No Oversight

Feb 21, 2018

To the Editor:

I read Tom Meredith’s column (Life in an Over-55 Community: As Good as It Gets,” 2/7). While I found his story mildly entertaining, there is another side of the story one should consider before moving into a community that is governed by a homeowners association.

More than 1 million New Jersey residents live in communities that are governed by an HOA having age and deed restrictions. To anyone familiar with the activities of a homeowners association, the notion that an HOA has any resemblance to an American-style democracy is ridiculous. Unlike the American system of government, an HOA has no system of checks and balances other than the homeowners that live there, and unfortunately there is seldom a high level of homeowner participation.

The governing documents give the duly elected, not appointed, board members the powers to establish rules, and if these rules are not followed, the association has the authority to fine you. The board has a fiduciary obligation to enforce all contracts with personnel necessary for the maintenance and operation of the property, such as snow removal, and can limit any discussion on homeowners’ questions at an open meeting. The board controls the association’s finances and is free to unilaterally make major capital improvements without the homeowners’ approval.

In other words, the board simultaneously occupies the legislative, judicial and executive branches without oversight.

Three years ago 9th District legislators Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove voted against a common interest community legislative measure (A-469) that would modify state laws that regulate homeowners associations. Sen. Christopher J. Connors, also representing the 9th District, has pledged to oppose legislation that would empower the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs with “oversight” in assisting homeowner associations in complying with the provisions of the legislation.

Art Mooney

Little Egg Harbor


Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.