Q&A: Resolving Municipal Ordinance Conflict

Q Prior to 1995, all common expenses for our condo association were charged equally to all unit owners, as mandated by our master deed and the New Jersey Condominium Act. Since 1995, that portion of our condo association’s common expenses designated by our board of directors as municipal services expenses has been charged to unit owners based on the assessed values of our units, as required by our local township’s property tax ordinance. Where there is a conflict between a township ordinance and a condo association’s governing documents (and the NJ Condominium Act,) how should that conflict be resolved?

—Curious Unit Owner

A “The New Jersey Condominium Act (NJSA 46:8B-17) states that the common expenses must be charged to the unit owners by percentage interest or as otherwise proportioned by the master deed and bylaws,” says Princeton-based attorney, Ronald L. Perl, with the law firm of Hill Wallack LLP. “A municipal ordinance which contains a contrary requirement is in violation of state law and, in my opinion, unenforceable and invalid. More specifically, if the master deed states that the common expense assessment should be apportioned by percentage interest and a municipal ordinance requires that a portion of the condominium common expenses must nevertheless be assessed by unit value, that ordinance would be contrary to state law.” n

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  • The declaration {master deed} state that all assessments nust be uniform regardless of assessed value -the town says rebates must be in proportion to the tax paid by the unit. Why not -since the unit getting the larger refund paid more tax?