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Volume XI, Number 268

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Does Your Community Association Want the New COVID Immunity? Post Your Signs Now!

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed a COVID-19 liability protection bill and, by doing so, gave New Jersey community associations some immunity from certain legal claims arising from COVID-19. The law provides that a community association “shall be immune from civil liability for damages arising from, or related to, an exposure to, or transmission of, COVID-19 on the premises” providing the association has prominently displayed a sign “at the entrance of any communal space shared by…residents and their guests, such as pools, gyms, and clubhouses.” The sign must state the following:

“ANY PERSON ENTERING THE PREMISES WAIVES ALL CIVIL LIABILITY AGAINST THE PLANNED REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM, OR RELATED TO, AN EXPOSURE TO, OR TRANSMISSION OF, COVID-19 ON THE PREMISES, EXCEPT FOR ACTS OR OMISSIONS CONSTITUTING A CRIME, ACTUAL FRAUD, ACTUAL MALICE, GROSS NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESSNESS, OR WILLFUL MISCONDUCT.”

The new law is not perfect:

  • While it is effective immediately as of July 1, it expires on December 31, 2021.

  • The protection will not apply until proper signage is posted. Signage must be posted at all entrances to each facility which is open to residents and their guests. Signage must be prominently displayed (think large, bold, and/or colorful). Regularly inspect each sign to ensure it is still posted as required and thoroughly document the existence of such signage.

  • There will be no immunity for any “acts or omissions constituting a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct.” Boards must keep required and reasonable COVID-19 protocols in place when opening facilities.

  •  The immunity applies to the association and does not expressly include board members or management.

  • It will not apply to limit or modify any claim for relief under the workers’ compensation law. Boards must keep required and reasonable COVID-19 protocols in place for their own staff and their vendors’ personnel.

While the new law may not be perfect, it does offer some protection for associations.

COPYRIGHT © 2021, STARK & STARKNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 183
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About this Author

Mary W. Barrett, Stark, Homeowners Associations Lawyer, Housing Cooperatives Lawyer
Shareholder

Mary W. Barrett, Shareholder, has been practicing in Stark & Stark’s Community Associations Group since 1998. She concentrates her practice in the representation of homeowners associations, condominium associations, and cooperatives throughout New Jersey. 

Ms. Barrett assists community associations with contract preparation and review, policy resolutions and rule creation, amendments to governing documents, covenant enforcement, trustee elections, governing document interpretation, assessment collection, transition, loans and financing,...

609-219-7408
A. Christopher Florio, Stark, New Jersey, Loan Transactions Lawyer, Community Associations attorney
Shareholder

A. Christopher Florio is a Shareholder and Chair of the Community Associations Group. Mr. Florio has substantial experience in the negotiation of loan transactions, collections, workouts, and real estate law, including foreclosures.

Mr. Florio has served as a member of the New Jersey Assembly Task Force, commissioned to study community associations in New Jersey. He was appointed to the position by General Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian and again by General Assembly Speaker Jack Collins. Additionally, he currently serves on the Legislative...

609-895-7335
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