I live in an older development. The access road to our homes is a shared right-of-way across the properties. There is a voluntary association that collects dues, maintains the road, and is reimbursed by the town for snow plowing. There is are no deed restrictions that require anyone to join. Some members of the board feel that because some people refuse to pay dues, we can somehow turn the voluntary association into a mandatory one. Short of a unanimous vote to do so, and everyone agreeing to change their deeds, is there any way to force those that don't want to join to do so?
Your question raises two different legal issues: (1) Can your voluntary association be turned into a mandatory membership association which could require payment of a share fo the costs of maintaining the access road? (2) Can the owners paying their share of the dues require the non-paying owners to pay their fair share?
(1) You cannot subject property to a covenant requiring a mandatory membership association without the consent of the owner of the property. Thus, you can only make those owners who are willing to do so subject their property to a mandatory membership association.
(2) Although I do not practice in New Jersey, the common law rule in many states is that adjoining owners who share a right-of-way are all obligated to pay a pro rata share of the costs of maintaining the right-of-way. Thus, you might check with a New Jersey lawyer to see if the non-paying owners might be forced to pay their share. If so, they might be more amenable to establishing a mandatory membership association to make it easier to collect from all owners--as well as obtain the other benefits of such a community association.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.
Years licensed, work experience, education
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Publications, speaking engagements