By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Two New Jersey Assemblymen are sponsoring bill A-3163, an effort to make elections of executive boards in Association-Governed Communities more democratic.
Among the key proposals:
- limiting the size of the board to 3 members in Associations with 11 or fewer units and a minimum of 5 members in larger HOAs
- providing for secret ballot, directed proxies, and electronic voting for HOA elections
- requiring establishment of a disinterested, independent election committee or contracting with an election monitoring service provider to oversee the entire election process
- allowing for recall of board members subject to petition by association members
- allowing for appeal to the Department of Community Affairs
- rights to vote and/or run for election are disqualified only if a member is not current on assessments
- the law would apply to all existing and new HOAs
All of the above are steps in the right direction toward ensuring a more fair election process in HOAs. The apparent intent of the legislation is to eliminate bias and opportunities for rigging an election or influencing the vote. A state-level appeals process is established to settle disagreements or challenges to an HOA election or recall.
NOTE: The bill does not address the fundamental issue of allocation of voting interests per property owned, special rights of the declarant (developer) prior to or following turnover of control, or specific election procedures such as allowing or disallowing cumulative voting. The governing documents, specifically By Laws, will determine all election procedures not otherwise addressed in A-3163.
Here’s a recent press release:
Panel OK’s Bill to Establish Election Standards for Homeowners’ Associations
Press Release | Posted Yesterday
TRENTON – An Assembly panel cleared legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land (D-Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland) to establish a set of standards for elections and the recall of officers who serve on the board of homeowners’ associations.
“Homeowner’s Associations must operate under similar rules and procedures as other governing bodies,” Andrzejczak said. “A resident’s interest and right to approve and elect board members must be preserved. And setting clearer, more fair and unified set of rules for board elections and a clarifying a resident’s ability to recall will help to do just that.”
The bill (A-3163) sets standards for election and recall of executive board members of homeowners’ association, which are formed to manage community-owned elements in condominiums, cooperatives, and certain planned communities with common elements.
You can access and track A-6136 here:
Bill Summary: (as initially drafted)
This bill sets standards for election and recall of executive board members of homeowners’ associations, which are formed to manage commonly-owned elements in condominiums, cooperatives, and certain planned communities with common elements. The bill would limit the size of executive boards of such communities comprised of less than 11 homes, to three members. The bill would also provide a default size of five members for the executive board of all other communities unless the bylaws provide otherwise. The bill requires that associations permit owners to vote anonymously for executive board members, and establishes fair election procedures. Violations of these procedures could be appealed to the State entity having oversight of planned communities, which currently is the Department of Community Affairs. The bill also establishes standard procedures for recall votes of executive board officers or trustees, and provides that any member of the executive board may be recalled and removed from office, with or without cause, by the vote of, or agreement in writing by, a majority of the executive board members present and eligible to vote at a meeting called for that purpose, provided that any vote to recall shall be initiated only upon a petition of at least five percent of all association members. The bill provides that a special meeting of the association membership to vote for the recall of a member or members of the executive board may be called by 10 percent of the members giving notice of the meeting as required for a meeting of members.