Borough of River Edge, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of River Edge 12-31-1975 as Ch. XIII of the 1975 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, 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. The regulations for the construction and maintenance of hotels and multiple dwellings of the Department of Community Affairs of the State of New Jersey and the applicable ordinances of the Borough of River Edge shall be deemed to be the controlling housing inspection code.
DWELLING
Includes any building or structure or trailer or land used as a trailer park, rented or offered for rent to one (1) or more tenants of family units. Exempt from this chapter are motels, hotels and similar type buildings and housing units of four (4) units or less, without regard to owner's occupancy on said premises. Housing units, newly constructed and rented for the first time, are exempted, and the initial rent may be determined by the landlord. All subsequent rents will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 8-20-1979 by Ord. No. 752]
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of a dwelling rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one (1) individual or family unit, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities, garages and storage areas and improvements. However, in instances where a landlord can demonstrate to the Board that the supply of garages and/or storage areas is greater than the demand for garages and/or storage areas in the landlord's complex, the landlord shall be entitled to rent the garage and/or storage area to any person other than an existing tenant, at any rent. However, when a tenant in the landlord's complex requests to rent a garage and/or storage area, the landlord must make a garage and/or storage area available to be rented by the tenant within ninety (90) days of the request if a garage is being rented by a nontenant. When a tenant takes possession of a garage and/or storage area which has previously been occupied by a nontenant, the landlord may not charge the tenant a rent for such garage or storage area as part of his total rent which is greater than the highest rent being paid by any other tenant for a similar garage and/or storage unit.
[Amended 5-31-1977 by Ord. No. 690; 4-6-1981 by Ord. No. 788; 11-4-1985 by Ord. No. 902]
Establishment of rents between landlords and tenants to whom this act is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the provisions of this chapter. At the expiration of a lease of a periodic tenant, no landlord may request or receive a percentage increase in rent which is greater than four percent (4%) of the previous rent which was charged the tenant.
[Amended 5-31-1977 by Ord. No. 690; 4-6-1981 by Ord. No. 788; 11-4-1985 by Ord. No. 902]
In cases of week-to-week, month-to-month or other tenancies at will, a landlord shall be entitled to only one (1) rental increase for a twelve-month period. With respect to rental increases for such tenants, no landlord may request or receive a percentage increase in rent which is greater than four percent (4%) per annum, provided that the date of the last rental increase or start of tenancy shall be at least twelve (12) months prior to the date of the extended increase.
[Amended 1-1-1980 by Ord. No. 756]
When a dwelling unit becomes vacant, the landlord may, upon submission of proof satisfactory to the Rent Leveling Board that the occurrence of such vacancy was entirely voluntary on the part of the vacating tenant, increase the rental of such unit to an amount agreed up by the landlord and the new tenant. If the Rent Leveling Board determines that the dwelling unit became vacant by reason of coercive action on the part of the landlord, all rent increases shall be controlled by the other sections of this chapter and be treated as if there is no change in tenancy for purposes of increases.
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. However, this section shall not prohibit a landlord and tenant from entering into a lease for a term of more than one (1) year which provides that the landlord may increase the rent at the end of each year by no more than the amount permitted by the River Edge rent leveling ordinance. Provided that, if the landlord and tenant enter into said lease, the lease shall provide for said increase, and both landlord and tenant must signify on the lease that they are aware of said provision and agree to be bound by its terms.
Any landlord seeking an increase in rent shall provide the tenant with the calculations computing the increase at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the tenancy or thirty (30) days prior to the month in which the proposed increase in rent is to commence. In the event that a landlord seeking an increase in rent does not notify the tenant of the calculations involved within at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the tenancy or thirty (30) days prior to the month of increase, then said increase shall not take effect until the first day of the month following thirty (30) days after the notice of increase has been given to the tenant.
For the purpose of computing permissible rental increases, any tax surcharges imposed prior to the effective date of this chapter shall not be considered as rent.
[Amended 5-31-1977 by Ord. No. 690; 4-6-1981 by Ord. No. 788; 11-4-1985 by Ord. No. 902]
Included in the annual increase permitted under this chapter is an amount to cover any increase in municipal property taxes. Landlords are therefore prohibited from seeking a tax surcharge from tenants based on any increase in municipal property taxes.
[Amended 12-20-1976 by Ord. No. 678]
A. 
Landlords to whom this chapter applies must submit to the Borough Clerk by the 15th day of April of each year information as to their income, operating expenses and related financial data and as to their rent rolls as of December 31 of the preceding.year. Landlords may submit the statement of income, operating expenses and related financial data for either a fiscal year or a calendar year, provided that the same twelve-month period is used on each submission.
B. 
For apartment complexes of twenty (20) units or more, the statement of income, operating expenses and related financial data and the rent rolls must be certified by a certified public accountant. For apartment complexes of nineteen (19) units or less, the income, operating expenses and related financial data statement and the rent rolls may be either certified by a certified public accountant or signed personally by the owner, who will affirm its truthfulness before a notary public or attorney of the State of New Jersey.
C. 
In the event that a landlord does not submit the statement of income, operating expenses and related financial data and rent rolls with the certification or affirmation as required by this chapter to the Borough Clerk within sixty (60) days of the date required by this chapter, the permissible rental increases the landlord may charge under the provision of such § 336-2 shall be limited to three percent (3%).
A. 
Establishment; composition.
[Amended 1-1-1980 by Ord. No. 758]
(1) 
There is hereby created a Rent Leveling Board within the borough. With the exception stated herein, the Board shall consist of seven (7) members to be appointed by the Mayor, with approval of the Council, for terms of two (2) years. Two (2) members shall be landlords, two (2) members shall be tenants and three (3) members shall be resident owners of private residences in the borough. One (1) member of the resident owners shall be appointed as Chairman by the Mayor, with the consent of the Council.
[Amended 4-6-1981 by Ord. No. 789]
(2) 
Three (3) members consisting of a landlord, tenants and resident owner of private residence shall be appointed for a two-year term. Three (3) members consisting of a landlord, tenant and residence owner of a private residence shall be appointed for a one-year term by the Mayor with approval of the Council.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
(3) 
Three (3) alternates shall be appointed consisting of a landlord, tenant and resident owner of a private residence. The alternates shall fill in for a member of their class whenever a member of a class is absent or unable to participate in a meeting. Alternates shall be appointed for a one-year term by the Mayor with approval of the Council.
B. 
Powers and duties.
(1) 
The Rent Leveling Board is hereby granted, and shall have an exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:
(a) 
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this act, which rules and regulations shall have the force of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the Board in the exercise of its discretion, provided that such rules are filed with the Borough Clark.
(b) 
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(c) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from landlords for additional rental as determined by § 336-12 of this chapter.
(d) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from tenants for reduced rental as determined by § 336-13 of this chapter.
(e) 
To retain attorneys and accountants and other professional services which they may need, provided that they have the approval of the Mayor and Council before engaging the same.
[Added 1-1-1980 by Ord. No. 758]
(2) 
Where necessary, the Rent Leveling Board shall give reasonable opportunity to be heard to both landlord and tenant before making any determination.
(3) 
The Rent Leveling Board shall promptly notify, in writing, interested parties, including the landlord and tenant, of its decision.
[Amended 1-1-1980 by Ord. No. 758]
Both landlord and tenant may appeal the findings of the Rent Leveling Board to the Mayor and Council within twenty (20) days of posting or mailings of such decision.
[Amended 1-1-1980 by Ord. No. 758]
In the event that a landlord cannot meet his mortgage payments and maintenance costs or is not receiving a fair return on his investment, he may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for increased permissible rental. The Board may grant the landlord a hardship rent increase, provided that the landlord has complied with the requirements of § 336-9 herein.
A. 
The landlord applying for a hardship rent increase shall notify all affected tenants by regular mail, ten (10) days prior to the hearing date, of the dollar amount of percentage rent increase being sought, the date and place of the meeting and that the tenants, individually or collectively, may appear and be heard at said meeting. The landlords shall present a sworn affidavit with an attached list of tenants stating that all tenants have been noticed before hearings may commence.
B. 
The landlord applicant shall file with the Rent Leveling Board and with the Borough Clerk all financial statements upon which it will rely at the hearing at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing date. This is to afford interested parties the opportunity to review the data prior to the hearing date.
C. 
Failure to provide proper notice or the financial reports shall subject the landlord applicant to dismissal of the petition for hardship rent increase, adjournment of the matter for a minimum of twenty (20) days or exclusion of the data at the hearing, at the discretion of the Rent Leveling Board.
D. 
The Rent Leveling Board shall hear an application as soon as possible. The landlord shall present his proofs and evidence at one (1) hearing. The discretion of the Chairman of the Rent Leveling Board may be granted for the tenants to be granted an adjournment to present their proofs and evidence. The Rent Leveling Board shall present a decision within a reasonable period of time after the hearing is completed, giving consideration to the need for the Board to review the evidence and exhibits and render a decision. If the Rent Leveling Board fails to have a hearing at two (2) consecutive meetings, after all the notice and filing requirements have been met, the application can no longer be heard by the Rent Leveling Board and must then be heard by the Mayor and Council.
E. 
For a hardship rent increase to be granted, there must be four (4) affirmative votes in favor of that increase.
F. 
The decision of a rent increase shall be posted over the mailboxes in each building affected by the rent increase. This posting shall be done by the borough. The date of posting shall be considered the notice of the decision. The date of mailing of the resolution to the landlord shall be considered notice to the landlord.
[Amended 1-1-1980 by Ord. No. 758]
A. 
During the terms of this chapter the landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings or equipment in the housing space and dwelling as he provided or was required to provide on January 17, 1972.
B. 
If an individual tenant or a class of tenants is not receiving substantially such standard of service, maintenance, furniture or furnishings or equipment, the Rent Leveling Board may determine upon petition of such tenant the reasonable rental value of the housing unit or dwelling in view of such deficiency. The tenant or class of tenants shall pay the reasonable rental value as determined by the Board until such deficiency or deficiencies have been corrected.
No landlord shall, after the effective date of this chapter, charge rents in excess of that which he was charging on the effective date of this chapter, except for increases authorized by this chapter.
The owner of housing space or dwelling space being rented for the first time shall not be restricted in the initial rent. Subsequent rental increases shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 3-21-1988 by Ord. No. 955[1]]
For a violation of any provision of this chapter, the maximum penalty, upon conviction thereof, shall be a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.), or imprisonment for up to ninety (90) days, or a period of community service not exceeding ninety (90) days, or any combination thereof. Such fine or fines may be computed on the basis of a separate violation as to each leasehold.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.