How C-IHC Got Started
New Jersey's HOAs Exposed
In 1997, the NJ Legislature enacted the Assembly Task Force To Study Homeowner Associations. The panel consisted of three legislators (Christopher "Kip" Bateman, Guy R. Gregg and John Wisniewski), one developer's attorney, one managing agent, two attorneys from the Community Association Institute (CAI), and two homeowners association 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 people who had purchased condos, townhomes and single-family homes in planned communities. Included in this group were 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 that similar conflicts were occurring throughout the state. It quickly became apparent that boards were acting as they did simply 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. Consequently, the Task Force Report prepared recommendations for desirable legislative reforms to fix the problems.
The Task Force recognized that associations should no longer be considered business simply because they are corporate. Instead, it adopted the prevailing principle that Associations are quasi-governmental entities, and as such, should be subject to the same regulations as public governmental bodies. 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 were entitled to, but had rarely experienced.
C-IHC is Born
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 supported by generous donations and a Rutgers Law School Pratt Grant...and we are still growing!
C-IHC has publicly endorsed the Task Force Report and has since promoted legislation and best practices focused on enhancing the function of 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.
We are advocates for ALL current or former homeowners in New Jersey who are or have been members of a residential community such as a condominium, town-home, cooperative or planned unit development, and who share in the mission and goals of C-IHC.
The CIHC will come to your community, when invited, to speak about history of common-interest communities and homeowners associations, owner issues and current legislation,. We will also help you form an owner group so you can be heard by your, board, property manager and legislators.