May 16, 2024
6 min read

New Jersey's New Legislation on Preventive Maintenance & Potential Nationwide Trends

The tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, in June 2021, served as a grim reminder of the critical importance of structural integrity and regular maintenance in residential buildings. In response to such catastrophic events, states across the U.S. have begun to reevaluate and strengthen their building maintenance regulations. One of the most stringent pieces of legislation to emerge in this wave of reform is New Jersey's recently passed law, which focuses on the preventive maintenance of common area components in community associations, including Homeowners Associations (HOAs).

Key Provisions of the New Jersey Legislation

The New Jersey legislation mandates that developers must prepare a detailed document outlining the preventive maintenance tasks for common area components over their lifecycle. This document must include:

Maintenance Schedule and Timing: A comprehensive schedule for periodic inspections and maintenance tasks, particularly focusing on the structural components of buildings and other common areas under the association's responsibility.

Budget Inclusion: Developers are required to incorporate all operating expenses associated with the preventive maintenance into the association's budget.

Regular Updates: The preventive maintenance document must be updated following any structural inspections conducted, ensuring that any required corrective maintenance is addressed promptly.

Potential Nationwide Trends

New Jersey's proactive approach may serve as a blueprint for other states seeking to enhance building safety regulations. The following trends could emerge as other states consider similar legislation:

Legislative Adoption: States with older building stocks or higher incidences of structural issues may be the first to adopt similar preventive maintenance requirements, ensuring more stringent oversight of HOAs and other community associations.

Standardization of Practices: As more states implement these regulations, there could be a push towards standardizing preventive maintenance practices nationwide, possibly leading to more federal guidelines similar to what we have seen with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Increased Demand for Professional Services: The need for regular inspections and detailed maintenance planning will likely increase the demand for professional services, including structural engineers, maintenance planners, and specialized contractors.

Technological Integration: HOAs may turn to technology solutions to manage maintenance schedules, track inspections and maintenance activities, and ensure compliance with state regulations and other entities who are playing close attention to these areas.

New Jersey's stringent new legislation on preventive maintenance marks a significant step towards ensuring the safety and longevity of residential buildings in HOA communities. While it introduces new challenges for HOAs in terms of administrative and financial planning, the long-term benefits of enhanced safety and structural integrity are undeniable and could lead to more cost savings in other areas – insurance, lending, reserve allocations, etc. As other states watch the implementation and effects of this law, we may see a broader adoption of similar measures across the country, fostering a nationwide culture of proactive building maintenance and safety.

To read the text of the bill, click here.

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