TRENTON, N.J. – Under a bill advanced unanimously by the Assembly Housing Committee today, homeowners would be protected from voluntary associations that try to impose mandatory fees on all residents, regardless of membership.
The bill (A2480), sponsored by Assemblyman Hal Wirths and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space, bans associations or clubs from compelling non-members to pay fees if they were not entitled to such payments prior to July 13, 2017.
“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 legislation helps clarify the 2017 Radburn law that defined homeowner association members as owners of units within a planned real estate development. After the law passed, some historically voluntary homeowner associations and clubs reasoned they now had the ability to require all residents in the area to pay dues even if they were not members.
“Homeowner associations that never had the authority to mandate non-members pay assessments would not lose anything. Voluntary associations and clubs would remain just that, voluntary,” said Space (R-Sussex).
The bill is retroactive to July 13, 2017, the date the Radburn law passed, so that it applies to communities that tried to compel payments by changing their bylaws. It also nullifies any lien that was placed on an owner for non-payment of such a charge.
The bill would not apply to property owners who are part of planned real estate developments with master deeds that have always required owners to pay certain fees and dues for maintenance and support of common areas.
In February, the Senate unanimously passed the bill (S908) sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho.