Town of Clinton, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Clinton 11-22-2005 by Ord. No. 05-12. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 56.
Fire Code enforcement — See Ch. 77.
Housing standards — See Ch. 84.
Health nuisances — See Ch. 162.

§ 70-1 Definitions.

[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
Definitions contained within the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code shall be used within this chapter unless modified herein as indicated.
ADULT TENANT
A person over the age of 18 years not previously occupying a dwelling unit.
BUILDING
Any building or structure, or part thereof, used for human habitation, use, or occupancy and includes any accessory buildings and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
DWELLING
A building or structure or part thereof containing one or more dwelling units which are to be leased or rented to a person other than the owner or provided to any occupant as compensation for services rendered to the landlord or any third-party. A dwelling shall not include a state-licensed group home operated by a nonprofit corporation or public entity.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms or any part thereof located within a building containing habitable space and forming a single housekeeping unit with facilities which are used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, and eating for a single family or the functional equivalent thereof.
DWELLING, STANDARDS TO BE APPLIED
For all dwellings in the Town of Clinton, the following standards are adopted by reference: In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the New Jersey State Housing Code, N.J.A.C. 5:28 et seq., and the International Property Maintenance Code, 2009 Edition et seq., excluding Sections 101.1, 102.3, 103, 106.3, 107.2, No. 6, 109.6, and 111, is hereby adopted as the standard governing supplied utilities, facilities and other physical things and conditions to make buildings and dwellings, both residential and nonresidential, safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation, occupancy or use. Where there is a conflict or discrepancy between the above-referenced codes, the provisions and procedures within the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code shall govern.
GROSS OCCUPIABLE FLOOR AREA
The area of the room or space in square feet that can be occupied, including thicknesses of walls, bathrooms, closets, hallways, and similar spaces or items.
HABITABLE SPACE
The space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space in similar areas are not considered habitable space.
HOUSING ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The person authorized by this chapter to issue notice of violations or summons to enforce compliance with this chapter and includes the Rental Housing Officer, Zoning Official, Fire Official, Construction Code Official, and any police officer of the Town of Clinton.
LANDLORD
The owner or owners of the freehold of the premises or lessor estate therein, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee or other person, or their duly authorized agents, firm or corporation in control of a building, dwelling, apartment house or habitable space of premises.
NET OCCUPIABLE FLOOR AREA
The area of the room or space, in square feet, that can physically be occupied and excludes thicknesses of walls, closets, bathrooms and similar spaces or items within the room where simultaneous occupancy would not occur.
OCCUPANT
Any person, including minors, who resides or intends to reside in a dwelling unit.
RENTAL HOUSING OFFICER
The person authorized by the chapter to issue certificates and conduct inspections in accordance with this chapter.
TENANT
Any person, including minors, who resides in a dwelling unit on a continuous basis for more than 30 days.
UNIFORM FIRE CODE
Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq., and New Jersey Uniform Fire Safety Code, N.J.A.C. 5:70-1.1 et seq.
VACANT DWELLING UNIT
A dwelling unit where the previous tenants have vacated, or where more adult tenants than permitted by the rental certificate of occupancy occupy or seek to occupy the dwelling unit.

§ 70-2 Landlord's registration statement required.

[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
Every residential landlord in the Town of Clinton shall make application for, and file with the Rental Housing Officer, a landlord registration statement for every building containing one or more dwelling units occupied by one or more tenants. Thereafter, the rental certificate of occupancy shall be renewed annually each March 1. Every three years, every landlord within the Town of Clinton shall file an updated landlord registration statement with the Rental Housing Officer.

§ 70-3 Application for landlord's registration statement.

An application form for a landlord's registration statement shall be available from the Town Clerk and shall not be deemed complete unless the applicant provides the following for each building containing one or more dwelling units rented to one or more tenants owned by the landlord in the Town:
A. 
Name, address and phone number of the landlord.
B. 
Address of building ("building").
C. 
Number of dwelling units in the building.
D. 
Completed application for rental certificate of occupancy, in accordance with § 70-5, for each dwelling unit in the building.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
E. 
Proof of current payment of property taxes, assessments against property, municipal water and sewer charges, or other municipal charges, or assessments pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:52-1.2.
F. 
Payment of registration fees.
G. 
In the event of a change in landlord of the dwelling unit, a new landlord registration statement shall be filed with the Rental Housing Officer within 30 days of the landlord change.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]

§ 70-4 Rental certificate of occupancy required.

[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
No landlord shall permit a tenant to occupy, let or re-let to a tenant, nor shall any person or persons lease or occupy any vacant dwelling unit, without obtaining a rental certificate of occupancy certifying that the dwelling unit complies with the provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1, this chapter and any other applicable laws and regulations.

§ 70-5 Application for rental certificate of occupancy.

An application form for a rental certificate of occupancy shall be available from the Town Clerk and shall not be deemed complete unless the applicant provides the following:
A. 
Name, physical and mailing address, phone number and email address of the landlord.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
B. 
Address and dwelling unit number or other identifying information for the dwelling unit.
C. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C, requiring the names of all tenants to reside in the dwelling unit, was repealed 3-27-2007 by Ord. No. 07-03.
D. 
Total number of occupants who are to reside in the dwelling unit.
E. 
The date tenancy commenced or will commence.
F. 
Gross occupiable floor area, in square feet, of each habitable room other than rooms occupied for sleeping purposes.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
G. 
Net occupiable floor area, in square feet, of each room occupied for sleeping purposes.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
H. 
Total number of tenants permitted in the dwelling unit based on the requirements outlined within the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
I. 
A certification from the landlord that the dwelling unit is in compliance with the applicable sections of the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1, this chapter and all applicable laws and regulations.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
J. 
A certification from the landlord that the dwelling unit to be rented complies with this chapter.
K. 
A certification from the landlord that he/she will not authorize more than the maximum permitted tenants to occupy the dwelling unit.
L. 
A certification from each adult tenant who has signed the lease, or who entered into the oral lease, that the tenants will not permit more than the permitted number of tenants to occupy the premises.[2]
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection M, requiring a fully executed copy of each lease agreement, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 3-27-2007 by Ord. No. 07-03.

§ 70-6 Procedure upon increase of occupants.

A. 
Every landlord shall have the obligation to monitor any increase in the number of adult tenants in each dwelling unit and prevent any increase in tenants that exceeds the number of tenants permitted in the rental certificate of occupancy. In addition, the landlord shall have the obligation to alert the Rental Housing Officer within 10 days of increase in the number of tenants in a dwelling unit above that permitted in the rental certificate of occupancy and the names of the new tenants.
B. 
Every tenant shall have the obligation to notify the landlord of any increase in the number of tenants within 10 days of the arrival of a new tenant.
C. 
Neither the tenant nor the landlord shall permit more tenants to occupy the dwelling unit than the maximum number of tenants set forth in the rental certificate of occupancy.

§ 70-7 Limitations of occupancy.

The maximum number of persons which may inhabit a dwelling unit shall be computed as follows:
A. 
Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.
B. 
Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum occupancy area requirements as set forth in the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
C. 
Maximum occupancy. The maximum number of tenants inhabiting a building rented for residential purposes shall be stated in the rental certificate of occupancy.

§ 70-8 Minimum standards for room occupancy: light, ventilation, bath and kitchen requirements, and decks.

A. 
Light and ventilation. Every habitable space shall have at least one window of approved size facing directly to the outdoors or to a court. The minimum total glazed area for every habitable space shall be 8% of the floor area of such room. Wherever walls or other portions of a structure face a window of any room and such obstructions are located less than three feet (914 mm) from the window and extend to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, such window shall not be deemed to face directly to the outdoors nor to a court and shall not be included as contributing to the required minimum total window area for the room. All other rooms and spaces shall be in accordance with the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1. Exception: Where natural light for rooms or spaces without exterior glazing areas is provided through an adjoining room, the unobstructed opening to the adjoining room shall be at least 8% of the floor area of the interior room or space, but not less than 25 square feet (2.33 m2). The exterior glazing area shall be based on the total floor area being served.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
B. 
Bathroom and kitchen. Each dwelling unit shall contain a full bathroom (including a water closet, lavatory and either a bathtub or shower) and a kitchen, meaning an area for the preparation of food (including a stove and sink). Access to the water closet shall be in accordance with the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
C. 
Maximum deck, balcony or porch space. The maximum allowable number of people on any deck, balcony or porch shall be one person per nine square feet in accordance with the maximum standing room space allowed as per the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, N.J.A.C. 5:23-1.1 et seq.
D. 
Structures that preexisted the adoption date of this chapter may continue to be used as a dwelling unit, notwithstanding they do not meet the requirements of this chapter, providing their continued use is permitted by the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code, Section 105, and the Uniform Fire Code. The landlord shall submit a written request with the application for the rental certificate of occupancy for such continued use along with a written explanation as to how compliance with the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code and the Uniform Fire Safety Code creates practical difficulties.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]

§ 70-9 Violation of occupancy requirements, inspections, enforcement.

It shall be unlawful and in violation of this chapter for a landlord, owner or a tenant of a dwelling unit to allow a greater number of people than the permitted maximum number of tenants listed in the rental certificate of occupancy to rent or occupy any dwelling unit.
A. 
It shall also be unlawful and in violation of this chapter for a tenant, landlord or an owner to allow a number of people greater than the maximum number of people permitted to occupy the deck, balcony or porch of said dwelling unit to occupy the deck, balcony or porch of said dwelling unit.
B. 
The Housing Enforcement Officer is authorized to issue summons for violations of this chapter to any owner, landlord or tenant found to be in violation of this chapter.
C. 
Inspections. The Rental Housing Officer or his agents or duly designated designee shall make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings containing a dwelling unit to be rented to a tenant prior to the issuance of a rental certificate of occupancy. An initial inspection shall not be required until a change of tenancy has occurred. For the purpose of making inspections, the Rental Housing Officer is authorized to enter and examine any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises at such reasonable hours as the circumstances of the case permit with the permission of an occupant, tenant, owner or landlord. In the event entry is denied, then, upon advice of the Municipal Attorney, recourse to a court of competent jurisdiction shall be pursued. No inspection or reinspection shall be made until all fees required by this chapter have been paid in full.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
D. 
Upon inspection by the Rental Housing Official, if violations are found to exist, a notice of Housing Code violation and order to correct shall be issued identifying the violations to the owner and/or tenant. This form shall be formatted and delivered as prescribed within Section 107 of the International Property Maintenance Code referenced in § 70-1.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
E. 
Each dwelling unit shall have immediate access to an approved fire extinguisher installed in accordance with the Uniform Fire Code.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
F. 
Each dwelling unit shall have an approved carbon monoxide detector installed in accordance with the Uniform Fire Code.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]

§ 70-10 Unlawful activities.

It shall be unlawful and in violation of this chapter for a landlord or owner of a dwelling unit or tenant of a dwelling unit or apartment:
A. 
To permit or allow people to reside in a dwelling unit in a number in excess of the number of people for which sleeping accommodations are provided in accordance with this chapter.
B. 
To lease or rent a dwelling unit where the number of tenants exceeds the total number of sleeping accommodations as set forth in § 70-7 of this chapter.
C. 
To knowingly permit a number of people, greater than the maximum number of occupants or tenants permitted, to occupy a dwelling unit.
D. 
To rent a dwelling unit without securing a rental certificate of occupancy therefor.
E. 
For the landlord to fail to file with the Rental Housing Officer a landlord registration statement as required by § 70-2 of this chapter for each building owned by him/her in the Town of Clinton containing a dwelling unit.
F. 
For a landlord to let, lease or permit any adult tenant to occupy a dwelling unit without obtaining a rental certificate of occupancy as required by this chapter.
G. 
To violate any other provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code, N.J.A.C. 5:28-1.1 et seq., the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code or the Uniform Fire Safety Code.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
H. 
To enter into a lease agreement without at least one tenant being an adult, and requiring all adult tenants to sign the lease.
I. 
To violate any section of this chapter.
J. 
To submit false or misleading information within an application for a landlord's registration statement or a rental certificate of occupancy.
[Added 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
K. 
Failure to pay in full any required fee indicated within this chapter.
[Added 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]

§ 70-11 Reporting of violations.

It shall be the legal duty of each holder of a rental certificate of occupancy to immediately report any breaches of the peace or violations of this chapter which he or she may know or believes to have occurred on the leasehold premises, which report shall be made to the Rental Housing Officer or the Police Department of the Town of Clinton by the most expedient means.

§ 70-12 Violation for false information.

Any person who is found to have submitted false information, documentation or identification in connection with an application for a landlord's registration statement or a rental certificate of occupancy shall pay a minimum fine of $250, plus court costs to a maximum of $1,250 for each document containing false information, documentation or identification. Any person who submits a false certification or documentation shall be subject to criminal prosecution, in addition to the penalties contained herein. In addition to the foregoing, a certificate of occupancy that is issued on the basis of information or documentation that is knowingly false or fraudulent when made shall be subject to revocation pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions herein.

§ 70-13 Fees.

There shall be a fee of $50 to file a landlord registration statement for each building containing one or more dwelling units.
A. 
There shall be a fee of $35 paid by each landlord to obtain a rental certificate of occupancy.
B. 
There shall be a fee of $15 for the initial change of tenant of a dwelling unit in connection with an application for a rental certificate of occupancy.
[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
C. 
There shall be a fee of $20 for each dwelling unit where there are five or more violations of this chapter present and of which a reinspection to determine abatement and compliance is necessary. This fee shall be due within 30 days of the issuance of a notice of Housing Code violation and order to correct.
[Added 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]

§ 70-14 Tenant subject to removal.

Any tenant renting a premises in the Town of Clinton who occupies the premises prior to obtaining a rental certificate of occupancy shall be subject to immediate removal from the premises. Any costs associated with the removal and subsequent relocation of tenants that are incurred by the Town of Clinton shall be the responsibility of the landlord and/or tenant.

§ 70-15 Appeal rights; rights and requests for extensions of time.

[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
A. 
Any owner, agent, landlord, tenant, and any person or corporation denied a rental certificate of occupancy under this chapter or aggrieved by a notice of Housing Code violation and order to correct may appeal such action within 15 days thereof to the Public Works/Business Administrator of the Town of Clinton by a notice of appeal, in writing, served on the enforcing authority and on the Rental Housing Officer. The Rental Housing Officer shall notify the occupant of the time and place of hearing. The hearing shall be held and the decision made within 20 days of the service of the notice of appeal.
B. 
Any owner, agent, landlord, tenant, and any person or corporation served with a notice of Housing Code violation and order to correct may request an extension of time within 15 days of the issuance of such order. The request shall be in writing to the Rental Housing Officer and state the following:
(1) 
Date of original inspection.
(2) 
The items that have been completed.
(3) 
The items remaining to be completed.
(4) 
The specific reason/s why the uncompleted items need further time for abatement.
(5) 
The date when all uncompleted items will be abated.
(6) 
A statement that the request for an extension of time indicates that the person making the request acknowledges that the violations do or did exist.
(7) 
Signature of the person making the request.
(8) 
A statement of the applicant's rights to an appeal.

§ 70-16 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-11-2014 by Ord. No. 14-02]
A. 
In addition to the penalties set forth in § 70-12, any owner or agent, landlord, tenant, and any person or corporation who shall have been found guilty of the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to a fine of at least $250 but not more than $1,250, community service or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine, community service and imprisonment. Each and every day such violation continues shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation. Each violation of this chapter shall be a separate and distinct violation.
B. 
Any owner, agent, landlord, tenant, and any person or corporation who, having failed to abate any violation of this chapter after having been issued a notice of Housing Code violation and order to correct, shall be subject to a penalty of at least $50 but not more than $100 for each unabated violation. Each unabated violation of this chapter shall be a separate and distinct violation and subject to a penalty.
C. 
The Rental Housing Officer may offer to reduce any penalty, provided that such reduction is in the best interest of safety and will assure compliance. No penalty reduction can be made final while the violation that led to its assessment remains in existence.
D. 
If a penalty order has not been satisfied by the 30th day after its issuance, the Rental Housing Officer may institute a civil penalty action by a summary proceeding under the Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999 (N.J.S.A. 2A:58- 10 et seq.) in the Superior Court or Municipal Court.