[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Galloway as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-12-2013 by Ord. No. 1878]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGENT or MANAGING AGENT
- An individual or entity designated by the owner and authorized to perform any duty imposed upon the owner by this article. Such term may include a licensed real estate broker or salesman of the State of New Jersey if such person is designated by the owner as such an agent.
- HEARING OFFICER
- The Township Manager or designee.
- LANDLORD or OWNER
- The person, persons or entity which owns or purports to own a rental unit. In the case of a mobile home park, "landlord" shall mean the owner of an individual dwelling unit within the mobile home park.
- QUALITY OF LIFE VIOLATIONS
- In addition to conduct which is otherwise prohibited by state statute or the Township Code, to knowingly allow or permit in, upon or in proximity to any rental unit conduct which substantially impairs the public safety, health or welfare, including, but not limited to, loud and abusive noise; loud gatherings; boisterous activity; loud, unruly and profane language; consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under the legal age; overcrowding upon or in proximity to the rental unit; use of fireworks; public urination; excessive noise of such a character, intensity or duration as to be detrimental to the life, health and welfare or which unreasonably endangers the comfort, peace and repose of neighboring residents; the placement or disposal of bottles, cups, containers, or other debris on or about the exterior of the rental unit or any other property in the vicinity, and it shall be a violation if such material is not removed by 9:00 a.m. following an event; and any other disorderly acts which unreasonably disturb the peace and good order of the neighborhood and community.
- The document issued by the Construction Office confirming that a specific rental unit has been properly registered in accordance with this article. Such registration is in addition to the requirements for the issuance of a continued certificate of occupancy pursuant to § 153-11.2.
- RENTAL UNIT
- Any home, apartment, dwelling, building or dwelling unit of any kind which is rented or offered for rent as housing space for living or dwelling purposes under either a written or oral lease. However, for purposes of this article, a rental unit shall not include owner-occupied two-unit premises.
- SUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINT
- A complaint for a violation of this article, any provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes or any Township ordinance governing disorderly conduct, upon or in proximity to any rental unit, and attributable to the acts or incitements of any of the tenants of those premises which has been substantiated by prosecution and conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction.
All rental units shall be registered with the Construction Office on forms which shall be provided for that purpose. Such registration is required every year or whenever there is a change in occupant, whichever occurs first. The required fee shall be the fee set forth in § 153-11.2 for a continued certificate of occupancy for rental property. This registration is in addition to the certificate required pursuant to § 153-11.2. No rental unit shall be rented unless the rental unit has been registered in accordance with this article.
Upon receipt of the appropriate registration form, payment of the required fee set forth in § 153-11.2 and the successful completion of the inspection required by § 153-11.2, the Construction Office shall issue to the owner or agent a certificate stating that the rental unit has been appropriately registered pursuant to the provisions of this article and has been registered to allow occupancy subject to the conditions and requirements set forth in this article.
In the event that the inspection of a rental unit does not result in a satisfactory inspection, such property shall not thereafter be registered, and the owner of the property or agent shall not lease or rent or allow occupancy of such property nor shall any tenant occupy such property until the necessary corrections have been made so as to bring the property and rental unit into compliance with the applicable Code requirements.
The registration forms shall be indexed and maintained in the Construction Office. The landlord and, if applicable, the agent of any rental unit shall insure that a copy of the registration form has been provided to the tenant. As necessary, copies of the registration forms shall be made available to the Police Department.
Landlords with five or more rental units and managing agents which manage five or more rental units shall provide to the Construction Office and the Police Department a list of the tenants occupying each rental unit, and such list shall be updated on a monthly basis.
All new leases or renewals or extensions of leases shall contain in such lease language indicating that said lease is subject to the requirements of this article. A copy of this article shall be provided to each new tenant.
No rental unit may be registered or renewed for any property containing a rental unit unless all municipal taxes, sewer charges and any other municipal assessments are fully paid and current.
No landlord or agent on behalf of a landlord shall rent or permit the rental of a rental unit unless such property has been registered pursuant to this article. Also, no rental unit shall be occupied by any person or persons until and unless registered pursuant to this article.
It shall be a violation of this article to fail to appropriately register any rental unit. It shall also be a violation to continue the rental of a rental unit after the suspension or revocation of its registration. It shall also be a violation of this article for any tenant to engage in any quality of life violation or for the landlord or agent to knowingly permit repeated quality of life violations at or about a rental unit, unless a good faith effort and appropriate action is taken to address the quality of life violations.
On each occasion that a tenant in a rental unit or such tenant's guest, visitor or invitee commits a quality of life violation, a notice of such violation shall be sent by certified and regular mail to the owner and, if applicable, agent. It is the obligation of the landlord and the landlord's agent to take all reasonable and appropriate action to abate further quality of life violations at the rental unit and to make a good faith effort to abate the conditions or circumstances giving rise to such quality of life violations. In the event that the landlord or the landlord's agent fails to take such reasonable and appropriate action to abate further quality of life violations or to make a good faith effort to abate the conditions or circumstances giving rise to such quality of life violations, the landlord and the landlord's agent shall be subject to the fines and penalties set forth in § 276-7 upon the occurrence of a third quality of life violation with respect to an individual rental unit within any eighteen-month period and shall be subject to such fines and penalties upon the occurrence of a second quality of life violation but only if it significantly impacts the neighboring properties or the community. In addition to the fines and penalties set forth in § 276-7, the landlord and the rental unit may be subject to the suspension or revocation of the registration for such rental unit as set forth in § 276-8.
Any person violating any provision of this article shall, upon conviction, be subject to the following fines and penalties. Such fines and penalties shall be in addition to any possible suspension or revocation of the registration.
[Amended 12-13-2016 by Ord. No. 1951-2016]
Failure to register or maintain registration: a fine not less than $100 and not more than $2,000 for each violation. Each rental unit is a separate violation, and each day is a separate violation.
Quality of life violations: a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $2,000 for each violation. Each separate act or conduct constituting a quality of life violation is a separate violation, and, if the act or conduct is continuing, each day is a separate violation.
In addition to the fines set forth above, the Court may impose a sentence of imprisonment in the Atlantic County Jail for any term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.
Any person who is convicted of violating this article within one year of the date of the previous violation, and was fined for the previous violation, shall be sentenced by the Court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. Such violation need not be with respect to the same rental unit. The additional fine imposed by the Court upon a person for a repeated offense shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine fixed for a violation of this article, but shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation.
In addition to any other penalty provided for in this article, a rental unit may be subject to the revocation or suspension of its registration based upon the following:
The occurrence of a third quality of life violation with respect to an individual rental unit within any eighteen-month period. In addition, the rental unit may be subject to revocation or suspension upon the occurrence of a second quality of life violation but only if it significantly impacts the neighboring properties or the community. In order to support the suspension or revocation under this section, it need not be shown that the convictions are of the same individual or individuals, but only that such convictions involved conduct occurring on separate occasions over such period.
Maintaining the rental unit or the property in which the rental unit is a part in a dangerous condition having a significant risk of injury to person or other property.
A significant false, misleading or fraudulent statement made in the registration form, in connection with the inspection of the rental unit or otherwise under this article.
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:
A nuisance as that term is defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:33-12; provided, however, that the conviction of such person or persons under that statute should not be required in order for the Township to take action under this article.
The failure or refusal to comply with any reasonable directive of the Township concerning the abatement of conduct prohibited by this article.
It shall be the defense to any proceeding for the suspension or revocation of a rental registration to demonstrate that the owner or agent has taken all reasonable and appropriate action and has made a good faith effort to abate the conditions or circumstances giving rise to the suspension or revocation proceeding. Such efforts may include, but not be limited to, the institution of legal action against the tenant.
A written complaint seeking the suspension or revocation of a rental registration may be filed by the Chief of Police or designee or the department head of the Construction Office or designee. The complaint shall be filed with the Township Clerk and shall be sufficiently detailed so as to inform the landlord of the charges pending and state the particulars of any substantiated violations underlying the charges. The complaint may be filed on the basis of information and belief, and the complainant need not rely on personal knowledge or information.
Upon the filing of such a written complaint, the Township Clerk shall immediately mail a copy of the complaint to the landlord and managing agent, if any, at the addresses indicated on the registration form and to the name appearing on the tax records if different from that of the landlord. The complaint shall be accompanied by a notice that a hearing will be scheduled not sooner than 10 nor more than 30 days after service of the complaint. The Hearing Officer shall fix the date for the hearing. The complaint and notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular first-class mail. Delivery shall be deemed completed if the regular mail is not returned.
At the hearing convened pursuant to this article, the Hearing Officer shall give full hearing to both the complaint of the Township 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, to the extent deemed relevant by the Hearing Officer, prior complaints regarding the rental unit. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall determine whether the rental registration shall be suspended or revoked.
Any registration suspension or revocation 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 and adequate to be protective of public and private property and disruption of affected residents' rights of fair use and quiet possession of their premises.
Within 15 days of the conclusion of a hearing, the Hearing Officer shall issue written findings of fact and conclusions which shall then be provided to the landlord and the Township Council. The Township Council shall review the findings of fact and conclusions and may accept, reject or modify recommendations of the Hearing Officer. The landlord shall be permitted, but not required, to submit to the Township Council written comments or objections to the findings of fact and conclusions. Any such submission must be made within five days of the landlord's receipt of the Hearing Officer's report.
A verbatim record shall be made of the hearing. All witnesses shall be sworn prior to testifying. However, the strict rules of evidence shall not apply and the evidentiary rules and burden of proof shall be that which generally applies to administrative hearings.
If any rental registration is subject to a proceeding for suspension or revocation, it may nevertheless be renewed pending the determination of such proceeding.