A bill was introduced late yesterday afternoon. It is entitled “COVID-19 Financial Security for Consumers Act” (S2330/A3908).
The bill includes common interest community associations as “creditors” and/or “debt collectors” and would restrict their ability to collect overdue assessments, including filing liens, filing money judgment complaints, and executing on judgments. This could have devastating consequences for associations, their members and residents, and their downstream vendors.
The bill is expected to be voted on this coming Monday, April 13, 2020. Our legislators must hear from all those who live and work in common interest communities who would be affected by this bill. We encourage you to call and/or write to your legislators now through Monday. There is no time to waste, you must act now. Click here for a list of contact information for all NJ state legislators.
We encourage you to make your message short, concise, and respectful…with the following suggested points.
"Passing this bill which prevents our associations from collecting unpaid common expense assessments would:
• Make us unable to pay our bills, including essential maintenance and sanitation services, insurance, management, and utilities, among others. Most importantly, we wouldn’t be able to pay the various workers who maintain the safety of our association property and homes, such as janitors, maintenance workers, sanitation workers, plumbers, HVAC technicians, managers and landscapers. Ironically, this would make it even more dangerous for those of us living in common interest communities by reducing funds to sanitize our property to lower COVID-19 risks.
• Hurt the workers who perform all these essential services for our members and residents because without the ability to collect our assessments, we won’t have the money to pay for those services, so those workers lose their jobs.
• Encourage all members and residents of community associations to stop paying their assessments, even those who can afford to do so. We are already working with those members and residents who’ve lost their jobs to assist them during this difficult time.
• [For Mid and High-Rise Condos] Undermine our efforts to encourage members to shelter in place in our high [mid] rise building if personnel essential to maintaining our building have to be laid off."
Please also reach out to your colleagues, clients, members, vendors, and boards and ask them to contact to their legislators too. We recognize this is a holiday week/weekend, but we ask that you do what you can to assist us in this important effort.
Your LAC is actively seeking amendments to the bill. Stay tuned.
George Greatrex, Jr., Esq.
Chair, New Jersey LAC