Providing Skilled Legal Guidance for the Most Critical Period in the Life of Your Community Association

Under New Jersey law, the unit owners in a community association are entitled to elect all but one of the seats on the association’s board of directors once the developer has sold 75% of the units.  This election, and the transfer of control of the association from the developer to the unit owners, is the first step in the process known as “Transition.” 

Transition consists of much more, however, than merely transferring control of the board to the unit owners. It is the vital process by which the newly-elected unit owner board confirms that the developer properly constructed the community, accurately maintained the association’s finances, and honored its other commitments to the association. Transition is also the time when the association assures that the developer remedies any deficiencies in fulfilling those obligations. It is therefore crucial for the association and its board to be guided by experienced legal counsel throughout the many stages of transition.

At Buckalew Frizzell & Crevina, we have represented more than 50 community associations in all phases of Transition, and our substantial experience can be invaluable in guiding you through this important period. Consult with our New Jersey community law association attorneys today to learn more about our legal services and how we can assist you with the complex and vital process of retaining control over your association.

What Does Transition Typically Entail?

Transition involves a host of actions, including:

  • Obtaining an independent engineering report to assure that your community’s common elements have been properly constructed
  • Conducting an audit by an independent CPA to confirm that the developer appropriately managed and accounted for all association funds
  • Negotiating with the developer to resolve construction defects and financial deficiencies discovered by the association’s independent engineer and accountant
  • Litigating with the developer and other parties for damages due to defects in the design and construction of your community’s common elements and for financial deficiencies, if the association’s claims cannot be settled through negotiations
  • Confirming with the Department of Environmental Protection that there are no outstanding environmental obligations affecting the community that could be very expensive to resolve if the DEP seeks to hold the association accountable years later
  • Securing key documents from the developer and municipality, such as warranties, building plans, performance bonds and site plan approvals
  • Notifying all unit owners of the division of responsibility between them and the association so that they can protect their rights and seek the developer’s repair of construction defects in their individual units
  • Ensuring that the association has obtained all insurance required by its governing documents – and much more
  • As you can see, Transition is a multi-faceted process that can significantly impact the long-term financial health of your community, the value of your investment, and the enjoyment of your new home. At Buckalew Frizzell & Crevina, our 11 attorneys possess demonstrated experience to navigate your association through the maze of transition and fulfill all of your association’s legal needs.

Representative results that BFC has obtained for our community association clients on Transition claims: 

Obtained settlement in excess of $3,000,000 for a 100+ unit Hudson County mid-rise for numerous construction deficiencies, including improper installation of the exterior facade and walkways, and installation of improper waterproofing and other materials throughout the building. 

Obtained partial settlements on behalf of a 500+ unit Morris County condominium with a major national developer and a multitude of other parties totaling in excess of $1,250,000, relating to siding, façade, roofing and flashing defects.

Obtained a settlement of approximately $1,100,000 for a Passaic County townhome community after litigating against the design professionals and contractors for design and construction defects; the developer was largely judgment proof.

Obtained settlement without litigation of approximately $870,000 plus certain repairs performed by a developer for a 60+ unit, five story, Hudson County condominium.

After litigating against the developer’s contractors and design professionals, obtained a settlement of approximately $800,000 for a Passaic County townhome community whose developer was effectively bankrupt.

Obtained settlement with major residential and commercial developer worth $750,000+ ($650,000 in funds, plus other concessions valued at well more than $100,000) for a 200+ unit Hudson County high-rise condominium, where Board had determined it would not litigate.

Obtained settlement with national residential and commercial developer worth approximately $525,000 in funds, repairs and other concessions for 90+ unit condominium in Monmouth County.

Obtained settlement with developer of $500,000 for a 280+ unit Hudson County high-rise condominium, where new Board decided to cease litigation but reversed course after BFC persuaded it to continue, resulting in strongly favorable outcome for association.

Obtained a settlement of approximately $250,000 in funds, plus Sponsor’s decommissioning of monitoring wells, transfer of storage spaces, and performance of repairs to the exterior and/or interior of many units, in a Hudson County mid-rise, where Board had determined not to litigate.

Obtained a settlement of approximately $250,000 for a master association in Passaic County after initiating litigation; the settlement funded the necessary repairs in full.

Obtained a settlement without having to file litigation against a major developer to address construction deficiencies and to pay the Association $250,000 as compensation for severe underestimation of operating and capital reserve requirements for a 50+ unit luxury townhome community in Bergen County.

Obtained settlement with major national developer worth approximately $200,000 in funds, repairs and other concessions on behalf of a Middlesex County active adult fee simple community of 350+ detached single-family homes where association’s scope of responsibility was limited to clubhouse and certain other infrastructure.

Obtained a settlement with the developer of a mid-rise older adult community in Middlesex County, the terms of which require the developer to make extensive repairs to the building’s roof, façade and detailing as well as pay the Association $100,000 for financial claims.

Obtained monetary settlement of approximately $120,000, plus repairs to decks, stoops, railings, and pavers, to be performed by the developer and contractor, at a 50-unit townhome complex in Passaic County.

Obtained settlement of $100,000 for a Hudson County mid-rise for deficiencies in the installation of a wall constructed of EIFS.

Schedule a Consultation With Us Today

Our law firm would be pleased to present a free seminar on Transition at your association’s premises. If you would like more information, or if you have questions about transition or any other legal issues affecting your community, please feel free to contact Eric Frizzell (efrizzell@lawnj.com), Mary Wynn Seiter (mwseiter@lawnj.com), or Donna Shahrabani (dshahrabani@lawnj.com) or call us at 201-612-5200.