Legal Memorandum: Obligations of a Condominium Association

Issue: Under New Jersey law, what obligation does a condominium association have for maintaining the common elements of the property?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Real Estate Law
Keywords: Condominium association; Preserve, repair and maintain common elements
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2013

Settled law confers on a condominium association, acting through its board, not just the authority, but the duty to preserve, repair and maintain common elements.  See Chin v. Coventry Square Condominium Ass’n, 270 N.J. Super. 323, 327 (App. Div. 1994) (“The Act gives the condominium association the power, indeed the responsibility, to govern the common elements and common facilities used by the unit owners.”).  In this regard the New Jersey courts have held:

In essence, an association is responsible for the governance of the common areas and facilities used by the owners of the condominium units.  It is a representative body that acts on behalf of the unit owners.  Its powers derive from its by-laws, the master deed, and applicable statutory provision. …  The most significant responsibility of an association is the management and maintenance of the common areas of the condominium complex. 

Thanasoulis v. Winston Towers 200 Ass’n Inc., 110 N.J. 650, 656-57 (1988) (emphasis added).

In light of this “most significant responsibility,” any provisions which limit the association’s authority to repair and maintain common areas are to be strictly interpreted.  As stated in Fox v. Kings Grant Maintenance Ass’n Inc., 167 N.J. 208, 222-23 (2001),”to the extent these powers are necessary for maintenance of common property, limitations on the powers should be narrowly construed.” 


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