Q. Can a non-owner serve on the board of a condominium association?
A. “The answer to this question may well vary from state to state and it will most certainly vary from condominium to condominium,” says Robert J. Buckalew, an attorney at Buckalew Frizzell & Crevina LLP, which has offices in Glen Rock and Asbury Park. “Most condominiums are organized as non-profit corporations. In New Jersey, non-profit corporations fall under Title 15 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated. That title provides for non-profit corporations to be operated by an elected board of trustees. Some are run by a board of directors. The only requirement for election to a board in New Jersey is that a person be 18 years of age. There is no requirement that a trustee be a member of the corporation, a unit owner, or a resident of the condominium, or even of the state.
“However, the corporation’s certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or the condominium’s master deed may establish other criteria for membership on a board. Any one of these may and in fact often do require that a trustee be a unit owner and, therefore, a member of the corporation. Some condominium owners’ associations may require that a trustee, or some minimum number of trustees, not only be unit owners but also be resident unit owners. Others – and these are fairly common – allow spouses of unit owners to be trustees. It is doubtful that a domestic partner would be eligible to be a trustee, absent a bylaws provision allowing a non-owning domestic partner to serve as a trustee, but it is all but certain that a same-sex spouse could be elected where the master deed, certificate of incorporation, or bylaws provide that unit owners, or members of the corporation or their spouses may serve as trustees.
“To summarize: look to your corporation’s certificate of incorporation, or to your condominium’s master deed and bylaws to see just what the qualifications are for membership on your association’s board.”