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About Us
Old Laws, Lingering Problems
Laws on condominiums and common interest residential associations were written in the late 1960's by developers, the FHA, and banker-lenders. HOAs were treated as property issues, not as people’s homes. These old laws gave extensive powers to the boards who ran the associations with their hired surrogates, mainly attorneys and management firms. New laws were needed to replace antiquated systems such as the NJ Condominium Act.

A new trade association, Community Associations Institute (CAI), stepped in and became dominated by the attorneys and management firms with membership from all the trades that service property, everything from roofers to swimming pool maintenance companies. Most states, including New Jersey, currently have a chapter of CAI. CAI took on the task of writing the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA), a piece of national legislation that should CAI get their way and have it become law, would allow association to continue their wrongful behavior. The states that have passed UCIOA have different versions except for Part V, which gives a state agency minimal authority to oversee the activities of associations.

New Jersey's HOAs Exposed
A similar situation developed in New Jersey. Fortunately, in 1997, the NJ Legislature enacted the Assembly Task Force To Study Homeowner Associations, which consisted of three Legislators (Bateman, Gregg, and Wisniewski), one Developer's Attorney, one Managing agent, two CAI attorneys, and two HOA Board Members. Although the Task Force was hardly representative of the interests of the individual homeowner, the hearings did draw the testimony and recommendations from many homeowners, including those from Lois and Sam Pratt, two of C-IHC’s founding members.

At these hearings many homeowners learned that problems in their associations were not unique and similar conflicts were occurring throughout the state. It quickly became apparent that boards were acting as they did because they could! There was virtually no limit to how they exercised their power despite the negative impact it had on homeowners. 


Winds of Change
The published testimony from the Task Force hearings was filled with overwhelming evidence of associations’ poor governance and unfair operations. A magnificent Task Force Report of desirable legislative reforms was prepared. In addition, the Task Force recognized that associations should no longer be considered business simply because they are corporate. Instead, the prevailing principle that Associations are quasi-governmental entities, and as such, should be subject to the same regulations as public governmental bodies, was adopted. This distinction was of utmost importance because it requires the practice of open meetings, conflict of interest provisions, and other modes of operation that homeowners are entitled to but rarely experience.

In April 1997, seventeen homeowners formed the Common-Interest Homeowners Coalition Incorporated (C-IHC), equipped with bylaws and a mission statement. Since then, we have grown into a successful non-profit organization with over 100 members all over New Jersey...and we are still growing! C-IHC has publicly endorsed the Task Force Report and incorporated it into a competing piece of legislation, S-2016 (in the Senate) and A-3988 (in the Assembly). We have developed charts of comparisons between the Task Force recommendations with the comparable provision in UCIOA and have found that UCIOA consistently comes up short in protecting homeowners. In contrast, S-2016 and A-3988 propose practical methods of functioning HOAs while still protecting homeowners’ interests. We have gained the support of several state legislators who appreciate our positions as being different from those of the industry groups. C-IHC is positioned with a wide range of members in terms of age, income, and backgrounds. We share a common cause: to protect homeowners’ rights. We regard this issue as urgent and are extremely optimistic that we are helping make change for the better. We have no hidden agendas or monetary gain attached to these bills, we are simply homeowners who have gotten together to because we believe that we deserve to be governed by our Boards in a just manner.

It is imperative that you contact your NJ legislators and tell them to support S-2016!


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