Q. I have been a resident of a homeowners association in New Jersey for 37 years and this problem I’m having is going on almost that long. For many years, I have religiously sent e-mails to the board of trustees and management about trip hazards on our sidewalks (there are 42 of them) and a very serious condition that puts a family in jeopardy of injury. However, to date nothing has been done about it. I have also turned into management and the board a situation involving a concrete and wood dam that is over 37 years old that should be replaced. Additionally, there is a drainage ditch that kids play in and shouldn’t be, piping that goes under a street and another drainage ditch uncared for. After going to meeting upon meeting over the years and sending out one too many e-mails, what recourse do I have to get these hazards taken care of?
—Concerned in Clifton
A. “Community association board members have a duty to act in the best interests of the association,” notes Mary W. Barrett, a shareholder attorney with the Community Associations Group in the Lawrenceville office of the law firm of Stark & Stark.
“This includes maintaining common property while expending resources in a prudent manner. It may be that the trip hazards and drainage ditch issues identified by the reader were inspected by the association's contractors and were not deemed in need of remediation.
‘In any event, the association is on notice of these issues and if an injury occurred a determination as to liability would be made. It can be frustrating not to have legitimate concerns addressed and the reader may want to reach out to her neighbors to galvanize support for addressing these issues. Also, any community association resident who wants to make decisions on behalf of the association should consider serving on the board of trustees.”