New Jersey Condominium Association Fiduciary Duties Attorneys

Homeowners associations exist primarily to protect the interests of their members in the common areas of the community.  Associations are tasked with protecting, maintaining and repairing the property commonly shared by all of the owners.

Members of a condominium association elect individuals to a board and trust them to govern the association in good faith.  These people are referred to as trustees or directors of the board.  The trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the association and its members.  Thus, the trustees are held to a very high standard: all decisions made by the trustees must be in the association’s best interest.  If a trustee’s decision is self-dealing, discriminatory, arbitrary, or in bad faith, the members of the Association have various means of legal recourse.

The governing board of a condominium association is like the governing board of a corporation in many ways.  Many of the rules that apply to a corporate board of directors apply to a condominium association board by analogy.  For example, the business judgment rule states that courts shall defer to the business judgment of corporate executives.  Courts don’t want to delve into speculations about business decisions—that is not their purview.  This rule applies to condominium associations as well.  So long as the decision of a board is not self-dealing, fraudulent, or criminal, board members are indemnified by their associations.  Thus, the board is entrusted with a great deal of power.

Boards can breach their fiduciary duties in many ways, including:

  • Misuse of association funds
  • Improper enforcement of the association’s rules
  • Not following procedures set forth in their bylaws
  • Failure to conduct annual meetings
  • Failure to vote on a budget
  • Failure to maintain common areas
  • Failure to perform services such as trash removal, snow maintenance, and landscaping (if these services are provided for in the budget and paid for by unit owners)
  • Self-dealing decisions, for example, singling out members for disparate treatment
  • Self-interested transactions, for example, hiring family or friends to fulfill contracts for the association, although they may not be the best choice for the Association
  • Voting against fee increases because a member is facing personal financial difficulties

Our Capable Lawyers Are Experienced In All Facets of Condominium Association Law

Condominium associations must comply with complex state and local real estate laws and ordinances.  At Shebell & Shebell, we are able to help associations meet their fiduciary responsibilities and avoid claims of breach.  We counsel associations regarding:

  • Enforcement of rules
  • Election issues
  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
  • Vendor and service contracts
  • Open records and meeting requirements
  • Forming the organization and drafting organizational documents
  • Bankruptcy Court matters
  • Lien enforcement against unit owners
  • Foreclosure proceedings against unit owners – Civil litigation

We also represent condominium associations in bringing claims against trustees for breach of their fiduciary duties.  Filing a lawsuit directly against a trustee can be difficult, since most constituent documents provide that board members are indemnified against personal lawsuits for actions taken while they were acting as trustee.  However, we are able to assist our clients with bringing formal demands to the Board, and seeking resolution through ADR.

To speak with a New Jersey condominium association lawyer, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.

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Thomas Shebell was an A M A Z I N G attorney for our personal injury case. He made himself available to all our questions and concerns during the whole process. We were very nervous about it all and he set our fears to rest. You instantly believe in him after your first meeting. He was serious yet empathetic, had superb legal knowledge, and great judgement. His staff is also top notch. Words cannot describe how wonderful a lawyer we believe Thomas Shebell to be and would highly recommend him.
Posted by Michele on December 8

My hero, my attorney who is always there for me!

Tom Shebell has represented me and my family members in several cases. Tom is the most prepared lawyer I have ever seen, and demands respect in and outside of the court room. His staff is amazing and never makes you feel as if you are bothering them. I always feel that I am his most important client, and he always takes my call. If he is busy, I am reassured that he will get right back to me and he does. His knowledge of the law and research on your case is impecable, and will never give up until he gets the results that he feels are the best for you. Although he is the most professional attorney I have ever worked with, he refers you call him Tom (not Mr. Shebell), and I am most comfortable calling him Tommy. His cell phone is on his answering service, to comfort you and assuring you that you can reach him if necessary, no matter what. I will never retain another lawyer, unless it is a case that he cannot handle. That has never happened to me. Unfortunately, Tommy is handling a very emotional case for my family, and whenever we discuss it our meet together he is very comforting to us. For a family man, and extremely busy attorney to handle matters like this, it truly takes a special type of person, and extraordiinary human being. If anyone take my advise, Tom Shebell, III is the only attorney that should be called first, and believe me you will not make another call. As I said in my title, he is my true "hero"!
Posted by Sandi on September 17

I am Grateful I was able to have Thomas Shebell for my Lawyer

Thomas Shebell and his staff were very good to work with. They were always professional, but also very down to earth and real. I always felt that my best interest was their main concern. I was always able to call with questions and concerns and was never made to wait or to feel like I was inconveniencing anyone. I always felt that they knew instantly who I was and what was going on with my case. In the end, Thomas was able to get the best possible settlement for me. I am very grateful to have been treated like my case truly mattered to them.
Posted by Toni on March 28

Ferocious Fighter

Tom Shebell and his firm came highly recommended by several reputable people in the community. I come from a family deeply rooted in law enforcement, so I greatly appreciate that Tom grew up with the law as well, hailing from a family of highly respected attorneys. He easily grasped the complexity of my case and eased my concerns, while ferociously fighting for me. One of the moments that stands out to me the most was when I voiced a concern over possible retaliation and he said, "they're going to have come through me first." I wholeheartedly believed him then and now. There is no one else I'd want in my corner than Tom Shebell.
Posted by on February 23

A League Of His Own

Mere words cannot express my gratitude to Thomas F Shebell III. He took on a case, that other attorneys would shy away from and fought vehemently for my husband, myself and our daughter. His tenacity is only surpassed by his kindness and compassion for his clients well-being. I would recommend Mr. Shebell III to anyone who may need an attorney to guide them through a difficult time and see them through to a successful end. Many thanks again to him and his staff!!