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Joel M. Ellis

E-mail MeJoel M. Ellis

Hackensack, New Jersey

Joel M. Ellis is a partner of the firm. He concentrates his practice in condominium and cooperative law, real estate tax appeals, land use, corporate law, and litigation relating thereto. In addition, he has had substantial experience in class-action cases and condemnation actions. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey (1967), New York (1986), Massachusetts (1988), and Ohio (1967) and before the U.S. District Court New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court.

He has served as municipal attorney to the Borough of Fort Lee and the Borough of Waldwick and was appointed as special counsel to represent the Borough of Fort Lee and the Township of Tea neck in real estate tax appeals. Mr. Ellis has also had extensive experience in representing property owners for all classes of property throughout the state.

In addition, he has vast experience in all areas of community association representation, counseling condominium and cooperative corporations and homeowner associations. This involves a variety of legal services including assessment collection, document interpretation, rules enforcement, transition representation and all aspects of litigation, including claims against Sponsors involving construction defects and other financial claims.

Mr. Ellis, a graduate of Rutgers University, earned his law degree from Western Reserve School of Law (1967). Prior to entering private practice, he was the judicial law secretary to the Hon. Theodore Rosenburg, Superior Court of New Jersey. Mr. Ellis joined the firm as a partner in 1990. Prior to 1990, he was a partner for many years in a Hackensack law firm.

Mr. Ellis is a member of the Community Association Institute and currently serves on its Legislative Action Committee. He has lectured in the field of condominiums and cooperatives and tax appeals.. He participated as a panelist of the impact of the Cooperative Recording Act on lenders, sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and as a speaker at a Condominium Cooperative seminar, sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Community Association Institute.

Mr. Ellis has also authored an Article published by the Practicing Law institute in a handbook on cooperatives and condominiums, relating to developments in the area of real estate valuation.

Mr. Ellis acts as a mediator on the early Settlement Panel of the New Jersey Superior Court. He has also been certified by the Community Association Institute as having attended and completed mediation training.

Mr. Ellis previously served as President of the New Jersey Mental Health.

Year Joined Firm

  • 1990

Areas of Practice

  • Condominium and Cooperative Law
  • Real Estate Tax Appeals
  • Land Use
  • Corporate Law and Litigation

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Mediator, Community Association Institute

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1967
  • New York, 1986
  • Massachusetts, 1988
  • Ohio, 1967
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, Ohio
    • J.D. - 1967
  • Rutgers University
    • B.A. - 1964

Representative Cases

  • Advance Housing, Inc. v. Township of Teaneck, 215 N.J. 549 (2013)

    Holding, in a case of first impression, that a non-profit corporation which provided supportive housing and services for mentally disabled individuals, was entitled to property tax exemptions for its houses, notwithstanding its observance of a tenet in "supportive housing" that the residents cannot be required to submit to clinical program as a condition of their occupancies. The Supreme Court held that the homes were actually used for the charitable purpose of promoting and providing permanent, normalized community living arrangements for psychiatrically disabled individuals, and, thus, they qualified for tax-exempt status, where their charitable work spared the government an expense that it ultimately would have borne, the property was used in a manner to further the charitable purpose, they received substantial sums of money from federal and state agencies to purchase housing and deliver supportive services to the psychiatrically disabled, and they were addressing an important and legitimate governmental concern, namely the provision of both housing and substantial supportive services that fostered the prospect of independent and productive living in the community for the mentally disabled, and homeless. In response to the opposition of the nine municipalities seeking to tax the homes, the Court added that Advance Housing was not engaged in a seemingly commercial enterprise.


  • Panelist, The Impact of the Cooperative Recording Act on Lenders, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Speaker, Condominium Cooperative Seminar, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Community Association Institute

Honors and Awards

  • Named as a New Jersey Super Lawyer in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the field of Real Estate

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Community Association Institute, Member
  • Community Association Institute, Member, Legislative Action Committee
  • New Jersey Mental Health Association, Former President

Past Employment Positions

  • Borough of Fort Lee, Municipal Attorney
  • Borough of Waldwick, Municipal Attorney
  • Borough of Fort Lee, Special Counsel
  • Township of Teaneck, Special Counsel
  • Hon. Theodore Rosenburg, Superior Court of New Jersey, Judicial Law Secretary
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Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi, LLP
190 Moore Street, Suite 306
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Phone: 201-488-7211
Fax: 201-488-1210
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