Community associations are an important part of New Jersey’s housing environment. There are three main types of community associations in New Jersey: condominium associations, cooperative boards (“co-ops”), and homeowners associations. Condominium associations are the most common.
When a person buys a condominium, they are buying title to the property unit, such as an apartment or townhouse. However, title to the “common elements,” such as the land, the building exterior, recreational facilities, and parking lots or spaces, are held by the buyer together with all the other owners in common throughout the condominium association. When an new owner buys a unit, she automatically becomes a member of the condominium association, which exists to maintain the common elements. This membership is typically not optional.
The association is responsible for the administration and management of the condominium property, meaning the areas and activities of common interest to the unit owners. The operations of the condominium association are run by its board of trustees, made up of owners who are elected by the association membership. The association must maintain accounting records in accordance with generally accepting accounting principles and must be made available for inspection by unit owners at reasonable times. When a condominium association is first created, owner-control of the board is phased in during development of the property, and the owners take after 75 percent of the units are sold.