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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

HIGHPOINT AT LAKEWOOD CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. VS. THE TOWNSHIP OF LAKEWOOD A-2118-13T2

 HIGHPOINT AT LAKEWOOD CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. VS. THE TOWNSHIP OF LAKEWOOD 
A-2118-13T2 
In this quiet title case, we address novel issues under the New Jersey Condominium Act, N.J.S.A. 46:8B-1 to -38, regarding the status of unbuilt units described in a master deed, and associated land. We hold that these so-called "phantom units" are subject to real estate tax, and to foreclosure if taxes are unpaid; and the association, as distinct from unit-owners, is not entitled to personal notice. We also hold that phantom unit-owners may be liable for common area assessments. We question the enforceability of powers of attorney, granted under a master deed by unit owners to a developer, purporting to authorize the developer to remove undeveloped units and the related land from the condominium. We also question whether such powers run with the land so as to grant removal authority to a subsequent title owner. We hold such powers of attorney are not self-executing. 

We remand for application of the principles set forth in our opinion, and reverse the trial court's order declaring that Lakewood Township, which foreclosed on tax sale certificates associated with the phantom units, owns the associated land removed from the condominium.