[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-18-1996 by Ord. No. 5-96 (Sec. 12-6 of the Revised General Ordinances)]
It is the purpose of this article to meet Washington Township's fair share housing obligation through provisions designed to result in the voluntary rehabilitation of substandard low- and moderate-income housing units within the township in one or more of the following ways:
Through grants from the township's Housing Trust Fund to eligible low- and moderate-income homeowners for rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing through a program to be administered by the township and/or its agent.
Through direct grants as may be available from the Morris County Department of Community Development to eligible low- and moderate-income homeowners for housing rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing.
As used herein, the terms which follow shall have the following meanings:
- A sales price or rent within the means of a low- or moderate-income household as defined in N.J.A.C. 5:93-7.4.
- The person applying for financial assistance for housing rehabilitation.
- The Morris County Department of Community Development.
- HOUSING OFFICER
- The person designated by the Township Committee to administer the provisions of this article.
- LOW-INCOME HOUSING
- Housing affordable according to Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or the standards included in N.J.A.C. 5:93-1 1 et seq. for home ownership and rental costs, occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income equal to 50% or less of the median gross household income for households of the same size within the housing region in which the housing is located and which is subject to affordability controls promulgated by the Council on Affordable Housing.
- MODERATE-INCOME HOUSING
- Housing affordable according to Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or the standards in N.J.A.C. 5:93-1 1 et seq. for home ownership and rental costs, occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income in excess of 50% but less than 80% of the median gross household income for households of the same size within the housing region in which the housing is located and which is subject to the affordability controls promulgated by the Council on Affordable Housing.
- The restoration of a substandard housing unit to a decent, safe and sanitary condition by eliminating the condition(s) making the unit substandard and bringing the unit up to code standard.
- SUBSTANDARD HOUSING
- A dwelling unit that is unsafe and/or unsanitary based upon one or more of the following characteristics:
- A. It is inhabited by 1.01 or more persons per room.
- B. Absence of a private entranceway to the dwelling unit.
- C. Absence of complete plumbing facilities and adequate kitchen facilities, including a sink with piped water, a stove and a refrigerator.
- D. Absence of central heat.
- E. One or more major health and safety code violations, including one major system deficiency in which any one of the following systems must be replaced or extensively repaired: plumbing (including wells and sanitary plumbing), heating, roof, electrical or major load-bearing structural systems.
Only owners of houses or structures within the Township of Washington are eligible for the financial assistance made available pursuant to this article. The homeowner must either live in a low- or moderate-income household (owner-occupied housing) or must agree to rent the house or other dwelling unit to be rehabilitated to a low- or moderate-income household (rental housing).
All required forms must be completed by an applicant for housing rehabilitation assistance in a timely fashion.
The rehabilitation plan for the housing unit must, upon completion, result in the elimination of all deficiencies and improve the unit to code standards. The Construction Official will review the adequacy of the plan before final approval and approve the rehabilitation upon completion.
Any grant from the Housing Trust Fund shall be secured by a lien on the rehabilitated property subject to the terms and conditions set forth in Chapter 240, Housing Standards.
The provisions of this article shall apply to all housing units which receive assistance through the Housing Trust Fund. The applicant shall agree, in writing, to comply with its terms.
Grants provided to eligible applicants under the housing program shall be subject to the following terms and conditions:
The maximum amount of assistance per applicant shall be $15,000.
Owner-occupied housing. Rehabilitation assistance for owner-occupied housing shall be in the form of a non-interest-bearing, deferred-payment loan with a term of six years, which is secured by a mortgage on the property. Such loan shall convert to a full grant, and the lien shall be discharged at the end of the six-year term, so long as the owner has not vacated the premises or transferred title to the property prior to the expiration of said term. An owner who conveys or vacates the property shall be required to repay the loan in full at such time as the owner conveys title or ceases to occupy the property unless said conveyance is to another low- or moderate-income household at an affordable sales price. In the event of conveyance of the dwelling unit to another low- or moderate-income household during said six-year term, such conveyance shall be subject to the mortgage lien which shall remain in effect for the balance of the six-year term.
Rental housing. Rehabilitation assistance for rental housing shall be in the form of a non-interest-bearing, deferred-payment loan with a term of 10 years, which is secured by a mortgage on the property. Said lien shall secure the full amount of the loan and shall require compliance with the rental affordability controls set forth hereinafter. The deferred-payment loan shall convert to a full grant, and the lien shall be discharged at the expiration of said ten-year term. The full amount of the deferred-payment loan shall be paid to the Housing Trust Fund upon any leasing or occupancy of the housing unit by a non-lower-income household.
Any applicant receiving assistance shall be subject to and shall consent to the recording of a deed restriction and mortgage lien on the real property in accordance herewith.
For rehabilitation assistance for owner-occupied single-family housing units, the applicant shall consent to a deed restriction and mortgage lien to be recorded, requiring that the dwelling unit be sold only to low- and moderate-income households. This deed restrictions shall be a real covenant running with the land and shall bind the applicant and all successors in interest for a period of six years from the date of closing on the deferred-payment loan. The deed restriction shall be termed the "sales affordability control" and shall be in a form satisfactory to the Township Attorney and shall comply with all the following requirements:
Prior to a sale of an owner-occupied single-family housing unit, the owner shall apply for a certificate of affordable housing from the Housing Officer. The application shall include a copy of the proposed contract of sale and an affidavit by the owner that the affordable sales restriction will be adhered to. Upon request, the Housing Officer will assist the owner in locating an income-eligible purchaser. Any prospective purchaser must submit adequate proof of household income and household size. If the Housing Officer or designee determines that the proposed sale will be in compliance with the affordability control, then a certificate of affordable housing shall be issued.
The sales price of a rehabilitated owner-occupied single-family housing unit may increase annually based on the percentage increase in the regional median income limit for the region as established by the Council on Affordable Housing.
Owners of rehabilitated owner-occupied single family housing units may apply to the Housing Officer for permission to increase the maximum sales prices for eligible capital improvements which render the unit suitable for a larger household, provided that the maximum price of the improved housing unit does not exceed the limits of affordability for the larger household.
For rehabilitation assistance for rental housing, the applicant shall consent to a deed restriction requiring that the dwelling unit may only be leased to or otherwise occupied by a low- or moderate-income household at a rental amount which does not exceed the affordable rent applicable to the particular dwelling unit size. This deed restriction shall be a real covenant running with the land and shall bind the applicant and all successors in interest for a period of 10 years from the date of closing on the deferred-payment loan. This deed restriction shall be termed the "rental affordability control," shall be in a form satisfactory to the Township Attorney and shall require compliance with all of the following requirements:
Prior to any change in occupancy of a housing unit subject to a rental affordability control, the owner shall apply for a certificate of affordable housing from the Housing Officer. The application shall include a copy of the proposed lease and an affidavit by the owner that the affordable rent restriction will be adhered to. Upon request, the Housing Officer will assist the owner in locating an income-eligible tenant. Any prospective tenant must submit adequate proof of household income and household size. If the Housing Officer or designee determines that the proposed change in occupancy will be in compliance with the rental affordability control, then a certificate of affordable housing shall be issued.
The permissible affordable rent may increase annually based on the percentage increase in the housing consumer price index for the United States, not to exceed 9% in any one year.
An owner of property subject to a rental affordability control may apply to the Housing Officer for permission to increase the affordable rent for capital improvements which render the unit suitable for a larger household, provided that such change does not result in the displacement of existing low- or moderate-income occupants. The new rent shall not exceed the affordable rent permitted for such larger household size.
The Washington Township Housing Rehabilitation Program shall be administered by the Township of Washington unless the township enters into a separate agreement with an appropriate outside agency, such as the Morris County Department of Community Development, to assume some or all of the responsibilities noted herein. The township shall designate an individual to serve as Housing Officer, who may be an elected or appointed township official.
The duties of the Housing Officer shall include:
Publicizing the rehabilitation program through a combination of some, though not necessarily all, of the following: brochures; posters in prominent locations; radio announcements; notices in municipal tax bills; notices in municipal publications; informational meetings with welfare organizations, urban action community groups, civic and religious leaders, senior citizen groups and fraternal organizations; newspaper press releases; and providing information and application packets to interested applicants.
Identifying eligible homeowners and marketing the program to potential applicants.
Implementation of the program, including:
Application review and eligibility determinations.
Conducting client interviews and home inspections.
Preparation of home inspection reports.
Approval of construction contracts.
Preparation of contract and lien agreements.
Performance of ongoing and final inspections.
Maintenance of files and preparation of quarterly status reports to the Washington Township Committee.
Administering the Housing Trust Fund and preparing periodic status reports on the program and available funding to the Township Committee.
The Washington Township Construction Official shall:
Determine or assist in determining the deficiency of an applicant's unit under the provisions of this article.
Review and determine the adequacy of plans to rehabilitate a housing unit in accordance with the rehabilitation program established herein.
Conduct initial and final inspections required in connection herewith and issue certifications of rehabilitation upon completion of work to the Housing Officer.
Interested homeowners will be able to secure information and application packets regarding the rehabilitation program from the Township Clerk at the Municipal Building during regular business hours.
Once an application has been completed and filed with the Housing Officer, a determination shall be made as to income eligibility.
Once a homeowner has been certified to be income-eligible, a home inspection shall be conducted to determine the existence of a housing deficiency requiring rehabilitation.
Once the home and the applicant have been certified as eligible, a home inspection report shall be prepared which shall include specifications to be used to obtain construction estimates.
It shall be incumbent upon the applicant to obtain at least two written cost estimates for the rehabilitation work from qualified contractors. A list of contractors will be supplied to applicants upon request.
Cost estimates shall be reviewed by the Housing Officer, and the lowest responsible bidder will be selected.
The rehabilitation work may begin as soon as all necessary agreements, including construction contract and lien documents, have been executed.
Written progress reports shall be maintained and payments shall be made to the appropriate parties as work progresses. After construction has been completed, the Construction Official shall conduct a final Inspection to certify that the required property improvements are complete and issue a final inspection report. Final payment for the rehabilitation work will then be released and lien documents recorded.