[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Greenwich 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 21-2009. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Rental Property Code."
The provisions of the Uniform Construction Code, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 5:23-1 et seq.; Uniform Fire Code, N.J.A.C. 5:70-2 et seq.; and the International Property Maintenance Code, as adopted by Greenwich Township Resolution No. 9-2003, and their amendments (collectively "codes"), 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 standards to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings and buildings in this Township are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and/or rental. A copy of said codes and regulations, and any amendments subsequent thereto, have been placed on file in the office of the Township Clerk and are available for inspections by all persons desiring to use and examine 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 heights above grade. Any sleeping room in a basement shall comply with the emergency escape section of the aforesaid State Housing Code.
- 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 purpose, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
- Any use, possession or control of real property by persons, entities or personal property.
- Any individual who lives or sleeps in, or has actual possession of, a dwelling unit.
- Any person or entity who owns, purports to own or exercises control over any real property.
- Land and/or buildings thereon.
- REGISTERED AGENT
- An individual who shall be responsible for receiving notices 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 Township of Greenwich 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, inclusive of a mixed-occupancy building.
Duties of owner, operator and/or registered agent. It shall be the duty of the owner, operator and/or registered agent to comply with all code provisions adopted pursuant to § 537-2 herein.
Conveyance of property. The owner, operator and/or registered agent of any property under order by an authorized 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.
The Housing Code Official is hereby designated to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
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 Township of Greenwich, which form shall be signed by the owner, operator and/or registered agent and filed with the Township Clerk or his/her designees. Said registration shall state, among other things, the name, address and telephone number of the registered agent (which may be the same as the owner), the location of the building, the portion of the building to be used as a rental facility, the number of dwelling units, the proposed number of occupants and their names in each dwelling unit, the number of rooms in each dwelling unit, the proposed use of each such room, and the dimensions of each such room. Such registration shall be accompanied by a floor plan, drawn approximately to scale, indicating the location, use and dimension of each room covered by the registration.
"Rental facility" registrations shall be renewed on a annual basis.
The annual fee for registration shall be $50.
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.
The owner, operator and/or registered agent of the subject rental facility shall be responsible to file an amended registration statement with the Township within seven days of any change in any of the information required by the registration statement.
All buildings or structures used, occupied or proposed to be occupied as dwelling units and/or rental facilities shall be inspected by the Housing Code Official 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 any dwelling unit unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued certifying that the dwelling unit is fit for human habitation and that the dwelling unit is in compliance with this chapter.
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 Code Official, 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 official, for inspection. Upon determining that this chapter and all applicable laws, ordinances, codes, regulations and standards have been complied with, the official shall issue a certificate of occupancy permitting occupancy of the inspected dwelling unit.
If the official finds the dwelling unit is not in compliance, the owner and/or registered agent shall thereupon be notified in writing within 72 hours after the inspection, specifically noting those violations requiring corrections 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 Housing Code Official may designate a time frame for correction of violations, which may be extended by the Official for good cause. Good cause for such extension shall include but is not limited to delays 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 violation with the Construction Board of Appeals who shall affirm, modify or dismiss the notice of code violation. A notice shall be deemed served upon personal service, upon signing for registered mail, or within two business days of the postmark of regular mail.
Upon correction of any violations, the owner or registered agent shall notify the Housing Code Official of the corrections, and within seven days a reinspection will be made of the required corrections.
The owner, operator and/or registered agent shall be charged a fee of $40 per unit for the initial inspection as well as subsequent inspections triggered by change in occupancy or occupants. If reinspection is required due to correction of violations, an additional fee of $25 per unit must be paid.
The penalty for a violation of this chapter for failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy as provided herein or for the failure to register as required herein shall be:
For a first offense: a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $250, and/or community service to be set at the discretion of the Municipal Judge.
With respect to the violations and penalties set forth above, a person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each thirty-day period that the person fails to comply with an order to correct and abate a code violation, fails to obtain a valid certificate of occupancy, or fails to register as required herein.
The owner of the property shall be liable for any and all attorney's fees/costs incurred by the Township of Greenwich to collect fines assessed hereunder.
The Housing Code Official may perform additional inspections in the interests of the health, safety and welfare of the public without charge to the owner. However, if the official issues any notices of violation as a result of said additional inspections, the owner shall be required to pay the applicable reinspection fees upon the correction of the violations.
No person shall occupy or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein and which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter. 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 Codes.
Free access. The Housing Code Official is 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 Housing Code Official is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey buildings and structure at all reasonable times. The owner, operator, and/or registered agent or occupant of every building or structure shall give the inspecting officer free access to the building at all reasonable times.
Complaints. Within 72 hours of the receipt of a complaint alleging a reported violation of this chapter, an inspection officer shall conduct an inspection as hereinbefore provided.
Notice. Whenever the Housing Code Official determines that there has been a violation of this chapter, he/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 occupancy for the subject premises shall be revoked, in addition to the remedies and provisions set forth elsewhere in this chapter. Said period for correction may be extended or abbreviated by the Housing Code Official for a definite number of days for good cause. Good cause shall include but is not limited to delays caused by weather conditions, unavailability of building/construction materials, unavailability of contractors hired to correct the violations or the existence of emergent circumstances affecting the health or safety of occupants or residents of Greenwich.
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 Housing Code Official may serve an order upon the owner, operator and/or registered agent that the certificate of occupancy is revoked and occupancy prohibited, effective five days from the service thereof.
The Township of Greenwich 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, including an allocation of any professional fees incurred 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 form a 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.
The Housing Code Official is authorized to promulgate such forms as may be necessary to implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter.
Whenever the Housing Code Official, and/or any public officials, find that an emergency exists with reference to a dwelling unit and/or rental facility, and the provisions of this chapter require immediate action to protect the health of the occupants or the general public, he/she may, without notice or hearing, serve an order upon the owner or registered agent, as the case may be, reciting the existence of such emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. The owner or registered agent to whom the order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, unless he/she appeals to the Township Council. The order shall state the right to such hearing.
Notices issued by the Housing Code Official pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon the owner, operator and/or registered agent, either personally or by registered 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.
In any case where the provisions of this chapter impose a higher standard as set forth in any other local ordinances or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards that are set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this chapter impose a lower standard than any other local ordinances or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance, or code, or statute shall prevail.
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, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, 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.
This chapter shall take effect on December 31, 2009.
[Added 11-19-2012 by Ord. No. 12-2012]
For the purposes of the following provisions of this chapter, the following meanings shall apply:
- HEARING OFFICER
- A person designated pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12p to hear and determine proceedings under this chapter.
- Person or persons who own or purport to own any building in which there is rented or offered for rent housing space for living or dwelling under either a written or oral lease, which building contains no more than four dwelling units. In the case of a mobile home park, "landlord" shall mean the owner of an individual dwelling unit within the mobile home park.
- SUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINT
- A complaint which may form the basis for proceedings in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12q.
[Added 11-19-2012 by Ord. No. 12-2012]
If, in any twenty-four-month period, three complaints, on separate occasions, of conduct upon or in proximity to any rental premises, and attributable to the acts or incitements of any of the tenants of those premises, have been substantiated by prosecution and conviction (including guilty pleas) in any court of competent jurisdiction of a violation of any provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes or any municipal ordinance governing disorderly conduct, the individual so designated by the governing body for the purpose may institute proceedings to require the landlord of the premises to post a bond against the consequences of future incidents of the same character.
The person designated pursuant to Subsection A hereof shall cause to be served upon the landlord, in person or by registered mail to the address appearing on the tax records of the municipality, notice advising institution of such proceedings, together with particulars of the substantiated complaints upon which those proceedings are based, and the time and place at which a hearing will be held in the matter, which shall be in the Municipal Building, Municipal Court, or other place within the municipality, and which shall be no sooner than 30 days from the date upon which notice is served or mailed.
At the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall give full hearing both to the complaint of the municipality and to any evidence in contradiction or mitigation that the landlord, if present or represented, and offering such evidence, may present. The Hearing Officer may consider prior complaints about the residents of the property, even if these complaints did not result in a conviction. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall determine whether the landlord shall be required to post a bond in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
Any bond required to be posted shall be in accordance with the judgment of the Hearing Officer, in light of the nature and extent of the offenses indicated in the substantiated complaints upon which the proceedings are based, to be adequate in the case of subsequent offenses to make reparation for:
Damages likely to be caused to public or private property and damages consequent upon disruption of affected residents' rights of fair use and quiet possession of their premises; and
Securing the payment of fines and penalties likely to be levied for such offenses; and
Compensating the municipality for the cost of repressing and prosecuting such incidents of disorderly behavior; and
No such bond shall be in an amount less than $500 nor more than $5,000. The municipality may enforce the bond thus required by action in the Superior Court and shall be entitled to an injunction prohibiting the landlord from making or renewing any lease of the affected premises for residential purposes until that bond or equivalent security, in satisfactory form and amount, has been deposited with the municipality.
A bond or other security deposit shall be in force for a period of four years. Upon the lapse of the specified period, the landlord shall be entitled to the discharge thereof, unless prior thereto further proceedings leading to the forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the bond or other security shall have been had under this chapter, in which case the security shall be renewed in an amount and for a period that shall be specified by the Hearing Officer.
Transfer of ownership or control of the property shall not void a requirement for security imposed under this chapter. The person or persons to whom ownership or control is transferred shall maintain that security, and shall be subject to injunctive proceedings as authorized herein in the same manner as the landlord upon whom the requirement was originally imposed; provided, however, that the Mayor and Council may by resolution shorten the period for which security is required to not less than one year to the date of the transfer of ownership or control, if during that year no substantiated complaints are recorded with respect to the property in question.
A landlord may recover from a tenant any amounts of security actually forfeited pursuant hereto.
[Added 11-19-2012 by Ord. No. 12-2012]
If during the period for which a landlord is required to give security a substantiated complaint is recorded against the property in question, the Mayor and Council or its designee may institute proceedings against the landlord for the forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the security, for an extension of the period for which security is required, or for increase in the amount of security, or for any or all of those purposes.
Any forfeiture or partial forfeiture of security shall be determined by the Hearing Officer solely in accordance with the amount deemed necessary to provide for the compensatory purposes set forth in § 537-19. Any decision by the Hearing Officer to increase the amount or extent of the period of the required security shall be determined in light of the same factors set forth in § 537-19 herein, and shall be taken only to the extent that the nature of the substantiated complaint or complaints out of which proceedings arise under this section indicates the appropriateness of such change in order to carry out the purposes of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12n et seq.
[Added 11-19-2012 by Ord. No. 12-2012]
Any hearing pursuant to this chapter shall be before a licensed attorney of the State of New Jersey named by the governing body. The Hearing Officer named shall not own or lease any real property within the Township of Greenwich, nor hold any interest in the assets of or profits arising from the ownership or lease of such property.