The homeowners association (HOA) in the community where you live helps preserve your property value and guarantees your quiet enjoyment of your home. The HOA establishes certain community standards and then enforces those rules by regulating access to shared spaces and assessing fees when appropriate. The HOA will also collect monthly fees to cover community maintenance costs.
The HOA may provide community amenities and maintain public spaces. It may review and approve proposed expansions of the community and impose fees on those who violate community standards to promote more universal compliance.
HOA boards can cause harm to homeowners
The risk of corruption on an HOA board is a constant concern for those living in New Jersey. Board members could seek to profit from their position or to abuse those that they dislike on an interpersonal level using their paltry personal authority.
You may have started to suspect corruption or misconduct related to your HOA because they have held meetings behind closed doors. Are such non-public meetings permissible in New Jersey?
Most HOA meetings should be open to the public
Members of the community typically have a right to attend HOA meetings, provide feedback and request that the board address specific issues. The HOA board typically needs to announce its meeting schedule in advance and facilitate public involvement whenever possible.
However, there are certain factors that the HOA can address in closed-door meetings. Private financial matters or enforcement waivers related to medical conditions are examples of rare circumstances that might justify holding a closed-door meeting.
Although the HOA board can discuss specific issues in private, for the most part, it will need to conduct major meetings in a way that allows the local community to attend and provide feedback.
How can you handle HOA board misconduct?
If there have been multiple closed-door meetings that don’t seem to have the necessary justification, you may need to take legal action. Injunctions from the courts could stop future closed or meetings from taking place. Recalls and elections could also be a way to remove board members who have abused their authority or violated New Jersey statutes.
Understanding the rules that apply to HOA boards can help those questioning the actions of their local board or trying to fight back against discrimination or unfair rule enforcement practices.