[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Township of North Brunswick 11-20-2006 by Ord. No. 06-30. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Housing Authority — See Ch. 42.
Dwellings unfit for human habitation — See Ch. 161.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 243.
Rental housing — See Ch. 266.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 197, Housing Standards, adopted 6-21-1971, as amended.
§ 197-6 Occupancy or rental of property not in conformance with provisions; certificate of maximum occupancy and use.
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that all residential housing in the Township of North Brunswick meets applicable standards for safe and sanitary housing standards and occupancy limits.
The Director of Community Development of the Township of North Brunswick, or his designee, is hereby designated as the enforcement officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, and he shall serve in such capacity without any additional salary.
Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 21, P.L. 1946 (N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1), the New Jersey State Housing Code as approved by the Departments of Health and Conservation and Economic Development and filed in the office of the Secretary of State, and the most recently adopted International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) as amended, are hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in this municipality are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental, except that the occupancy and square footage requirements contained in § 197-8 herein shall be applicable in lieu of those requirements set forth in the New Jersey State Housing Code and the IPMC. The New Jersey State Housing Code and the IPMC are incorporated herein by reference, and three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the Clerk of the Township of North Brunswick and are available to all persons desiring to use and/or examine the same.
The Director of Community Development or his designee is hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter nor in any way alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof.
The Director of Community Development or his designee shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which he may adopt in his office and in the office of the Clerk of North Brunswick Township.
The Director of Community Development or his designee is hereby authorized to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises, including all interior and exterior spaces, located within the Township of North Brunswick in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public and shall be referred to hereinafter as the "Enforcement Officer." The Enforcement Officer shall not be accompanied by uniformed police officer during such inspection, unless there is a reasonable concern of unlawful conduct or violence at or during the inspection.
For the purpose of making such inspections, after receiving appropriate authority through consent or administrative search warrant, the Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey, during reasonable hours, i.e., 8:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m., the interior and exterior of all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant of every dwelling unit and rooming unit shall give the Enforcement Officer free access to the exterior and interior of such dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit and its premises at all reasonable times, i.e., 8:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m., for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit or its premises, whether interior or exterior, at all reasonable times, i.e., 8:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m. for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Inspections shall not be based on any form of discrimination such as race, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
Inspections may be conducted pursuant to consent from the owner or lessee of the property or a validly issued administrative search warrant.
If the Enforcement Officer does not have a warrant and requests consent to inspect the premises, he must inform the residents that they have a right to refuse to consent to the inspection and that if consent to the inspection is denied, refused or revoked, additional legal steps will be taken by the Township. Consent from the owner, lessee or consenting adult must be knowing and voluntary, and the consenting party should sign a form acknowledging the knowing and voluntary consent. The basis for belief that a violation has occurred and the reason consent is requested should be detailed in records or written notes regarding the inspection, which shall be maintained in an enforcement file. Enforcement Officers should be aware that consent to the inspection may be revoked at any time.
If consent is not obtained to conduct a search of the premises, the Enforcement Officer shall leave the premises and prepare a certification in support of a request for an administrative search warrant. The certification shall state the facts surrounding the request for inspection and the refusal and a request from the municipal court for an administrative search.
When conducting a search the Enforcement Officer shall knock on all doors before opening them. The Enforcement Officer may take notes or photographs of the premises or draw a floor plan of the residence.
§ 197-6 Occupancy or rental of property not in conformance with provisions; certificate of maximum occupancy and use.
[Amended 5-21-2007 by Ord. No. 07-11]
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation, except for the provisions of § 197-8 herein regarding occupancy requirements and square footage requirements which are adopted as the standards for the Township of North Brunswick.
No two-family, three-family or any other multifamily units, or any units with habitable spaces used for sleeping purposes in an attic or basement, shall be sold or transferred without first obtaining a certificate of compliance from the Department of Community Development
A purchaser of any two-family, three-family or any other multifamily units, or any units with habitable spaces used for sleeping purposes in an attic or basement, shall certify that he or she has been informed of the maximum number of persons permitted to occupy the premises and has reviewed § 197-7, Single-family dwelling units, and § 197-8, Occupancy requirements; square footage, of this chapter and does not intend to use or occupy such property in violation of the provisions of § 197-7, Single-family dwelling units, and § 197-8, Occupancy requirements; square footage, of this chapter. Such purchaser must obtain a certificate of compliance from the Deportment of Community Development as to the validity and compliance of said units prior to the closing of title. Failure to comply with these requirements may affect the validity of the transfer of title and ownership.
A real estate agent licensee who is involved in the sale of a two-family, three-family or any other multifamily units, or any units with habitable spaces used for sleeping purposes in an attic or basement, must obtain or ensure that the purchaser obtains a certificate of compliance from the Department of Community Development as to the validity and compliance of said units prior to and as a condition of the validity of the title and ownership.
It shall be unlawful for any purchaser or real estate licensee involved in a sale to knowingly transfer or assist in the transfer of ownership in violation of this section. In addition to the applicable penalties provided in this chapter, the Township may, in its discretion, report any real estate licensee found to have violated the requirements of this section to the New Jersey Real Estate Commission.
A single-family dwelling unit is a unit which may only be occupied by a single housekeeping unit, i.e., a group of people, regardless of familial relation, wherein all members have access rights to all common areas of the single-family dwelling unit and all common appliances, including the main kitchen, the main refrigerator, the cooking range, washing machines, the garage, the family room, the living room, and the dining room. Any individual occupying a room that contains a private refrigerator, a microwave or a hot plate shall specifically not be deemed a member of the housekeeping unit. The essence of the single-family dwelling unit is that all members thereof, i.e., the single housekeeping unit, shall be the equivalent of a family, without blood relation, and shall constitute a single, economic entity, characterized by stability, permanency and functionality of such single housekeeping unit, by maintaining the single-family dwelling unit in common. Any use of a single-family dwelling unit by more than a single housekeeping unit shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to penalties and violations as set forth herein.
[Amended 5-21-2007 by Ord. No. 07-11]
All housing shall comply with the following codes and regulations, which are hereby made a part of this chapter. The following minimum standards shall be required:
Every dwelling unit shall contain a minimum gross floor area of not less than 175 square feet for the first occupant, and 125 square feet for each additional occupant.
In every dwelling unit, every room occupied or intended to be occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall have a minimum usable floor area of 70 square feet and every room occupied or intended to be occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall have a usable floor area of at least 50 square feet for each such occupant; provided, however, that children under the age of three shall not be considered to be additional occupants.
Every bedroom shall have access to at least one water closet and one lavatory without passing through another bedroom.
The following shall constitute the minimum occupancy area requirements:
|Minimum Occupancy Area in Square Feet|
|Space||1 - 2 Persons||3 Persons||4 or more Persons|
|Living room/ dining room||No requirements||100||100 square feet with an additional 25 square feet for each person 3 years old or older|
|Bedrooms||Shall comply with § 197-8B of the Code of the Township of North Brunswick|
Kitchens, nonhabitable spaces and interior public areas such as hallways and all portions of living and dining rooms shall not be occupied for sleeping purposes.
A habitable room, other than a kitchen, shall not be less than seven feet in any plan dimension. Kitchens shall have a clear passageway of not less than three feet between counter fronts and appliances or counter fronts and walls.
The following minimum standards for ceiling heights shall apply:
Other than a kitchen, basement or attic, ceiling heights in habitable rooms, hallways, corridors, bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms on the first or second floor shall have a ceiling height of not less than seven feet. The required height shall be measured from the finished floor to the lowest projection from the ceiling. Exception: Beams and girders spaced not less than four feet on center may project not more than six inches below the required ceiling height.
Ceilings in basements or attics with habitable spaces to be used for sleeping purposes may project to within six feet, eight inches of the finished floor; and beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within six feet, four inches of the finished floor.
Ceilings in basements or attics with habitable spaces not to be used for sleeping purposes may project to within six feet two inches of the finished floor; and beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within five feet 10 inches of the finished floor.
Not more than 50% of the required floor area of a room or space is permitted to have a sloped ceiling less than the height required herein, with no portion of the required floor area less than five feet in height. Portions of a room with a sloping ceiling measuring less than five feet from the finished floor to the finished ceiling shall not be considered as contributing to the minimum required habitable area for that room.
If there is a room occupied or to be occupied for sleeping purposes located in a basement or an attic, an inspection of the premises to be let or sold shall be made and a certificate of compliance from the Department of Community Development must be issued for such rooms to be used for sleeping purposes.
Emergency escapes and rescue openings shall meet the following minimum standards:
Basements with habitable space to be used for sleeping purposes must contain emergency escape and rescue openings in the room(s) used for sleeping purposes. All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet. Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of five square feet. The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have the bottom of the clear opening not greater than 44 inches measured from the floor. The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools.
Window wells required for emergency escape and rescue shall have horizontal dimensions that allow the door or window of the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened. The horizontal dimensions of the window well shall provide a minimum net clear area of nine square feet with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches. Exception: Ladder(s) or steps required shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of six inches into the required dimensions of the window well.
Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches below the adjacent ground level shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches and shall project at least three inches from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches on center vertically for the full height of the window well.
All spaces to be occupied for food preparation purposes shall contain suitable space and equipment to store, prepare and serve foods in a sanitary manner. There shall be adequate facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food wastes and refuse, including facilities for temporary storage.
Any persons violating the provisions of §§ 197-7 and 197-8 shall be subject to reinspection of the subject premises twice a year for three years and shall be charged a reinspection fee of $150 for each such reinspection taking place during the three-year reinspection period, provided that such violation has not been overturned by a court of competent jurisdiction.
All interior doors and hardware within any dwelling unit shall be maintained in good condition. Locks on any such door shall be of a passage or privacy type only. Deadbolts or similar security door locks shall be expressly prohibited on any interior door leading to living space and are limited to closets and storage units that cannot be occupied.
[Added 2-22-2011 by Ord. No. 11-03]
[Added 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-12]
Beginning May 1, 1995, the following information shall be provided to each tenant by the landlord or the landlord's agent:
A truth-in-renting statement prepared by the Department of Community Affairs in accordance with the Truth-in-Renting Act (N.J.S.A. 46:8-43 et seq.) shall be distributed to all tenants living in buildings with more than two dwelling units.
A copy of the registration statement filed with the Enforcement Office and/or New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection.
A copy of the new tenant notification form provided by the Township of North Brunswick. Said form shall be signed by the tenant and maintained by the owner during the term of the tenancy. For buildings with more than four units, the form shall be maintained in a log at the rental office.
[Added 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-12]
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The person or persons who own, or purport to own, or exercise control of any building or project in which there is rented or offered for rent housing space for living or dwelling purposes under either a written or oral lease.
- RENTAL HOUSING
- This definition shall include single-family, two-family, and owner-occupied two-family premises which are rented by a landlord, as well as any multiple dwelling subject to the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law, P.L. 1967, c. 76 (N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq.).
Every landlord of any building or structure which comes under the provisions of this chapter shall, by May 1, 1995, file with the Enforcement Office a written registration statement. For buildings with three or more units, the registration statement shall be the certificate of registration filed with the New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection, plus conformance with the local registration requirements pursuant to Chapter 196, Hotels and Multifamily Housing, of the Code of the Township of North Brunswick. For buildings with fewer than three dwelling units, the registration statement shall contain the following information on a form to be provided by the Township of North Brunswick:
The names and addresses of the owners in title of the housing property.
If the record landlord is a corporation, the name of the registered agent that will accept all legal notices on behalf of the corporation.
If the landlord is an entity other than an individual (i.e., a corporation, company, trade name, partnership, trust, condominium association, LLC, LLP, or other legal entity), the name and address of each partner and/or owner or person having a beneficiary interest; in the case of a corporation, the names and addresses of each stockholder if the total number of stockholders is 20 or fewer. In any event, with regard to corporate ownership, the registry shall disclose the name and address of any stockholder who owns, either directly or beneficially, 10% of the stock of the corporation.
The name, address and telephone number of the managing agent of the premises, if any.
The name, address and telephone number, including the dwelling unit, apartment or room number, of the superintendent, janitor, custodial or other individual employed by the record owner or managing agent to provide regular maintenance service, if applicable.
The name, address and telephone number of an individual representative of the landlord or managing agent who may be reached or contacted at any time in the event of an emergency affecting the premises or property, or any unit or dwelling or commercial space therein, and who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the building or property and any repair thereto or expenditure in connection therewith.
The number of dwelling units by unit type.
For single-family, two-family, and two-family owner-occupied units, there shall be a landlord registration fee of $30, which fee shall be renewable and due for payment every three years on October 1. For three-family or any other multifamily units, the landlord registration fee shall be made in compliance with the provisions of Chapter 196, Hotels and Multifamily Housing, of the Code of the Township of North Brunswick.
All single-family, two-family, and owner-occupied two-family unit landlord registrations shall expire on the third September 30 following their filing. The registration fee shall not be prorated for those registrations received after October 1 of any year.
Penalty for not registering; emergency inspection.
A landlord of single-family, two-family, and owner-occupied two-family units who is determined to be renting a dwelling not previously or currently registered shall be required to pay a registration fee of $30 and a penalty fee as follows:
A penalty fee of $250 for the first offense; and
A penalty fee of $500 for a second or subsequent offense, all such fees to be cumulative. A summons and complaint may be issued to the owner for appearance in Municipal Court for a second or subsequent offense, all such offenses to be cumulative.
The affected dwelling shall immediately be subject to an emergency inspection pursuant to Subsection E of § 266-7, Procedures for inspections and issuance of certificates of rental housing compliance, of Chapter 266, Rental Housing, of the Code of the Township of North Brunswick. The landlord shall be required to pay, in addition to the landlord registration fee of $30 and penalty fee of $50, the fee of $70 for such emergency inspection, as set forth in § 266-8, Fees.
If there is any change in any of the information on the landlord registration statement, an amended registration statement must be filed within 20 days, and the amended statement posted and distributed to tenants within seven days of filing. Failure to file such amended registration statement shall result in the following administrative penalties:
The certificate of registration shall be posted in an inconspicuous area to be designated by the landlord, but observable by the tenant.
The initial registration for all buildings shall also be accompanied by a floor plan and the square footage for each unit type to be used by the Township in establishing maximum occupancy limits for each unit type.
Any unpaid fees or penalties required pursuant to this § 197-10 shall be charged against the owner of the said premises, and the amount thereof shall become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers in the same manner as taxes. The Township shall have the right to bring a summary action for collection of such costs incurred in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-12]
Whenever the Enforcement Officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, he may give a violation notice of such violation to the person, persons or entities responsible therefor. Such violation notice shall be in writing and shall include a concise statement of the reasons for its issuance. Such violation notice shall be deemed to be properly and sufficiently served if a) a copy thereof is sent by certified mail and regular mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served, as shown by the most recent tax records of the municipality; or b) a copy thereof is handed to said person or persons; or c) a copy thereof is left at the usual place of abode or office of said persons or entities. A violation notice shall be given as aforesaid within or without the municipality.
The violation notice shall also state that, unless the violation is abated, cured, prevented or desisted within the compliance period designated in the violation notice, exclusive of the date of service, the Township may issue a summons for the violation. The Enforcement Officer may extend the period for compliance with the requirements of this chapter in regard to the violation stated in the violation notice for a period in excess of the compliance period if, in his judgment, the abatement, removal, prevention, cessation or cure of the condition violated cannot reasonably be effected within the compliance period, and in such cases, the Enforcement Officer shall state such reasonably required extended period in the notice, which shall then be applicable instead of the aforesaid compliance period.
Initial violation. Whenever the Enforcement Officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provision of this chapter which, after notice of violation has been issued, has not been abated, cured, prevented or desisted within the compliance period designated in the original violation notice, the Enforcement Officer may issue a summons of such violation to the person, persons or entities responsible therefor. Such summons shall be deemed to be properly and sufficiently served if a) copy thereof is sent by certified mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served, as shown by the most recent tax records of the municipality, or b) a copy thereof is handed to said person or persons, or c) a copy thereof is left at the usual place of abode or office of said persons or entities. The summons shall be served as aforesaid within or without the municipality.
Repeat violations. Whenever any violation reoccurs within one year from the prior violation, or said person, persons, or entities violate a similar provision under this chapter, the Enforcement Officer may issue additional summonses without the necessity of an additional violation notice and cure period, such summons to be in writing and to include a concise statement of the reasons for its issuance. Such summons shall be deemed to be properly and sufficiently served if a) a copy thereof is sent by certified mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served, as shown by the most recent tax records of the municipality; or b) a copy thereof is handed to said person or persons; or c) a copy thereof is left at the usual place of abode or office of said persons or entities. The summons shall be served as aforesaid within or without the municipality.
Continued violations. At the discretion of the Enforcement Officer, additional summonses may be served each and every day that the violation continues. Service of such summonses shall be in accordance with the provisions set forth hereinabove.
Abatement of violations by Township. Whenever any violation or nuisance, as defined under this chapter, is not removed and abated and/or any unsanitary or unhealthy condition in violation of this chapter is not corrected after notice, summons and hearing before the Municipal Court or Board of Health or other appropriate tribunal, as applicable, the Township may, either with Township equipment and labor or by contract with third parties, undertake to abate and cure such violation, nuisance and/or correct any such unsanitary or unhealthy condition or to generally put the premises in proper condition so as to comply with the requirements of this chapter. The remuneration of the Township's expenditure for such abatement, cure and/or removal shall be in accordance with the provisions of § 197-11D hereinbelow.
Assessment for Township's cost of removal; lien. Where abatement of any nuisance, violation or offense, as defined herein, or correction of any unsanitary or unhealthy condition requires expenditure of the Township of North Brunswick monies therefor, in addition to other remedies provided by law, the Enforcement Officer or the Health Officer may, in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12f, arrange for the cost of said abatement to be charged against the premises, and the amount thereof shall become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers in the same manner as taxes. The Township shall have the right to bring a summary action for collection of such costs incurred in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County.
Emergencies. Whenever the Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, if such emergency exists, such order shall be effective immediately and any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately but, upon petition to the Enforcement Officer, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Enforcement Officer shall continue such order in effect, or modify it or revoke it.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-12]
Any evictions that may be required for cases of violations of housing standards and/or occupancy limits shall be made in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:11-2.3, which requires that when a landlord is cited for a violation pursuant to illegal occupancy which could potentially result in an eviction of this tenants, the following must be included as an insert sent with the violation notice:
|"If, in seeking to correct the illegal occupancy for which you have been cited, it is necessary for you to evict one or more tenants to comply, you must notify those tenants of their potential eligibility for relocation assistance. Further information regarding your responsibilities as owner pursuant to regulations concerning eviction and relocation may be obtained by contacting the following:|
|Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards Office of Landlord-Tenant Information P.O. Box 805 Trenton, NJ 08625-0805 Telephone: 609-633-6606"|
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-12]
Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a minimum mandatory fine of $500 up to a maximum mandatory fine of $1,250, provided that the owner of the subject property shall be afforded a thirty-day period to cure or abate such condition and shall also be afforded an opportunity for a hearing before the Municipal Court for an independent determination concerning said violation. Subsequent to the expiration of the thirty-day cure period, a fine greater than $1,250, but not greater than $2,000, may be imposed if the Municipal Court has determined or, upon reinspection of the subject property, it is determined that the abatement or cure of the condition has not been substantially completed. Notwithstanding the above to the contrary, solely in cases of illegal occupancy, overcrowding and conditions constituting unsafe ingress and egress in violation of the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code, there shall be a minimum fine of not less than $1,000.