Owners' Rights vs. Condo Rules

Sorry, That's Not Allowed

By Michael McDonough

Article Options

New condo owners get a lot of papers and documents during the purchasing process, and among the most important they receive are the community's Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R), the bylaws, administrative guidelines, and other legal documents spelling out the rules and regulations for life in their new home.

As anyone involved with one knows, a homeowners association provides a system of self-governance whereby residents elect one another to serve on the board of directors and on committees for the betterment of the community. Self-government like this appeals to those who like to have a say in how their community is managed and determines when to take certain actions, such as repairs, improvements, and additions. The system also establishes rules, however; and if not properly balanced, those rules can occasionally come into conflict with the rights of individual homeowners.

A Condo Act

Perhaps the most important—though possibly the least-read—set of documents governing homeowners associations is the master deed. The master deed is essentially the legal lynchpin of the entire condominium association and should be made available to owners for examination.

The master deed is a direct result of the Condominium Act of New Jersey—a state law adopted in 1970 that established the format for creating a condo. E.J. Miranda, a spokesman for the Trenton-based New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) describes it as "a comprehensive statute with thirty-eight sections governing everything from creation to dissolution. It defines terms, specifies the contents of a master deed, and enumerates the powers and duties of the association."

The Condominium Act is basically a blueprint for how a condominium is established, organized and run, and the act spells out how the association is transitioned from the developer.

"It says you have to file a master deed, which must contain the name of the condo, description of the units and of the common elements, percentage of interest in the common elements, and basic requirements for establishing a condo," states Wendell Smith, a partner of Greenbaum Rowe Smith Ravin Davis & Himmel LLP, a law firm in Woodbridge. "It must be executed and recorded by the owner of the property, because that's where you're changing from a conventional form of ownership to a condo form of ownership and dividing the property into units and common elements."

Mary Ann Hallenborg, a counsel for Heine Associates P.A., a law firm based in Cherry Hill, says, "Although the association's authority and power derive from the Condominium Act and the master deed, each condo's master deed is unique. The act also limits the voting rights of the developer of the new condo and limits their control."

When the condo is formed, any major contracts entered into by the developer on behalf of the association are limited to two years. "That limitation," Hallenborg explains, "means the association itself wouldn't be burdened by a long-term sweetheart contract."

The act also governs the transition of control from the developer to the association and the new unit owners. "It's basically a progressive transition," says Smith. The act also defines what documents the association and unit owners are entitled to get when they take over control, such as bank accounts, insurance policies, copies of the original documents, and land surveys. Another function of the act is to establish rules and regulations. The act gives unit owners the right to receive notice of board meetings and an opportunity to attend.

Sponsor Ad
We specialize in providing professional, pro-active, cost-effective property management for residential & commercial Condos & Homeowners Associations in Northern New Jersey. We are hands-on and care about your community! Contact us for a free quote!
91 Clinton Road, Fairfield NJ 973-228-5477
www.cedarcrestpropertymanagement.com

Welcome to the Bylaws

According to Miranda, while new unit owners aren't usually given full copies of their association's financial records dating back to the creation of the community, they can and should expect more than a nice fruit basket when they move in.

"Associations don't typically distribute anything other than rules and regulations," he says. "The purchaser should have gotten a copy of the master deed and bylaws at the closing." Some associations however, he adds, do send out copies of budgets and bills, and others publish a newsletter containing financial and administrative information, and it's up to the homeowner to read and understand that information.

According to Smith, it's the bylaws and association rules that have the most direct impact on the day-to-day lives of association members. "The bylaws are the governance of the association: voting rights, obligations, how expenses are determined. Then you have rules and regulations. Those are the governing documents detail what the association directly controls."

And that control, according to Miranda, "Can include a wide variety of property and personal conduct—including things such as pets, outdoor furniture and parking spaces."

"Every set of governing documents has covenants and restrictions in it," Smith adds. "There may be restrictions against pets or against altering your unit without getting approval from the board or the architectural committee as well." That's necessary, he says, because one homeowner's structural changes might affect others.

"An association doesn't want [members] doing anything to the exterior of their unit that's going to have a negative aesthetic or structural impact. That's one level of rights owners give up to the condo association. Owners have to comply with the restrictions and regulations."

According to Hallenborg, those restrictions can go beyond whether or not someone can put a jumbo flagpole up in their yard. Association members can vote for or against directors, but in New Jersey they generally cannot act to approve or reject their association's annual budget. That's strictly the board's job.

The Board's Role

That doesn't mean that the board doesn't have to answer for its actions, says Smith. "They're responsible for the operation, management and administration of the association. They are subject to verification of any unique or extraordinary expenses."

"Extraordinary" expenses usually include capital improvements; rare is the board that has the right to just install a new swimming pool or a new clubhouse without a great deal of involvement and the full cooperation of the rest of the association. "They can repair the old one," Smith explains, "but if they want to put in a new indoor pool, that's a capital improvement, and they'd have to get the approval of the unit owners. It varies depending on what their governing documents say."

A board's responsibilities also depend on the definition of the common elements in the master deed and the layout of the community, says Hallenborg, but in any case, "The board is an overseer. They are responsible for the maintenance, management and insurance on the common elements. They're also responsible for the employment and the management contracts."

Smith adds that owners are liable for "basically everything within their four walls, plus anything that serves their unit exclusively—that applies to a patio or a balcony as well. They're also responsible for utilities that serve the unit."

Miranda makes an important distinction between homeowner and condo associations and cooperatives—in the case of homeowner associations, the common elements are usually separate parcels of real estate. "In a condominium," says Miranda, "an owner is responsible for anything defined as his unit. Both condo and homeowner associations are typically responsible for things like storm-water retention basins and recreation facilities."

Before Signing on the Dotted Line…

While the idea of living in a planned community appeals to many, it's important that prospective association members know what that membership entails. It means, Smith says, "That they're going to have to subordinate some of their individual rights to the common good of the community." He says the owners of a single-family home have the freedom to do whatever they want with their property whenever they want, but in a condo, "They don't have that freedom because the association is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the property—and the association is the one that makes those decisions."

For instance, Smith says, pet lovers ought to check into pet restrictions before they let themselves fall in love with a building or neighborhood. If a person wants to buy two adjacent units and merge them into one larger unit, they should know they need the association's approval. Parking regulations are yet another issue to be aware of. "There are just a variety of things in their everyday life that the association may have control over." Smith says.

People looking to buy into an association do have the right—and the responsibility—to examine the association's financial picture in order to make an informed decision about whether to make their home there.

To that end, Hallenborg recommends that prospective homeowners "Obtain as much information as possible about pending assessments, pending fee increases, identified capital improvement projects on the horizon—anything that's going to affect the financial picture or obligations in the near future."

She also says that new owners should lose the renter mentality. Paying dues late hurts the association that you are now a part of. "Everyone shares in the costs."

Miranda agrees, and adds that, "It's essential that association members have knowledge of established rules and are disciplined about paying their monthly fees to avoid a lien on their property and loss of privileges."

Complaint Department

Along with their right to information, homeowners also have the right to settle disputes by going either to the association or—to a more limited extent—the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Miranda says the department can help ensure that associations comply with open meeting requirements, make certain types of financial records, such as payments and expenditures or the association's budget, available for examination and to provide adequate procedures for alternative dispute resolution.

"They have a person who will respond, and if there's a complaint that they think has any potential validity they will send a letter to the developer and ask for an explanation," Smith says. "They will come down on a developer, because he's the one they have control over."

The department has less authority over unit owners. "There's very limited jurisdiction and very limited involvement," Smith says. If a homeowner has a complaint against the board, the department will ask the association to provide alternate dispute resolution or mediation arbitration, but, Smith adds, "It's usually through the power of persuasion, because they have very little legal clout as far as what they can do to an association." Although the state attorney general has no official role, Smith says they can encourage mediation or arbitration through other organizations.

Hallenborg says the dispute would have to go through the DCA first, after which, she says, "If they did not want to handle it—or thought it was beyond their enforcement capabilities—they can transfer it to the Attorney General or request that he look into it."

Miranda says that when it comes to associations registering with the state, "if they are organized as Title 15A nonprofit corporations, they must file annual reports with Treasury. They do not register with the Department of Community Affairs."

There is legislation pending to strengthen unit owners' rights in the form of the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act or UCIOA, but that measure and several others have not yet gained consensus or the approval of the lawmakers in Trenton.

Life in a condo differs greatly from a single-family home and there are benefits but also compromises to be made. In order to make sure a given association is a good fit—and in order to be an active, informed participant in one's community—board members, managing agents, and association members alike must be aware of each others' rights and responsibilities, and hold each other to the rules and regulations that allow for a smooth, equitable operation.

Michael McDonough is a freelance writer living on Long Island.

Comments

cynthia

I live in Winston-Salem, NC. The condo I purchased had a water leak from outside the building and as a result had to have the building waterproofed. Before the condos were waterproofed the water from the outside, due to rain damaged my floors and walls because I stay in the basement apartment. All of this happened in March. The HOA keeps saying they will fix it but they need to make sure the water is not leaking anymore. They said the contractor needs to come back out here to redo the job. Meanwhile, they have agreed to fix the floors and one wall, but one of the cabinets was damaged and that style no longer exist. They want to take that cabinet out and not replace it. I explained to them that they needed to either buy all new cabinets to keep my kitchen uniformed or reface all of the cabinets. We have insurance on the condos and i would like to know if i can file a claim without involving or waiting on the HOA. cstivender@triad.rr.com

John

In NJ, our Master Deed states that Landscaping, and other charges are to be divided equally between 24 units. Without Amending the Master deed the board is charging us by square footage. I made them aware of this violation and they are ignoring me. They need 18 votes needed to amend the Master Deed. They only have 16 smaller units, while I represent 8 Larger units, so Amending it is impossible. They are attempting to shift the burden of expenses..

D.

Association Boards get away with murder and more. Bullying, stealing, and whatever else they can get away with. DON'T BUY A CONDO. No matter how much you learn ahead of time, there's much more you won't ever know about. You'll find out each time you are hit with assessments, raise in fees, etc. STAY AWAY FROM CONDO. LIVING. IT'S FRIGHTENING!

David Chesrown-retired

Before purchasing unit - I was verbally promised by the agen and the owner of the development that we could use the overflow parking lot for oujr vehicles-they were aware that is the only way we would purchase. After all units sold and board of directors took over -we were told that we could no longer use the parking lot. In 2010 we appealed and received a signed letter affirming our right and granting us permission to use the parking lot. Now, two years later, they are demanding $200.00 a month for parking. What are my rights?

Thomas

We share an up and down duplex that is a condo in NJ with another owner. The Master Deed is the only document that exists establishing the condo association with certain bylaws or rules. A pool exists as a common element but the Master Deed clearly states that the pool is for use by UNIT OWNERS. Does that mean that either of the owners cannot allow use of the pool of by their renters should they choose to rent their respective unit? Does allowing renters to use the pool require approval by both voting members of the association?

Jay Halsey

What law limits a Board from changing the colors, materials, size, etc. of common elements without the Board getting a vote of the majority. What if a Board wanted to paint the building magenta?

Diane

THE WORST FINANCIAL DECISION OF MY LIFE!! As a pro se defendant, i'm fighting a fraudulent foreclosure lien placed on my unit by board members for alleged maintenance fees. I have proof of payment. Which NJ statute should i reference?

an unknown user

I have two condos units that I live in and enjoy both. My summer condo has a 3 people who don't want to follow rulesand make it hell for everyone else plus the sad part we have new owners who have no ideal what it was like before and it was bad only because the old board menbers didn't live in the state so when we had a maintance problem it cost more money.The group we have now keep cost way down and our condo fee has been kept the same for the last 5 years. Our problem is 3 inmature low lifes if they had their way our homes would look like a dump

Barb

I own a condo and we were told we will have to pay an assessmet because they want to get FHa for the condo's. we also need new roofs and new streets and the assessment is $3,600 per unit. We have to pay before any of the work gets done. They said our reserve is not enough to get the FHa. Is this legal?

charlene Tatosian

A settlement with a unit owner went under the privacy act, do other unit owners have the right to know the settlement?

Jay

I live in condo that was flooded by Sandy The condo assoc carries the insurance for the structure INCLUDING inside my unit. Now that the insurance amt has been determined the assoc is tell us that they will hire the repair company and pay them directly from the insurance. The amouts are VERY generous and I want all the money so I can hire my own registered contractor. Like they allo 4400 to paint 880sqft . I should get the 4400 directly and not have to agree to the assoc paying that to a painter of their choice HELP anyone give me some info on this

an unknown user

I live in a townhouse condo association. A neighbor has continually left toys ( pingpong table, child's car, basketball hoop, and other items) leaning against and surrounding their unit. This is a violation of the bylaws. I have brought this management and board's attention for he past 2 years. Nothing has been done and the complex is looking like a dump. I have to look at this every day and would like to know my rights. Can I withhold my HOA fees until this is resolved? Thank you.

an unknown user

I own a condo in a 6 unit property at a vacation seashore area. We are being bullied not to rent our unit long-term for the summer season to groups. The only thing I can find is that our bylaws say any rentals of more than 2 weeks require that the other condo owners be given names phone numbers of the renters . Can they say who we can or cannot rent to? Can they impose a fine? There is nothing in the bylaws stating about a fine for renting to groups as opposed to families but after 20 years of owning the new president is saying "we do not rent to groups".

Carol

Don't ever buy a condo!!! Worst investment ever. You give up all your rights, including your right to privacy! My Homeowners Association believes they can enter anyone's condo any time, for any reason without any warning or notification. They also believe they have the right to come into our homes for "inspection". Living in a condo is like living in a Communist country!!

Tim s

I live in a condo and have the same problems as everyone combined. Want to know how to stop the assessments and bleeding of money to choice HANDY men. Not contractors.

Helen Leischker

Our master deed says maintenance should be proportionate. The early Boards followed this and then started assessing across-the-board. The little houses pay the same increases as the larger and more expensive homes. What is condominium law on this.

Michael bavaro

My mortgage company requires proof that I am current on my condo payments.......my payments are made online but access to verify my account can't be done because the web site is down...mgr of association wants to charge me $100.00 for verification of payment !

Charmaine Gray

My Board makes repairs to their homes, families and friends but ignores request from other homeowners - how can this issues be resolved?

PURCHASER AT KINGS POINT

CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN WHAT DOES IT MEAN BY SAYING, CLUB HOUSE DEED PAID IN FULL BY UNIT OWNER, TO LOWER MAINTNANCE? DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH "RECREATION LEASE"?

Miserable!!!

This is THE WORST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!! I HAVE NO PRIVACY!!! Place is Run down & Butt UGLY! Yet --Monthly H/O Fees keep going Up & Special Assessments Made at Spur of Moment--Very Expensive! Yet NO IMPROVEMENTS to MY Place! And the Majority Rules--and the Investors who RENT hold the Maj. on Board so My vote and others is Irrelevant. Is Draining my dry. Never--ever AGAIN if I can get out of this Huge Mess. I've Never been So Depressed & Angry. So--So Sad in NC!

Tom Bennett

The ballots used for election lists the candidates I am to select, however it also requires my name and address. when I asked aren't you going to separate them I was informed this is not a secret election I feel like we went backwards and they have the Gestopo working for them?

Melanie Long

I live in Wilingboro. NJ in a townhouse community within the past year the BOT has not had the expenses from the fiscal year 2012 reported to the community nor has it been look over by a CPA how do the homeowners get the BOT to have this done?

Susan Hollingworth

A candidate was elected to the 5 member HOA Board last week. The Board has met regularly at 9am Tuesday monthly. The newly elected cnadidate works and has submitted a schedule of 5pm weekdays or all day Friday that she can attend meetings. The Board will not change their meeting date and subsequently she must resign. The president had said meetings could be changed to meet working peoples schedules but the Board has elected not to change the day and time after the election. Is the an irregularity?

tee

I had a leak in my roof and it went thru ceiling and kept getting larger due to rain. it took several weeks for someone to come out and fix it. now I have a gutter problem where water is pouring out and over in a corner area and that is a problem. I realize that associations take care of outside problems but if they don't do that within a certain amt of time why can't I go ahead and get someone and pay before more damage is done to other areas.

guy

Can a condo association tell me what I can and cannot place on my balcony

Pat

Can our condo association board limit the use of the common areas to the owners. Example 1st floor owners only use 1st floor deck and 2nd floor owners can only use 2nd floor deck. Also they are charging owners who rent 250.00 more Ieper year in their condo fee.

stormysandy

ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE. I AM GOING THROUGH HELL. SINCE STORM, NO ACCESS TO MY UPSTAIRS UNIT. PLUMBING BEING DONE BY AN UNLICENSED PERSON AND HIS VERY HEAVY WIFE, BANGING ON PIPES FOR MONTHS. FINDING THERE ARE NOT SEPARATE PIPES TO MY UNIT AFTER 10 YEARS. RAISING THE FEE BY DOUBLE A FEW MONTHS AFTER OUR PURCHASE. PUTTING 3 LIENS ON US AS DID NOT PAY THE 100% INCREASE, AND TRIED TO SETTLE FOR 7% PER YEAR COMPOUNDED OVER 9 YRS., BUT THEY DENIED. SMALL BAND OF THIEVES AND LIARS RUNNING EVERYTHING. THEY ARE ALL OF THE SAME ILK. NO WHERE TO TURN. NO MONEY. NO USE OF CONDO. SINCE STORM. NO KNOWLEDGE OF WHEN THERE WILL BE. TOWN DOES NOTHING. SENDS WATER BILLS AND THREATENS TO TURN OFF WATER, BUT WE DON'T HAVE ANY TO TURN OFF? NO ELECTRIC. EVERYTHING IS ROTTING IN THE HEAT NOW. SO DEPRESSED, SO DISGUSTED

Ginny

Are Condo second floors units or greater suppose to have at least 75% of floors covered with carpeting. If so who sets the requirements. Restrictions for condos in the state of New Jersey

ek148

Can an Association prohibit me from having an indoor cat in the condo I purchased

Martha

Are there any laws about transparency in the way rules are enforced? Our condo board is run by a bully. They pick and choose what is going to be enforced and on which units. Shouldn't there be an association listing of what units are our of compliance? They look the other way for their friends. The process needs to be standardized and applied to everyone, not the selected few who are not part of the click.

D.

There are so many comments here, but, not much in the way of help for anyone. I'd say people need to gather together to protect themselves from these greedy low life association leaders. How do we do that? We need to contact each other. I still cannot use our condo. since Sandy, and don't know when I will be able to. I'm in an upstairs unit, not damaged by the storm, but, found out that plumbing problems which affected the lower units are somehow keeping water from our unit rendering it unusable, while my appliances sit for almost a year in first Cold, now sweltering heat. Will they cease to operate? Who knows. I don't. Can't go there. The association wants more and more and more money. We pay insurance. They won't let you know though, what was paid out and for what and who performed the work, and if they were qualified, licensed or what. Could go on and on. REMEMBER, ALL OF YOU. FIND THE MASTER DEED. GO TO TOWN HALL WHERE YOU OWN AND ASK FOR A COPY. THEY SHOULD SUPPLY YOU WITH IT, MAYBE FOR A SMALL COST, OR, ASK THE TAX COLLECTOR/ASSESSOR AS THEY SHOULD HAVE A COPY. READ, READ, READ...ALSO, WRITE THE PROSECUTOR OF YOUR COUNTY IF YOU BELIEVE SOMETHING IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE. SEND COPIES TO THE MAYOR, THE DEPT. COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, DISTRICT PEOPLE AND SUCH. DON'T LET ANY ASSOCIATION WALK ALL OVER YOU.

Connie

A townhouse condo owner damaged his own garage door. He has been notified by the management company to have it repaired or replaced (which is the owner's responsibility in this condo development). He as not had it repaired or replaced and has not responded to the notifications. The townhouse looks terrible. What can be done?

Lynn

Our Master Deed states "no pets." However, our condominium association has allowed us to bring our dog to our condo from the inception of the condominium association in 2004. Our dog does not interact with any other homeowner or unit. The Board of Directors recently changed and a new Board member is adamant about "no pets" even though they lease their condo and have never lived on the property. Is it possible for the Condominium Association to tell us that we can no longer bring our dog to our condo, which is a vacation/weekend home, after allowing us to bring our dog for the entire 9+ years we have owned our condo; we are original owners? Please explain our rights and whether or not bringing our dog would be protected by a "grandfathered" exception?

Guyo

Can my BOD force me to replace my water heater before I can sell my condo? The water heater is 12 yrs. old, but the BOD says anything over 10 yrs. old needs to be replaced. This is a new rule, it's not part of the Bylaws.

Angela

Same nonsense for me--I put up a birdfeeder and was cited for "noxious activity" while my unit is invaded by second hand smoke from my neighbors. Apparently, secondhand smoke is not "noxious." I took my feeder down, but I am angry my chain smoking neighbors can sit on the balcony below mine and smoke all day. I can't sit on m balcony or open windows on that side of my unit lest all the smoke enters mine. Complaints to my property manager go unanswered. Yet, somehow complaints about me get through! Fancy that! I've had better experiences with insurance companies and the DMV than with the condo board and property manager. If I weren't underwater in my mortgage I'd sell. I didn't want exterior maintenance and lawn mowing, but this is far worse. Perhaps if board members were paid a small amount there might actually be competition to be on the board--resulting in potential board members having to state their qualifications. As it is no sane or reasonable person wants to be on the board (who has the time for NO money?) so those that are unqualified and power hungry.

DENNIS STUTZ

MORTGAGE PROTECTION means the association has a record of your lender and calls them if your place is damage? We have a master insurance of 8M to cover damage Paid out monthly dues.

Greg

My condo association in michigan refuses to let me review the n maintenance work orders How do I go about letting me review them

Farhan Qasim

I recently purchased a home in the Tracy Village community in Freehold. I would like to express the issues I am experiencing in my community. My home is located on the corner lot, and the lawn which I feel is part of my property has been defiled and defecated on by the dog owners that like to walk their dog onto the property when they have the entire walk way to have their dog defile or defecate on. I brought this issue to the association and from what they told me they would notify the owners but that was only a temporary fix, It has taken me an entire year to get my grass green after the "keep off grass" sign and constantly seeding watering etc... so anyway the dog owners has continued to ignore my sign and defile and defecate onto the lawn. I have emailed the association the township ordinance, and last nite I almost got into a physical altercation with a dog owner because the moth balls which is on my lawn got onto the side walk. Can anyone please advise how to resolve this issue.

They stold my ID

I lived in a Townhome in Willingboro, NJ and the new Board is so corrupt they forged the judges signature. I was never given by-laws. They dont even do anything. I had to replace my mail box three time, they slash my tires, they took a brick and broke my windows because I report them. Where is the by-laws? Something need to be done sbout Eminent domain abuse and the crooks taking all the metal anf the copper from the illegsl lock outs.

Betty R.

II own my condo. I was given verbal permission by the landscape committee chairman to install a small ( 5 1/2 feet X 7 foot) paver patio in front of my Sliding glass door within the confines of my flower bed. I was not asked to submit written approval by this man. Now the " board" is telling me I have to remove it! At a vote by the 5 board members , the very person who gave me permission to have it installed voted against me! Is that ethical? Do I have any right to keep my patio.? It is in no way attached to my unit! It is a beautiful addition, ! It is not "structural meaning it is in no way attached to the building! What are MY rights ?

Stephanie

Our condominium Board of Directors increased our association dues from $145.00 to $165.00 in 2012. They voted to another increase from $165.00 to $190.00 a month beginning Jan. 1, 2014. due to the 52% delinquency rate in our complex. The paying unit owners did not have a vote in this decision; only the Board of Directors. Is there a cap as to how often association dues can be increased?

an unknown user

I am a board member of a New Jersey Condominium. We have had many issues with the Sponsor over the nearly 9 years since the Condo was formed. Our governing documents authorizes the Board of Director to control the assignment of garage and outdoor parkings spaces. In july the Sponsor rent out one of his retained units. Without requesting any authorization he through in a garage space as part of the lease with this tenant. Since the Sponsor was also previously our Managing Agent he had the access code to the garage and just gave it to his tenant who has been using it now for about six months. Here's my question. The Sponsor took possession of the garage without a lease or authorization of the Board of Directors. We have billed him for the going rate for the garage rental retroactive to the July possession and told him that he must pay for the previous unauthorized use and sign a lease or remove have his tenant immediately vacate the garage. Since there is no lease, and since the Sponsor just took the garage without authorization we would just like to have our current managing agent change the code to prevent his tenant access. If he had a lease and failed to pay rent there may be a legal question and perhaps we would need to go through an eviction proceeding. Not sure. But given the fact that he need came to the Board to arrange terms, that there is no permission or lease, would their be any legal problem to just prevent access by changing the access code. Your opinions please

Donna

My advice? DON'T buy a condo!!! You lose all privacy and independence and are treated like a tenant in your own home, while the board or association acts like your landlord. I will NEVER buy another condo again.

Marisol

We live on the ground floor of one of the three buildings in our complex. The problem we have is that the upstairs neighbors have two young kids ( one is 8; the other 2) and they constantly run all over the apartment, especially the 2-year old. We can't even watch TV sometimes, because the picture keeps moving up and down. These people also entertain a lot, and their company includes kids that do the same as theirs. We must have told them 100 times that this has to stop; most of the times we are nice about it, but sometimes we've had heated arguments. We asked the Board to get involved and to send them a letter stating that they've received complaints from tenants, and the Board refuses to get involved because they claim that they don't want a lawsuit. My husband ended up in the hospital with chest pains from the aggravation (thank God it was not his heart.) I spoke to the man upstairs the following day and he said he would try to control the kids. The day after that, they had company again and I had to ring their bell and tell them to stop the kids from running. We are thinking about consulting a lawyer to force the Board to get involved (by the way all the Board tells us is to call the Police, but you can't call the Police until it is after 10 p.m. Does the Board have the responsibility to get involved as well? We are sure other neighbors probably hear them as well.

Roe

Marisol,my heart goes out to you! I have the same problem only my upstairs neighbor is a single father of 3 who doesn't work.His kids are 8,10 and 14! They stomp, bang and fight as soon as they get home from school and the father sleeps most of the day and is up all night,He plays loud video games ,banging loud bass music and a loud TV all day. The TV is huge and is on the wall so I hear every sound right in my living room/dining room, I can't watch TV or eat dinner in my own dining room because of this! No one will help me because I rent and so d does the neighbor.He has been talked to many times but doesn't care! He even tried bullying me and screaming at me,I love my unit but I can not live here anymore,I;m sick to my stomach! I wear ear plugs all day when I;m home and watch TV with head phones in my bedroom. This is very unfair,I'm working to pay my rent and support this unemployed bum! I want out!

Grace

If you have a problem with a the Board or a Tenant,the first step is to send them a certified Letter discussing the problem. In fl.the statutes state that the Board must answer your question within a few days Or they are in violation.You can then send a formal complaint to the state if it involves election issues or misuse of finances.f

Joann

We are a ground level condo with a 3 or 4 foot crawl space under all floors. In winter, our floors creek in many places, more than the summer. If the floor supports need more support, is this the associations responsibility since there is another condo above us. Would this fall under common elements?

rain

I live in a condo complex in new jersey. We are having so many problems with the board, management and the complex lawyer, they are messing with our finance and voting rights Consumers affairs was no help, so we hired our own lawyer and now the chickens are running

Donna2

We are only 4 units we all get along we self manage. Of course there is only one bad apple making living here impossible for all of us. We have neighbors smoking in the common areas, stealing signs because they do not like the rules on them, putting regular garbage in the recycling bins. They have guests using the alternate door as their private entrance they have a carport door they can use and I front door. The problem is they have to pass my windows in the back of the property and I live alone. So I constantly have people I don't know back here and I get frightened . THey use the property as his business contractors here around the property all the time.. Right now we believe he is doing construction without our vote we saw no plans and we believe he is making a separate apartment. Which I believe is illegal considering when I looked at that unit I was told I was unable to make that a apartment and use the alternate door common door for that apartments main entrance. Can anyone tell me what we can do about the illegal apartment? I know for a fact we are able to inspect his unit at anytime but why cant people just obey the laws. That's what everyone signed up for right? If you want to do whatever you want buy a single family home is my suggestion.

Susan

I live in a Condo. My Husband is the President of the Association and I serve as Secretary. Having to deal with the constant stupidity of some Owner's is what disturbs me the most. Currently, we have an owner with a dog. The owner lets the dog run free, defecate all over...and never picks it up. He was warned. Now, he just lets his dog out on his upper deck to do his "business". This person is a 35 year old able adult. It's not the dogs fault his Owner is an idiot. But the dog will be the one who will suffer...as the dog will have to be removed.

harry

my moms condo association made a new rule disallowing owners from renting their units out.My mom was still allowed to rent hers out, because she bought it before the rule and was grandfathered in. She died an willed the home to me and the association claims that I am not allowed to rent it out. I should be grandfathered in because she bought this place with the intention of willing me the property and accompanying rights of ownership that she had. What can I do to avoid fines and liens? How much can the association do to me? I own this outright with no mortgage.

Hilly Holcomb

Own Condo in Atlanta...a night Mare from Hell. Laws not enforced. Dogs unleased...Dogs staked in Common area. On & on. One HOA pres paid a friend $18, 000 for a Website. Petty Letters, favoritism to Friends. Make the Rules as they go. Outrageous Water bills. Owe more than it is worth. Don't know how to get rid of it... But...it does have Location...

LIN

AS A NEW OWNER CAN AN ASSOCIATION TAKE THERE TIME DO REPAIRS TO GET THE UNIT RENTED? AND IS THERE A FINE MY LAYWER CAN BILL THE ASSOCIATION?

Connie B

We have new management company. For nearly a year and they have done absolutely no repairs or maintenance. When we call, their answer is, Give us time". Never buy a condo.

Dual citizen

Live in a townhouse ... I call the Board the gestapo for their nitpicking. Had to get Bd approval to put out an American flag on patriotic holidays. Suggest if a person is independent, they do not move into an association.

Robert

I live in a condo and I have a water and sediment leak coming from the housing where the water pipe leads into the basement foundation. Who is responsible to fix this problem. I was told that I am by the association? However, the building department says that it is the developer/association responsibility if it has occurred prior to ten years of my ownership, which it has been.

marion

When I moved to this senior condo village 18 yrs. ago I called the Architectural Control Officer to see if I/we could dig out a foundation garden downstairs fronting neighbor's unit as only sand/weeds grew there and he was very elderly. I was told by all means and was not given a piece of paper or any formal approval. My son and I spent 12 yrs. creating a gorgeous flower garden using shrubs, rocks from the Adirondacks and rocks from my contractor, bulbs, perennials, and annuals, ground covers, and the garden bloomed from March into mid to late November nonstop. My neighbor downstairs (who had lived here 7 yrs. suddenly decided she wanted the gardens (2) as the foundation garden is measured by the By Laws as 4 ft. out from bldg. So what I had was a "common" garden and a foundation garden as we were 12 ft. out. My neighbor was given preference by the management and trustees, and destroyed both gardens, throwing away hostas that were worth at least $50 each. removing and relocating my alberta spruce, removing all the stones, and generally destroying everything as she said she would in the manager's letter IF I didn't leave/abandon peacefully. I was advised by my son to request ADR which I did immediately but was denied as set up for mid July that year, while the manager lied and signed permissions 3 wks. earlier giving my neighbor written permission to take both gardens. NJ Condo Law was violated and I reported it to the DCA of NJ, who told me their hands were tied and that I needed to get the law enforced in our county courts. I did not have money for a lawyer and had begun a law suit vs the association for a seriously bad fall that caused me multiple fractures/dislocation of my left one ankle/foot and required a 5 day hospital stay followed by a 3 mo. nursing home stay in a wheelchair off my feet. I was barely able to walk when I returned to this steep walkup alone. I had no help from VNA with an aide, as always happens after all my major hospitalizations last 12 yrs. I was so engrossed in outpatient pain control and therapy 3 days a week, I had no time to deal with a lawyer nor the $$$ to hire one as I did see several who told me it would cost me $20K to realize maybe a few thousand in damages. So I did nothing. This woman also got a shitzui dog that year which I might add barks thru the open screened windows loudly and often first years for 3-4 hrs. nonstop when she was out. All complaints to management were ignored. When I was told by the Muni Clerk/police I had to sign a complaint for them to issue a fine, I finally did out of frustration (and had a 2nd surgery on ankle following year and another long recovery in a nursing home/wheelchair with daily PT for 3 mo. after I was able to drive again. I am a senior widow living alone independently. I did not have the assets to move out of here and buy another place as my unit is still only worth under $100K, the same price I paid for it 18 yrs. ago. It's been even lower the past 6-yrs. This neighbor also had my swing confiscated/removed from our village (which I had on barren soil I put wood chips on under a tree on our REAR common lawn (not facing into anyone's condo or entry door.) Other owners were allowed to keep their benches and swings putting them in similar areas where grass didn't grown and/or putting paver stones under their bench or swing. I was not allowed and the Board voted as a collective whole and ordered my swing be taken off the condo property. A friend outside the village now has my swing. What is a poor old lady to do? they treat me like a prisoner here. the woman downstairs perjured the Bible in Court (it went that far in my township) about her dog, and about a lot of other things each meeting which covered several years. Then the judge threw it all out!!! Opportunist lawyers all wanted $1500 to represent me for 5 min. in muni court so I represented myself. Now that 6 yrs. have elapssed, do I have any recourse?

Melissa

Hello, I received a letter from my condo association saying that apparently I have the police on speed dial. I haven't called them in 2 months and the reasons I ever did were completely warranted. I called 911 two times over a year period, one being 2 dogs chasing me off my own back patio! I own mine. The president went on the say I would be fined if I contacted the police! I find this appalling and outrageous. Is this legal?

Wanda

I live in a townhouse community. I have been served violations notice each year for things I need to fix on my house. The first one was June 2011. Each year I fixed these items with 1 to 4 months of notification only to have new violations given in May or June of the next year. We are suppose to have a grace period before a fine is charged. However for three years straight I have been charged a $78 monthly fine for not fixing the violations even though I have. When I contacted the condo I was pretty much told the fines would not be removed as long as I keep getting violations (items identified on my house to repair or replace). Is this legal?

Joan

Are they allowed to go into my condo without my permission. They have a key for my unit and I was told the only way they can enter is in an emergency?

Proclivity

Did Jay ever receive an answer to this question? Jay I live in condo that was flooded by Sandy The condo assoc carries the insurance for the structure INCLUDING inside my unit. Now that the insurance amt has been determined the assoc is tell us that they will hire the repair company and pay them directly from the insurance. The amouts are VERY generous and I want all the money so I can hire my own registered contractor. Like they allo 4400 to paint 880sqft . I should get the 4400 directly and not have to agree to the assoc paying that to a painter of their choice HELP anyone give me some info on this

Bill Commons billcombo43@aol.com

Our board president will not open to the residents executive meetings.I am to the understanding all meetings including finance,social,building & grounds and executive meetings should be open to observe not to speak until the open session if the committee deems.The only meetings closed would be if their is a pending lawsuit against a resident or a resident is in financial arrears This could be addressed after the meeting. Please respond.

an unknown user

I am new on the board and am amazed at how crooked the other members are. The president decided to NOT water the grass or use fertilizer on our grounds for 3 yrs. He has repeated said that he can decide anyhting about the condos. I was under the impression that if a major change-such a new lights -going from $400 lights to $29 lights that were installed by another members company. We didn't need new ones and the owners even set up a petition against the new lights-all this while the grass was totally being neglected. He always has a "buddy" willing to do work around here. The other 2 members do NOT even live here. We are being controlled by slum lords that just don't care. Everyone says he get kick backs. He refused a handicap ramp and we had to get the civil rights of MI involved to get permission.He ignores ADA rights and the management co rep. said he could handle the civil rights and ACLU. I got on the board to get the grass watered and fertilized but everything else is going to the garbage. Does the board have the right to do anything they want? He said he could paint the condos pink if he wanted and I'm a troublemaker. He doesn't even read the contracts he signs and I have found things in the contracts that we were paying for and he thought there was no mention of any of them.

an unknown user

Our association hired a roofer to replace our old roof, he in turn hired an A/C firm to relocate the compressor which is on the roof. Do to this project the roof leaked causing damage to our ceiling, walls & hardwood floors. who pays for the damages?


Write your comment

Your name (optional):
Your Comment (required):
Verification (required): img
Please copy the characters from the image above into the text field below. Doing this helps us prevent automated submissions.

Please allow up to 1 business day for your comment to be approved.

Association Operations

On The Board

HOA Living

Newspaper Subscription

subscribe Subscribe to "The New Jersey Cooperator" newspaper - it is Free Manage my subscriptions

E-Mail Newsletter

Would you prefer receiving the summary of new articles by e-mail? Your E-Mail: