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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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I live in a HOA community and after three years of having my

Customer Question

I live in a HOA community and after three years of having my Government Issued vehicle on premises, they are now trying to say I am in violation of the Commerical Vehicle By-Laws and that I must remove the vehicle. I submitted a letter from my employer stating that my job is dependent on having access to the vehicle as I am considered Essential Emergency Personnel. The vehicle is State Government issued and is not registered as Commerical. Please advise if estoppel is valid in this situation.
Thank you
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 6 months ago.
Welcome to JA and thank you for your question. Personally I am not a fan any HOA. The issue withe regard to restrictions on vehicles comes down to what is stated in the governing documents of the HOA. If in fact there is something stated in the bylaws that prohibits commercial vehicles they would be able to enforce that provision. Where it becomes troublesome is when the board has not enforced the bylaws and out of the blue fines you for something that you have been doing for years. The first question is what do your bylaws states with regard to commercial vehicles and was that provision in effect at the time you purchased property in this HOA?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The bylaws do state no commercial vehicles but this is not a commercial vehicle. It is State Government issued, State Government license plates. It does not fall into the Commercial Vehicle description as defined in the bylaws. Also I have had the vehicle for 3 years and the bylaws were in place, so just now they are trying to enforce a bylaw that they haven't enforced for the prior 3 years.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 6 months ago.
I had a feeling there was some language to that effect. How do they describe a commercial vehicle? I understand that they have not enforced this "alleged rule" for three years and the board has the duty to enforce all rules all of the time. I am am wondering if this is a selective enforcement situation and tehy are just harassing you.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I believe they are harassing me. Does estoppel apply to this situation?
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 6 months ago.
If you can tell me how they describe a commercial vehicle and if your vehicle does not fit that prohibition you have a couple of actions against the HOA
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 6 months ago.
Can you tell me the definition in the bylaws if a commercial vehicle?
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 6 months ago.
These are all of the laws that apply to HOA's in New Jersey Homeowner Associations are governed by a chain of governing documents and laws.The Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State provide the legal basis of the association in the form of an Incorporated Non-Profit Corporation.The recorded map or 'plat' defines each owner's title to property including the association's title to common areas.The CCR's (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) are publicly recorded deed restrictions.The Bylaws are the rules for management and administration.Resolutions are additional rules and regulations that the association may adopt.Federal Laws also apply. Some but not all include the The Fair Housing Act, Internal Revenue Codes, the American Disabilities Act, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act , the FCC OTARD Rule (Over the Air Reception Devices - Satellite Dishes) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.Information regarding State Laws specific to common interest communities such as condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations are provided below and in the FAQ section of the Resouce Center. In addition there are typically additional state laws that are not specific to Common Interest Communities which require compliance. Some examples include stormwater runoff, coastal development, elevator inspections for condos, and pool operations to name a few.Local Ordinances, while not specific to homeowner associations, apply to building codes, animal control, abandoned cars, water restrictions, etc.Additional legal regulations can exist in the form of case law; standards set by professional organizations such as accountants, engineers, architects, home inspectors, and real estate brokers; as well as lender requirements. In fact the duty is for the board to the enforce the rules so the action against the board would be for failure to enforce the rules or selectively enforcing them unfairly. "a homeowner may sue an HOA. A breach of fiduciary duty is failure of an HOA to manage the association’s affairs prudently and reasonably. Negligent care and maintenance of common areas can be cause for a suit for damages if a resident or guest is injured because the HOA has failed to correct a dangerous situation in a common area, or if such negligence results in damage to an individual's home. A homeowner can also sue if the HOA has violated its own rules. Because the CC&R is a contract between the homeowner and the HOA, failure of the association to uphold the regulations can be considered a breach of contract. For example, the CC&R may require that a member of the HOA board must be a homeowner. If it can be proven that a board member has moved out of the development while still serving on the board, a homeowner can sue. Other disputes by homeowners against their associations may involve neglected landscaping, failure to enforce rules about noise, barking dogs and other nuisances, selective enforcement of rules against certain homeowners, and financial mismanagement." HOA is bound by the exact same terms that bind you as an owner. So that definition is crucial.

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