In its January 29, 2018 decision captioned Indian Field at Hardyston HOA, Inc. v. Trudnos, New Jersey’s Appellate Division reaffirmed the common-sense concept that (with certain exceptions) bankruptcy only discharges a debtor’s personal debt, not an Association’s lien on the property.
Associations should calendar their FHA expiration dates and contact their attorney about six months prior to expiration. Recertification can be obtained up to six months before a current FHA certification expires; so calendaring this date can help an association avoid any lapses in certification.
Senate Bill 3233/Assembly Bill A1425 from the 2016-2017 Legislative Session was signed into law by Governor Christie on January 16, 2018. Unfortunately, per the Assembly Judiciary Committee Statement, and with very limited exception, “a municipality will only be able to require developers to post performance guarantees that cover improvements being dedicated to a public entity”.
Litigating against a community’s developer over construction defects and other issues is a long, slow and expensive process. An average transition lawsuit can take between five (5) and seven (7) years to reach conclusion. As if the glacial pace were not bad enough, if an association pays for its transition litigation “out of pocket”, attorney fees could cost $750,000 or more, even if the matter does not reach trial.
The transition process involves an engineering evaluation of the Association’s common elements to determine if there are defects. The engineer’s evaluation typically identifies defects within the site improvements, for example, the landscaping, roadways, sidewalks, detention basins, etc. These site improvements are often subject to performance bonds with the municipality.
On July 13, 2017, the State enacted P.L. 2017, Ch. 106 often referred to as the Radburn bill, a supplement to the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act intended to ensure Condominium, HOA, and Cooperative elections are conducted in a fair and open manner. The new Law contains important new procedural and substantive requirements for: (1) Membership Voting Rights; (2) Board Elections; and (3) Bylaw Amendments. Management and Boards must navigate these new requirements carefully, else they may face costly challenges to the validity of Association elections and Bylaw Amendments.
In an October 21, 2016, published decision titled In Majorca Isles Master Ass'n, Inc., 560 B.R. 824 (Bankr. S.D. Fla.) (“Majorca Isles”), the United States Bankruptcy Court awarded a Florida Master Association with an incredible $16.3 million judgment against a developer and its appointed trustees, in what the Court described as a “modern day story of David and Goliath.” Setting aside the transition aspects of the case, the decision provides an excellent guide for boards and property managers – particularly those involved with master associations – facing issues of poor record keeping and conflicts of interest.
What happens when a unit is in collections and then upon a title search, we determine there is no mortgage on the property?
This is a common situation when the property was bought a long time ago, and the debtor recently fell on hard times or the debtor is a relative that inherited the unit from the deceased owner. Although the mortgage is paid, the debtor cannot pay their monthly maintenance fees.
Eric Koehler, Vice President of Falcon Drone Services and Fran McGovern from McGovern Legal Services along with Access Property Management presented the benefits of using drones in community associations on Wednesday April 12. The demonstration was open to both board members and property managers in the Hills Communities. All were excited to see how the new technology worked. The presentation provided a demonstration of the drone in use. All participants were encouraged to provide comments and questions.