Friday, June 19, 2015

New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Rules Chapter 13 Debtor Only Required to Pay Condominium Six Month Lien Priority

By:  Angela M. Morisco, Esq.

In a published opinion dated June 11, 2015, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey ruled that  since the condominium owners' mortgage was under water, the condominium association's claim under the Chapter 13 was limited to payment of the six month lien priority only.
The decision can be accessed here:
In re: MARK and RONDA RONES, Debtors. Case No. 14 ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Condominium Associations: Fear Not The Dreaded Legal Fees

By:  Angela M. Morisco, Esq.

If your condominium association has delinquent owners, fear not the dreaded legal fees.  In a decision dated May 1, 2015, the Appellate Division confirmed what community association collection attorneys already know.  Condominium owners are statutorily and contractually obligated to pay monthly maintenance fees. Most governing documents provide that in the event resort to counsel is required to collect delinquent maintenance fees, the association will be entitled to recover its reasonable attorney's fees.  The reasonableness of the fee is for the court to determine.

However, delinquent owners are cautioned and associations are advised, that the law does not require "proportionality" between the amount of  maintenance fees sought to be recovered and the legal fees incurred to collect the delinquency.   This rule is well grounded in New Jersey law in general.  (See, Furst v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 182 N.J. 1, 23 (2004);  Walker v. Giuffre, 209 N.J. 124, 132 (2012)  This rule is equally applicable to collection of delinquent condominium fees as determined in  Adelphia Greens II Condominium Association, Inc. v. Dubrovsky (App. Div. 2015)

Hence, the fear of the fees is not a basis to avoid turning delinquent owners over to counsel for collection!

Alternative Dispute Resolution for Collection of Delinquent Condominium Fees

By:   Angela M. Morisco, Esq.

A recent decision by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey confirmed the scope
of the ADR requirement set forth in Bell Tower v. Haffert, 423 N.J. Super. 507 (App. Div. 2012).

In The Glens at Pompton Plains Condominium Association, Inc. v. Van Kleeff, decided on May 7, 2015, the Appellate Division determined that the mandate of N.J.S.A. 46:8B-14 (k) requires condominium associations to offer a  "fair and efficient procedure for the resolution of housing related disputes" in connection the collection of delinquent maintenance fees in general.  There is no distinction whether the fees due were the result of a special assessment or a regular monthly maintenance fee.

Consequently, New Jersey law empowers a party to compel alternative dispute resolution as  an alternative to proceeding in court at the outset.  

Therefore, it is recommended that prior to commencing any litigation, in connection with the collection if delinquent condominium maintenance fees, the owner be provided with notice and of the right to request alternative dispute resolution.

Fear Not the Dreaded Legal Fees: Part Two

BY:  ANGELA M. MORISCO, ESQ. Very often boards of condominiums and other community associations hesitate to engage in litigation ag...