The Township Health Officer or other Officer designated by the Health Officer, shall whenever necessary to protect the health and safety of residential tenants act as agent for a landlord in engaging a fuel oil dealer to deliver fuel oil at a reasonable price per gallon and to refire the burner to restore the proper heating of any residential property rented by said landlord, provided, however, that at least 12 hours have lapsed, if the outside air temperature is between 33° F. and 55° F., inclusive, or at least four hours have elapsed, if the outside air temperature is 32° F. or less, since the tenant has lodged a complaint with any municipal officer or agency prior to which complaint a bonafide attempt has been made to notify the landlord of the lack of heat, and the landlord has failed to take appropriate action. Lack of heat means maintaining less heat than required by N.J.S.A. 26:3-31.
The Health Officer of Pequannock Township or other Officer designated by the Health Officer, shall whenever necessary to protect the health and safety of residential tenants, act as agent for the landlord in engaging of repairman and the ordering of any parts necessary to restore to operating condition the furnace, boiler or other equipment essential to the proper heating of any residential unit rented by said landlord, provided, however, that at least 24 hours have elapsed since the tenant has lodged a complaint with the local board of health, prior to which a bona fide attempt has been made by the tenant to notify the landlord of the failure of the heating equipment, and the landlord has failed to take appropriate action, and the outside air temperature is less than 55° F.
Any fuel oil dealer who delivers fuel oil or refires the burner in accordance with Section 72.01, or any repairman who restores the operating condition of a furnace, boiler, or who provides equipment and services essential to the proper heating of any residential unit in accordance with Section 72-2 of this chapter may bill the landlord directly, or the Township may issue a voucher to the fuel oil dealer or repairman who delivered the fuel oil or made the repairs, for monies due.
Any landlord or his agent whose negligence or failure to act results in Township action pursuant to Sections 72.01, 72.02, or both shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $300 for each effected dwelling unit in the residential property. Such penalty shall be recovered by the Township in a civil action by summary proceedings under the "Penalty Enforcement Law" (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq.). Any action to collect or enforce such penalty may be brought in the Superior Court, or Municipal Court. The amount of such penalty shall be paid to the municipality and be used for general municipal purposes.
In any penalty proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter, the Court shall also order the landlord or his agent to reimburse the municipality for actual costs for any fuel oil delivered, the service charge for refiring the boiler, if any, and any charges for parts necessary to restore to operating condition, the furnace, boiler or any equipment essential to the proper heating of any residential unit, including any service charges. The Court shall further be empowered to issue any appropriate injunctive order, and to authorize immediate collection of reimbursable costs due the municipality out of the goods and chattels of the landlord, including all sums due, or which may come due, as present or future rents. Any landlord who prevails in such action shall be entitled to reimbursement by the municipality for all reasonable costs and expenses. Such landlord, however, shall still remain responsible for the cost of any fuel oil delivered, any charge for refiring the burner, any parts ordered, and any charges for restoring the heating equipment, incurred by the Township.
The Township of Pequannock and its employees shall not be liable to any person or for damage to property in enforcing this chapter, except for gross negligence or malfeasance of any Township official, and under no circumstances shall the Township be held liable for damages from lack of heat in a residential unit.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to owner occupied residential rental properties containing five units or less.