(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green and Celeste Riley to modify regulations regarding planned real estate developments and the homeowners associations cleared the Assembly Housing Committee on Thursday.
The sponsors cited recent court decisions in sponsoring the legislation this session which indicated a need for clarification and adjustment to the laws in this area.
“Access to meetings, records and information on ownership is the right of every homeowner in these communities,” said Green (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “This bill would help to ensure homeowners remain clear on their investment and have a seat at the table when decisions are made for their communities.”
“Homeowner associations are important to protecting a homeowner’s investment,” said Riley (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem). “A few changes to current law would help homeowners stay informed and codify their right to have a say in the planning and governing of their communities.”
The legislation (A-469) makes several modifications to the laws of the State which regulate planned real estate developments and the homeowners’ associations formed to manage the commonly-owned property in such communities.
The bill would prohibit the mere titling of common property in the name of the association to be construed as diminishing the ownership interests of unit owners in the common or shared elements and facilities of a planned community and require that the common property ownership interest be equal proportionately to the obligation of each unit owner to pay for the maintenance of the common property, and that the sum of the common property interests in the community is not to exceed 100% or one, if computed fractionally.
The bill also would requires that membership in the homeowners’ association is inherent for a purchaser of a home in such a planned community. Under the bill’s provisions’ standards are set for homeowners’ associations concerning access to records and elections of members to the governing board of an association; eliminates closed-meeting working sessions of an association’s governing board to reflect the similar law currently applicable to public governing bodies; and provides for a recall procedure which will authorize the removal of elected governing board members.
The bill would direct the Commissioner of Community Affairs, which provides oversight to the associations, to distribute guidelines on the election procedures and to promulgate, within 60 days or so, any rules or regulations that may be necessary to effectuate the provisions.
The bill now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.