[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Franklin 3-12-1981 by Ord. No. 1044 (Ch. 140 of the 1990 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Health Officer shall, whenever necessary to protect the health and safety of residential tenants, act as an agent for a landlord in engaging a fuel oil dealer to deliver fuel oil at a reasonable price per gallon and to refire the burner to restore the proper heating of any residential property rented by said landlord; provided, however, that at least 12 hours have elapsed if the outside air temperature is between 33° F. and 55° F., inclusive, or at least four hours have elapsed if the outside air temperature is 32° F. or less, since the tenant has lodged a complaint with any municipal officer or agency, prior to which complaint a bona fide attempt has been made by the tenant or his representative to notify the landlord of the lack of heat, and the landlord has failed to take the appropriate action. Lack of heat means maintaining less heat than required by N.J.S.A. 26:3-31.
Any fuel oil dealer who delivers fuel oil or refires the burner in accordance with § 196-1 of this chapter may bill the landlord directly, or the municipality in which the rental property is located may issue a voucher to the fuel oil dealer who delivered the fuel oil for the money amount due on the fuel oil delivered and the service charge for refiring the burner, if any.
[Amended 4-11-1989 by Ord. No. 1478]
Any landlord or his agent whose negligence or failure to act results in municipal action pursuant to § 196-1 of this chapter shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $300 for each affected dwelling unit in the residential property. Such penalty shall be recoverable by the Township in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999, N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10 et seq. Any action to collect or enforce any such penalty shall be brought in the Superior Court, County District Court or Municipal Court. The amount of such penalty shall be paid to the Township to be used for general municipal purposes.
In any penalty enforcement proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter, the court shall also order the landlord or his agent to reimburse the Township for the actual costs incurred for any fuel oil delivered and the service charge for refiring the burner, if any, and for reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The court shall further be empowered to issue any appropriate injunctive orders and to authorize immediate collection of reimbursable costs due the Township out of the goods and chattels of the landlord, including all sums due or which may come due as present or future rents. Any landlord who prevails in such an action shall be entitled to reimbursement by the Township for all reasonable costs and expenses. Such landlord, however, shall still remain responsible for the cost of any fuel oil delivered and any charge for refiring the burner incurred by the Township.
The municipality or its employees shall not be liable for any damages to any person or property in enforcing this chapter, except for the gross negligence or maleficence of any municipal official officer or employee, and under no circumstances shall the municipality be held liable for damages from the lack of heat in the residential property.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to owner-occupied residential rental properties containing five units or fewer.