Borough of Chesilhurst, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Chesilhurst as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing standards — See Ch. 268.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 358.
[Adopted 5-13-1987 by Ord. No. 87-4]

§ 373-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANT
Includes housing fit for habitation as defined by the statutes, codes and ordinances in effect in the State of New Jersey, County of Camden and Borough of Chesilhurst and offered for rent, whether occupied or unoccupied.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
A permanent improvement that is reasonably expected to last more than one year and must be subject to allowances for depreciation under the federal income tax provisions. Capital improvements do not include normal maintenance, repairs, painting, appliances or fixtures.
COMMERCIAL USE
Any use which is primarily for business activity such as retail, wholesale marketing, office, warehouse or any similar nonresidential activity.
DWELLING or RENTAL DWELLING
Includes any building, structure, trailer or land used as a trailer park, rented or offered for rent to one or more tenants or family units, except motels, hotels, buildings used solely for commercial purposes, owner-occupied two-family dwellings, public housing units and units receiving state and/or federal subsidies. In the case of those apartment complexes where federally subsidized units are mixed with nonsubsidized units, only those subsidized units are exempt from this article. Further exempt, for a period of two years, are all multiunit dwellings that are newly constructed and rented for the first time after the effective date of this article and all units of rental dwellings substantially rehabilitated (as defined below) after the effective date of this article.
GROSS MAXIMIZED ANNUAL INCOME
All income resulting directly or indirectly from the operation of a property or building, including but not limited to any rent from an arm's length transaction, the landlord's share of interest on security deposits, all earnings from commissions, vending machines, deductions from security deposits, late fees, pet fees, parking fees, pool fees, key charges, finder fees, amounts received from successful tax appeals, income from rebates, tax surcharges, capital improvement surcharges, heating fuel surcharges computed in accordance with the provisions and limitations of this article.
HOUSING SERVICES
Includes repairs, replacement and maintenance, painting, providing light, heat, hot and cold water, elevator services (where applicable), storm windows and screens, where applicable, superintendent services and any other benefit, privilege or facility connected with the use or occupancy of any proportionate part of the dwelling or services provided to common facilities of the building in which the dwelling is contained.
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of dwelling rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one individual or family unit, together with all the privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities, improvements and common areas connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property.
LANDLORD
Owner, lessor, sublessor or any other person entitled to receive rent for the use and occupancy of housing space, or any agent or successor of any of the foregoing.
NET OPERATING INCOME (NOI)
Gross maximized annual income, less reasonable and necessary operating expenses.
NOTICE
Includes written notice to a landlord, tenant or any interested party, which notice is mailed to the residence of said party(ies) by regular mail.
REASONABLE AND NECESSARY OPERATING EXPENSES
All actual expenses incurred and paid by a landlord for a residential rental property during the period reflected in income computed in accordance with the provisions and limitations of this article. Debt service costs and depreciation charges are not included.
RENT
The consideration, including any bonus, benefit or gratuity demanded or received of or in connection with the use or occupancy of housing space or the transfer of a lease for such housing spaces, including, but not limited to, monies demanded or paid for parking, heat and utilities, pets, the use of furniture and subletting. In the event the rent is paid upon some interval other than one month, then the monthly rent shall be calculated by apportioning the rent so as to determine the sum for the term of one month. In determining a rent increase for a mobile home park, the Rent Control Board shall not consider as rent the pad fee assessed by the Borough of Chesilhurst and any tax, water and sewer surcharges. The pad fee, taxes, water and sewer surcharges, which may be collected by the landlord, shall not be considered rent for the purposes of computing rent increases, nor shall they be included as rent when determining a rental increase.
[Amended 10-10-1996]
SUBSTANTIALLY REHABILITATED
The cost of capital improvements exceeds $10,000, or the current assessed value of the dwelling prior to the improvements, whichever amount is greater. The improvements must be made after the effective date of this article, be accomplished in a single renovation program within one year's time and must be related to the total structure and not merely a portion thereof.
TENANT
A tenant, subtenant, lessee, sublessee, or any other person entitled under the terms of a housing space agreement to the use and occupancy of any housing space.

§ 373-2 Rent increase.

[Amended 8-10-1989 by Ord. No. 89-6]
A. 
No landlord shall, after the effective date of this article, charge any rents as defined herein, in excess of what he was receiving on January 1, 1987, except for increases and surcharges authorized by this article. Establishment of rents between a landlord and a tenant to whom this act is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the Rent Control Board.
B. 
At the expiration of a lease, all landlords must file an application with the Rent Control Board for any rent increase. No increase may be imposed or go into effect until the landlord has been notified by the Rent Control Board as to the amount and effective date of the increase. Landlords may be requested to submit documentation to justify a request for an increase. Additionally, no landlord shall be entitled to more than one rental increase on any one dwelling unit in a twelve-month period.
C. 
Under the provisions of this section of this article landlords may apply to the Board for a percentage increase between 1% and 6%. Any landlord seeking an increase in excess of 6% must follow the provisions of § 373-9 of this article.
D. 
All provisions of this section must be met before increases are granted.

§ 373-3 Rent rollback.

[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
A. 
All landlords covered by this article shall report all increases imposed after January 1, 1987, to the Rent Control Board within 30 days of the effective date of this article. Those increases which the Rent Control Board determines to be in excess of that which is permitted by this article are hereby declared null and void to the extent of such excess. Such excess shall be refunded to the tenant within 30 days after the landlord receives notice of the Rent Control Board's determination. However, if refunding of excess rents would place an undue hardship upon a landlord, the Rent Control Board may authorize such landlord to refund the excess rents to his tenants by means of a reduction in rents over a period not exceeding four months.
B. 
In order to qualify for an authorization to make a refund by means of a rent reduction, the landlord shall submit, in writing, a petition to the Rent Control Board stating the specific reasons for requesting such relief within 14 days after the landlord's receipt of notice as to the excess. In considering the landlord's petition, the Rent Control Board must determine that compliance with the normal cash refund procedure would place an undue burden on the landlord and not seriously inconvenience the tenants.

§ 373-4 Tax and water and sewer surcharge.

In addition to any rent increase or surcharge permitted by this article, a landlord shall be entitled to impose a rent surcharge as a result of an increase in the property tax and water and sewer charges. The amount of the surcharge shall be computed in accordance with the following:
A. 
The landlord shall first divide the amount of the increase in present property tax and water and sewer charges over the property tax and water and sewer charges for the previous year by the number of square feet of floor space within the rental dwelling(s) which is either used as housing space or as a common area available for use by all tenants, to obtain the amount of the surcharges per square foot of floor space. The landlord shall then divide the square footage of floor space constituting common areas by the number of apartments or housing units contained within the rental dwelling to obtain each apartment's or unit's proportionate share of tax increase attributable to such common areas. The tenant's surcharge shall be limited to the amount of the tax and water and unit's proportionate share of the tax and water and sewer increase attributable to common areas. The tenant shall pay the surcharges in 12 equal monthly payments.
B. 
Any landlord imposing a rent surcharge under this section shall be required to give notice to the tenant(s) and the Rent Control Board, at least 30 days prior to imposing the surcharges, of the calculations involved in computing the tax and water and sewer surcharges, including the present tax and water and sewer costs for the dwelling(s), said costs for the dwelling(s) for the previous year, the number of square feet of floor space within the rental dwellings, the tax and water and sewer increase per square foot of floor space, the amount of floor space, the amount of floor space square footage attributable to common areas and each tenant's housing space and the maximum allowable surcharge for each tenant. The surcharges shall become effective 30 days after the landlord gives the required notice, unless the Rent Control Board determines the landlord's calculations to be incorrect. In such cases, the Rent Control Board shall correct the calculations and determine the proper amount of the surcharges before the surcharges shall become effective.

§ 373-5 Tax credits.

A. 
In a similar manner as set forth in § 373-4, if the taxes on a dwelling are decreased in a given year due to either a decrease in property taxes or a lowering of the assessed valuation of the property, then the tenants are entitled to a tax credit. Apportionment of such credit shall be on a square foot basis in the same manner as tax and water and sewer surcharges, starting immediately after the decrease occurs. In the event the landlord fails to make the reduction, the tenant may file a complaint with the Rent Control Board.
B. 
The tax credit shall not be considered rent for the purposes of computing rent increases.

§ 373-6 Tax appeals.

[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
In the event a tax appeal is taken by the landlord for taxes already paid and the landlord is successful in said appeal and taxes reduced, the tenants of the affected dwelling(s) shall receive 75% of said reduction in the form of a rebate. The amount of each tenant's rebate shall be determined after deducting all reasonable expenses incurred by the landlord in prosecuting said appeal and shall be calculated on a square foot basis in the same manner as described in § 373-4, Tax and water and sewer surcharges. The landlord shall be deemed to have received his rebate upon his receipt hereof from the Borough Treasurer or upon the execution of any agreement with the Receiver of Taxes to credit the amount of the rebate to any outstanding tax bill of the landlord. The tenant must receive notice within 14 days from when the landlord receives his notice of successful appeal. The landlord must notify the tenants within 30 days of the time the landlord receives his rebate of the amount he has received with the computations as to how much the tenant is entitled. In the event the landlord fails to forward the tenant's share within the designated period, the tenant may file a complaint with the Rent Control Board.

§ 373-7 Capital improvements.

In addition to any rent increase or other surcharges permitted by this article, the landlord may seek a capital improvement surcharge for capital improvements made by him in the dwelling attributable to the dwelling by applying to the Rent Control Board. The amount of the monthly increase which a landlord may charge shall be pro rated among all tenants in accordance with the formula provided in § 373-4 herein, and all such rent increases shall be charged for no period greater than the depreciation period of said improvements set by the Rent Control Board. Upon filing said application, the landlord shall notify each tenant affected, by certified mail, of all proposed rent surcharge.

§ 373-8 Heating fuel surcharge.

In addition to any rent increase or other surcharge permitted by this article, a landlord may seek a heating fuel surcharge for his tenant(s) when he incurs an increase in his heating fuel cost over the previous year. To obtain the surcharge, the landlord must file a request with the Rent Control Board. The request should be accompanied by verified copies of heating fuel bills for the present year and the immediately prior two years and should include such information concerning size and dimensions of the rental dwelling and its units, and a calculation of the requested heating fuel surcharge, as follows:
A. 
The amount of the cost increase for fuel shall be divided by the total number of heated cubic feet within the rental dwelling which is either used as housing space or as a common area available per cubic foot. The total number of heating cubic feet attributable to the common areas of the rental dwelling(s) shall then be divided by the number of apartments or units to obtain each unit's proportionate share of the fuel increase for such common areas.
B. 
The amount of the tenant's fuel surcharge shall equal the amount of the fuel increase per heated cubic foot of housing space he occupies plus his apartment's or unit's proportionate share of the fuel increase attributable to common areas. The Rent Control Board shall determine the method the landlord shall use for collecting the surcharge, including the schedule of payment of the surcharge, so as to minimize the financial impact upon the affected tenants.

§ 373-9 Landlord hardship.

A. 
Wherever a landlord shall determine that the current net operating income (NOI)/gross maximized annual income ratio is less than 30%, or the current year NOI/gross maximized annual income ratio is less than the average of three prior years net operating income to gross maximized annual income ratio, the landlord may make application to the Rent Control Board for a hardship increase in rent.
B. 
It shall be presumed that the rent(s) charged in the three-year base period yielded a fair net operating income.
C. 
Upon the establishment by the landlord of the factors set forth in this section, the Rent Control Board will grant a hardship surcharge equal to the lesser of:
(1) 
An increase necessary to provide a current NOI/gross maximized annual income ratio equal to the average three prior year's net operating income to gross maximized annual income ratio, or
(2) 
An increase necessary to provide a current net operating income/gross maximized annual income ratio of 40%.
D. 
A landlord shall not be permitted a hardship surcharge in excess of 15% above the 6% rent increase allowed in § 373-2 of this article, within 12 months after said rent increase is granted. In all such applications, the landlord shall specifically allege that:
(1) 
He is an efficient operator of the residential property involved;
(2) 
The residential property is in a safe and sanitary condition free from any local health code violations which would cause a unit or structure to become less livable; and
(3) 
The owner is in full compliance with the state laws pertaining to tenant's rights.
E. 
If at any time during the course of a consideration of a hardship increase pursuant to the provisions of this article, the Rent Control Board shall determine that the landlord is not in substantial compliance with any or all of the provisions contained within this article, the Rent Control Board shall deny such application for a hardship increase until such time as the landlord has corrected such deficiency.
[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
F. 
In computing gross income under this article, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
(1) 
No allowance shall be permitted for vacancies unless it can be shown that the vacant units have been advertised as such in a newspaper of a general circulation within Chesilhurst and meets the Borough Housing Code and requirements;
(2) 
Income and expenses arising out of a nonresidential use, including that for professional space, shall result from arm's length transaction; and
(3) 
No loss caused by a nonresidential use may be considered.
G. 
In computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses under this article, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
(1) 
Taxes shall be limited to amounts actually paid, including those in escrow for appeal;
(2) 
Repairs and maintenance shall be limited to arm's length transactions and shall be reasonable and necessary so as not to cause overmaintenance of the premises. Cost of service contracts shall be pro rated over the period covered. Painting cost shall be pro rated over the number of years of actual painting cycle in the building, but, in no event, shall painting be pro rated over a period of more than three years for the exterior of common areas;
(3) 
Purchase of new equipment shall be reflected and pro rated over the useful life of the item;
(4) 
Legal and accounting expenses shall be limited to reasonable and necessary costs of the operation of the property;
(5) 
Management fees shall be limited to actual services performed in connection with the operation of the property, including the resident manager's salary, telephone expenses, postage, office supplies, stationary and the value of the apartment provided, if included in income. In no event shall management fees exceed 5% of the first $50,000 of gross maximized income, including commercial and professional space income, 4 1/2% of the next $24,000 and 4% of the next $100,000 and 3 1/2% of the next $100,000 and 3% of any amount over $275,000;
(6) 
Salaries not included in management fees shall be limited to actual services performed in connection with the operation of the property, and to salaries for similar positions in the area, including rental value, if included in income and expenses and wages and benefits paid;
(7) 
Advertising shall be limited to actual costs that are reasonable to ensure occupancy only;
(8) 
Utilities, including but not limited to gas, electric, water and oil, shall derive from arm's length transactions and the landlord shall demonstrate that all reasonable means to conserve energy and fuel have been used;
(9) 
Insurance shall derive from arm's length transactions pro rated over a policy's term and shall not include landlord's life, medical or other personal policies;
(10) 
No penalties, fines or interest for any reason shall be allowed;
(11) 
The data regarding the income derived from any expenses incurred in operating a property which are used in computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses shall be fully substantiated with documentation and shall justify the request for an increase based on hardship.
H. 
The landlord shall make application to the Rent Control Board, together with all necessary certifications, including an application by the owner and his agent, to demonstrate that they are not earning a fair net operating income. The application shall include the amount of increase and percentage of increase requested, together with all facts and figures of at least three years of income and expenses, if available. At the time of application, the landlord shall notify all tenants affected, in writing, that an application is being made and is available to any tenant requesting the same. The owner shall also make available to the tenants and the Rent Control Board all records and books supporting the application. Any interested tenants or group of tenants or association of tenants, who wish to be heard at the public meeting held in connection with a landlord's application, may notify the Rent Control Board who may permit that tenant, group of tenants or association of tenants to be heard. This provision shall be liberally construed so as to afford ample opportunity for all interested parties to present their views before the Rent Control Board.
I. 
Within 45 days of receipt of the completed application, the Rent Control Board shall hold a public hearing and make a transcript of that hearing. If, due to no fault of the owner, the Rent Control Board shall not hear the application within 45 days and reach a determination 30 days thereafter, the owner shall be entitled, upon notice to the tenants affected, to collect the amount requested, provided the amount does not exceed 10% above the current rent, the owner shall be limited to only 10% until a final determination has been reached by the Rent Control Board. The Board may stay the increase if, in fact, the landlord has contributed to the delay. Any increase paid by the tenant shall be without prejudice. If the Rent Control Board determines that a lesser amount of increase or no increase shall be allowed, the tenant paying the increase shall be entitled to an immediate credit against rents becoming due and owing. The credit shall be equal to the excess rents paid after written notice to the owner of the amount involved.
J. 
The Rent Control Board shall, within 15 days after an application for a hardship increase is filed, convene a prehearing conference which shall include the Rent Control Board members, the landlords, and affected tenants for the purpose of determining whether the landlord's application is complete, ascertaining facts, specifying issues in dispute and establishing stipulated facts.
[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
K. 
If, after a full hearing, the Rent Control Board shall determine that the landlord is in full compliance with the provisions of this article and this section, they shall permit a rental increase sufficient to reestablish the relation of fair net operating income, gross maximized annual income and any increase granted under a fair net operating income formula shall be pro rated to all of the units within the structure.[1]
[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 10, Vacancy decontrol with a 15% cap, amended 11-8-1990 by Ord. No. 90-4, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 10-10-1996.

§ 373-10 Establishment of Rent Control Board.

A. 
There is hereby created a Rent Control Board to assist in the administration of this article. The Board shall consist of five volunteer members nominated by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of a majority of the Borough Council, to serve for a term of two years. The Mayor shall make such nomination within 30 days after the office becomes vacant. If the Mayor fails to nominate within said 30 days, or the Council fails to confirm any nomination made by the Mayor, then after the expiration of said 30 days, the Council shall appoint the officers in this subtitle directed to be appointed. No appointment shall be made except by the vote of a majority of the members of the Council present at the meeting, provided that at least three affirmative votes shall be required for such purpose, the Mayor to have no vote thereon except in case of a tie. All members shall reside in the Borough of Chesilhurst.
[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
B. 
Each member shall have one vote in all matters before the Board; provided, however, that no member shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he or she has a direct or indirect personal or financial interest, nor vote on a matter if that member was not present at the hearings conducted in connection with that matter.
C. 
Members may be removed for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office by either a two-thirds vote of the Borough Council or by the Mayor with the advice and consent of a majority of the Borough Council.
D. 
Members shall submit a verified statement listing their membership in tenants' or landlords' associations, all of their interests and dealings in real property, including but not limited to the ownership, sale or management thereof, and their investment in, membership in, or association with partnerships, corporations, joint ventures and syndicates engaged in the ownership, sale or management of real property during the previous three years.

§ 373-11 Powers and functions of Rent Control Board.

A. 
The Rent Control Board shall have the following powers and functions:
(1) 
Accept and review applications for all rental increases;
[Added 8-10-1989 by Ord. No. 89-6]
(2) 
Request documentation from landlord to support and substantiate rent increases prior to rendering a final decision;
[Added 8-10-1989 by Ord. No. 89-6]
(3) 
Remedy violations of this article by adjusting rentals, ordering rebates and bringing appropriate legal action as provided in this article;
(4) 
Accept complaints from tenants of illegal rental increases, provided all claims are sworn to and acknowledged by a person authorized by law to administer oaths;
(5) 
Accept applications from landlords for rental increases under the tax and water and sewer surcharges, capital improvement surcharges, heating and fuel surcharges and newly constructed and substantially rehabilitated housing space sections of this article, provided that all applications are sworn to and acknowledged by a person authorized by law to administer oaths;
(6) 
Review applications and investigate complaints prior to rendering a final decision in any case;
(7) 
Establish new rentals in the case of heating fuel, capital improvements and tax and water and sewer surcharges and grant exemption from rent controls for housing space fully constructed and rented for the first time and housing space substantially rehabilitated after the effective date of this article;
(8) 
Correct rentals which violate the rent increase section of this article;
(9) 
Accept and dispose of applications for rent increases under the landlord hardship section of this article; and
(10) 
Perform all other functions necessary and appropriate for the proper implementation of this article.
B. 
No decision by the Rent Control Board shall be rendered unless the tenant and landlord have been afforded the opportunity to be heard on proper notice. The landlord and the tenant shall be informed of their right of appeal of decisions of the Rent Control Board.
[Amended 10-10-1996]
(1) 
A landlord petitioning for a rental increase before the Rent Control Board must file an application with the Rent Control Board before the 30th day of April in the year the request is made and must notify all tenants affected, in writing, that an application has been made. This notice must contain the hearing date of the application, summarize the contents of the application, state that copies of the application have been filed 30 days prior to the hearing with the Secretary of the Rent Control Board for public inspection, and must be given to the affected tenants 14 days prior to the hearing of the application before the Board. Said notice must be served upon the tenant either personally or by first-class mail. Proof of such service of notice must be submitted to the Board's Secretary prior to the hearing of the application or the application may not be heard. An application must be filed with the Rent Control Board's Secretary at least 30 days before it is heard by the Board and with the filing of an application a ten-dollar fee per housing unit must be paid.
(2) 
A completed application shall be presented to the Rent Control Board at a regular scheduled monthly meeting.
(3) 
In reaching its decision on any application, the Board must find that the applicant has demonstrated his right to the relief requested by a preponderance of the legally competent evidence presented. The hearing shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence and the Board may receive such evidence as it deems appropriate and relevant to the proceedings; provided, however, expert opinion, evidence or proof of financial condition shall be subject to the normal evidential standards of competency.
C. 
Any rebate ordered by the Rent Control Board shall be considered a penalty against the landlord and, if said rebate is not made to the tenant within 30 days after the landlord has been notified of the final determination of the Board, the tenant shall have the right to withhold from his next due rent an amount equal to 1 1/2 times the amount due to said tenant. In the event the tenant is no longer a tenant of the landlord in question, the tenant may bring an action in Municipal Court for the collection of the above mentioned penalty, after the time allowed, as provided in New Jersey Court Rules 4:70-1.
D. 
Any party to a proceeding before the Rent Control Board shall have the right to appeal the determination of the Rent Control Board to the Borough Council under any of the provisions of this article within 20 days after receipt of same. All determinations of the Rent Control Board shall be in writing.
E. 
The Rent Control Board is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all powers necessary and appropriate to see that the purposes of this article are carried out and executed, including but not limited to the following:
(1) 
Issue and promulgate all procedural rules and regulations as it seems necessary to implement the purposes of this article. The Board shall cause to be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the Borough of Chesilhurst.
(2) 
Supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this article.
(3) 
Determine the schedule of meetings and hearings as necessary to carry out the provisions of this article, provided that upon the request of at least five Board members or the Mayor, a special meeting may be called. All meetings and hearings shall be open to the public and conducted pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Board. The Board shall maintain in the rent control files, hearing dockets. Said dockets shall list the time, date, place of hearing, the names of the parties involved, the addresses of the dwellings involved and the final disposition of the petitions heard by the Board.
F. 
Rules and regulations of the Board 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 and regulations are first filed with the Borough Clerk. The Borough Council may reject any rule of the Board and such rejected rule shall be deemed null and void and be of no force.

§ 373-12 Appeals.

[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8]
A. 
The Chesilhurst Borough Council in connection with this article shall:
(1) 
Review appeals, hold hearings and adjudicate appeals from tenants for reduced rental in accordance with provisions of this article;
(2) 
Review appeals, hold hearings and adjudicate appeals of landlord hardship applications in accordance with provisions of this article;
(3) 
Hold hearings and adjudicate appeals from landlords for additional rentals and surcharges in accordance with the applicable provisions of this article; and
(4) 
Said Council shall give both landlord and tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination. All parties to a hearing may have assistance in presenting evidence and developing their position from attorneys, legal workers, tenant union representatives or any persons designated by said parties. All determinations and decisions of the Council shall be adopted by a majority of the Council members present at any Council meeting, provided that no vote or hearing may be conducted unless there is a quorum of at least five Council members present. All determinations of the Council shall be in writing and both landlord and tenant may appeal the determination or findings of the Council to a court of competent jurisdiction according to law.
B. 
The appealing party shall provide written notice by ordinary mail to all parties, as follows:
(1) 
If the landlord institutes the appeal, he shall notify all tenants who may be affected by the disposition of the appeal. A landlord must notify affected tenants, in writing, of any appeal taken from a decision of the Rent Control Board at the time the appeal is taken. Notice must be served personally or by first-class mail.
[Amended 10-10-1996]
(2) 
If the tenant(s) institute(s) the appeal, the tenant(s) shall provide notice to the landlord and the landlord's registered agent.
(3) 
To all parties having an interest in the outcome of the dispute, said notice shall indicate the caption of the matter, the date, time and place of the hearing, and a description of the nature of the matter on appeal.

§ 373-13 Rent decrease where landlord fails to maintain service.

A. 
During the term of this article, the landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing space or dwelling as he provides or was required to do by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into.
B. 
Where services, care or maintenance or when the standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing space or dwelling are not substantially maintained as specified above, any tenant may make an application to the Rent Control Board for a decrease in rent. A copy of said application shall be served upon the landlord and all other tenants setting forth in detail the reasons for such application.

§ 373-14 Registration and records required.

[Amended 11-9-1995 by Ord. No. 95-11; 10-10-1996]
A. 
All owners or landlords are required to register annually with the Rent Control Board within 30 days of receipt of a registration form from the Borough. Failure to properly register within the thirty-day period will result in prosecution in the Chesilhurst Municipal Court and punishable by a fine. There is a three-hundred-dollar per housing unit fee for the initial registration. Thereafter, all owners or landlords must register annually all rental dwelling units with the Rent Control Board. The registration shall include the following: the address of each dwelling unit; the name and usual address of the manager of the premises; the name and usual address of the owner or person who is authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of receiving service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting all notices and demands; the rent charged on each dwelling unit as of the effective date of this article; the housing services provided to the occupants or tenants thereof; and a list of all vacant units and the date on which said unit or units most recently became vacant. The Rent Control Board shall provide forms for this purpose. The annual registration fee of $100 per housing unit shall be submitted to the Rent Control Board within 30 days of receipt of the annual registration statement.
[Amended 10-23-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-9]
B. 
A copy of this registration information shall be kept at the Office of Rent Control and shall be open for public inspection and copying.
C. 
A landlord or owner who raises rents on dwelling units without the benefit of a Rent Control Board hearing and approval is subject to prosecution in the Chesilhurst Municipal Court and is punishable by fine.

§ 373-15 No excessive rent.

No landlord of a dwelling subject to control and regulation under this article shall, after the effective date of this article, charge any rents in excess of what he was receiving as of January 1, 1987, except for increases and surcharges authorized by this article.

§ 373-16 Exemption for newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated housing.

For the purpose of providing an incentive for the construction of additional housing space and the improvement of existing housing space, the owner of housing space or a dwelling which is either constructed and rented for the first time after the effective date of this article or which has been substantially rehabilitated as defined in this article, after such date, shall not be restricted in the rent he charges or any subsequent rent increase he charges by any of the provisions of this article.

§ 373-17 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 9-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-8; 10-23-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-9]
Any violation of any provisions of this article, or misrepresentation of facts before a hearing of the Rent Control Board, shall be prosecuted in the Chesilhurst Municipal Court and shall be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 for each offense, or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both, as may be ordered by the Court. A violation affecting more than one housing space shall be considered a separate violation as to each housing space.

§ 373-18 Liberally construed.

This article being necessary for the welfare of the Borough and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof; provided, however, that nothing contained in this article shall be construed as establishing standards and codes for multifamily dwellings, as such responsibility is vested solely in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Borough of Chesilhurst's Division of Code Enforcement.

§ 373-19 Fees.

A. 
There shall be imposed a fee of $10 per housing unit on all applications to the Rent Control Board.
[Amended 11-8-1990 by Ord. No. 90-4]
B. 
At the discretion of the Board, said fees may be waived.
C. 
In the event the Board determines the necessity for hiring an independent consultant, the costs for the independent consultant's services shall be borne by the applicant.
[Adopted 2-14-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-2]

§ 373-20 Definitions.

Unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning, the following words or phrases when used in this article shall have the following meanings:
AGENT
The individual or individuals designated by the owner as the person(s) authorized by the owner to perform any duty imposed upon the owner by this article. The term does not necessarily mean a licensed real estate broker or salesman of the State of New Jersey as those terms are defined by N.J.S.A. 45:15-3; however, such term may include a licensed real estate broker or salesman of the State of New Jersey if such person designated by the owner as his agent is so licensed. The term can include an apartment manager or management company.
APARTMENT
A room or combination of rooms in one building designed for use as a living unit or any room or rooms in a rooming/boarding house or other dwelling unit consisting of one or more rooms occupying all or part of a floor or floors in a building, whether designed with or without housekeeping facilities for dwelling purposes and notwithstanding whether the apartment is designed for a residence, for an office, or for the operation of any industry or business, or for any other type of independent use.
APARTMENT COMPLEX
Any building(s) containing four or more apartments/rental units.
LICENSE
The license issued by the Borough Clerk, or designee, attesting that the rental unit has been properly registered and inspected in accordance with this article.
LICENSEE
The person to whom the license is issued pursuant to this article. The term "licensee" includes within its definition the term "agent" where applicable.
OWNER
Any person or group of persons, firm, corporation, or officer thereof, partnership, association, or trust, who owns or has an ownership interest in a rental facility.
PERSON
An individual, firm, corporation, partnership, trust or other legal entity, or any combination thereof.
PRIVATE WELL
A potable water well that serves a dwelling unit and is located on the same real property as the dwelling unit.
RENTAL FACILITY
Every dwelling, building, group of buildings or a portion thereof which is kept, used, maintained, advertised or held out to be a place where living accommodations are supplied, whether furnished or unfurnished, for pay or other consideration, to one or more individuals and is meant to include apartments and apartment complexes.
RENTAL UNIT
A dwelling unit which is available for lease or rental purposes and is meant to include individual apartments located within residences, single-family homes, townhouses and condominium units, buildings and apartment complexes.
SEASONAL USE OR RENTAL
Use or rental for a term of not more than 125 consecutive days for residential purposes by a person having a permanent place of residence elsewhere. "Seasonal use or rental" does not mean use or rental of living quarters for seasonal, temporary or migrant farm workers in connection with any work or place where work is being performed.
TENANT/OCCUPANT
The person or persons to whom a dwelling is leased, rented, occupied by, or has actual possession of a dwelling unit, other than the record owner.

§ 373-21 Registration.

All rental units shall hereafter be registered with the Borough Clerk, or designee, of the Borough of Chesilhurst on forms which shall be provided for that purpose and which shall be obtained from the Borough Clerk's office, or designee. Registration shall occur on an annual basis (every year) on or within 30 days of August 1. Furthermore, each rental unit shall be reregistered and reinspected with each change in occupancy. A registration form is required for each rental unit. The initial registration shall occur within 60 days following the adoption of this article. Any lease which has been executed prior to the adoption of this article shall not be affected, however, the rental unit must still be registered, inspected and licensed in accordance with this article.

§ 373-22 Registration forms; filing; contents.

Notwithstanding the requirements of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28, all rental units shall be registered and licensed as provided herein. Every owner shall file with the Borough Clerk, or designee, a registration form for each unit contained within a building or structure which shall include the following information:
A. 
The name and address of the record owner or owners of the premises and record owner or owners of the rental business if not the same persons. In the case of a partnership, the names and address of all general partners shall be provided together with the telephone numbers for each of such individuals.
B. 
If the address of any record owner is not located in the Borough of Chesilhurst or in Camden County, the name and address of a person residing in the Borough of Chesilhurst or Camden County who is designated as an agent who is authorized to accept notices from the Borough and to issue receipts therefor and to accept service of process on behalf of the record owner. The Borough may waive this requirement upon owner's request to use a person in another county if deemed feasible.
C. 
The name and address of the agent of the premises, if any.
D. 
The name and address, 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.
E. 
The name, address and telephone number of an individual representative(s) 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 rental unit of dwelling space therein and who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the premises or rental unit and any repair thereto or expenditure in connection therewith.
F. 
The name and address of every holder of a recorded mortgage on the premises.
G. 
If fuel oil is used to heat the building and the landlord furnishes the heat in a building, the name and address of the fuel oil dealer servicing the building and the grade of fuel oil used.
H. 
As to each rental unit, an owner shall submit a floor plan, indicating the location, use and dimensions of each room, which shall be attached to the registration form.
I. 
Such other information as may be prescribed by the Borough.

§ 373-23 Registration form; indexing and filing; public inspection; fee.

The Borough Clerk, or designee, shall index and file the registration forms. In doing so the Borough Clerk, or designee, shall follow the mandates of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28.1, as amended and supplemented, so that the filing of the registration form will also satisfy the registration requirements of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28 to the extent that it applies to the property being registered and will also satisfy the registration requirements of this article. The initial registration fee is $300 per unit.

§ 373-24 Registration form; amendments; filing.

Every person required to file a registration form pursuant to this article shall file an amended registration form within 20 days after any change in the information required to be included thereon. No administrative fee shall be required for the filing of an amendment except where there is a change in tenancy during the twenty-four-month licensing period, or where the ownership of the premises is changed.

§ 373-25 Periodic inspections.

A. 
Upon the filing of an initial application for registration, the Borough will then conduct an inspection for the issuance of a license in accordance with the provision of this article. A similar inspection will be conducted upon the filing of a renewal application. The owner of the property, or his agent, shall contact the inspector's office within 30 days of registration, or reregistration, to set up an inspection date. Failure to contact the inspector's office within said 30 days will result in the issuance of a violation notice stating an inspection must be scheduled within the next 20 days, plus an additional administrative fee of $50 will be assessed. Failure to schedule an inspection within the additional twenty-day time period will subject the applicant to the penalty provisions of this article.
B. 
Each rental unit shall be inspected at least once every twenty-four-month period.
C. 
Inspections shall be performed by such person, persons, or agency duly authorized and appointed by the Borough of Chesilhurst to undertake these inspections.
D. 
Such inspection shall be for the purpose of determining compliance with this article. The currently effective Property Maintenance Code, as set forth in Chapter 358, Article II, shall be used as a guide in performing inspections pursuant to this article. The inspections may also include determinations on compliance with other ordinances applicable to the premises and rental unit, Uniform Construction Code, Housing Code, and/or Building Code, and/or Uniform Fire Safety Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
E. 
Unsatisfactory inspection. In the event that the initial inspection, a renewal inspection, or any other inspection of a rental unit does not result in a satisfactory report, such property shall not thereafter be registered, nor shall a license issue. The owner of the property, or his agent, shall not lease or rent such property, nor shall any tenant occupy the property until the necessary repairs/corrections have been made so as to bring the property and rental unit into compliance with the applicable ordinances or codes as verified by a subsequent Borough inspection. At such time as a satisfactory inspection report is issued, the registration application, or renewal thereof, shall be processed for issuance of a license to permit rental of the unit. In the event that the property is occupied when such conditions are discovered, all such repairs/corrections shall be made within 60 days. If the repairs/corrections are not made within that time period, the owner shall be deemed in violation of this article and subject to the provision of §§ 373-34 and 373-35 of this article.

§ 373-26 Access for inspection; repairs.

A. 
The inspection officers are hereby authorized to make inspections to determine the condition of rental facilities, rental units and rooming/boarding houses in order that they may promote the purposes of this article to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of these units and of the general public. For the purposes of making such inspections, the inspecting officers are hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey the rental facilities, rental units and rooming/boarding houses at all reasonable times. The owner or occupant of every rental facility, rental unit and rooming/boarding house shall give the inspecting officer free access to the rental facility, rental unit and rooming/boarding house at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspections, examinations and surveys.
B. 
Every occupant shall give the owner of the rental facility, rental unit and rooming/boarding house access to any part of such rental facility, rental unit and rooming/boarding house at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provision of this article or any lawful order issued pursuant thereto.
C. 
Complaints. All complaints received by the Borough relating to this article shall be filed with a central registry to be established by the Borough Council within 10 days of a complaint being so filed, an appropriate Borough inspecting official shall conduct an inspection as provided herein to determine if a violation exists. A written report shall be filed by the inspecting official with the central registry and Borough Clerk and indicate if any violation notices have been issued.

§ 373-27 Prohibitions on occupancy.

No person shall hereafter occupy any rental unit, nor shall the owner permit occupancy of any rental unit, which is not registered and licensed in accordance with this article.

§ 373-28 License.

A. 
Upon the filing of a completed registration form, payment of the prescribed fee, and a satisfactory inspection, the owner shall be entitled to the issuance of a license. Said license shall expire on July 31 of each second year, or automatically in the event of a change in tenancy or ownership.
B. 
A license shall be issued to the owner for each rental unit, even if more than one rental unit is contained in the property.

§ 373-29 Fees.

A. 
Annual registration.
(1) 
An annual registration, on or before August 1, in accordance with the following schedule:
(a) 
For any rental facility of one to five units per building: $35 per unit.
(b) 
For any rental facility of six to 20 units per building: $30 per unit.
(c) 
For any rental facility of more than 20 units per building: $25 per unit.
(2) 
This fee is to cover the administrative expense of processing and filing the registration application and the cost of inspecting the rental units at the property.
B. 
Change in tenancy during the licensing period requires the issuance of a new license. Registration and inspection fees as outlined in Subsection A will be applicable.
C. 
A reinspection fee of $25 per rental unit/per inspection shall be assessed for any reinspection conducted as a result of violations which require correction by the owner during the licensing period.
D. 
If the owner of the property is a senior citizen who resides in a unit of the property, and rents out the remaining unit, and would otherwise qualify under the State of New Jersey property tax deduction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-8.41, there shall be no fee.
E. 
If any fee is not paid within 30 days of its due date, the property owner and/or agent will be considered in violation of this article and subject to the penalty provisions of this article.

§ 373-30 Providing license to occupants and tenants.

Upon receipt of a license, every owner shall provide the occupant or tenant occupying a rental unit with a copy of the license certificate. This provision may be complied with by posting a copy of the license certificate in a conspicuous place within the rental unit(s). This particular provision shall not apply to any hotel, motel or guesthouse 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.

§ 373-31 Maximum number of occupants; posting.

A. 
The maximum number of occupants shall be posted in each rental unit. This number shall be determined by the applicable regulations and indicated on the issued license. It shall be unlawful for any person, including the owner, agent or tenant, to allow a greater number of persons than the posted maximum number of occupants to sleep in or occupy overnight the rental unit. Any persons violating this provision shall be subject to the penalty provision of § 373-35 of this article.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, other than the tenant(s) indicated on the issued license, to reside in said premises, and any owner, agent or tenant allowing nontenants to reside in said premises shall be in violation of this section and shall be subject to the penalty provision of § 373-35 of this article.

§ 373-32 Payment of taxes and other municipal charges.

No property containing a rental unit shall be issued a license unless all municipal taxes, water and sewer charges and any other municipal assessments are paid on a current basis.

§ 373-33 Other standards.

A. 
Nuisance prohibited. No rental facility shall be used in a manner which will result in any unreasonable disturbance or disruption to the surrounding properties and property owners or of the public in general, such that it would constitute a nuisance as defined in the ordinances of the Borough of Chesilhurst.
B. 
Private well testing. The lessor of any real property, the potable water supply for which is a private well, for which testing of the water is not required pursuant to any other state law, shall test that water supply at least once every five years in the manner established by the Private Well Testing Act, N.J.S.A. 58:12A-26 et seq. Within 30 days after receipt of the test results, the lessor shall provide a written copy thereof to each rental unit on the property. The lessor shall also provide a written copy of the most recent test results to a new lessee of a rental unit on the property. In the case of a seasonal use or rental of real property, the lessor of such property shall post the test results in a readily visible location inside the seasonal use or rental unit or the lessor shall provide a written copy of the most recent test results to the new lessee of a seasonal use or rental unit.
C. 
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 Borough of Chesilhurst and with all applicable state and federal laws, including the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and the International Property Maintenance Code of 2006.
D. 
Penalties. Any landlord, tenant or other person violating the provision of this section shall be subject to the penalty provisions of § 373-35 of this article.

§ 373-34 Revocation of license; procedure.

A. 
Grounds. In addition to any other penalty prescribed herein, any owner may be subject to the revocation or suspension of the license issued hereunder upon the happening of one or more of the following:
(1) 
Conviction of a violation of this article in the Municipal Court or any other court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) 
Determination of a violation of this article at a hearing held pursuant to Subsection B herein.
(3) 
Continuously renting the unit or units to a tenant or tenants who are convicted of a violation of Chapter 317, Noise, and the Nuisance Ordinance of the Borough.
(4) 
Continuously permitting the rental unit to be occupied by more than the maximum number of occupants as defined in this article.
(5) 
Maintaining the rental unit or units or the property in which the rental unit(s) is a part in a dangerous condition likely to result in injury to person or property.
B. 
Procedure; written complaints; notice; hearing.
(1) 
A complaint seeking the revocation or suspension of a license may be filed by any one or more of the following: Chief of Police, Construction Code Official, Health Officer, the Zoning Enforcement Officer or any other persons or office authorized to file such complaint. Such complaint shall be in writing and filed with the Borough Clerk. The complaint shall be specific and shall be sufficient to apprise the licensee of the charges. The individual(s) filing the complaint may do so on the basis of information and belief and need not rely on personal information.
(2) 
Upon the filing of such written complaint, the Borough Clerk shall immediately notify the Borough Council and a date for a hearing shall be scheduled which shall not be sooner than 10 days nor more than 30 days thereafter. The Borough Clerk shall immediately provide a copy of the complaint and a notice as to the date of the hearing to the licensee and the agent, if any, at the address indicated on the registration form. Service upon the agent shall be sufficient.
(3) 
The hearing required by this section shall be held before a hearing officer appointed by the Borough Council. The hearing officer shall transmit findings of fact and the decision reached to the Borough Council and charged party within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing. The decision to be rendered shall either be dismissal of the charges, revocation of the license, a license suspension of not more than 180 days or determining that the license shall not be renewed or reissued for a period of one year.
(4) 
The hearing shall be recorded. All witnesses shall be sworn prior to testifying. The strict rules of evidence shall not apply and the evidential rules and burden of proof shall be that which generally controls administrative hearings.
(5) 
The Borough Solicitor or designee shall appear and prosecute on behalf of the complaining party in all hearings conducted pursuant to this section.
(6) 
Any request for a copy of the hearing tape or for a stenographic transcript shall be at the cost of the licensee.
C. 
Defenses.
(1) 
It shall be a defense to any proceeding for the revocation, suspension or other disciplinary action involving a rental license 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 tenant(s), occupant(s), or guest(s) for recovery of the premises, eviction of the tenant(s) or otherwise.

§ 373-35 Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction in the Chesilhurst Municipal Court, or such other court having jurisdiction, be liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days, or both. Each day that a violation occurs shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation subject to the penalty provisions of this article.