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Asker
Posted over 1 year ago.

To simplify, the HOA makes a representation to both the Seller and the prospective Buyer the amount of the monthly assessment. That amount is described on the "Seller's Property Condition Disclosure Statement" as well as on the HUD-1 form. I'm really asking for additional interpretations of the CFA (I already know my interpretation). The CFA states, "The act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, *in connection* with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, *or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid*..."

While the HOA did not sell the property themselves, they did provide information *in connection* with the sale. Moreover, the assessment is relevant to "the subsequent performance of such a person [HOA]," as the HOA collects assessments for the purposes of making repairs to common elements, hiring services, etc. on behalf of the unit owners.

The public offering statement is not a legal instrument. Any amounts included in such a statement are immaterial, as the Board is responsible for determining the assessment based upon an operating budget and covenants of Master Deed, which clearly state how my assessment is to be calculated. That notwithstanding, the facts contained within the public offering statement are consistent with the Master Deed, although the original assessments are much lower since it's been 25+ years since the HOA was formed.

Finally, with the purchase of my unit came membership in the Association. Pursuant to NJSA 15A:7-2, memberships of a corporation are personal property. As a member of a non-profit corporation (the HOA), I was defrauded with respect to my monthly dues.

Dewitt Clearwell Liu
Dewitt Clearwell Liu, Real Estate Attorney - Jersey City, NJ
Posted over 1 year ago.

I understand the public offering statement is not a governing document. The master deed, bylaws, and certificate of incorporation are. Nevertheless, for purposes of consumer fraud, I don't believe a document needs to be a "legal instrument" to prove that there was fraud. A misrepresentation on a billboard or subway ad can fall under consumer fraud. However, I understand your point.

I'm not a consumer protection attorney so I'm sorry I can't give you an answer with respect to the Consumer Protection Act. Given that no other attorneys have responded to this question in the last 5 days, my guess is that it's not an easy one to answer. I would have to reiterate that you seek out the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with New Jersey consumer protection laws.

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Asker
Posted over 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, Avvo did not give me the option of selecting "Consumer Fraud" as a category when I asked the question—probably because it uses a keyword algorithm to make only certain categories available. I'll re-ask the question in a different manner to try to draw attention from consumer fraud experts. Thanks for for reply.