Q&A: A Rule is a Rule is a Rule?

Q. I am a board member on our seven-member condo board. We really had a problem with a previous board member, who maintains that any rules (not bylaw changes) must be enforced by subsequent boards and can never be adjusted or changed. When she left the board recently for the last time, without any notice or discussion, she put through a bunch of onerous rules just before leaving and now demands that future boards enforce every single one of these changes. My question is this: Do you know if it is true that New Jersey laws require current condo boards to enforce rules and regulations (not made part of a condominium’s bylaws) set by a previous board, and at the same time prohibit future condo boards from ever modifying or reversing such rules?

                  —Ridiculous Rule-Maker 

A.  “Virtually all of the governing documents (master deed and/or bylaws) of the condo associations, with which we have been involved, confer authority upon the Board of Directors to adopt and/or amend rules and regulations,” said Joel M. Ellis, Esq., a partner with the law firm of Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi, LLP in Hackensack. “Therefore, it is not correct that future condo boards would be precluded from modifying or reversing such rules.

“Further, N.J.S. 46:8B-14(c) of the New Jersey Condominium Act confers authority on the board to adopt, amend and enforce rules and regulations, subject to the right of a majority of unit owners to change such rules. In order for it to be valid and enforceable rules and regulations must be adopted by a formal vote of the board and distributed to the unit owners.

“Rules and regulations must be uniformly and not selectively enforced. For example, a rule prohibiting unit owners from having dogs will likely not be enforced if it is not uniformly enforced to all unit owners.”

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