Legislative Report: New Jersey Legislative Action Committee, Fall Update

Nov 6, 2014
George  Greatrex, Esq.
Liaison to the NJ LAC

On October 10, 2014, I attended the NJ LAC's meeting as liaison from the Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley chapter. Several issues of note were discussed:

1. The Manager Licensing Bill has been reintroduced in the Senate (Sl367) and  in the Assembly (A2908). It  has been released from the Senate Commerce Committee, and is still expected that the bill will be moved out of the assigned Assembly committee this Fall, with the hope that  it will be voted on by both full houses by the end of 2014. It was noted that property manager licensing is a growing "trend" among  the states, including Florida, Virginia,  and Connecticut. The LAC subcommittee is gathering financial information from those and other states which have implemented manager licensing to rebut the claim by the NJ DCA that the cost to implement and administer the program will be cost prohibitive. 
2. As was previously reported, Bill A-469, which  proposes  to amend  several portions of the PREDFDA law governing HOAs, is pending in the Assembly and  is substantially similar to a Bill that was introduced and defeated in 2010 (the old Radburn/CARA bill). Considering the similar approaches and content of this bill and the Turner bill (S-1938), representatives of the LAC are meeting soon to narrow the list of issues with each bill, then will set up a joint meeting with Senators Turner and Assemblyman Green in August to discuss both bills. The LAC is considering proposing several separate smaller bills to Assemblyman Green which addresses the more pressing issues in the two omnibus bills, thereby increasing the likelihood of passage.

3. S-2081, a bill that proposes to impose an extra  fee on creditors filing foreclosure complaints as a means of discouraging same, was reviewed and it has been recommended that  the LAC oppose this bill, or at least seek an exemption for community association foreclosures. A similar bill is currently being drafted by Assemblyman Garcia's office, which also includes  a provision  for expedited foreclosures in uncontested matters.

4. A bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to eliminate HOA restrictions on radio antenna/towers in HOAs. This will be opposed  by CAl-National.

5. It was reported that Nevada has recently passed a bill providing for a super-priority lien for assessments in HOAs. In NJ, such a super lien is provided  for in the NJ Condo Act, but not in PREDFDA for non-condos. Senator Whelan introduced such a bill in the last legislative session, but it never moved and has not been reintroduced in this current session. It was suggested  that such a bill be introduced in conjunction with those listed in #2 above.
6. The DCA has proposed a 30%  increase in the fee charged to conduct its 5 year inspection  program. A letter was sent by CAI-NJ to the DCA objecting to the size of the increase. It has been learned that  the DCA approved an increase of 27%.

7. The 2014 CAI-NJ Conference and Expo is scheduled  for Saturday November  8, 2014 at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Franklin Township, NJ.
8. As was previously reported, the LAC discussed  its commitment to make vacant properties in HOAs in NJ a top legislative priority for the current legislative session (which ends in January 2016). Specifically, rent receivership as a means of addressing vacant units was discussed. The problems with this approach were identified:
Currently no legislation  providing of it in the context of HOAs
Rarely addressed in governing documents
Tenancy issues as obstacles
No uniformity of opinions from Chancery courts around the state
A subcommittee of the LAC has been formed to research the issue and  report back to the full LAC with regard to the wisdom of addressing this issue legislatively.

The next meeting of the NJ LAC is November 14, 2014.

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