COVID-19 in New Jersey Community Associations

The following is an overview of issues facing community associations throughout the state.

ELECTIONS AND BOARD MEETINGS The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) published new regulations on May 18, 2020 referencing the Planned Real Estate Development Disclosure Act (PREDFDA). When these new regulations go into effect, they may curtail the ability of community associations to conduct phone conferencing or remote meetings (e.g., via Zoom) and elections. For now, community associations should conduct as many meetings as possible remotely to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

COMMON AREAS — The Board has authority to adopt rules and regulations governing the use and operation of common areas. See N.J.S.A. 46:8B-149(c) and N.J.S.A. 45:22A-21 et seq. Therefore, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Board may close common areas temporarily and promote social distancing and the wearing of face masks in public.  Congregation in areas such as clubhouses, gazebos, tot lots, gyms, and basketball and tennis courts may spread the virus, so signage is essential.

POOLS — Careful consideration must be given on whether to delay or cancel pool openings this year. The decision should be made with guidance by health and pandemic specialists on the likelihood of virus spread in and out of the pool. The decision of the board will be protected by New Jersey’s adherence to the business judgment rule.

MAINTENANCE FEES — With the downturn in the economy, boards need to take immediate action to prevent budget shortfalls when members delay payments of monthly fees or stop paying them altogether. To prepare now, boards should review their budgets and cut all non-essential expenditures, review contracts for savings and apply for credit.