[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights 8-23-2016 by Ord. No. 2365. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to discourage and penalize real estate property owners from operating and creating apartments contrary to the Construction Codes (Chapter 119), the Zoning Ordinances (Chapter 275) or any other applicable state, county or municipal regulation and provide for the relocation of the tenants displaced by the enforcement of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- APARTMENT or UNIT
- A room or group of related rooms set apart from the other rooms of a building and used as a dwelling unit by persons other than those dwelling in or using the other rooms.
- ILLEGAL APARTMENT OR UNIT
- Any one of the following shall constitute an illegal apartment or unit:
- A. An apartment or unit for which no certificate of occupancy has been issued.
- B. An apartment or unit, which would exceed the number of units permitted under the Zoning Ordinances, Construction Codes or under any of the conditions of any approvals granted by a Land Use Board of the Borough.
- C. An apartment or unit which fails to meet the requirements of any regulation affecting the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
- D. An apartment or unit which fails to satisfy the requirements of the Multiple Dwelling Law or any other statute, ordinance or regulation governing multiple dwellings.
- E. An apartment or unit which the owner has permitted occupancy thereof without obtaining therefor required plumbing, electrical and building permits.
- F. Any other apartment or unit deemed by the Construction Code Official or any governmental agency or by judicial decree to be in violation of any state, county or municipal regulation.
- The holder or holders of the title to the premises in fee simple or having charge, care or control of the premises, as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, administrator, trustee, receiver, or guardian of the estate of the title holder or a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained.
- Any person residing with the consent of the owner in an apartment or unit of housing space.
In the case of displacement of any person(s) by enforcement of this chapter or other applicable laws or regulations, any owner of real property who, in violation of law or ordinance, has rented an apartment or unit to such persons(s), shall pay to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights all relocation costs incurred pursuant to the Relocation Assistance Law, N.J.S.A. 52:31B-1 et seq., upon presentation to the owner of a statement of such relocation costs and the date upon which said costs are due and payable.
In the event that the relocation costs to be paid to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights with regard to any parcel of real property shall not be paid within 10 days after the date due, interest shall accrue and be due to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights on the unpaid balance at the rate of 18% per annum until the costs, and the interest thereon, shall be fully paid to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights.
In the event that the relocation costs to be paid to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights with regard to any parcel of real property shall not be paid within 10 days after the date due, the unpaid balance thereof and all interest accruing thereon shall become a municipal lien on the parcel. The Chief Financial Officer of this Borough shall certify to the Collector of Taxes the amount of such relocation costs and interest unpaid and the same shall become a municipal lien on that property pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.14 and 40:48-2.27, and the Collector of Taxes is authorized to charge all of those costs in addition to the real property taxes assessed upon the said property and to collect the same, together with interest and penalties at the same rates, in the normal course of tax collection.
Alternatively, upon adjudication of liability hereunder by a court of competent jurisdiction, the court may, in its discretion, order the owner of the parcel of real property to pay directly to the displaced tenant all relocation costs, for which the tenant has not received payment from the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, as required to be paid pursuant to the Relocation Assistance Law, N.J.S.A. 52:31B-1 et seq., and the Relocation Assistance Act, N.J.S.A. 20:4-1 et seq. Any court order or judgment in this regard shall be considered to be both in personam and in rem.
In addition to paying damages as set forth in Subsections A through D above, the owner of the real property shall also return to the displaced tenant any security deposit, together with interest thereon, plus any rental payment required to be apportioned upon notification by the enforcement official that the illegal apartment or dwelling unit must be vacated.
No owner of real property shall rent an illegal apartment or mobile home to or permit the same to be occupied by any tenant(s) or other person(s).
Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 204 of this Code, the penalties for violation of any provision of this chapter shall be:
Any person who violates this chapter shall be subject to a fine or penalty in the amount of $1,500 for the first violation and in the amount of $2,000 for any subsequent violations. For purposes of determining violations of this chapter, each and every day of continued rental or occupancy shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation.
The Zoning Enforcement Official, the Construction Official, the Building Inspector or the Property Maintenance Official shall, upon the determination of the existence of an illegal apartment, immediately serve a notice of such determination upon the owner of the real estate by certified mail at the owner's address as disclosed by the official tax records of the Borough. If no receipt of such certified mail is returned within five days, then by regular mail at the last known address.