Q We send violation notices and the owners just throw it in the trash. We would
prefer to threaten fines rather than engage in legal proceedings. Specifically,
issues involve leasing units without board approval or notice, barbecue grills
on patios, and animals in condo units. Our documents don't specifically define
barbecue grills; however we feel it falls under nuisance (fire hazard). There
is a no pet policy in our documents, and a purchase and/or leases must be
approved by the board. I seem to think we can fine up to $100 per day not to
exceed $1,000, but can't seem to find legislation to support that.
—Not Fine in Fair Lawn
“Further, it is always a good practice to define, as best as possible, what matters are considered violations. Any necessary definitions must be clearly spelled out in the rules and regulations. In your case, what constitutes a violation of “barbeque grills” should be clearly explained. Notwithstanding a lack of definition, the board is always entrusted with the enforcement of provisions that protect the “health, welfare and safety” of the unit owners and the association.
“Finally, the amount that you can charge in fines should always be spelled out in the governing documents. Including it in the governing documents not only satisfies certain notice requirements it will also act as a deterrent to those seeking to violate the rules. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 46:8B-15(f) provides for the imposition of fines for violations. The statute provides that ‘if authorized by the master deed and bylaws, the association may impose reasonable fines. . .' and 'a fine for a violation . . . shall not exceed the maximum monetary penalty . . . under section 19 of the ‘Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law.'' That law provides specifically, 'any person who violates, or causes to be violated, any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be liable to a penalty of not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00 for each violation, and a penalty of not less than $500.00 nor more than $5,000.00 for each continuing violation.'”