ARTICLE IRental of Unlawful Residential
Occupancies (§ 285-1 — § 285-4)
ARTICLE IIRent Control (§ 285-8 — § 285-25)
§ 285-1Rental of unlawful residential
§ 285-3Violations and penalties; enforcement.
§ 285-4through § 285-7. (Reserved)
No person shall lease or offer to lease, rent or offer to rent, collect rent or lease payments for or permit the occupancy of any illegal dwelling unit as defined herein.
No person shall lease or offer to lease, rent or offer to rent, collect rent or lease payments for or permit the occupancy of any illegal cubicle as defined herein.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- One or more rooms occupied or intended for occupancy with sleeping facilities, but without one or more of the requirements of a dwelling unit as defined in this section.
- DWELLING UNIT
- One or more rooms occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters for one family, with access directly from the outside of the building or through a common hall and for which separate cooking, sleeping and sanitary facilities are provided for the exclusive use of the occupants.
- ILLEGAL DWELLING UNIT
- A dwelling unit:
For which no certificate of occupancy has been issued; or
Which fails to meet the requirements of the State Tenant Housing Law; or
Which was created without the issuance of any necessary plumbing, electrical or building permits; or
Which fails to meet the requirements of any applicable ordinance or law governing zoning or minimum light, ventilation, floor area per occupant, ceiling height or other health or safety regulation.
The fee owner, whether a natural person or other entity; or
Any natural person or other entity with the authority to lease, rent or authorize occupancy, which authority is derived from the fee owner; or
Any natural person or other entity who leases or offers to lease, rents or offers to rent, collects rent or leases payments for' or permits the occupancy of any illegal dwelling unit or cubicle as defined herein.
Any person who violates this article shall be subject to a fine of up to $500 per day for each violation until the violation is abated. In addition, any person who violates this article may be subject to up to 30 days in jail in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge.
This article may be enforced by North Arlington Building Department Inspectors, North Arlington Fire Prevention Inspectors and the Police Department, together with any other municipal officials authorized to enforce Borough ordinances.
Any person authorized to enforce this article is hereby further authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this article, including, but not limited to:
To investigate any suspected illegal dwelling unit or cubicle as defined in § 285-2 of this article to determine whether an illegal dwelling unit or cubicle exists; and
To enter upon the premises for the purpose of making inspections in order to determine compliance with this article, provided that entries shall be made in such a manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the occupants of the premises being inspected.
Refusal to permit any such inspection shall constitute a separate violation of this article, and each day of continued refusal to permit any such inspection shall constitute a separate offense.
§ 285-9Establishment of rents.
§ 285-10Rent increases.
§ 285-11Notification of increase.
§ 285-12Hardship increase.
§ 285-13Capital improvements.
§ 285-14Maintenance of premises.
§ 285-15Vacancy decontrol.
§ 285-17Certificates of occupancy.
§ 285-18Rent Leveling and Control Board.
§ 285-19Maintenance of service standards.
§ 285-20Effective date.
§ 285-21Initial rents.
§ 285-22Base rents.
§ 285-23Real estate tax rebates or reductions.
§ 285-24Waivers and private agreements.
§ 285-25Violations and penalties.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
- An improvement which is depreciable pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code of the United States, and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder and allowed as a depreciable expense by the Internal Revenue Service; provided, however, that the improvement is in the nature of an additional benefit to the tenants and not merely a replacement of existing services that have been historically supplied to the tenants. The amount of the monthly increase which a landlord may charge shall be determined as follows: The total amount of the cost of the capital improvement, as allowed by the Internal Revenue Service, shall be divided by the depreciation period allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. That annual amount so obtained shall be prorated among all tenants in accordance with the formula provided in Article IV, and all such rent increases shall be charged for no period greater than the original depreciation period of said improvement without regard to subsequent adjustments in the basis of the dwelling housing space. The total cost, for the purpose of this definition, shall not include any interest charged or paid in the event that moneys are borrowed in order to apply for said capital improvement.
- For all provisions of this article, except for the provisions
of § 285-17, Certificates of occupancy, any building or
structure rented or offered for rent for the purpose of housing space.
Exempt from this article, except for the provisions of § 285-17
are one-family and two-family homes, motels, hotels and similar-type
buildings. Newly constructed dwellings covered by this article which
are rented for the first time are exempt, and the initial rent may
be determined by the landlord. All subsequent rents will be subject
to the provision of this article. Upon a vacancy in a three- or four-family
house and upon the owner filing a noncoercion statement, the vacant
apartment shall become exempt from this article, except for the provisions
of § 285-17. Once an apartment has been removed from the
control of this article, it is intended to remain exempt from the
term hereof, except as to the certificate of occupancy provision set
forth in § 285-17 hereof.[Amended 6-21-1988 by Ord. No. 1426]
- GROSS OPERATING INCOME
- Includes not only all rent received from apartments but also includes any and all rentals received from garages and parking spaces, as well as any revenues received from washers, dryers and other vending machines. Also included shall be real estate tax rebates or reductions not passed on to tenants; said rebates or reductions shall be considered operating income in the year received.
- HOUSING SPACE
- Includes that portion of a dwelling which is 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.
- OPERATING EXPENSES
- Include all actual expenses incurred in the operation of the premises; however, operating expenses shall not include depreciation, any and all interest charges or management fees in excess of 5% of gross rentals.
Establishment of rents between a landlord and a tenant to whom this article is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the provisions of this article, except in such instances as the dwelling is exempted from the provisions of this article.
Expiration of lease; termination of periodic tenancy.
At the expiration of a lease or at the termination of a periodic tenancy, no landlord who supplies heat and hot water to the tenant may request or receive a percentage increase in rent except as follows:
In the event that the monthly rent is $325 or under, the same may not be increased by a sum greater than 5% of the current rent.
In the event that the monthly rent is more than $325.01 but less than $499.99, the same may not be increased by a sum greater than 4 1/2% of the current rent.
In the event that the monthly rent is more than $500, the same may not be increased by a sum greater than 4% of the current rent.
In the event that an apartment is rented to or the tenant becomes enrolled in the Bergen County Section 8 Tenant Assistance Program, the landlord may increase the rent to fair market value as defined by the Bergen County Tenant Assistance Program; that amount will become the apartment's new rent base.
At the expiration of a lease or at the termination of a periodic tenancy, in the event that the tenant supplies heat and hot water, no landlord can request or receive more than an increase of 4% of the current rent.
Any rental increase at a time other than at the expiration of a lease or termination of a periodic tenancy shall be void, except if hardship or capital improvement increases are granted under §§ 285-14 and 285-15. Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this article shall be void.
In the event that a landlord causes the rent to be increased either as a result of an annual increase or a hardship increase, the landlord shall notify all tenants affected by such increase no later than 30 days prior to the effective date of such increase. Said notice shall be in accordance with § 285-11 of this article.
No owner or landlord shall increase the rental of any dwelling unit, as permitted in Subsection A(1) and (2), more than once in any twelve-month period; provided, however, that said right to an annual increase shall not be affected by any hardship increase granted to the landlord during the preceding year by the Mayor and Council.
Any landlord seeking an increase in rent shall notify the tenant of the allowable rent increase, up to the amount set forth in § 285-10A(1) and (2) of this article of the preceding 12 months of rent 30 days before the expiration of the lease or tenancy. Notice shall be by any of the following methods:
Appeal to Mayor and Council; notification.
In the event that a landlord claims not to be receiving a just and reasonable return on the landlord's property, the landlord may appeal to the Mayor and Council for increased rental. The Mayor and Council may grant the landlord a rental increase over and above that permitted by § 285-10 of this article, provided that the landlord submits to the Rent Leveling Secretary such information as the Mayor and Council requires to determine the actual return received by the landlord on the landlord's property and a hearing for all interested parties is held. After the appeal to the Mayor and Council and prior to the hearing by the Mayor and Council, a landlord must post in the lobby of each building or, if no lobby is present, in a conspicuous place in and about the premises the notice of appeal, date, place and time of the hearing at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
A landlord requesting a hardship rental increase shall prove to the Mayor and Council that he/she has owned title to the property in question and operated the same for at least one full year immediately prior to the date of the hearing before the Mayor and Council for said increase. This shall be in addition to all other proofs required by the Mayor and Council.
If a landlord owning more than six but fewer than 50 rental units files a hardship appeal, the required technical data submitted to the Mayor and Council shall be reviewed and investigated by a professional accountant designated by the Mayor and Council. The cost of said professional shall be deposited by the landlord simultaneously with the filing of the appeal, which sum shall be in the amount of $200. If the cost of the audit is less than $200, the difference shall be refunded to the landlord.
If a landlord owning more than 50 rental units files a hardship appeal, the amount required to be deposited simultaneously with the filing of the application shall be in the amount of $500. If the cost of the audit is less than $500, the difference shall be refunded to the landlord.
The method of determination of a fair rate of return shall be in accordance with the guideline set forth in Exhibit A herein.
All hardship appeals shall be heard and decided by the Mayor and Council no later than 75 calendar days after such appeal has been perfected by the applicant with the Mayor and Council.
A landlord may seek additional rental for capital improvements or services.
The landlord must notify each tenant as provided in § 285-611 of the total cost of the completed capital improvement or service; the number of years of useful life of the improvement, as claimed by the landlord for purposes of depreciation for income tax purposes; the average cost of the improvement; the total number of square feet of the dwelling or apartment complex; the total square feet occupied by the tenant; and the capital improvement surcharge he is seeking from each tenant.
The landlord seeking a capital improvement or service surcharge shall apply for said surcharge to the Rent Leveling and Control Board and present proof of expenditures for capital expenditures. If said increase is granted, it shall not be considered rental and not calculated in the allowable increase but shall be considered a surcharge. In any event, no increase authorized by this section shall exceed 15% of the tenant's rent.
The Rent Leveling Board shall take into consideration any cost saving in operation of the building that will inure to the benefit of the landlord as a result of such capital improvement.
A landlord may, in advance of starting a capital improvement, apply to the Board for a determination as to whether or not a capital improvement increase will be granted. The same procedure shall be followed as in § 285-512, except that certified cost estimates shall be submitted along with the other required data.
A landlord shall only be entitled to a hardship rent increase or capital improvement increase provided herein if he maintains the premises in accordance with this article and the other ordinances of the Borough or state codes providing for the construction, health, maintenance or zoning of said property without substantial decrease of any essential services.
Notwithstanding any limitations upon permissible rent increases under any other provisions of this article, upon the voluntary, uncoerced vacation of any apartment, rent increases of which are controlled by this article, the landlord shall have the right to fix the rent for such vacated apartment at such sum as the landlord deems appropriate; provided, however, that in no event shall said increase exceed 30% of the prior tenant's rent, and, furthermore, no more than one thirty-percent increase shall be permitted in one year or twelve-month period. A landlord shall not be permitted to increase said rent more than 30% in said twelve-month period, including the increase permitted under this section.
Noncoercion certificate. In order for a landlord to qualify for the vacancy decontrol rent increase, the landlord shall first be required to file with the Rent Leveling Secretary, within 60 days, a noncoercion certification signed by the vacating tenant. Any consideration for exception of the sixty-day provision may be appealed to the Mayor and Council. The Mayor and Council must approve the noncoercion certificate before rent increases may be enforced. The noncoercion certificate must certify to the Mayor and Council that the landlord has not in any way harassed or pressured the tenant into vacating the housing space unit and that the vacating of such unit was a voluntary act on the part of the tenant. Such noncoercion certification shall be required in order for the landlord to qualify for the vacancy decontrol increase in all cases. However, if the increase does not exceed the total of all permissible increases authorized by any other provisions of this article, the tenant has moved from the unit without notice to the landlord, the unit has been vacated pursuant to a noncoercion certification, and the tenant has refused to sign such certification, the landlord may appeal to the Mayor and Council for a vacancy decontrol increase. If the Mayor and Council has found that such refusal was unwarranted and that there was in fact no coercion exerted by the landlord upon the vacating tenant, said increase may be granted. A hearing pursuant to the above shall be held before the Mayor and Council upon at least seven days' notice to the public and the vacating tenant. The decontrol provision of this section shall only apply to dwelling units which are physically vacated subsequent to the effective date of this section. Noncompliance with the provisions of this section could result in the full refund of any rents collected in violation of said section. The amount of refund, if any, shall be in the sole discretion of the Mayor and Council.
Upon the vacating of any apartment hereafter, the landlord shall file a statement with the Rent Leveling Secretary, certifying to the Mayor and Council the apartment and building numbers of such dwelling unit, the rent paid by the vacating tenant. The maximum rent increase which would be permissible under the other provisions of this article, the number of days such apartment remains vacant, the rent agreed to by the new tenant for such apartment and that the vacating of such apartment was the voluntary act of the vacating tenant and that such vacating was not the result of landlord harassment or pressure upon such vacating tenant. The Rent Leveling Secretary shall submit quarterly reports to the governing body summarizing the number of apartments vacated during each such month and the difference, if any, between the permissible rent increases under the other provisions of this article as compared to the increases in rent due to the application of this section. Such quarterly reports shall also include the statement of the number of complaints received by the Rent Leveling Secretary with respect to alleged coercion by landlords for the purpose of forcing tenants to vacate apartments.
Any landlord who is the owner of property within the Borough of North Arlington, which is affected by the provisions of this Article II, shall file with the Rent Leveling Secretary on a monthly basis, no later than the 15th day of each month, a written report on forms to be designated by the Mayor and Council, which report shall contain the following information:
All changes in occupancy of any rental unit in such property during the previous calendar month.
In the event of such changes in occupancy, the name or names of the former tenant, the name or names of the new tenant, the term of the new tenancy, the amount of the former rent on a monthly basis and the amount of the new rent on a monthly basis.
In the event of no change in occupancy, a statement to that effect.
In the event that a landlord fails to file such report, or in the event that the landlord files a report which is knowingly or willfully false, such failure to file or filing such false report shall be deemed a separate violation of this article, punishable pursuant to the provisions of this article.
Upon the termination of any subsidy for any tenant, the rent for that apartment shall revert to that level at which it would have been at the time of such subsidy termination had the apartment been occupied by a nonsubsidized tenant or tenants, and that apartment shall immediately become subject to all other provisions of this article.
The Council shall appoint a person annually to serve as an enforcement officer. The enforcement officer shall have the power to enforce this article by issuing complaints in the Municipal Court for violation of this article.
The Mayor and Council shall give both landlord and tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination as to the issuance of a complaint in the Borough Municipal Court.
The Borough Administrator be and is hereby authorized to assign an employee of the Borough as an administrative assistant to the enforcement officer in order to assist said officer in the performance of his or her duties. Such administrative assistant shall coordinate the receipt of all reports required by this article and, in addition, shall make initial investigations as to all violations of this article, reporting the same back to the enforcement officer for action. Said administrative assistant shall have such other and further duties as may be determined by the Rent Leveling Board with the consent of the Borough Administrator and consistent with the law.
The Council shall appoint a person annually to serve as Rent Leveling Secretary.
When required. No owner or operator of a dwelling for rent shall permit the occupancy of a dwelling unit by a tenant not previously occupying said dwelling unit without first obtaining a certificate of occupancy from the Construction Code Official. All inspections required hereunder shall be made within 10 days after receipt of a written request from the owner or operator.
Issuance of certificate. A certificate of occupancy shall be issued by the Construction Code Official only after examination of the dwelling unit and favorable findings as to matters which are embraced in this article and other applicable laws of the Borough of North Arlington and the State of New Jersey.
Applications and fees. Application for a certificate of occupancy shall be submitted, in writing, to the Construction Code Official accompanied by a fee as set forth in the appropriate ordinance.
If, in the opinion of the Construction Code Official, minor violations are found to exist after inspection, a new occupancy may be permitted to conditionally occupy the dwelling unit. Where a dwelling unit is occupied prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the owner or operator shall make all required repairs within 15 days after the mailing of the written notification from the Construction Code Official. Such occupancy, however, shall at all times be subject to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
Where occupancy has been permitted under this provision, the owner or operator shall obtain a signed statement from the occupancy acknowledging that such occupancy is subject to a certificate of occupancy and granting the Construction Code Official permission to enter into the premises at a later date for the purpose of reinspection.
"Minor violations" shall be construed to mean violations not exceeding a total cost of $200 and which do not present an immediate danger to the health, safety or welfare of the occupant.
Identification and conduct of inspectors. The Construction Code Official or his delegate acting as an inspector shall be supplied with official identification and shall exhibit such identification when entering any dwelling unit, building or part thereof, subject to this article. Such persons making inspection shall conduct themselves as to avoid intentional embarrassment or inconvenience to the occupant.
The Rent Leveling and Control Board of the Borough of North Arlington is hereby abolished.
The Mayor and Council of the Borough of North Arlington is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this article, including but not limited to the following:
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this article, which rules and regulations shall have the force of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the Mayor and Council in the exercise of its discretion, provided that such rules are filed with the Borough Clerk.
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to ensure compliance with the provisions of this article.
To conduct hearings and adjudicate applications from landlords for rental increases as hereinbefore provided.
The Council shall appoint legal counsel to serve as Rent Leveling Attorney. Such counsel's compensation shall be determined from time to time by the Council, subject to budget appropriation.
During the term of this article, the landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furnishings and equipment in the housing space and dwelling as he/she provided or was required to do by law or lease at the date the lease or tenancy was entered into.
No landlord shall, after the effective date of June 1, 1986, of this article, charge any rent in excess of what he/she was receiving from the effective date of this article, except for increases as authorized by this article.
The owner of housing space or dwelling being rented for the first time shall not be restricted in the initial rent he charges. Any subsequent rental increases, however, shall be subject to the provision of this article.
The base rent shall be deemed to be the lawful rent for the housing space which was in effect on the effective date of this article and further, provided that rent for the housing space shall not exceed base rent plus any surcharge or increase authorized by the provisions of this article.
The Mayor and Council shall provide information on and in accordance with the procedure herein described and shall enforce any such federal legislation or regulations unless prohibited from such action by federal or state law.
In the event that a landlord perfects a successful tax appeal, the tenant shall receive 100% of all reductions as applied pro rata to the tenant's living space so leased, after deducting all reasonable expenses incurred by the landlord to perfect the tax appeal. Payment to the tenant may be made in the form of a credit against the monthly rent next ensuing or a check made payable to the tenant all within 60 days of the date the landlord receives such rebate.
There shall be no waiver or avoidance of the provisions of this article by private agreement directly or indirectly. However, where a tenant requests a personalized service, furnishings, equipment, facility, alteration or improvement to the tenant's housing space, which is unique and has negotiated a mutually satisfactory agreement with the landlord as to price and terms of payment therefor, such agreement shall not be deemed as part of rent and shall require prior approval of the Mayor and Council.
A violation of any provision of this article, including but not limited to the filing with the Mayor and Council of any material misstatement of fact, shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article I, General Penalty. A violation affecting more than one leasehold shall be considered a separate violation as to each leasehold.