9th District legislators Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove voted against a common interest community (A-469) legislative measure that would modify State laws which regulate homeowners’ associations. Senator Christopher J. Connors, also representing the 9th Legislative District, has pledged to oppose the legislation should it be considered in the Senate.
Asm. Brian Rumpf and Asw. DiAnne Gove voted against a bill modifying laws regulating homeowners’ associations in the Assembly and Sen. Chris Connors has pledged to oppose the bill in the Senate. (©iStock.com)
The 9th District delegation issued the following statement on its opposition to the latest version of common interest community legislation considered by the Legislature:
“On the surface, this common interest community bill seems to have the best intentions by calling for homeowners’ rights to common property, establishing standards for elections and access to records as well as providing for a recall procedure for board members. However, our extensive past experience with common interest community legislation has taught us that, inevitably, the devil is in the details.
“Most notably, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs would be empowered with ‘oversight’ in assisting homeowner associations with complying with the provisions of the legislation. This single provision is very alarming in that it would most certainly lead to the state interfering in the operations of homeowners associations. How would the state know how better to run a community then its residents?
“State oversight could very well lead to the gradual erosion of the autonomy currently enjoined by the overwhelming majority of associations run by local residents. Making matters worse, the Department would be empowered to promulgate ‘any rules and regulations that may be necessary to effectuate’ the legislation’s provisions.
“Obviously, there would be a cost to the state for overseeing every association in the state. Many argue that the Department is already understaffed and, as such, cannot fully carry out its existing responsibilities.
“Previous versions of common interest community legislation contained a fee on homeowners, which incensed many of our constituents, thousands of who signed petitions in active protest against unwanted and unwarranted Trenton oversight. When considering these factors and the fact that New Jersey is consistently facing budget shortfalls, it is our opinion that it would only be a matter of time before the state imposed a fee on associations and/or homeowners to cover the costs of ‘overseeing’ communities to ensure their compliance.
“Issues touched upon in the legislation can already be handled internally by community residents through the elections of their association board members and voting to change a community’s bylaws. Yes, we’ve all heard the cases about out-of-control association boards. But like its predecessors, this legislation is an overreaction, built upon the misguided premise that government is the solution to any problem. Some relief may be provided to residents governed by ineffective boards, but enactment of this legislation is likely to be a case where the cure ends up being worse than the disease.”
Despite the “no” votes cast by Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove, A-469 was passed by the Assembly on June 25. Subsequent to the Assembly’s vote, the legislation was referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on which Senator Connors currently serves as a committee member. In past legislative sessions, Senator Connors has used his committee assignment to stop the advancement of previous versions of common interest community legislation.