Township of Pennsauken, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 3-26-1980 by Ord. No. 80-7]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANTS
Fit for habitation as defined by state or local housing inspection codes or the law as promulgated by the Legislature and courts of the State of New Jersey and offered for rent.
COMPLEX
Includes all dwelling units advertised as available for rent to tenants under the same management and trading under the same name.
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 complex as is granted in the leasehold from the landlord to the tenants.
JUST AND REASONABLE RATE OF RETURN
One which is not confiscatory. It should be one generally commensurate with returns on similar investments; however, an evaluation must be made of the interests of not only the investor but also the tenants and the general public.
MULTIPLE DWELLING
Any building or structure or group or complex of buildings or structures and any land appurtenant thereto in which six or more units of dwelling space are occupied or are intended to be occupied by six or more persons who live independently of each other. Additionally, "multiple dwelling" shall include any aggregate amount of six or more housing units owned by the same person, firm or corporation within the Township of Pennsauken, specifically including but not limited to an aggregate of six or more single-family units, apartment units, townhouse units or condominium units. For purposes of this definitional section, the Township Committee of the Township of Pennsauken intends to have this article apply to any person, firm or corporation who owns personally, and/or by way of any share or interest, including any stock or other interest whatsoever in any corporate or other business entity that owns and rents any single-family units, apartment units, townhouse units or condominium units in the Township of Pennsauken and who by virtue of such ownership rents six or more aggregate units, defined hereinabove, within the Township of Pennsauken.
[Amended 11-23-1988 by Ord. No. 88-45; 7-19-1989 by Ord. No. 89-30]
REASONABLE EXPENSES
Includes but is not limited to taxes and depreciation not previously compensated for through tax savings or other such means, utilities, insurance, maintenance, reasonable repairs, vacancy allowances and uncollectibles. Specifically excluded as expenses are state franchise and unincorporated business taxes.
REASONABLE RENTAL
Includes a showing of the age, character, locality, appurtenant amenities and state of repair of the multiple dwelling as well as comparable rentals for similar properties located within the municipality.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former §§ 251-2, Rent Stabilization Commission established; organization, and 251-3, Powers and duties, both as amended, were relocated to Ch. 9, Art. VIII, 12-30-2002 by Ord. No. 02-32.
[Amended 9-13-1989 by Ord. No. 89-39]
A. 
The landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings, recreational facilities and landscaping as were required by law or by the terms of the lease at the date the lease was entered into. Any individual tenant or class of tenants who are not receiving substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings, recreational facilities or landscaping which existed at the signing of the lease may have the Commission determine the reasonable value of the dwelling in view of the deficiency. The tenant or class of tenants shall pay the reasonable rental value as determined by the Commission as the full payment of rent until the landlord proves that the deficiency has been corrected. The Commission shall determine the reasonable rental value by using the following suggestive, but not exhaustive, guidelines:
(1) 
Violation of an applicable housing, building or sanitary code.
(2) 
The nature of the deficiency or defect as it affects a vital facility.
(3) 
The potential actual effect upon safety and sanitation.
(4) 
The length of time of the existence of the condition.
(5) 
The age of the structure.
(6) 
The amount of the rent.
(7) 
Any responsibility of the tenant for the creation or maintenance of the defective condition.
B. 
Any fraudulent inducement by the landlord which results in the signing of the lease by the tenant or by any tenant residing in any property covered by this article shall be considered by the Commission in its determinations. In the event that the Commission determines that any tenant in any property covered by this article has been coerced or fraudulently induced to enter the lease with a landlord applying for a rental increase, the Commission may consider such acts in its determinations and may as a consequence thereof either deny any such landlord an increase upon application to reduce the amount and/or percentage of such increase allowed. In the event that the Commission determines that there exists coercion or fraudulent inducement, it shall set forth fully and explicitly its factual findings in regard thereto.
Establishment of rent increase between a landlord and a tenant to whom this article is applicable shall be determined by this section of this article.
A. 
Submission of application for increase.
(1) 
An annual increase of up to 4% or the consumer price index of the Delaware Valley Region for the previous calendar year, whichever is the lower of the two percentages, of the existing rental rate may be granted by the Commission if the landlord provides the Commission with a copy of a proper termination notice and proof of service within 30 days prior to the effective date of the notice. For this annual increase notice to be proper, it must state that the tenancy established at the outset of the leasehold is hereby terminated, and a new tenancy may be created by the parties at the increased rental. If the Commission is not provided with these required evidences within the required time, the Commission may rule the annual increase null and void.
[Amended 4-23-1980 by Ord. No. 80-10; 2-10-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
(2) 
If the complex is insured, financed, subsidized or in any manner controlled by either the State of New Jersey or the federal government, particularly the Federal Housing and Urban Development Agency, in regard to rental income, then the landlord shall submit an application to the Rent Stabilization Commission at the same time as he or she would be submitting the application to the other governmental agency supervising rental increases or amounts. The rental increase granted by the Rent Stabilization Commission will be effective 60 days after same has been granted by both the Rent Stabilization Commission and the other governmental agency, as applicable.
[Added 4-23-1980 by Ord. No. 80-10; amended 11-12-1980 by Ord. No. 80-31]
B. 
An annual rental increase of from 4% of the current rate or the consumer price index of the Delaware Valley Region for the previous calendar year, whichever is the lower of the two percentages, may be granted to a landlord by the Commission, provided that the Commission is supplied with the following:
[Amended 4-23-1980 by Ord. No. 80-10; 2-10-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
(1) 
Proof of service of increase request on all affected tenants at least 10 days prior to the hearing on said increase.
(2) 
Rental rates for previous year for all apartments with the complex.
(3) 
That all similarly described units within the complex are presently or under the proposed increase would be paying the same rental, unless exempted under Subsection C of this section.
(4) 
Reasonable expenses and all other reasonable costs and their increase over the previous year.
(5) 
Reasonable rental of property.
(6) 
Certified proof of expenses, value of the complex and rate of return on investment. In presenting such proofs, the landlord's books may be presented in evidence; however, they are open for the question of reasonableness, which shall be determined by the Commission.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B(7), Payment of a fifteen dollar application fee, which immediately followed this subsection, was deleted 12-30-2002 by Ord. No. 02-32. For application fees, see § 251-16.
C. 
The burden of proof in regards to value computation, reasonableness of expenses, reasonable rental, inadequacy of rate of return and all items pertaining thereto is on the applicant.
[Amended 11-12-1980 by Ord. No. 80-31]
D. 
A property owner cannot submit an application or expenses whereby more than one complex is mentioned therein for a rental increase over and above 4% of the current rate or the consumer price index of the Delaware Valley Region for the previous calendar year, whichever is the lower of the two percentages, or for a hardship increase or capital improvement surcharge. A property owner will not be permitted to subsidize a complex which yields inadequate return out of profits derived from other complexes concealed by averaging it together with another complex.
[Amended 4-23-1980 by Ord. No. 80-10; 2-10-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
E. 
In determining the value of real property, the Commission may consider evidence using various means of computation such as depreciated replacement costs; market value based on sales of comparable properties; or any soundly conceived method which the parties may suggest such as assessed valuation or original cost depreciated.
F. 
The landlord must provide the Commission with the aforementioned information at least 20 days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission. Failure of the landlord to provide the Commission with this information shall make any increase void and the tenant shall recover from the landlord for any increases so paid, unless the Commission finds that the omission was excusable taking into consideration the landlord's good faith.
G. 
A rental increase application must be filed with the Commission at least 20 days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting, expressed as enumerated in § 251-5A(2), in order to be held at said meeting. The Commission shall render its decision upon such application within 60 days of such filing, and upon failure to do so, such application at the expiration of such time shall be deemed to be decided adversely to the applicant in the same manner as though said Commission has rendered a decision to that effect.
[Amended 4-23-1980 by Ord. No. 80-10]
An increase can only be granted by the Commission once annually. However, a hardship increase may be applied for, pursuant to § 251-3B, at any time during the course of the year. In case of such application, the landlord must prove all affected tenants received at least 10 days' notice of hearing on same.
A. 
No landlord shall, after the effective date of this article, charge any rents in excess of the rentals charged prior to the effective date of this article, except as otherwise authorized by this article.
B. 
Every landlord in the Township of Pennsauken must declare annually to the Commission the highest rental rates, by type of apartment charged within the landlord's apartment complex. This annual declaration of rental rates must also be posted in at least one conspicuous place within the complex.
[Amended 1-22-1997 by Ord. No. 97-1]
A. 
The landlord of a dwelling being rented for the first time shall not be restricted in the rent charged for such dwelling. Any subsequent rent increases, however, shall be subject to the provisions of this article.
B. 
Vacant housing space.
(1) 
Notwithstanding any limitations upon permissible rent increases under any other provisions of this article, upon the voluntary, uncoerced vacation of any housing space, the rental increases of which are controlled in and by this article, the landlord shall have the right to fix the rent for such vacated housing space at such sum as he or she deems appropriate, except as is otherwise provided in this subsection. Once vacant housing space has been rented, it shall immediately be subject to all of the other terms and provisions of this article, including but not limited to the limitation upon the maximum amount of increases of rent thereafter, unless and until such housing space shall again become vacant. The provisions as set forth in this subsection shall be known and defined as "limited vacancy decontrol."
(2) 
Subsection B(1) shall not apply to any vacant housing space which is rented by a tenant who rented any other housing space from the same landlord immediately prior thereto. Accordingly, such housing space shall continue to be subject to all other terms and provisions of this article. For the privilege of moving from housing space occupied by tenant to other housing space owned by the same landlord, the landlord may charge the tenant a transfer fee, which fee shall approximate the landlord's costs for preparing the unit of housing space into which the tenant shall move, provided that such transfer fee shall not exceed one month's rent of the unit of housing space into which the tenant shall move.
(3) 
In order for the landlord to qualify for a limited vacancy decontrol rent increase, the landlord shall file with the Rent Control Secretary an affidavit certifying to the Board that the landlord has not, in any way, harassed or pressured the tenant into vacating the housing space and that the vacation of such housing space was a voluntary act on the part of the tenant.
Every landlord must notify this Commission within 60 days of original or first rental of a dwelling of the amount of rental charged for the dwelling unit in order to establish a base rental.
Every landlord will post and maintain posted at all times in their rental office or, if none exists, in another conspicuous place where all tenants and prospective tenants may view such the maximum rentals for every type of apartment within their respective complex.
Every landlord must notify tenants at the anniversary of leasehold or commencement of the leasehold of the location of where notices will be posted including rental increase applications. A copy of the form posted must be supplied to this Commission with the rental application.
[Amended 9-12-1984 by Ord. No. 84-26]
An intentional violation of any provision of this article, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Commission of any material misstatement of fact, shall be subject to one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $1,250 or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge. Each day that a violation occurs shall be considered a separate offense.
[Added 1-24-2001 by Ord. No. 01-01]
The provisions of this article shall not apply to any residential health care facility as defined in N.J.S.A.30:11A-1 or health care facility as defined in N.J.S.A.26:2H-2a.
[Added 7-19-1989 by Ord. No. 89-30]
A. 
Henceforth and effective immediately in the Township of Pennsauken, every landlord who is subjected to the requirements of this article shall include in any initial and/or renewal lease for tenancy within the Township of Pennsauken an express provision that no tenant, occupant or guest of any tenant or occupant of any rental unit to which this article applies shall possess, possess with intent to distribute or distribute any unlawful controlled, dangerous substances as that term is defined and codified in the criminal statutes of the State of New Jersey. Every such lease provision shall further state that any tenant or occupant who violates that provision shall be deemed subject to eviction for cause and/or violation of the terms of the lease. Every such lease provision shall further state that any tenant or occupant who knowingly allows any guest of a rental unit to possess, possess with intent to distribute or distribute controlled dangerous substances in or upon the subject rental unit premises shall be deemed subject to eviction for cause and/or violation of the terms of the lease. The landlord subjected to the requirements of this article shall not be granted a requested rental increase unless there is a showing that the required provisions herein have been included in all lease agreements, either by direct provision contained in the lease agreement or by rules and regulations of the rental premises referred to within the lease agreement and attached thereto and made a part thereof entered into by the landlord within the one year next preceding the date of the rental application in question but following an initial one-year grace period subsequent to the adoption of this article.
B. 
Any landlord subjected to the provisions and terms of this article who knows or should know that any tenant, occupant or guest of any such tenant or occupant, with such tenant's or occupant's knowledge, has possessed, possessed with intent to distribute or distributed controlled dangerous substances while in, on or upon any housing space or multiple-dwelling premises, as those terms are defined in this article, owned in whole or in part by any such landlord shall take all reasonable and practicable steps permissible at law for the timely and prompt eviction of any such tenant or occupant. Any landlord failing to take such action shall be denied consideration of any application for rental increase pursuant to this article. The requisite knowledge of the landlord shall be presumed in the event that any tenant or occupant has been convicted of possession, possession with intent to distribute or distribution of any controlled dangerous substance while in, on or upon any housing space or multiple-dwelling premises, as those terms are defined in this article, owned in whole or in part by any such landlord. In applying for any rental increase pursuant to this article, the landlord shall have the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence to show that such landlord has taken all reasonable and practicable steps permissible at law for the eviction of any offending tenant or occupant.
C. 
Effective immediately upon the passage of this article, as part of each application for rental increase pursuant to this article, the Clerk or other officer of the Municipal Court of the Township of Pennsauken shall be requested to supply the Commission with any record of conviction of any offenses for possession, possession with intent to distribute or distribution of controlled dangerous substances committed in, on or upon any housing space or multiple-dwelling premises of the landlord applicant in question for the one year next preceding the date of the rental increase application under consideration. The landlord applicant shall be responsible for any record search fee in these regards, but not to exceed the sum of $75 for any single application for rental increase.
Any provision of a lease or other agreement whereby any provision of this article is waived shall be deemed against public policy and shall be voided.
[Added 11-12-1980 by Ord. No. 80-31]
A. 
Each applicant for a rental increase shall pay a one-hundred-dollar nonrefundable application fee to the Township of Pennsauken upon filing of such application.
B. 
Any and all expenses incurred for consultants, experts, attorneys, witnesses, etc., needed by the Rent Stabilization Commission as a result of a hearing and/or an investigation associated with an application for a rental increase in, over and above 4% of the current rate or the consumer price index of the Delaware Valley Region for the previous calendar year, whichever is the lower of the two percentages, shall be borne by the applicant for such rental increase.
[Amended 2-10-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
C. 
The applicant for such rental increase over and above 4% of the current rate or the consumer price index of the Delaware Valley Region for the previous calendar year, whichever is the lower of the two percentages, shall deposit with the Township of Pennsauken $1,000 to be utilized to satisfy the expenses incurred as identified in § 251-5C. The balance of the $1,000 not utilized to satisfy expenses shall be returned to the applicant upon the conclusion of its matter before the Rent Stabilization Board. In the event that additional moneys are needed above the $1,000 to satisfy the aforementioned expenses, the applicant shall be so informed of the amount needed and shall deposit such amount with the Township of Pennsauken forthwith.
[Amended 2-10-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]