Township of North Brunswick, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee (now Mayor and Council) of the Township of North Brunswick: Art. I as indicated in article histories. Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Township of North Brunswick: Art. II et seq. as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing Authority — See Ch. 42.
Affordable housing — See Ch. 195.
[Adopted 12-4-1978; amended in its entirety 8-13-1984]

§ 268-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANTS
Fit for habitation as defined by the Housing Inspection Code and occupied or unoccupied and offered for rent.
BASE RENT
The gross rent charged as of June 29, 1987, or the gross rent charged upon initial occupancy if said initial occupancy occurred subsequent to June 29, 1987. Hardship increases previously granted shall be considered to be a component of base rent.
[Added 8-3-1987]
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
The Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers of New York and northeastern New Jersey (1967=100%), published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
DECONTROLLED
Any dwelling or housing space which is not subject to the provisions of this chapter as defined in §§ 268-3, 268-11 and 268-12[1] of this chapter.
DWELLING
Includes any building or structure rented or offered for rent to one or more tenants or family units. Exempt from this article are motels, hotels and similar-type buildings, buildings in which more than 1/3 of the occupied floor space is commercial, housing units of two or fewer units in which the owner of the premises resides, as well as single-family units offered for rent.
[Amended 8-3-1987; 5-18-1998 by Ord. No. 98-7]
FREEHOLDER
One having title to realty.
[Added 8-3-1987]
GROSS RENT
The actual monthly rent charged and received over the preceding twelve-month period. "Gross rent" is comprised of the following:
[Added 8-3-1987; amended 11-6-1989[2]]
A. 
Base rent.
B. 
Major capital improvements surcharges and surcharges mandated by new laws and regulations.
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of a dwelling rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one individual or family unit, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property.
JUST AND REASONABLE RATE OF RETURN ON OWNER'S INVESTMENT
The rate of return determined to be high enough to achieve the following:
[Added 8-3-1987]
A. 
To encourage good management, including adequate maintenance of services.
B. 
To furnish a reward for efficiency.
C. 
To discourage the flight of capital from the rental housing market.
D. 
To enable the owners to maintain and support their credit.
LANDLORD
The owner of an estate in land who leases it for a term to another in exchange for payment of rent.
[Added 8-3-1987]
MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
An alteration in residential property which would significantly add to the rental value of the units effected in whole or substantial part. It is different than ordinary and foreseeable repair, replacement and maintenance.
[Added 8-3-1987; amended 5-1-1989]
OWNER'S ACTUAL CASH INVESTMENT
The owner's cash investment, calculated by deducting from the total investment in the property that portion of the investment which was financed through mortgages. Neither a refinance of the property nor an increase in value due to property appreciation shall affect the "owner's actual cash investment" for purposes of calculations pursuant to this article. The total cash investment shall be limited to the purchase price of the premises together with any capital improvements to the premises which do not add additional units and which are not otherwise compensated through rent increases pursuant to this article, reduced by the financing which was used to purchase and improve the premises.
[Added 8-3-1987]
SURCHARGES
Charges in addition to base rent, as specified by this article, payable by the tenant to the landlord. Surcharges are not to be considered part of the base rent when calculating percentage increases based on the Consumer Price Index.
[Added 8-3-1987]
TENANT
One who has the temporary use and occupation of real property owned by another person.
[Added 8-3-1987]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-12, Units to be decontrolled upon vacation, as amended, was repealed 8-3-1987.
[2]
Editor's Note: Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.

§ 268-2 Applicability; determination of rent increases.

[Amended 8-3-1987]
A. 
Applicability. The provisions of this article shall not apply to the lease or rental agreement between the landlord and the initial tenant for newly constructed unit or a unit which underwent major rehabilitation as determined by the Board. The landlord shall not be restricted in the amount of rent charged such initial tenant. However, all subsequent increases shall be subject to the terms and provisions of this article.
B. 
Determination of rent increases.
(1) 
Lease renewal.
(a) 
At the expiration of a lease for a unit where the landlord supplies heat, the monthly base rent may increase by an amount not to exceed the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index from March of the past year to March of the present year. For units in which the tenant supplies his own heat, the increase shall be limited to 80% of the Consumer Price Index. However, the owner may increase rents by a lesser amount. Any such increase, if applicable, shall be effective upon renewal for base periods commencing on and after the first day of September immediately following the March-to-March period for which the Consumer Price Index increase was calculated. Only one such rental increase can be exacted upon any one tenant within any one year.
(b) 
The percentage increase allowable hereunder shall be applied only to the existing base rent. Major capital improvements surcharges and mandated expenditures surcharges shall be added to the increased base rent in order to arrive at the new gross monthly rent.
[Amended 11-6-1989[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.
(2) 
Change of tenant. Where there is change of tenant as a result of the previous tenant's vacating a unit, the unit vacated shall be decontrolled for the initial lease only. The landlord shall not be restricted in the amount of rent which he may charge to such tenant for the initial lease, however, any subsequent rent increases shall not exceed the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index.

§ 268-3 Exemptions.

Any and all housing space or dwelling units which would otherwise be subject to this chapter but are covered by the Federal Moderate Rehabilitation Program are hereby exempted from the provision of this chapter regarding rent considerations as provided by § 268-2 herein; however, they shall continue to be subject to all other provisions of this chapter.

§ 268-4 Certain rent increases void.

Any rental increase at a time other than at the expiration of a lease or termination of a periodic lease shall be void. Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this chapter shall be void.

§ 268-5 Notification of tenant.

Any landlord seeking an increase in rent shall notify the tenant of the calculations involved in computing the increase.

§ 268-6 Surcharges; tax refunds.

[Amended 8-3-1987]
A. 
The following surcharges and adjustments shall be permitted:
[Amended 11-6-1989[1]]
(1) 
Capital improvements surcharge.
(2) 
Mandated expenditures surcharge.
(3) 
Tax refund.
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.
B. 
(Reserved)[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B, Tax surcharge as amended 5-1-1989, was repealed 11-6-1989. Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.
C. 
Tax refund.
[Amended 5-1-1989]
(1) 
In the event that a tax appeal is taken and the landlord is successful in the appeal and taxes are reduced and a rebate made to the landlord, the tenants shall receive 50% of the total rebate, as applied pro rata to each tenant's proportionate living space so leased. The landlord shall not be entitled to deduct from said reduction amount any expenses incurred in connection with the appeal. The landlord shall, within 30 days of receipt of this tax refund, identify for each tenant and the Rent Leveling Board, in writing:
(a) 
The total tax refund.
(b) 
The tenant's share of the refund.
(c) 
The individual tenant's proportionate share of the tax refund.
(d) 
The method of computation of the tenant's proportionate share of the tax refund.
(2) 
If the tenant is still residing in the dwelling or complex, then the tenant's proportionate share of the refund shall be deducted from his next rent payment. A tenant who is no longer residing in the dwelling or complex is entitled to his proportionate share of the tax refund. The landlord shall so inform him by sending a notice to his forwarding address. Money unclaimed after 60 days shall revert to the township for general purposes.
D. 
Major capital improvement surcharge.
[Amended 5-1-1989]
(1) 
A landlord may seek a major capital improvement surcharge for qualified improvements, subject to the following requirements:
(a) 
Following the completion of the improvement, but in no event later than six months after such completion, the landlord shall make application to the Board for a major capital improvement surcharge. The application shall be made on the form provided by the Board and shall be submitted to the Board, along with all supporting documentation, at least 90 days before the proposed effective date of the surcharge.
(b) 
At least 60 days prior to the proposed effective date of the surcharge, the Board shall establish a hearing date. Thirty days prior to the hearing date, the owner shall notify all tenants of the total cost of the completed improvement, the number of years of useful life of the improvement as determined with reference to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service concerning straight-line depreciation of capital improvements, the average annual cost of the improvement as described below, the need for such improvement, the benefit to the tenant and the effective date of the proposed increase.
(c) 
At the hearing, the Board shall afford all parties a full opportunity to be heard and to present any testimony or evidence relevant to the matter before the Board. The Board will then determine if the improvement is major in character and, if so, whether the cost was reasonable. A capital improvement surcharge, however, shall not include any interest expense paid by the landlord or the cost of repair or service of the improvement, as only the initial cost of the improvement is eligible for inclusion in the surcharge. In calculating the capital improvement surcharge to be granted, if any, the cost of the improvement shall be divided by the number of years of useful life of such improvement, with reference again being made to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service concerning straightline depreciation of capital improvements, to determine the average annual cost of such improvement. If the improvement will benefit all units in the dwelling, the average annual cost of the improvement shall be divided by the total square feet of the dwelling to determine the surcharge per square foot, which figure shall then be multiplied by the total square feet occupied by the tenant to arrive at the surcharge. If the improvement effects only specific units, then only those tenants who receive the benefit shall be surcharged.
(d) 
The total annual surcharge for all capital improvements applicable to each tenant shall not exceed 10% of his base rental and shall be payable in 12 equal monthly installments.
(e) 
Surcharges granted shall not be considered as base rent in calculating future annual rent increases.
(2) 
A landlord may also seek an early determination from the Board as to whether a contemplated improvement, or any part thereof, will be considered a major capital improvement under this section and what portion of the estimated cost of the improvement is eligible for the surcharge. The Board will also make a determination as to the useful life of the improvement. The landlord must submit an application for an early determination with the Board and a hearing date will then be set. The landlord must notify all tenants effected at least 30 days before the scheduled hearing date and provide them with a copy of the application. At the hearing, all sides will have the opportunity to be heard, and then the Board will make a determination. Upon completion of the improvement, the landlord will submit appropriate documentation demonstrating that the improvement was completed in accordance with the specifications previously submitted to the Board and that the total cost of the improvement has been paid. The Board will then schedule another hearing date, at which the surcharge will be granted if all of the information submitted to the Board at the early determination hearing remains unchanged. All of the tenants effected shall again be given notice by the landlord at least 30 days in advance of this hearing date.
E. 
Mandated expenditure surcharge.
[Amended 5-1-1989]
(1) 
A landlord shall be entitled to a surcharge representing each tenant's proportionate share of new expenditures mandated by new federal, state, county or municipal laws, ordinances or regulations. Such surcharges shall be payable in 12 equal monthly payments and shall be calculated by dividing the cost of the expenditure by the number of units in the dwelling.
(2) 
To obtain a mandated expenditure surcharge, the landlord must make application to the Board at least 60 days in advance of the proposed effective date of the surcharge, but in no event later than six months from the date of the expenditure. The Board shall then establish a hearing date. Ten days prior to the hearing date, the owner shall notify all tenants who would receive an increase in gross rent if the requested mandated expenditure surcharge was to be granted. Notice shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service, certified either by affidavit or by acknowledgment of service. Said notice and application shall include the following:
(a) 
The date, time and location of the hearing.
(b) 
The amount of the expenditure.
(c) 
The law, ordinance or regulation requiring such expenditure.
(d) 
The number of units in the dwelling.
(e) 
The total monthly mandated expenditure surcharge and monthly gross rent to be charged the tenant if the request is granted.
(3) 
Following the hearing, the Board shall grant or deny the request for the mandated expenditure surcharge.
(4) 
The surcharge granted hereunder shall not exceed 3% of the tenant's base rent in effect at the time of the granting of the surcharge.
(5) 
Surcharges granted hereunder shall not be considered as base rent in calculating future annual rent increases.

§ 268-7 Rent Leveling Board.

A. 
There is hereby created a Rent Leveling Board within the Township of North Brunswick.
B. 
Said Board shall consist of two landlords owning property in the township, two tenants residing in the township, three township freeholders, one owner of a manufactured home park in the township and one resident of a manufactured home park in the township. The terms shall be staggered, and the first Board shall consist of nine members, five of whom shall have one-year terms, three of whom shall have two-year terms and one of whom shall have a three-year term. All subsequent appointments shall be made for a three-year term to achieve the staggered terms of appointments as designated above. Any existing appointment which is terminated during the pendency of a term shall be filled by a qualified member of the same class for the remainder of the unexpired term.
[Amended 1-15-1990]
C. 
In addition to the members as set forth above, there shall be eight alternate members who shall be empowered to exercise the duties of a regular member in their class when the regular member is absent or is disqualified from participating with respect to a particular case. Two of the alternate members shall be landlords owning a property in the township; two shall be tenants residing in the township; two shall be freeholders; one shall be an owner of a manufactured home park; and one shall be a resident of a manufactured home park. Each alternate member shall be appointed for a period of one year. All alternates shall be designated as No. 1 and No. 2 in their class and shall service in rotation during the absence or disqualification of any regular member in their class. In order to conduct business, there must be a quorum present at the meeting. A quorum shall consist of the following: five members without regard for their class. Any member who fails to attend four regularly scheduled meetings in any twelve-month period shall cease to be a member of the Board, and a replacement shall be appointed to fill the vacancy.
[Amended 8-3-1987; 1-15-1990]
D. 
The Rent Leveling Board is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers therein granted, all powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:
(1) 
To recommend rules to the Township Council, which will adopt regulations governing the operation of the Board and its powers.
(2) 
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from landlords for additional rental as determined by §§ 268-6 and 268-8 of this article.
[Amended 8-3-1987]
(4) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from tenants for reduced rental as determined by §§ 268-6, 268-9 and 268-10 of this article.
[Amended 8-3-1987]
(5) 
To request experts to be provided by the Township Council in order to help render decisions.
(6) 
To require that certain rental information be furnished by every landlord within the borders of the Township of North Brunswick who is presently renting or who has dwelling units available to rent, regardless of whether the units in question are presently subject to other provisions of this article and to impose those sanctions enumerated under § 268-13 of this article necessary to obtain this information.
[Added 8-5-1985; amended 8-3-1987]
E. 
The Rent Leveling Board shall give 10 days' written notice of a hearing to both landlord and tenant except as provided in §§ 268-6 and 268-8C.
[Amended 8-3-1987]
F. 
The Rent Leveling Board shall render a written decision within 45 days after the conclusion of presentment of all evidence and testimony.
G. 
The Rent Leveling Board shall continue to function during the effective term of this article and shall act as hearing tribunal concerning landlord-tenant disputes under this article.
H. 
Any harassment by a landlord or tenant as defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 is hereby prohibited, and as such the landlord or tenant may seek the remedies provided by law.

§ 268-8 Hardship rent increases.

A. 
A landlord may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for an increment in rent due to hardship on the grounds that he is not receiving a just and reasonable rate of return on his investment when that investment is compared to other similar types of investment. To be just and reasonable, a rate of return must be high enough to encourage good management including adequate maintenance of services, to furnish a reward for efficiency, to discourage the flight of capital from the rental housing market, and to enable operators to maintain and support their credit. The Board shall scrutinize all hardship applications for self-induced hardship.
B. 
The original application, plus 15 duplicates, shall provide in detail financial and ownership information to be completed by the applicant on a form to be furnished by the Rent Leveling Board.
C. 
The Rent Leveling Board, upon at least 30 days' notice to the landlord, shall hold a public hearing on the landlord's application. At least 20 days prior to the public hearing, the landlord shall notify each tenant of said hearing by regular mail or by personal service. The notification shall include the date, place and time of the hearing and the substance of the landlord's application. An affidavit of service shall be filed with the Board showing compliance with the notice provision above. The Rent Leveling Board shall either grant or deny a hardship rental increase within 45 days after the conclusion of presentment of all evidence and testimony.
D. 
If the services of a financial consultant are necessary to assist the Board in evaluating accounting data, the financial consultant's fee shall be funded through an escrow account required of landlords making hardship appeals. The escrow may not be more than $1,000 for a landlord of 100 or more units, $500 for a landlord of 10 to 99 units and $200 for a landlord of less than 10 units. Any money not required for consulting fee shall be refunded to the landlord.
E. 
The Board shall not grant a hardship increase if it finds that:
(1) 
The conditions sought to be cured by the hardship increase were caused by sustained and systematic neglect on the part of the landlord over a period of time during which the landlord had the resources available to properly maintain his property.
(2) 
The landlord has failed, without just cause, to supply any data required by the Board.
(3) 
The landlord has practiced poor or improper management.
F. 
The Board may condition the grant of a hardship increase on the applicant's compliance with such reasonable terms as are consistent with the laws of North Brunswick and the laws or Constitution of the State of New Jersey and the United States of America. The Board is further empowered to order such inspections and investigations as are necessary to confirm compliance with said conditions.
G. 
If the Board finds that the landlord is receiving an insufficient return on his investment, that his lack of return has not been due to poor management practices or extraordinary nonrecurring expenses and that the same conditions would persist without an increase in total rent, then it may authorize an increase in total rent.

§ 268-9 Maintenance of standards; determination of reasonable rental value.

A. 
During the term of this chapter, the landlord shall provide substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishing or equipment in the housing space and dwelling as he provided or was required to do by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into or the landlord provided at the time of the enactment of this chapter.
B. 
An individual tenant or a class of tenants who are not receiving substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishing or equipment in their housing space and dwelling may have the Rent Leveling Board determine the reasonable rent value of the housing unit or dwelling in view of this deficiency. The tenant or class of tenants shall pay the reasonable rental value as full payment for rent until the landlord proves that the deficiency has been corrected.

§ 268-10 Unauthorized rent increase prohibited.

No landlord shall, after the effective date of this chapter, charge any rents in excess of what he was receiving from the effective date of this chapter, except for the increase authorized by this chapter, unless said dwelling unit has been decontrolled as provided by this chapter.

§ 268-11 General regulations.

[Added 8-3-1987[1] ]
A. 
Effective date. The provisions of this article governing calculation of rental charges shall be retroactive to June 29, 1987, and any lease entered into after June 29, 1987, but prior to the effective date of this article shall be renegotiated so as to be in compliance with this article. This provision for retroactivity shall not be interpreted to mean that any rents paid prior to the effective date hereof which are lowered by this article shall be reimbursed.
B. 
Mandatory lease notations. Every lease executed after the effective date of this article shall contain the following statement in boldface type on the first page of the lease: "This dwelling is controlled by the provisions of the Rent Control Ordinance of the Township of North Brunswick." In addition, all charges or alterations to the existing lease shall be identified in boldface type.
C. 
Filing of rent rolls. A landlord shall be required to file rent rolls annually in January with the Rent Leveling Board. A landlord shall indicate for each rental unit the rent as of January, which shall be broken down into a base rent and surcharges, if applicable. The landlord shall also provide to the Rent Leveling Board the number of bedrooms and the address of each unit on the rent roll report.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former § 268-11, initial rent not restricted.

§ 268-12 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-12, Units to be decontrolled upon vacation, as amended, was repealed 8-3-1987.

§ 268-13 Violations and penalties.

A violation of any provision of this article may be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000. A violation affecting more than one leasehold shall be considered a separate violation as to each leasehold.

§ 268-14 Statute of limitations.

All actions by a tenant or landlord except those actions brought pursuant to § 268-9, shall be brought by filing of a complaint not more than one year after the incident complained of.

§ 268-15 Construal of provisions.

This Article, being necessary for the welfare of the township and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof.

§ 268-16 When effective.

[Amended 8-3-1987]
This Article shall take effect immediately upon passage and publication as required by law.
[Adopted 6-1-1987]

§ 268-17 Applicability; initial rents.

A. 
The provisions of this article shall apply only to the leasing of rental spaces in manufactured home parks.
B. 
There shall be no restriction on the rent charged for the initial leasing of a manufactured home space. Thereafter, the owner shall be entitled to an annual increase in rents not exceeding the maximum permitted by this article. However, any subsequent increase shall be subject to the provisions of this article governing permissible increases.
C. 
The provisions of this article governing calculation of space rental charges in manufactured home parks shall be retroactive to January 1, 1987, and any lease entered into after January 1, 1987, but prior to the effective date of this article, shall be renegotiated so as to be in compliance with this article. This provision for retroactivity shall not be interpreted to mean that any rents paid prior to the effective date hereof, which are lowered by this article, shall be reimbursed.
[Added 7-6-1987]

§ 268-18 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
A. 
The gross monthly rent charged and received for a manufactured home rental space over the preceding twelve-month period, adjusted to exclude the following:
(1) 
(Reserved)[1]
(2) 
The monthly surcharge per space to cover the cost of major capital improvements.
(3) 
The monthly surcharge per space to cover the cost of expenditures mandated by new laws and regulations.[2]
B. 
Hardship increases previously granted shall be considered to be a component of base rent.
BOARD
The Rent Leveling Board of the Township of North Brunswick or the Manufactured Home Rent Leveling Board, if such a board should be created by Township Council.
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)
The All Urban Consumers' Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor for the New York - Northeastern New Jersey region
A. 
All income resulting from the operation of a manufactured home park, including but not limited to the following:
(1) 
Rental income from manufactured home spaces.
(2) 
Income from coin-operated equipment and vending machines.
B. 
For the purposes of this article, income from the sale of manufactured homes and income derived from late charges shall specifically be excluded in the calculation of "gross annual income."
GROSS RENT
The actual monthly rent charged and received for a manufactured home rental space over the preceding twelve-month period. "Gross rent" is comprised of the following:
A. 
Base rent.
B. 
Major capital improvements surcharges and surcharges for expenditures mandated by new laws and regulations.
[Amended 9-3-1991]
JUST AND REASONABLE RATE OF RETURN ON OWNER'S INVESTMENT
The rate of return determined to be high enough to achieve the following:
A. 
To encourage good management, including adequate maintenance of services.
B. 
To furnish a reward for efficiency.
C. 
To discourage the flight of capital from the manufactured home park.
D. 
To enable the owners to maintain and support their credit.
MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
An alteration to the park property above and beyond ordinary repair, replacements and maintenance which significantly adds value to rental spaces.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A unit of housing which:
A. 
Consists of one or more transportable sections which are substantially constructed off site and, if more than one section, are joined together on site.
B. 
Is built on a permanent chassis.
C. 
Is designed to be used, when connected to utilities, as a dwelling on a permanent or nonpermanent foundation.
D. 
Is manufactured in accordance with the standards promulgated for a manufactured home by the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
MANUFACTURED HOME RENTAL SPACE
That portion of a manufactured home park improved and offered for rent for the purpose of anchoring one manufactured home thereon, together with all of the privileges, services, equipment, facilities and improvements associated with the occupancy of such portion of the property.
OWNER'S ACTUAL CASH INVESTMENT
The owner's cash investment, calculated by deducting from the total investment in the park that portion of the investment which was financed through mortgages. Neither a refinance of the property nor an increase in value due to property appreciation shall affect the owner's "actual cash investment" for purposes of hardship calculations pursuant to this article. The total cash investment shall be limited to the purchase price of the premises, together with any capital improvements to the premises which do not add additional space to the park and which are not otherwise compensated through rent increases pursuant to this article, reduced by the financing which was used to purchase and improve the premises.
REASONABLE AND NECESSARY OPERATING EXPENSES
Expenses incurred by the owner/operator of a manufactured home park for the operation and maintenance of the park. The following limitations shall apply:
A. 
Principal and interest payments on mortgages, depreciation, fines and penalties shall not be considered operating expenses.
B. 
Costs of major capital improvements shall not be considered operating expenses.
C. 
Professional fees shall be limited to actual costs for the day-to-day operation of the park.
D. 
Management expenses shall be limited to amounts paid for services provided by a manager or management firm and shall be competitive with amounts paid for similar services in the area.
E. 
The purchase of new equipment shall be reflected and prorated over the useful life of the equipment as claimed by the landlord for the purpose of depreciation on income tax forms.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(1), dealing with tax surcharges, was repealed 11-6-1989. Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(4), which dealt with maintenance surcharge and which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 9-3-1991.
[3]
Editor's Note: Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.

§ 268-19 Lease requirements; property maintenance.

A. 
Lease required. Manufactured home park owners shall provide a written lease for a period of not less than one year to all tenants within 30 days of occupancy. Subsequent rent increases, with the exception of hardship increases, major capital improvement surcharges and mandated expenditures surcharges, may only be imposed upon the renewal of an expired lease or upon a change of occupancy.
[Amended 11-6-1989; 9-3-1991]
B. 
Analysis of components of existing gross rents. From the effective date of this article until such time as a permitted surcharge is approved, gross rents and base rents shall be equal on all manufactured home spaces. Upon approval of a permitted surcharge, authorization for future rent increases shall require that existing gross rents be broken down into base rent and any applicable surcharges.
[Amended 11-6-1989; 9-3-1991]
C. 
Mandatory lease notations.
(1) 
Every owner/operator of a manufactured home park shall cause to be printed on all leases executed after the effective date of this article the following two statements:
(a) 
"This manufactured home space is controlled by the provisions of the Manufactured Home Parks Rent Control Ordinance of the Township of North Brunswick."
(b) 
"Maintenance and replacement of heating tape is the responsibility of the homeowner. Periodic examination and replacement as necessary is hereby recommended."
(2) 
Both statements shall be in bold-face type and set off from other paragraphs on the first page of the lease.
D. 
Property maintenance responsibilities.
(1) 
The owner/operator is responsible for the general upkeep of the park, including the maintenance of all services agreed to in the lease. Unless otherwise specified in the lease, the owner/operator shall be responsible for the following property maintenance and services:
(a) 
Garbage collection a minimum of two times per week.
(b) 
Snow removal and sanding of all streets, common parking areas and walkways which serve either common areas, designated school bus stops and common mailboxes.
(c) 
Mowing of lawns and resodding or reseeding of areas as required, if not a direct result of tenant neglect or damage.
(d) 
Pruning and replacement of trees, shrubs, etc., as required.
(e) 
Streetlighting and lighting of common areas.
(f) 
Maintenance of recreation facilities, the clubhouse and other common areas.
(g) 
Street cleaning a minimum of once in the spring and once in the fall.
(h) 
Maintenance and repair of the internal roadway system and driveways to individual manufactured home rental spaces.
(i) 
Replacement of damaged or stolen street signs.
(j) 
Removal of leaves from the premises at least as often as the Township of North Brunswick provides such pickup service.
(k) 
Prompt replacement of damaged or stolen street signs.
(l) 
Removal of leaves from grassed areas and the premises.
(2) 
At a minimum, the following manufactured home park livability standards shall be maintained:
(a) 
Grass shall not be permitted to achieve a height which exceeds six inches.
(b) 
Snow shall be removed from roads when snowfall exceeds three inches in accumulation.
(3) 
While the owner is responsible for general landscape maintenance, the tenant shall be responsible for watering newly laid sod until the sod takes to the soil.
(4) 
The owner is specifically not responsible for upkeep, repairs and maintenance of manufactured homes located in the park unless said home is owned by the owner.
(5) 
Tenants shall be responsible for maintenance of heating tape and for fuel, electrical and water lines from the surface of the pad to the home and for sewerage lines from the street to the home, with the exception of any failure in the sewer lateral due to any break or settlement or act of vandalism, which, in those circumstances, shall be the maintenance responsibility of the owner/operator of the park. Snow removal from sidewalks that do not service common areas, school bus stops and common mailboxes shall be the responsibility of the manufactured home owner leasing the space.
E. 
Required relocation of home within manufactured home park. In accordance with the Mobile Home Law, N.J.S.A. 46:8C-2 et seq., a manufactured home park owner/operator shall provide notice by personal service a minimum of 30 days prior to requiring a tenant to relocate his manufactured home to a different rental space. However, upon requiring relocation, the owner/operator shall not be permitted to increase the amount charged the tenant in his existing lease, regardless of previous rental charges on the rental space to be occupied.
F. 
Excessive increase. Any increase in rental charges which exceeds that authorized by this article shall be void.
G. 
Written representation of services binding. The owner shall be required to provide any and all services to the homeowners which have been promised by the owner of the park in writing in either a lease agreement, a promotional brochure, a newspaper advertisement or any other written format. In the event that the owner of the park fails to provide such service which was promised in writing within a reasonable period of time, the homeowner may apply for a reduction in rent commensurate with the value of the service not provided, in accordance with the terms of this article.
H. 
Park owner permission for improvements to homes. The owner of the manufactured home park shall not withhold permission to a homeowner for an improvement or change to the home if such withholding of approval is arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. In the event that approval is arbitrarily, capriciously or unreasonably withheld by the park owner, the Board may order such owner to execute any and all documents necessary for the homeowner to make the requested improvement or addition.

§ 268-20 Annual rent increase.

[Amended 11-6-1989; 9-4-1990; 9-3-1991]
A. 
Lease renewal.
(1) 
At the expiration of a lease, for a three-year period beginning September 1, 1991, the monthly base rent for a manufactured home rental space may increase by an amount not to exceed 90% of the percentage increase in the consumer price index from March of the present year, subject to not exceeding a maximum base rent of $425 per month. However, the owner may increase rents by a lesser amount. Any such increase, if applicable, shall be effective upon renewal for base periods commencing on and after the first day of September immediately following the March-to-March period for which the CPI increase was calculated. Only one such rental increase can be exacted upon any one tenant within any one year at any one manufactured home site. For a subsequent two-year period beginning September 1, 1994, the monthly base rent may increase any an amount not to exceed 100% of the percentage increase in the CPI. The maximum base rent permitted shall remain at $425 for this subsequent two-year period only if the percentage increase in the CPI is equal to 5% or greater.
(2) 
The percentage increase allowable hereunder shall be applied only to the existing base rent. Major capital improvement surcharges and mandated expenditure surcharges shall be added to the increased base rent in order to arrive at the new gross monthly rent.
B. 
Change of tenant. Where there is a resale of a manufactured home which is to remain on the same rental space or where a rental space is to be occupied by a new tenant and manufactured home as a result of the previous tenant's vacating a rental space, the owner/operator shall be permitted to increase the base rent to an amount which does not exceed the highest base rent charged in the park at the time.
C. 
Procedure for annual rent increase.
(1) 
The owner/operator shall notify each tenant who will receive an annual increase a minimum of 30 days prior to the proposed increase. Notice shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service certified either by an affidavit or by an acknowledgment of service executed by the person served. The notice shall include the following:
(a) 
The date of expiration of the lease.
(b) 
A breakdown of the gross rent into base rent and any applicable surcharges.
(c) 
The percentage increase in the CPI for the preceding calendar year.
(d) 
The amount of the increase and the percentage of base rent represented by such increase.
(e) 
The total gross rent, including the annual increase in base rent.
(2) 
The failure of the owner to provide the tenant with this information 30 days prior to the lease date shall make any increases void, and the tenant shall recover any increases which the tenant may have paid.
(3) 
The effective date of any annual increase shall be the first day of the next month following 30 days' notification; provided, however, that in no event shall said increase precede expiration of the annual lease.
(4) 
Filing of rent rolls. An owner shall be required to file rent rolls annually in January with the Rent Leveling Board. An owner shall indicate for each rental unit the rent as of January, which shall be broken down into a base rent and increase, if applicable. The owner shall also provide to the Rent Leveling Board the address of each unit on the rent roll report.

§ 268-21 Additional authorized changes in gross rent.

A. 
This Article provides the mechanism for requesting gross rent increases which exceed the annual increase in base rent permitted annually. All such requests shall be classified as one of the following:
[Amended 11-6-1989; 9-3-1991[1]]
(1) 
Hardship increase.
(2) 
Capital improvement surcharge.
(3) 
Mandated expenditure surcharge.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Subsection B, which stated that this article provides the mechanism for a reduction in gross rent based upon inadequate maintenance or a reduction in property taxes.
B. 
Procedures for hardship increases are outlined in §§ 268-22 through 268-26 of this article,[2] and procedures for reductions in rents are outlined in §§ 268-27 and 268-28 of this article.[3]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-26, Property maintenance surcharge, as amended 9-4-1990, was repealed 9-3-1991.
[3]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-28, Reduction in rent due to tax appeals or decreases in taxes or fees, as amended 5-1-1989, was repealed 9-3-1991.

§ 268-22 Hardship rent increase.

A. 
Criteria for hardship rent increase.
(1) 
An owner of a manufactured home park may apply to the Board for an increase in base rents beyond that which is otherwise permitted in this article if the landlord can show that the gross annual income generated by the manufactured home park does not cover the cost of mortgage interest and amortization for mortgages on the park, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the owner/operator in connection with operation and maintenance of the park and still ensure a just and reasonable rate of return on the owner's investment.
(2) 
Determination of reasonable and necessary operating expenses shall be in accordance with § 268-18 of this article.
(3) 
No applicant shall be permitted to receive an increase under this section until such time as the applicant has owned and operated the manufactured home park for a period of 36 months.
(4) 
Only one hardship increase may be granted during any twelve-month period.
(5) 
The effective date of such increase shall be determined by the Board, giving due consideration to the date of submission of the completed application and the length of the hearings.
(6) 
The amount of any hardship increase granted shall be considered to be a component of base rent for calculating future annual rent increases.
B. 
Procedure for hardship rent increase.
(1) 
In order to provide the Board with sufficient time to review the required financial data and schedule necessary public hearings, the owner is required to submit an application for a hardship rental increase under this section at least 90 days prior to the effective date of the proposed rent increase.
(2) 
The Board shall establish a hearing date. Thirty days prior to the hearing date, the owner shall notify all tenants who will receive an increase in gross rent if the requested hardship increase was to be granted. Notice shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service certified either by affidavit or by an acknowledgment of service executed by the person served. Said notice and application shall include the following information:
(a) 
The date, time and location of the hearing.
(b) 
The amount of the increase requested, the percentage of base rent represented by such request and the total monthly gross rent to be charged the tenant if the request is granted.
(c) 
A detailed statement of income and expenses for the 12 most recent consecutive months ending not more than 60 days prior to application.
(d) 
The name and address of managing agent.
(e) 
The date of purchase of property and purchase price.
(f) 
Development costs.
(g) 
The terms of all mortgages.
(h) 
The owner's actual cash investment.
(i) 
The owner's estimate of the rate of return for the preceding two years and for the current year if no hardship increase is granted, and the owner's estimate of the rate of return if the requested increase is granted.
(3) 
In addition to any financial requirements which must be satisfied, the owner/operator must satisfy the Board that he is an efficient operator of the manufactured home park, that the park is in a safe and sanitary condition and that the park complies with all township and state codes pertaining to construction and tenants' rights.
(4) 
Following the public hearing, if the Board is satisfied that the applicant is an efficient landlord and that a hardship increase is necessary in order to realize a just and reasonable rate of return on the owner's investment, the Board may grant a hardship rent increase sufficient to ensure said return.

§ 268-23 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-23, Tax and fees surcharge, was repealed 11-6-1989. Section 12 of this ordinance provided that the provisions of the amendatory ordinance shall be retroactive to January 1, 1989. Any rents paid from January 1, 1989, which include a tax surcharge shall be reimbursed or credited to the tenant equal to the amount of the tax surcharge.

§ 268-24 Major capital improvements surcharge.

A. 
Criteria for major capital improvements surcharge.
(1) 
The owner of a manufactured home park may apply to the Board for an additional rental charge necessary to amortize the cost of major capital improvements which were necessary for the proper operation of the park.
(2) 
For the purpose of this section, "capital improvements" shall be any item considered as such under the federal internal revenue enactments and regulations.
(3) 
An owner seeking a capital improvements surcharge shall apply to the Rent Leveling Board within six months of completing said capital improvements with the following exception: However, where a proposed major capital improvement is estimated to exceed $50,000 and said capital improvement is not required by any township or state code or regulation, the tenants shall first be provided with an opportunity to approve or disapprove said capital improvement. Notice of a meeting to vote on said improvement shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service certified either by an affidavit or by an acknowledgment of service executed by the person served. Notification shall be a minimum of 30 days prior to voting. If a majority of tenants actually voting vote against the capital improvement, then the cost of said improvement shall not be eligible for a capital improvements surcharge.
(4) 
Any increase granted by authority of this section shall be paid over the period of the useful life of the completed capital improvement, as established by the Board at public hearing.
(5) 
Any surcharge granted hereunder shall not exceed 10% of the tenant's base rent in effect at the time of the granting of the surcharge.
(6) 
The cost of expanding or enlarging a manufactured home park or a section thereof shall not be borne by existing tenants through the imposition of a capital improvements surcharge.
(7) 
A capital improvements surcharge shall not be considered as base rent in calculating future annual rent increases.
B. 
Procedure for capital improvements surcharge.
(1) 
The owner shall make application for a capital improvements surcharge within six months of completion of the capital improvements and at least 60 days prior to the proposed effective date of the capital improvements surcharge. The Board shall establish a hearing date. Thirty days prior to the hearing date, the owner shall notify all tenants who would receive an increase in gross rent if the requested capital improvements surcharge was to be granted. Said notice shall include the following:
(a) 
The date, time and location of the hearing.
(b) 
The total cost of the completed capital improvement.
(c) 
The number of useful years of life of the improvement.
(d) 
The average cost, including debt service, of the improvement (calculated by dividing the cost of the major improvement by the total number of completed manufactured home spaces in the manufactured home park.)
(e) 
The capital improvements surcharge being sought from each tenant.
(2) 
Following the public hearing, the Board may grant a capital improvements surcharge in an amount determined to be appropriate.

§ 268-25 Mandated expenditures surcharge.

A. 
Criteria for mandated expenditures surcharge. An owner of a manufactured home park shall be entitled to a surcharge representing each tenant's proportionate share of new expenditures mandated by new federal, state, county or municipal laws, ordinances or regulations. Such surcharge shall be payable in 12 equal payments owing monthly and shall be equal to an amount calculated by dividing the cost of the expenditure by the number of spaces occupied and available for occupancy at the time the expenditure was made. However, any surcharge granted hereunder shall not exceed 3% of the tenant's base rent in effect at the time of the granting of the surcharge. Additional spaces which are made available after the expenditure shall not have such surcharge added into the gross rent calculations.
B. 
Procedure for mandated expenditures surcharge.
(1) 
The owner made application to the Board 30 days prior to the proposed effective date of the mandated expenditures surcharge. The Board shall establish a hearing date. Ten days prior to the hearing date, the owner shall notify all tenants who would receive an increase in gross rent if the requested mandated expenditures surcharge was to be granted. Notice shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service certified either by affidavit or by an acknowledgment of service executed by the person served. Said notice and application shall include the following: the date, time and location of the hearing and the calculations involved, including:
(a) 
The amount of the owner's expenditure.
(b) 
The law, ordinance or regulation requiring such expenditure.
(c) 
The number of manufactured home rental spaces occupied at the time of this expenditure.
(d) 
The total monthly mandated expenditures surcharge and monthly gross rent to be charged the tenant if the request is granted.
(2) 
Following the public hearing, the Board shall grant or deny the request for the mandated expenditures surcharge in an appropriate amount.

§ 268-26 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-26, Property maintenance surcharge, as amended 9-4-1990, was repealed 9-3-1991.

§ 268-27 Reduction in rent due to change in standards of maintenance or service.

A. 
Criteria for reduction.
(1) 
Every owner/operator shall maintain substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, recreational facilities and landscaping connected with the tenancy as was provided at the inception of the tenancy. A failure on the part of the owner/operator to properly maintain the grounds or services may entitle the manufactured home tenant to withhold rent. The obligation of the tenant to pay the approved gross rent in its entirety is dependent upon the owner's continuing ability to provide substantially the same level of services and property maintenance which were being provided upon execution of the lease.
(2) 
Should minimum property maintenance livability standards not be maintained by an owner/operator, or should facilities and services which were provided upon execution of the lease be substantially reduced by the owner/operator, or should the failure of the owner/operator to make necessary repairs or improvements result in the failure of the manufactured home park to comply with federal, state or local codes, then tenants so affected shall be entitled to a reduction in rent until such time as the deficiency has been corrected.
B. 
Procedure for reduction.
(1) 
Any tenant or group of tenants who is affected by either a failure of the owner/operator to comply with township codes or by a reduction in standards of maintenance and services may, on 30 days' prior written notice to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal delivery, with an affidavit of service to the Board, ask the Board to determine the percentage reduction in the gross rent in view of the deficiency. The Board, after hearing, shall determine the percentage reduction in rent by using the following suggestive, but not exhaustive, guidelines:
(a) 
The extent of violations of applicable codes.
(b) 
The nature of the deficiency or extent of the reduction in service.
(c) 
Whether the owner knew or should have known of the condition.
(d) 
The potential or actual effects upon safety and sanitation.
(e) 
The length of time of the existence of the condition has existed.
(2) 
Upon finding that a rent reduction is in order, the tenant(s) shall only be required to apply the rent as determined by the Board until such time as the owner proves to the Board that the deficiency has been corrected. Said payment shall constitute fulfillment of the tenant's payment obligation during that time. Where a reduction in rent has been ordered for a past deficiency, the tenant shall be entitled to a credit against the rent(s) next due, as reduced by any continuing deficiency which may be found by the Board, until such times the total credit has been exhausted.

§ 268-28 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 268-28, Reduction in rent due to tax appeals or decreases in taxes or fees, as amended 5-1-1989, was repealed 9-3-1991.

§ 268-29 Violations and penalties.

A willful violation of any of the provisions of this article, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Board of any material misstatement of fact, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500. A violation affecting more than one rental space shall be considered a separate violation as to each rental space.

§ 268-30 Construal of provisions.

This Article, being necessary for the welfare of the township and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof.

§ 268-31 Reexamination of provisions.

[Added 9-3-1991]
The provisions of this article affecting permitted increases in gross rents shall be reviewed and studied beginning four years from the effective date of this amendment.