[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Woodbury 10-19-1976 by Ord. No. 1294-76 as Ch. 97 of the 1976 Code; amended in its entirety 4-24-1994 by Ord. No. 1738-94. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
In order to continue to promote safe and decent housing for the benefit of all the residents of the City of Woodbury, and to prevent and abate harmful housing conditions, amendments are made to this chapter. Among other things, the amendments provide for registration of rental units by landlords (except for owner-occupied two-unit rentals). By providing for registration and disclosure of landlords and their addresses, the City of Woodbury continues its policy of making absentee landlords more responsible and responsive to the welfare of tenants, as well as neighbors who live in Woodbury. In addition, the amendments to the Housing Ordinance will reduce the time frame for processing housing complaints and avoid undue delay in correcting conditions. The housing standards previously adopted are not impacted by these amendments.
[Amended 11-28-2005 by Ord. No. 2015-05]
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12(a) et seq. and N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the 1980 New Jersey State Housing Code, the April, 1993 Regulations for Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, and the State Building Code and their amendments, as may be approved and adopted subsequent thereto by the Department of Community Affairs of the State of New Jersey, are hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in this City are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and/or rental. Copies of the said codes and regulations, and any amendments subsequent thereto, of the New Jersey Housing Code have been placed on file in the office of the City Clerk/Administrator and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- That portion of a building which is partly above grade and
has at least 1/2 its ceiling height above grade. Any sleeping rooms
in a basement shall comply with the emergency escape section of the
aforesaid State Building Code.[Amended 11-28-2005 by Ord. No. 2015-05]
- The City of Woodbury.
- That portion of a building which is partly or completely below grade and has more than 1/2 its ceiling height below grade.
- DWELLING UNIT
- A room or group of rooms or any part thereof located within a building, forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.
- HABITABLE ROOM
- A room or enclosed floor space within a dwelling unit used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
- Any individual who lives or sleeps in, or has actual possession of, a dwelling unit.
- REGISTERED AGENT
- An individual who shall be responsible for receiving notice of violation of this chapter, who exercises control of a rental facility, building and/or structures, and/or fulfilling the responsibility of the owner of a rental facility to correct such violation. The registered agent may be the owner. The registered agent must reside in the County of Gloucester. The name, address and telephone number of such registered agent must be filed with the City of Woodbury as provided in this chapter.
- RENTAL FACILITY
- Every building, group of buildings or a portion thereof consisting of a dwelling, apartment and/or one or more rooms.
The State Housing Code adopted in § 97-1 is hereby amended by the addition of the following sections:
Duties of owner, operator and/or registered agent. The duties and responsibilities of owner, operator and/or registered agent shall be as follows:
Maintenance of exterior of premises free of hazards and unsanitary conditions.
The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises, and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner, operator and/or registered agent. It shall be the absolute duty of the owner, operator and/or registered agent, individually or jointly, to keep the premises free of hazards, which include but are not limited to the following:
Natural growth. Dead and dying trees, stumps and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
Overhanging objects. Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions. Holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, icy conditions, uncleared snow and excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, sidewalks, curbs, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired.
Brush and hedges near roadways. Any and all brush, hedges and similar plant life growing within 10 feet of any roadway, and/or within 25 feet of the intersection of two roadways, shall be cut to a height of not more than 2 1/2 feet.
Waste and recycling materials. The occupant of any rental unit shall be responsible for compliance with all waste and recycling regulations of the City of Woodbury. The owner, operator or registered agent shall require by the lease terms that the tenant/occupant comply with such regulation. Failure to do so will be deemed a violation of this chapter by the owner, operator or registered agent. Evidence of written notice to the occupant of his/her obligation to recycle shall be an absolute defense to such violation.
Appearance of exterior of premises and residential structures. The exterior of the premises, the exterior of dwelling structures and the conditions of accessory structures shall be maintained so that the appearance of the premises and all buildings thereon shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the residential standards of the neighborhood or such higher standards as may be adopted as part of a plan of urban renewal by the City of Woodbury and such that the appearance of the premises and the structures shall not constitute a blighting factor for adjoining property owners nor an element leading to the progressive deterioration and downgrading of the neighborhood with the accompanying diminution of property values, including the following:
Storage of commercial and industrial material. There shall not be stored or used at a location visible from the sidewalk, street or other public areas, equipment and materials relating to commercial or industrial uses unless permitted under Chapter 202, Zoning, for the premises.
Landscaping. Premises shall be kept landscaped and lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and from becoming overgrown and unsightly where exposed to public view and where the same constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining property and impairing the good residential character of the neighborhood. No automobiles shall be parked upon lawns or placed for sale on front lawns.
Signs. All signs permitted by reason of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use shall be maintained in good repair, and printed matter, pictures or illustrations contained thereon shall be completely maintained or, when no longer in use, completely removed.
Conveyance of property. The owner, operator and/or registered agent of any property under order by the public officer to repair or demolish said property shall not convey such property to a new owner without first notifying the public officer. The new owner shall comply with the order of the public officer as served upon the seller of said property and shall not occupy said building or premises until the order of the public officer is obeyed and a certificate of occupancy is issued by the public officer.
Obstructions. The front, side and back yards, the driveway, walks or other parts of the outside premises of any building or any lot on which no building is located shall not contain any boxes, barrels, sticks, stones, bricks, bottles, cans, metal drums, iron pipe, old sheet metal, old furniture, used or unused motor vehicles or boats, auto parts, old tires, unused bicycles or parts, filth, junk, rubbish, trash, debris, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, old lumber or firewood, unless such lumber or firewood is neatly stacked and not more than five feet in height or piled on supports at least eight inches above the ground and stored not less than one foot from the property line; nor shall the grass or weeds on such premises be allowed to attain a growth of more than 10 inches. Shrubs and flowering woody plants shall be kept under control and shall not be allowed to grow beyond the boundaries of the premises on which a building is located. Various and sundry shacks and outhouses, including toolhouses, storage sheds and garages, shall be repaired or improved so that they shall be aesthetically acceptable or shall be demolished and removed. Every fence which wholly or partially encloses a premises on which a building is located must be maintained in a manner that is aesthetically acceptable and shall not have broken posts, broken supporting members nor holes or voids in such fences.
Change in zoning use. It shall be unlawful to convert a single-family detached or single-family attached dwelling into a two- or more family dwelling unit.
[Added 12-14-2009 by Ord. No. 2110-09]
[Amended 11-28-2005 by Ord. No. 2015-05]
The Construction Code Official or the designated Housing Officer(s) appointed by Mayor and Council and the Board of Health of the City are hereby designated as the officer(s) and body to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, provided that the City Council may, by resolution duly adopted at any time subsequent to the passage of this chapter, designate or appoint one or more public officers to aid the Construction Code Official or the designated housing officer and Board of Health or to act in their stead for the better enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16]
All buildings or structures used, occupied or offered for occupancy as a rental facility on a lease or rental basis shall be registered in writing on a form provided by the City of Woodbury, which form shall be signed by the owner, operator and/or the registered agent, and filed with the City Clerk/Administrator or his or her designees. Said registration shall state, among other things:
The location of the building;
The portion of the building to be used as a rental facility with the number of dwelling units;
The name and address of the record owner or owners of the premises and the record owner or owners of the rental business if not the same persons. In the case of a partnership, the names and addresses of all general partners shall be provided, together with the telephone numbers of each of such individuals indicating where such individual may be reached both during the day and evening hours. If the record owner is a corporation, the name and address of the registered agent and corporate officers of said corporation shall be provided, together with the telephone numbers for each of such individuals indicating where such individual may be reached both during the day and evening hours.
If the address of any record owner is not located in Woodbury or in Gloucester County, the name, address and telephone number of a person who resides in Gloucester County and who is authorized to accept notices from a tenant and to issue receipts therefor and to accept service of process on behalf of the record owner;
The name, address and telephone number of the registered agent of the premises, if any;
The name, address and telephone number, including the dwelling unit number of the superintendent, janitor, custodian or other individual employed by the owner or agent to provide regular maintenance service, if any;
The name, address and telephone number of an individual representative of the owner or agent who may be reached or contacted at any time in the event of an emergency affecting the premises or any unit of dwelling space therein, including such emergencies as the failure of any essential service or system, and who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the building and any repair thereto or expenditure in connection therewith;
The name and address of every holder of a recorded mortgage on the premises;
If fuel oil is used to heat the building and the landlord furnishes the heat in the building, the name and address of the fuel oil dealer servicing the building and the grade of fuel used;
As to each rental unit, a specification of the exact number of sleeping rooms contained in the rental unit. In order to satisfy the requirement of this provision, an owner shall submit a floor plan drawn approximately to scale which shall show each room in the dwelling unit, the proposed use of each such room and their dimensions, which shall become part of the application and which shall be attached to the registration form when filed by the City Clerk or designee;
The names and ages of each occupant of each dwelling unit;
Such other information as may be prescribed by the City;
Any changes in information required to be included in the registration, including but not limited to a change in the occupants or their number or a change in the identity of the owner, operator and/or registered agent, will require an amended registration to be filed within seven days, notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter.
Every person required to file a registration form pursuant to this chapter shall file an amended registration form within seven days after any change in the information required to be included thereon. No fee shall be required for the filing of an amendment except where the ownership of the premises is changed.
Providing registration form to occupants and tenants. Every owner shall provide each occupant or tenant occupying a rental unit with a copy of the registration form required by this chapter. This particular provision shall not apply to any hotel, motel or guest house registered with the State of New Jersey pursuant to the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Act as defined in N.J.S.A. 55:13A-3. This provision may be complied with by posting a copy of the registration certificate in a conspicuous place within the rental unit(s).
Notwithstanding any of the other provisions of this section and chapter, owner-occupied two-unit rental facilities are not required to file the landlord registration otherwise required by this chapter.
All such rental facilities shall be registered with the City of Woodbury within 60 days of the passage of this section as required by Subsection A of this section. The owner, operator and/or registered agent of the subject rental facility shall be responsible to file an amended registration statement with the City within seven days of any change or changes in any of the information required by the registration statement.
All buildings or structures used, occupied or proposed to be occupied as dwelling units shall be inspected by the Housing Officer before every initial occupancy, change in occupancy and/or change in the number of occupants.
No owner, agent, broker or person shall purchase, sell, rent, lease or use in such a manner as to result, permit or allow any person(s) to occupy, or to live in, as an owner, occupant, tenant or otherwise, any dwelling unit or apartment or structure unless a certificate of occupancy certifying that the structure or apartment or dwelling unit is fit for human habitation and that the structure or apartment or dwelling unit is in compliance with this chapter and all applicable laws, ordinances, codes, regulations and standards shall first have been obtained from the Housing Officer or his or her representative.
The owner, operator and/or registered agent of the subject property shall be responsible to complete an application for a certificate of occupancy before any initial occupancy, proposed change in occupancy and/or addition to the number of occupants. The Housing Officer or his or her representative, within 10 working days of the receipt of said application, shall make an inspection of the applicable dwelling unit or units. The owner, operator and/or registered agent must accompany the Housing Officer, or his or her representative, for the inspection. Upon determining that this chapter and all applicable laws, ordinances, codes, regulations and standards which the City is empowered to enforce have been complied with, the Housing Officer shall issue a certificate of occupancy permitting occupancy of the inspected dwelling unit and indicating that compliance has been met. Where the change in occupancy relates to the addition or deletion of the names of occupants or the number of occupants, and where there is sufficient square footage to permit an additional occupant, no inspection is required, unless one is otherwise required by this chapter and/or the codes, regulations and standards adopted hereunder.
If, upon inspection by the Housing Officer or his or her representative, the structure or dwelling unit is found not to be in compliance, the owner shall thereupon be notified in writing within 48 hours after the inspection, specifically noting those violations requiring correction before any new occupancy and/or change in occupancy may commence and that correction of the violations may require construction permits, to be issued upon proper application to the Construction Code Official. The said period for correction may be extended by the Housing Officer for a definite number of days for good cause. Good cause for such extension shall include but is not limited to delays in the correction of the violation caused by weather conditions, unavailability of building/construction materials and/or unavailability of contractors to correct the violations or other extenuating conditions.
The owner, operator and/or registered agent may file a written request challenging any part of the notice requiring correction of the code violation(s). This written challenge must be filed within 10 days of service of the notice of code violation with the Construction Code Official of the City of Woodbury. The Construction Code Official shall affirm, modify or dismiss the notice of code violation, in writing, within 10 days of receiving such written challenge.
Upon correction of the violations, the owner or registered agent shall notify the Housing Officer of the corrections and within five days a reinspection will be made of the required corrections.
The owner, operator and/or registered agent shall be charged a fee of $100 per unit for the initial C.O. inspection. If an additional reinspection is required, an additional fee of $50 per unit must be paid.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16; 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
Editor's Note: Former Subsections G, regarding the fee for inspections, as amended, and H, Penalties, which immediately followed this subsection, were repealed 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16.
[Amended 11-28-2005 by Ord. No. 2015-05; 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16]
No person shall occupy or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter and the International Property Maintenance Code, 2015 Edition, 1993 Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings and the State Building Code and their amendments or additions subsequent thereto, which are established hereby as the standards to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation. No cellar or any part thereof shall be used for sleeping purposes. Basements may be used for sleeping purposes, provided that the entire basement complies with all requirements of this chapter and the emergency escape provisions of the aforesaid State Building Code, that all furnaces or other heating or hot water facilities are so located, insulated and separated from living areas by resistive partitions of two-hour fire rating, that fire extinguishers are provided at an accessible location and proximity thereto for use in the case of fire and that the floors, ceilings and walls are impervious to leakage of underground and surface runoff water and are insulated from and free from dampness and moisture. Smoke detectors must comply with the Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.A.C. 5:18-4.19 and/or the aforesaid Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings.
The maximum number of occupants as determined by the landlord and in compliance with all applicable laws and ordinances shall be posted in each rental unit at a location to be determined by the landlord. It shall be unlawful for any person, including the owner, agent, tenant or registered tenant to allow a greater number of persons than the posted maximum number of occupants to sleep in or occupy overnight the rental unit for a period exceeding 29 days. Any person violating this provision shall be subject to the penalty provisions of this chapter.
Only those occupants whose names are registered and on file with the landlord may reside in the registered premises as defined in this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any other person to reside in said premises, and any owner, agent, tenant or registered tenant allowing a nonregistered party to reside in said premises shall be in violation of this section and shall be subject to the penalty provisions of this chapter.
[Added 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16]
Occupants. Only those occupants whose names are on file with the landlord as provided in this chapter may reside in the licensed premises. It shall be unlawful for any other person to reside in said premises, and this provision may be enforced against the landlord, tenant or other person residing in said premises.
Nuisance prohibited. No rental facility shall be conducted in a manner which shall result in any unreasonable disturbance or disruption to the surrounding properties and property owners or of the public in general, such that it shall constitute a nuisance as defined in the ordinances of the City of Woodbury.
Compliance with other laws. The maintenance of all rental facilities and the conduct engaged in upon the premises by occupants and their guests shall at all times be in full compliance with all applicable ordinances and regulations of the City of Woodbury and with all applicable state and federal laws.
Penalties. Any landlord, tenant or other person violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to the penalty provision of this chapter.
Free access. The inspection officers designated as the Housing Officer(s) are hereby authorized to make inspections to determine the condition of buildings and structures in order that they may perform their duty of safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of the occupants thereof and of the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections, the inspecting officers are hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey buildings and structures at all reasonable times. The owner, operator, registered agent or occupant of every building or structure shall give the inspecting officer free access to the building or structure at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any lawful order issued pursuant hereto.
Complaints. Within 72 hours of the receipt of a complaint alleging a reported violation of this chapter, an inspecting officer shall conduct an inspection as hereinbefore provided.
[Amended 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
Upon the filing of a completed registration form and a satisfactory inspection, the owner shall be entitled to the issuance of a certificate of registration, commencing on the date of issuance and expiring on the same day of the next calendar year. A registration form, inspection and certificate of registration shall be required for each rental unit.
No rental unit shall be registered and no certificate of registration shall be issued for a rental unit unless all municipal taxes for land and improvements upon which the rental unit is located, water, sewer, electric in the name of the owner or agent and any other municipal assessments are paid on a current basis or reasonable arrangements for payment are accepted by the City of Woodbury.
[Amended 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
In addition to any other penalty prescribed herein, an owner may be subject to the revocation or suspension of the certificate of registration issued hereunder upon the happening of one or more of the following:
Conviction of a violation of this article in the Municipal Court or any other court of competent jurisdiction.
Continuously renting the unit or units to a tenant or tenants who are convicted of a violation of the Noise Ordinance of the City of Woodbury. Three convictions or more in a one-year period shall be considered a continuous event.
Continuously permitting the rental unit to be occupied by more than the maximum number of occupants permitted. Three written notices of violations within a one-year period shall be considered a continuous event.
Maintaining the rental unit or units or the property in which the rental unit is a part in a dangerous condition likely to result in injury to person or property.
A false, misleading or fraudulent statement made in connection with the registration or inspection of a rental unit or units under this chapter.
A pattern of conduct which results in creating, maintaining, permitting or suffering the existence of any of the following conditions at or about the rental unit:
Disorderly conduct on the part of tenants or occupants or their guests. "Disorderly conduct" shall be as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2; provided, however, that a conviction of such person or persons under that statute shall not be required in order for the City to take action under this section;
A nuisance, as that term is defined by N.J.S.A. 2C.33-12; provided, however, that a conviction of such person or persons under that statute shall not be required in order for the City to take action under this section;
The rental unit has continued to be, after written notice to cease to the landlord, so disorderly as to destroy the peace and quiet of the neighborhood; and
The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors.
Whenever the Police Department shall have made an arrest of or issued a summons to a tenant, occupant or guest or owner on three or more occasions during any thirty-day period for an offense related to or arising out of the use and occupancy of the same rental unit(s), the same shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section, provided that the owner and/or managing agent shall have had written notice of the existence of such circumstances or conditions.
It shall be a defense to any proceeding for the revocation, suspension, or other disciplinary action involving a certificate of registration by demonstrating that the owner has taken appropriate action and has made a good faith effort to abate the conditions or circumstances giving rise to the revocation proceeding, including but not limited to the institution of legal action against the tenants, occupants or guests for recovery of the premises, eviction of the tenants or otherwise.
[Amended 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
Procedure; written complaint; notice; hearing. Whenever an inspecting officer determines that there has been a violation of this chapter, he or she shall serve a written notice of the violation on the owner, operator and/or registered agent which shall include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued and what action, if any, the owner, operator and/or registered agent must take to abate the violation. Said notice shall also state that the violation(s) must be corrected within 10 days and, if not, that the certificate of registration and the certificate of occupancy for the subject premises shall be revoked, in addition to the remedies and provisions set forth elsewhere in this chapter. The said period for correction may be extended or abbreviated by the Housing Officer for a definite number of days for good cause. Good cause for such extension shall include but is not limited to delays in the correction of the violations caused by weather conditions, unavailability of building/construction materials, and/or unavailability of contractors hired to correct the violations or the existence of emergent circumstances affecting the health or safety of occupants or residents of Woodbury.
Revocation; appeal; hearing.
If a violation is not corrected within 10 days of the service of a notice thereof, or any extension or abbreviation given, the inspecting officer may serve an order upon the owner, operator and/or registered agent that the certificate of registration and certificate of occupancy are revoked, and occupancy prohibited, effective five days from the service thereof.
Notwithstanding the correction of any one or more violations, the Construction Code Official or designated housing officers may conduct a hearing in the manner provided above to consider suspension or revocation of a certificate of registration and certificate of occupancy on the grounds herein stated. If, as result of such hearing, the Construction Code Official or designated housing officers determine that the subject building or structure has been a source of serious or repeated violations of this chapter such that the operation of said rental facility is or has been harmful to the health and/or safety of the occupants or has constituted a public nuisance, the Construction Code Official or designated housing officers may suspend such certificate of occupancy for such period as he or she shall determine or may revoke such certificate.
The City Solicitor or his/her designee shall appear and prosecute on behalf of the complainant in all hearings conducted pursuant to this section.
Defenses. It shall be a defense to any proceeding for the revocation, suspension, or other disciplinary action involving a certificate of registration by demonstrating that the owner has taken appropriate action and has made a good faith effort to abate the conditions or circumstances giving rise to the revocation proceeding, including but not limited to the institution of legal action against the tenants, occupants or guests for recovery of the premises, eviction of the tenants or otherwise.
[Amended 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
The City of Woodbury may, by resolution of the Mayor and Council, direct the abatement of a nuisance to correct a defect, or put the premises in such proper condition so as to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and the costs thereof, upon the certification to it by the public officer of the amount of the costs, shall be charged as a lien against the subject lands and premises and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands and premises, to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as taxes.
[Amended 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
The Construction Code Official and Housing Officer are authorized to promulgate such forms as may be necessary from time to time in order to implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16; 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
Notices issued by a public officer pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon the owner, operator and/or registered agent either personally or by certified mail, but if the whereabouts of such person is unknown, then the serving of such notices shall be made by posting a copy thereof upon the subject premises in a conspicuous place.
[Amended 11-28-2005 by Ord. No. 2015-05; 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2246-16; 10-9-2018 by Ord. No. 2297-18]
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter for which a penalty has not otherwise been established shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $1,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and/or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. A person shall be guilty of a separate offense under this section for each day that the person continues to violate any provisions of this chapter for which a penalty has not otherwise been established.