Township of North Brunswick, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Township of North Brunswick 2-21-1995; amended in its entirety 11-20-2006 by Ord. No. 06-31. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing Authority — See Ch. 42.
Dwellings unfit for human habitation — See Ch. 161.
Affordable housing — See Ch. 195.
Housing standards and occupancy limits — See Ch. 197.
Rent control — See Ch. 268.

§ 266-1 Purpose.

The purposes of this chapter are as follows:
A. 
To protect the health, safety and welfare of residential tenants by ensuring that both the interior and exterior of all rental properties are maintained in a safe and sanitary condition.
B. 
To protect the welfare of residential tenants by assuring that maximum occupancy limits are not exceeded in rental units.
C. 
To protect the real estate values of properties located in close proximity to rental housing by requiring the upkeep and maintenance of building exteriors and outside property areas.

§ 266-2 Applicability; exceptions.

This chapter shall apply to all residential uses with the exception of owner-occupied, single-family dwellings.

§ 266-3 Definitions.

[Added 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13[1]]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
LANDLORD
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.).
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former §§ 266-2.1 through 266-10 as §§ 266-4 through 266-12, respectively.

§ 266-4 Enforcement authority.

The Director of Community Development or his designee is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall be referred to hereinafter as the "Enforcement Officer."

§ 266-5 Requirements for certificate of rental housing compliance prior to change in tenancy; certificate of maximum occupancy and use.

[Amended 5-21-2007 by Ord. No. 07-12]
No person, agency, corporation, partnership, firm, company, owner, real estate agent, broker or any other individual shall hereafter rent, lease or sublet any residential unit, other than those exceptions enumerated in § 266-2 of this chapter, without first obtaining from the Enforcement Officer one of the following:
A. 
A certificate of rental housing compliance stating that at the time of the proposed rental, lease or subletting the unit complies with the property maintenance standards of this chapter and is approved for occupancy.
B. 
A conditional certificate of rental housing compliance indicating that the unit is conditionally approved for occupancy.
C. 
No rental housing 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 rented without first obtaining a certificate of rental housing compliance from the Department of Community Development.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
D. 
A purchaser of any rental property 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 § 266-6, Rental housing standards, of this chapter and does not intend to use or occupy or permit the use or occupancy of such property in violation of the provisions of § 266-6, Rental housing standards, of this chapter. Such purchaser must obtain a certificate of rental housing compliance from the Department 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.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
E. 
A real estate agent licensee who is involved in the sale of a rental property comprising 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 rental housing compliance from the Department of Community Development as to the validity and compliance of said rental units prior to and as a condition of the validity of the title and ownership.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
F. 
It shall be unlawful for any purchaser of rental property as described herein or real estate licensee involved in a sale of rental property 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.

§ 266-6 Rental housing standards.

[Amended 5-21-2007 by Ord. No. 07-12]
All rental housing not exempted in § 266-2 of this chapter shall comply with the following codes and regulations, which 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 and incorporated herein by reference and made a part of this chapter:
A. 
The most recently adopted International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) as amended and authorized by the International Code Council, except that the occupancy and square footage requirements set forth in § 266-6D hereinbelow shall be applicable in lieu of those requirements set forth in the IPMC. Three copies of the IPMC 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.
B. 
N.J.A.C. 5:10, Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings Regulations, except that the occupancy and square footage requirements set forth in § 266-6D hereinbelow shall be applicable in lieu of those requirements set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:10, Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings Regulations.
C. 
N.J.A.C. 5:70, New Jersey State Uniform Fire Code, including but not limited to requirements for smoke detectors on each level of a home with living space, including basements where applicable; carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of every sleeping area; and an ABC-style fire extinguisher placed within the kitchen(s) or within 10 feet of all kitchens but not necessarily mounted.
[Added 8-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-12[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former Subsection C as Subsection D.
D. 
The following minimum standards shall be required:
(1) 
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.
(2) 
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.
(3) 
Every bedroom shall have access to at least one water closet and one lavatory without passing through another bedroom.
(4) 
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 and older
Kitchen
50
50
70
Bedrooms
Shall comply with § 266-6D of the Code of the Township of North Brunswick
(5) 
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.
(6) 
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.
(7) 
The following minimum standards for ceiling heights shall apply:
(a) 
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.
(b) 
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.
(c) 
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.
(d) 
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.
(8) 
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 rental housing compliance from the Department of Community Development must be issued for such rooms to be used for sleeping purposes.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
(9) 
Emergency escapes and rescue openings shall meet the following minimum standards:
(a) 
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.
(b) 
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.
(c) 
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.
(10) 
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.
(11) 
Any persons violating the provisions of this § 266-6D 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.
(12) 
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]

§ 266-7 Procedures for inspections and issuance of certificates of rental housing compliance.

A. 
The Enforcement Officer shall provide the necessary application form. This form shall be available at the Community Development Office.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
B. 
The applicant shall submit a completed application and all required fees to the Community Development Office no less than five business days prior to the date that a new tenant is anticipated to occupy the dwelling, except in accordance with the emergency inspection procedures described in § 266-7E. Inspections can be requested up to 30 days before the desired inspection date and shall be scheduled by the Enforcement Officer in the order that requests arc received.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
C. 
The Enforcement Officer or his designee shall inspect the building interior, exterior and outside premises to make sure that the premises complies with the standards incorporated in § 266-6 of this chapter.
D. 
Within five business days of receipt of a complete application, the Enforcement Officer or his designee shall issue either a certificate of rental housing compliance, a conditional certificate of rental housing compliance, or a denial of rental housing compliance in accordance with the following:
(1) 
If the dwelling complies with the above-referenced codes and regulations, the Enforcement Officer or his designee shall post a signed certificate of rental housing compliance approving the unit for occupancy.
(2) 
If the dwelling fails to comply with all of the above-referenced codes and regulations but none of the violations are determined to jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of the intended occupants, the Enforcement Officer or his designee shall post a signed conditional certificate of rental housing compliance which allows the new tenant to occupy the unit prior to repairs being completed. The conditional certificate of rental housing compliance shall establish a definite time frame for completion of all required repairs. A list of all necessary repairs shall be provided at the time of issuance.
(3) 
If the building fails to comply and it is determined that such violations endanger the health, safety or welfare of the intended occupants, the Enforcement Officer or his designee shall post a signed denial of rental housing compliance stating that the unit is not to be occupied until all required repairs are completed and approved. A list of necessary repairs shall be provided at the time of issuance.
E. 
If a prospective tenant needs to move into an uninspected unit within a time frame which does not allow for the required five-day notification, upon payment by the landlord of an emergency inspection fee per § 266-8, the Enforcement Officer or his designee shall conduct an inspection within 24 hours.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
F. 
If a conditional certificate of rental housing compliance or a denial of rental housing compliance is issued, the applicant shall perform the required work and obtain all necessary inspections from the Construction Code Office prior to requesting a reinspection. The reinspection and issuance of a subsequent certificate, conditional certificate or denial shall occur within three business days of receipt of a request for reinspection and payment of the reinspection fee per § 266-8.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
G. 
If the inspection was scheduled in advance, as required by this chapter, and the required inspection is not conducted, then the new tenant may be permitted to occupy the unit without it being deemed a violation of § 266-5 of this chapter. However, the Township reserves the right to conduct the inspection at a later time.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
H. 
The certificate of rental housing compliance, conditional certificate of rental housing compliance or denial of rental housing compliance shall be permanently displayed in the apartment unit until such time as it is replaced by a more current certificate, conditional certificate or denial. Said certificate shall be posted by the Enforcement Officer in an inconspicuous area to be designated by the landlord but observable by the tenant.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]

§ 266-8 Fees.

All fees shall be paid prior to the inspection being performed in accordance with the following:
A. 
Initial inspection: $50.
B. 
Reinspection fee for conditional certificate: $30.
C. 
Reinspection fee for denials: $50.
D. 
Emergency initial inspection fee: $70.

§ 266-9 Information required to be distributed to tenants.

[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
Beginning May 1, 1995, the following information shall be provided to each tenant by the landlord or the landlord's agent:
A. 
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.
B. 
A copy of the registration statement filed with the Township Clerk and/or New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection.
C. 
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.

§ 266-10 Rental housing landlord registration requirements.

[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
A. 
Every landlord of any building or structure which comes under the provisions of this chapter shall file with the Department of Community Development a written registration statement. For three-family or any other multifamily unit buildings, the registration statement shall be the certificate of registration filed with the New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection. 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:
(1) 
The names and addresses of the owners in title of the property.
(2) 
If the record landlord is a corporation, the name of the registered agent that will accept all legal notices on behalf of the corporation.
(3) 
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.
(4) 
The name, address and telephone number of the managing agent of the premises, if any.
(5) 
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.
(6) 
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.
(7) 
The number of dwelling units by unit type.
B. 
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.
C. 
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.
D. 
Penalty for not registering; emergency inspection.
(1) 
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) 
A penalty fee of $250 for the first offense; and
(b) 
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.
(2) 
In addition to the remedies set forth herein, any unpaid fees and penalties pursuant to this section shall also be deemed a violation of this chapter pursuant to § 266-12 and subject to the penalties therein.
(3) 
The affected dwelling shall immediately be subject to an emergency inspection per § 266-7E of this chapter. The landlord shall be required to pay, in addition to the landlord registration fee of $30 and the applicable penalty, fee as set forth herein, the fee of $70 for such emergency inspection as set forth herein in § 266-8 of this chapter.
E. 
If there is any change in any of the information on the landlord registration statement, an amended registration statement must be filed within 30 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:
(1) 
A penalty fee of $150 for failure to register within 30 days;
(2) 
A penalty fee of $250 for failure to register within 60 days; and
(3) 
A penalty fee of $500 for failure to register within or after 120 days, such fees to be cumulative.
F. 
The certificate of registration shall be posted in an inconspicuous area to be designated by the landlord, but observable by the tenant.
G. 
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.
H. 
Any unpaid fees or penalties required pursuant to this § 266-10 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.

§ 266-11 Notice for evictions due to overcrowding violations.

Any evictions by landlord/owners of property that are required as a result of violations of housing standards, occupancy limits and overcrowding as set forth under N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(g) 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 by the landlord/owner 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"

§ 266-12 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 11-13]
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.