What are the governing documents in a Homeowners Association?
In the County where the property is located, the builder-developer must file documents establishing the community, a home or condo owners association and providing for how the property is to be managed and expenses paid for. These are the governing documents.
"The Condominium Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 46:8B-1 to -38,..." requires that the builder developer record a master deed containing by laws, rules and regulations and other documents.
What is a condominium?
A condominium is described by the New Jersey Supreme Court as "'the form of ownership of real property under a master deed providing for ownership by one or more owners of units of improvements together with an undivided interest in common elements.”
What are “common elements”?
These are the roads, streets, roofs, sidewalks, playgrounds, lawns, pools and clubhouses used by all members who own homes in the development. Each property owner has the right to use the common elements so long as they do not restrict another owner's rights and they pay their fair share of the association's maintenance and dues charges.
What is in the Bylaws?
The Bylaws contain the rules for how the association of home or condo owners will be operated. The Bylaws provide for voting, elections of officers and a board of trustees to oversee the development and a management company, establish codes of conduct for property owners, how the exterior of each home and yard are to be maintained and the obligations to pay maintenance charges for the common areas, insurance and other expenses shared by all property owners.
What if the Bylaws are unclear?
If the Bylaws are not clear, then the property owners can vote to change or amend the Bylaws. Sometimes, a lawyer may need to interpret the Bylaws to provide the guidance from the New Jersey State laws or the decisions made by the Courts to help resolve any disagreements over how to interpret the Bylaws.
Can a Homeowner's Association evict people occupying a unit?
The short answer is “no.” Only a Court may order an eviction. The Homeowner's Association must have the power to evict in its Bylaws, master deed or rules. Even then, because eviction is a very serious action, only a New Jersey Court may order someone from their home. Eviction by “self help” or without a Court's approval is illegal in New Jersey.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
This is federal law enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States. It is the law of the land.
The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et. seq., prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions and homeowner's insurance companies whose discriminatory practices make housing unavailable to persons because of race or color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or disability.