“Membership Distinction,” Common Ground Magazine

“Membership Distinction,” Common Ground Magazine

A New Jersey bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on Sept. 30 explains which community associations have mandatory – as opposed to voluntary – membership for homeowners when it comes to assessment payments and other aspects of association governance, writes WRNJ.

The new statute (S908/A2480) clarifies the 2017 Radburn Law, which defines members of community associations as those owning homes within a planned real estate development. It bans voluntary associations from compelling nonmembers to pay assessments and nullifies liens filed due to nonpayment retroactive to July 13, 2017, when the original law was passed.

This clarifying law applies mainly to some older lake communities with voluntary membership to use the association amenities, says J. David Ramsey, a shareholder of Becker in Morristown, NJ, and a member of CAI’s New Jersey Legislative Action Committee.

He explains that several lake associations found they had inadequate income to cover operating expenses and felt that owners would opt out of their voluntary membership if face with increased fees. After the 2017 Radburn Law passed, some interpreted its definition to include lake community residents, who were then turned into members required to pay assessments, notes Ramsey, a CAI past president. The New Jersey LAC supported the new statute to clarify the original intent of the Radburn Law.

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