Kate Muscalino aims to answer that question in her recent article, "You May Have Recourse When A Court Denies Your Board Attorneys's Fees," which begins:
Collections have become an area of increasing concern for condominium associations, as some unit owners struggle to pay their common charges on time and in full. As unit owners' debt continues to rise, associations are left with few options to collect: a lien on the unit and a lawsuit against the individual unit owner.
Many condo associations have been frustrated in their attempts to collect from a unit owner individually, as judges are often sympathetic to delinquent unit owners, offering extensions, scrutinizing certifications of amounts due and reducing or eliminating the association's ability to collect attorneys' fees.
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by: Katharine A. Muscalino
The Bay Head Planning Board initially approved a bulk variance application submitted by a property owner who had inherited an irregular lot with just ten feet of frontage, where fifty feet was required. Finding that denying a bulk variance for the frontage requirement would result in an undue hardship, and that the Applicant had adequately addressed concerns about emergency access to the Property resulting from the lot frontage variance, the Board approved the application with a 5-4 vote. Per the approval, the Applicant was required to submit a drainage plan for the Borough Engineer’s approval at the time of site plan application.
Upon an objector’s prerogative writ suit, the parties discovered that a board member had voted on the bulk variance without attending all of the meetings or reviewing all of the transcripts. The bulk variance application was remanded for a new vote, following a review of the transcripts by all of the board members. The Board then voted to deny the bulk variance, with a 4-5 vote. In its resolution, the Board explained that it denied application because the applicant had failed to provide “affirmative testimony… by any competent engineer… on how the applicant would address the well known drainage issues which plagued the proposed lot and more assuredly concerned the adjoining property owners.”
Continue reading “Planning Board Can’t Deny Variance Based on Anticipated Inability of Applicant to Satisfy Site Plan Criteria” →
by: Katharine A. Muscalino
Collections have become an area of increasing concern for condominium associations, as unit owners struggle to pay their maintenance fees on time and in full during the current economic downturn. As unit owners’ debt continues to rise, associations are left with few options to collect: a lien on the unit and a lawsuit against the individual unit owner.
Many condominium associations have been frustrated in their attempts to collect from a unit owner individually, as Special Civil Court judges are often sympathetic to delinquent unit owners, offering extensions, scrutinizing certifications of amounts due, and reducing or eliminating the association’s ability to collect attorneys’ fees. Grandview at Riverwalk Port Imperial Condominium Association is one such association, but its frustrations were recently assuaged on appeal in Grandview at Riverwalk Port Imperial Condominium Association, Inc. v. Han.
In this case, the association sued a unit owner for failure to pay maintenance fees, only to have the Special Civil Court inexplicably deny their demand for attorneys’ fees. The Association appealed the judge’s rejection of their demand and the Appellate Division reversed the Special Civil Court, finding that the fees were authorized by statute and by the Association’s governing documents. Noting that the unit owner had not objected to reasonableness of the attorneys’ fees and that the Appellate Division itself perceived “nothing unreasonable” in the attorneys’ fees, the Appellate Division remanded the matter to have the judgment amended to reflect the attorneys fees.