[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middle as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-18-2013 by Ord. No. 1441-13]
For the purpose of this article, the following meanings shall apply:
- HEARING OFFICER
- A licensed attorney of the State of New Jersey appointed by the Mayor, subject to the advice and consent of the Township Committee. The hearing officer shall not own or lease any real property within the Township of Middle, nor hold any interest in the assets of or profits arising from the ownership of such property.
- The 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, including, but not limited to, any building subject to the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law, P.L. 1967, c. 76 (N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq.), and owner-occupied premises.
- SEASONAL RENTAL
- Any rental of residential accommodations for a term of less than one year and including any part of the period extending from May 15 to September 15.
- SUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINT
- An act of disorderly, indecent, tumultuous or riotous conduct, including, by way of example, but not limited to, simple assault, terroristic threats, harassment, urinating in public, lewdness, criminal mischief, or excessive noise, upon or in proximity to any seasonal rental premises, and attributable to the acts or incitements of any of the tenants of those premises which have been substantiated by prosecution and conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction.
If, in any twelve-month period, two complaints, as defined in § 200-1 hereof, on separate occasions, of disorderly, indecent, tumultuous, or riotous conduct, including by way of example, but not limited to, simple assault, assault, terroristic threats, harassment, lewdness, urinating in public, criminal mischief, or excessive noise, upon or in proximity to any seasonal rental premises, and attributable to the acts or incitements of any of the tenants of those premises, have been substantiated by prosecution and conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction, the Township Committee or any officer or employee of the Township of Middle so designated by the Township Committee for this purpose may institute proceedings to require the landlord of the seasonal rental premises to post a bond against the consequences of future incidents of the same character.
In the event a tenant is convicted of any of the conduct described in Subsection A of this section, the governing body, or the officer or employee designated pursuant to Subsection A of this section, shall cause notice advising that the conduct specified has occurred to be served on the landlord in person or by registered mail, at the address appearing on the tax records of the Township of Middle.
The Township Committee or any officer or employee of the municipality designated by the Township Committee shall cause to be served upon the landlord, in person or by registered mail or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address appearing on the tax records of the Township of Middle, notice advising of the institution of such proceedings, together with particulars of the substantiated complaint upon which those proceedings are based, and of the time and place at which the hearing will be held in the matter, which shall be in the Municipal Building, Municipal Court or such other public place as designated by the Township Committee, and which shall be no sooner than 30 days from the date upon which the notice is served or mailed.
At the hearing convened pursuant to Subsection C above, the hearing officer shall give full hearing to both the complaint of the municipality and to any evidence in contradiction or mitigation that the landlord, if present or represented or offering such evidence, may present. At the conclusion of the hearing, the officer shall determine whether the landlord shall be required to post a bond in accordance with the terms of this article.
Any bond required to be posted shall be in accordance with the judgment of the hearing officer, in the 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 or the disruption of affected residents' rights of fair use and quiet enjoyment of their premises;
Securing the payment of fines and penalties likely to be levied for such offenses; and
Compensating the municipality for the costs of repressing and prosecuting such incidents of disorderly behavior; provided, however, no such bond shall be in amount less than $500 nor more than $5,000. The municipality may enforce a bond thus requiring an 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.
Any bond or other security deposited in compliance with Subsection E(3) above shall remain in force for a period of four years. Upon the lapse of the four-year period, the landlord shall be entitled to the discharge of the bond, unless prior thereto further proceedings leading to a forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the bond or other security shall have been had under § 200-3 below, in which case the security shall be renewed in an amount and for a period that shall be specified by the hearing officer. A transfer of ownership or control of the property shall not void the requirement of security imposed under this section. The person or persons to whom ownership or control is transferred shall maintain that security and shall be subject to injunctive proceedings as authorized by Subsection E above in the same manner as the landlord upon which the requirement was originally imposed; provided, however, the Township Committee may by resolution shorten the period for which security is required to not less than one year from 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.
If, during the period for which a landlord is required to give security pursuant to § 200-2 above, a substantiated complaint is recorded against the property in question, the Township Committee or its designee may institute proceedings against the landlord for the forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the security, for an extension as provided in subsection § 200-2E above of the period for which the security is required, or for increase in the amount of security required, 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 subsection § 200-2E above. Any decision by the hearing officer to increase the amount or extend the period of the required security shall be determined in the light of the same factors set forth in § 200-2E above, and shall be taken only to the extent that the nature of the substantiated complaint or complaints out of which proceedings arise under this action indicated the appropriateness of such change in order to effectually carry out the purposes of this article. The decision of the hearing officer in such circumstances shall be enforceable in the same manner as provided in § 220-2E above.
The hearing officer shall be a licensed New Jersey attorney or Municipal Judge appointed by the Township Committee. A hearing officer shall not own or lease any real property within the Township of Middle, nor hold any interest in the assets of or profits arising from the ownership or lease of such property.