey condo associations

New Jersey condominiums must follow The New Jersey Condominium Act, as well as state laws, master deeds and rules. In return, owners and residents can reasonably expect a safe and well-maintained living environment.  However, old or vague rules and policies don’t always provide the protection or clarity that condo members need.    Read the entire article……………………………….

Universal Design & the ADA: Design for Every Body

The idea that ‘form follows function’ is one of the basic concepts underlying nearly every design discipline—but function for whom? For many people living with disabilities, it often seems that ‘function’ covers a very narrow range of ability—rendering many forms clumsy at best, and completely useless at worst. While a cascading stairway might provide drama […]

HOA Inspection Checklist

An HOA inspection checklist is a valuable tool for community managers and Board members. It can help you keep track of the condition of the community, identify any potential problems, and make sure that all areas are being regularly inspected.    Read the entire article……………………………….