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Assembly Panel OK’s Andrzejczak, Land Bill to Establish Election Standards for Homeowners’ Associations in NJ

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel cleared on Monday legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land (D-Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland) to establish a set of standards for elections and the recall of officers who serve on the board of homeowners’ associations.

“Homeowner’s Associations must operate under similar rules and procedures as other governing bodies,” Andrzejczak said. “A resident’s interest and right to approve and elect board members must be preserved. And setting clearer, more fair and unified set of rules for board elections and a clarifying a resident’s ability to recall will help to do just that.”

The bill (A-3163) sets standards for election and recall of executive board members of homeowners’ association, which are formed to manage community-owned elements in condominiums, cooperatives, and certain planned communities with common elements.

The bill also limits the size of executive boards of such communities comprised of less than 11 homes, to three members. It would also provide a default size of five members for the executive board of all other communities unless the bylaws provide otherwise.

“Homeowners living in developments are still consumers and must be protected under the law,” said Land. “Ensuring their right to fair elections and protecting their right to choose board members, who will make decisions on their behalf, is a measure of consumer protection that they simply deserve as property owners.”

The legislation also requires associations to permit owners to vote anonymously for executive board members, and establishes fair election procedures. Violations of these procedures could be appealed to the state entity having oversight of planned communities, which currently is under the Department of Community Affairs.

The bill also establishes standard procedures for recall votes of executive board officers or trustees, and provides that any member of the executive board may be recalled and removed from office. Under the bill, a special meeting of the association membership to vote for the recall of a member or members of the executive board may be called by 10 percent of the members.

The measure was released by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee in an afternoon committee hearing. It now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further review.