By Lynn O’Toole
I usually struggle about what to write each month, but this month I will probably fill three pages of print. My subject this month is NJ Senate Bill S2425. Quite a few of our residents have heard about this bill, quite a few of you have signed petitions against this bill and a lot aren’t quite sure what the fuss is all about. I’ve even heard from some who have said not to worry about it as it does not affect us. To those I say Beware. This Bill will impact us, make no mistake about it. It all started in June when the NJ state senate quietly voted on this bill. It passed the house with all but two votes. James Holzapfel and Jack Collins voted nay. This bill is twenty-nine pages of the usual bureaucratic fat, but there are several parts of the bill that will impact common interest properties. I will give you a synopsis of what will affect us if the bill passes the assembly. The state will create the by-laws, covenants, rules and regulations of any newly created adult communities. Existing communities will keep their existing by-laws etc. That is called grandfathering. The only problem with that is any problem that arises not covered in our by-laws will be covered by the states laws. Most all existing adult communities within the state are autonomous having run their own affairs since adult communities came into existence back in the sixties. New communities would have no autonomy. When you chip away at something over time it becomes like all the rest. I don’t know how you feel but I think we all have a vested interest in governing our own affairs and we don’t need the state telling us how to live our lives. This bill is very vague when it talks about common properties and no one seems to know what they have in store for us regarding same, but I’m sure it is nothing good. This bill also attacks the age limit of 55 years to buy a home in adult communities as discriminatory. They want to sell homes to anyone of any age for real property investments. That creates its own set of problems. Absentee landlords are not a good thing in any community. These properties become “CASH COWS”. Money out and none put back in the property. What happens next it becomes SLUM CITY. We went through this a number of years ago when realtors were buying properties in here for income and the houses were allowed to run down and become eye sores. I don’t think any of us want that scenario again
This bill has to go to the Assembly to be voted on. The bill is being introduced as Assembly No. 3851 which is still 29 pages and has been changed somewhat in being even more vague then the bill passed by the state senate. We have the petition in the clubhouse for any interested resident to sign. But I believe we need more help in getting this petition out to all 268 adult communities in this state to sign and so I called our Freeholder, Joe Vicari, who is heavily involved in supporting seniors in Ocean county and he is not happy with this bill. He put me in contact with Marie Le Face who is in charge of senior affairs in Ocean County and is going to put the bill and petition on their website and forward it to all the twenty other counties in NJ and ask to have it put on their websites with the petition. I also talked to Mo Hill who is a councilman in Toms River running for mayor and he is not happy with this bill either and has introduced a resolution against this bill at the council meeting in September I believe in being pro-active not reactive. If this bill passes the assembly and is signed by the governor it will be much harder to rescind. If you have not signed this petition please do so if you want are community to remain as is. If you have friends in other adult communities please make them aware of this bill and its consequences. I am including in my newsletter an op-ed written by James R. Marano, a resident of Toms River in the Asbury Park Press.
Beware of Legislation revising COMMON INTEREST PROPERTIES
Next month, the state assembly will vote on bill S-2425, which already has passed the senate. It is one of the best kept secrets of the Murphy administration although it could not be accomplished without Republican help. The legislation describes itself as revising “law relating to common interest properties.” It does not explain why it is necessary to revise the law, when the existing law has worked so well. Maybe it is not required to be actually stated in the new law but it should be explained to the public before it is passed. Why is it necessary and why so quickly? This legislation is nothing more than a gateway to massive state takeover of common interest properties. The state and the bill’s sponsors will paint a beautiful picture of how this is little more than incidental on the road to perfection but I’m from Jersey and I know white metal fill when I see it. I would guess 99 percent of your readers never heard one word about this bill. Ask if anyone you know has been complaining about “the (current) law relating to common interest properties.” It probably means someone in Trenton sees tax opportunities downstream and this is the highway to that hell. Property owners over the age of 55 had better take a good look at this legislation before it gets final approval. Undoing a problem piece of legislation in this state is not impossible, just very improbable.