Bill shielding homeowners from unwarranted association fees becomes law
NEW JERSEY – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space (R-24) to protect homeowners from unexpected association assessments and charges was signed by Governor Murphy Wednesday.
The new law (S908/A2480) clarifies the 2017 Radburn Law that defined homeowner association members as owners of units within a planned real estate development and bans homeowner associations or clubs from compelling non-members to pay fees if they were not entitled to such payments prior to July 13, 2017.
After Radburn passed, some aggressive homeowner associations and clubs reasoned they could require all residents in the area to pay dues even if they were not legally required to do so.
“We have safeguarded homeowners from being charged association fees that were not disclosed in their deeds,” Oroho said. “It’s a shame some homeowner associations misrepresented the Radburn Law to compel fee payments so this legislation signed by the governor today clarifies the true intent of the law.”
The new law is retroactive to July 13, 2017, the date the Radburn Law passed, so it applies to communities that tried to compel payments by changing their bylaws, and nullifies any liens placed on owners for non-payment of such a charges.
“You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game, and that’s exactly what some communities tried to do,” Wirths said. “Homeowners who purchase a property that wasn’t part of a community association should have never been surprised with unexpected assessments and compulsory fees.”
The law does 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.
“Planned development associations that never had the authority to mandate non-members pay assessments don’t lose anything,” Space said. “Voluntary associations and clubs remain just that, voluntary.”
The legislators also thanked their bipartisan sponsors, Senator Troy Singleton and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, for their advocacy in helping move the bill through the legislative process.