TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly today passed a bill affirming a 2017 law that has been interpreted as justifying the assessment of new homeowner association fees on some property owners.
The bill (S3661/A5043), sponsored by Assemblyman Hal Wirths and Sen. Steve Oroho, now awaits action by Gov. Phil Murphy. Under the measure, property owners in an association which did not have authority to compel payment of assessments prior to July 13, 2017 are not bound by fees.
“Homeowners who purchase a property that isn’t part of a community association shouldn’t have to fear surprise assessments and compulsory fees,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game, and that’s exactly what some communities have tried to do.”
The so-called Radburn law strengthened voting rights in common communities, and established election participation protections for residents of planned real estate developments. After it went into effect in 2017, advisors to lake associations reasoned they now had the right to require all owners in developments to pay yearly assessments.
“It’s regrettable some homeowners and lake associations are being led to believe that this bill is takes something away from their associations,” said Assemblyman Parker Space, a supporter of the legislation. “You can’t lose something you were never entitled too.”
Planned real estate developments, through master deeds, oblige owners to pay for maintenance and support of common areas. By clarifying the original intent of Chapter 106, any disagreements about paying of dues would be settled as they have been previously.