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Department of Community Affairs v. 275 Prospect Towers Association, Inc.

A-3097-06T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2008) (Unpublished)

CONDOMINIUMS — It is the responsibility of condominium associations to provide carbon monoxide detectors for individual units, a responsibility that it shares concurrently with individual unit owners.

A condominium association was found to be in violation of multiple dwelling statutes by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for not providing carbon monoxide detectors for the individual units of the condominium. The association challenged the DCA’s finding at an administrative hearing at which the agency’s position, that it was the responsibility of the association to provide carbon monoxide detectors for individual units, was upheld. On an appeal brought by the association, the Court noted that its function was to determine whether the DCA’s administrative decision was supported by the record and not to independently assess the evidence. The Court pointed out that condominium associations are required to repair and replace the common elements of a condominium and agreed with the administrative decision that such requirements included improvements affecting the safety of the condominium’s property. The Court also pointed out that the purpose of the multiple dwelling statutes is to protect the health and welfare of the public, and that according to previous administrative decisions, condominium associations were required to ensure that each individual unit had a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. The Court additionally pointed out that the condominium’s master deed and by-laws authorized the association to maintain the common elements and that according to statute, the association’s responsibility to do so was shared with the individual unit owners. Thus, the Court affirmed the DCA’s administrative decision and found that it was supported by the evidence on the record.

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