Q&A: Out-of-Control Board

Q. My HOA board has not had an election in 10 years. They keep reappointing themselves and appointing their friends to the board when there is a vacancy. Is this legal? How can I stop this abuse of power by my HOA?

                                 —Helpless Resident 

A. “Your community’s Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions and/or bylaws (together referred to as “Governing Documents”) likely set forth the terms of office and election procedure for executive board positions, which often require that elections of board members be held at certain intervals,” says attorney Hubert Cutolo of the firm Cutolo Barros, which has offices in Freehold, Cherry Hill, and Newark.  “Pursuant to recent amendments to New Jersey’s Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (“PREDFDA”), executive board elections “shall be held at two-year intervals” if a community’s bylaws are silent as to terms of office for board members (N.J.S.A. 45:22A-45.2(a)). If your community has more than 50 units, the term of office for any board members may not exceed four years in length (N.J.S.A. 45:22A-45.2(b)).  

In other words, if your community’s governing documents do not set forth a schedule of board member elections, your community must have elections every two years under PREDFDA. (N.J.S.A. 45:22A-45.2(a)). It would be advisable to review your community’s governing documents to determine whether elections have been held in accordance with the bylaws prior to taking any further action.

“If your community has not held elections for an extended period of time, a sufficient number of members may be able to force an election. Under PREDFDA, if a community has not held an election in two or more years, 

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