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Borough of Little Ferry, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1982 Code § 177-1]
As used in this chapter:
AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANTS
Shall mean for habitation as defined by any appropriate Borough ordinance or State law.
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX-U
Shall mean the Consumer Price Index-U which is published periodically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, for all urban consumers, New York — Northeastern New Jersey.
DWELLING
Shall mean any building or structure rented or offered for rent to three (3) or more tenants of family units. Exempt from this chapter are premises primarily serving transient guests, buildings in which up to one-third (1/3) of the occupied floor space is commercial and dwellings containing three (3) or fewer units in which the owner of the premises resides.
HOUSING SPACE
Shall mean and include that portion of a dwelling rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one (1) individual or family unit, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property.
MARKET RATE UNIT
Shall mean a dwelling not subject to rent leveling or rent control.
PERIODIC TENANT
Shall mean and include all tenants, including monthly tenants, who do not have a written lease.
Editor's Note: Regulation pertaining to the establishment, powers and duties of the Rent Leveling Board may be found in Chapter 2, Administration.
[1982 Code § 177-2; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
a. 
Establishment of rents between a landlord and a tenant to whom this chapter is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the provisions of this chapter. At the expiration of a lease or at the termination of the lease of a periodic tenant, no landlord shall request or receive a percentage increase in rent which is greater than the percentage difference between the Consumer Price Index-U ninety (90) days prior to the expiration or termination of the lease and the Consumer Price Index-U ninety (90) days prior to the date the lease was entered into, which shall in no event be in excess of ten (10%) percent.
b. 
A landlord may not change the form of tenancy during the tenancy of a particular tenant. The "form of tenancy" is to be defined to include the utilities that are to be provided by the landlord at no additional cost to the tenant. By way of example but not limitation, a tenancy may include heat, hot water and/or water to be included with the rent at no additional cost to the tenant. The terms of the rental agreement between the landlord and the tenant may not be changed during a tenancy.
[1982 Code § 177-3; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Any rental increase at a time other than at the expiration of a lease or termination of a periodic lease shall be void. Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this section shall be void.
[1982 Code § 177-4; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Any landlord seeking an increase in rent shall notify the tenant of the increase in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least thirty (30) days prior to the increase becoming effective, together with the reasons for the increase and calculations involved in the computation of the proposed increase, including the consumer price index at the time of the notice. All oral or verbal notices of proposed rental increases shall be ineffectual and void.
[1982 Code § 177-5; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
All leases entered into after the effective date of this chapter shall specify the consumer price index on the date the lease becomes effective.
[1982 Code § 177-6; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
A landlord may seek additional rental for capital improvements made by him in the rental unit or attributable to the rental unit.
[1982 Code § 177-7; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
As used in this section:
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
Shall mean an improvement which is depreciable pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder and allowed as depreciable expense by the Internal Revenue Service.
[1982 Code § 177-8; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The amount of the monthly increase which a landlord may charge shall be determined as follows: the total amount of the cost of the capital improvement as allowed by the Internal Revenue Service shall be divided by the depreciation period allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. That annual amount so obtained shall be prorated among all tenants in accordance with the formula provided in Section 15-4, and all such rent increases shall be charged for no period greater than the original depreciation period of the improvements without regard to subsequent adjustments in the basis of the dwelling.
[1982 Code § 177-8; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
A landlord may seek a tax surcharge from a tenant because of an increase in municipal property taxes. The tax surcharge shall not exceed that amount authorized by the following provisions. The landlord shall divide the increase in the present property tax over the property tax of the previous year by the number of all rented rooms in the dwelling to obtain the tax increase per room. The tenant shall not be liable for a tax surcharge exceeding the tax increase per rented room multiplied by the number of rooms occupied by the tenant.
[1982 Code § 177-9; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Any landlord seeking a tax surcharge shall notify the tenant of the calculations involved in computing the tax surcharge, including the present property tax for the dwelling, the property tax for the dwelling for the previous year, the number of rooms in the dwelling, the tax increase per room, the number of rooms occupied by the tenant and the maximum allowable surcharge.
[1982 Code § 177-10; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The tax surcharge each tenant is liable for shall be paid in twelve (12) monthly payments commencing with the first month immediately following receipt of notification from the landlord.
[1982 Code § 177-11; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The tax surcharge shall not be considered rent for the purposes of computing cost-of-living rental increases.
[1982 Code § 177-12; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
In the event of a tax appeal, the portion of a tenant's tax surcharge not being paid by the landlord to government will be held in an interest-bearing account.
[1982 Code § 177-13; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
In the event the appeal is successful and the tax is reduced, the tenant shall receive sixty-five (65%) percent of the reduction as applied ratably to its tax portion after deducting from the total tax reduction all expenses incurred by the landlord in prosecuting the appeal.
[1982 Code § 177-14; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
In the event the landlord receives interest on any tax overpayment, such interest shall be deemed part of the tax reduction for purposes of reimbursement under subsection 15-4.6 above.
[1982 Code § 177-15; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
In the event that a landlord cannot meet his mortgage payments and current operating expenses on the dwelling or cannot otherwise earn a fair and reasonable return upon his investment in the dwelling, he may make application to the Rent Leveling Board for increased rentals. The Rent Leveling Board shall, on notice to the parties, conduct public hearings on the application and shall afford such relief to the landlord as it may deem necessary under the circumstances, upon detailed findings of fact regarding all relevant financial aspects of the landlord's profit, expense and rate of return.
[1982 Code § 177-16; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
In all cases, combined rent increases for any and all cause shall not exceed ten (10%) percent in any one (1) year, including tax surcharge.
[1982 Code § 177-17; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
During the term of this section, the landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings or equipment in the housing space and dwelling as he provided or was required to do by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into.
[1982 Code § 177-18; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
An individual tenant or class of tenants who are not receiving substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings or equipment as specified in subsection 15-7.1 may have the Rent Leveling Board determine the reasonable rental value of the housing unit or dwelling in view of this deficiency. Such deficiency may be found and disclosed only after a duly noticed hearing. The tenant or class of tenants shall pay the reasonable rental value as full payment for rent until the landlord proves that the deficiency has been corrected.
[1982 Code § 177-19; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The permissible rental increase for any tenant whose term is less than one (1) year by written lease, oral lease or otherwise shall be that sum equal to the increase in consumer price index for the period of one (1) year prior to the date of the termination of the term divided by twelve (12) and multiplied by the number of months in the term; however, not to exceed one (1) rental increase for any twelve (12) month period.
[1982 Code § 177-20; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The landlord shall notify the tenant of the proposed rental increase at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the lease if such an expiration date is fixed therein. If the expiration date is fixed therein, then the aforesaid notification shall be given according to the law governing the giving of notices to quit and demand for possession for the specific rental period. The contents of this notification shall conform to the requirements herein set forth for leases of one (1) year or greater.
[1982 Code § 177-21; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Tenancies at will and at sufferance shall be treated as if they were month-to-month tenancies for the purposes of this chapter.
[1982 Code § 177-22; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The tax surcharge for tenancies of less than one (1) year shall be computed in the same manner as previously provided herein, but no tenant shall be liable in any month for more than one-twelfth (1/12) of the tax surcharge so computed.
[1982 Code § 177-23; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Notwithstanding any limitations upon permissible rent increases under any other provisions of this chapter, upon voluntary, uncoerced vacation of any apartment, rent increases for which are controlled in this chapter, the landlord shall have the right to fix the rent for such vacated apartment at such a sum as he deems appropriate.
[1982 Code § 177-24; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Upon a tenant vacating a unit, the unit shall no longer be governed by rent leveling and the provisions of this chapter and the property owner/landlord may increase or decrease the rent as the housing/rental market dictates. When a tenant's lease is of less than one year as described elsewhere or a month to month lease on the effective date of this chapter, the unit will still be subject to rent leveling and the provisions of this chapter. At no point may the property owner attempt to evict or remove the tenant to create a "market rate unit."
[1982 Code § 177-25; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The decontrol provisions of this section shall only apply to dwelling units which are physically vacated subsequent to the effective date of this section.
[1982 Code § 177-26; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Upon vacation of any apartment hereafter, the landlord shall file a statement with the Rent Leveling Board, certifying to the Board:
a. 
The apartment and building numbers of such dwelling unit.
b. 
The rent paid by the vacating tenant.
c. 
The maximum rent increase which would be permissible under the other provisions of this chapter.
d. 
The number of days such apartment remains vacant.
e. 
The rent agreed to by the new tenant for such apartment.
f. 
That the vacation of such apartment was the voluntary act of the vacating tenant and that such vacation was not the result of landlord harassment or pressure upon such vacating tenant.
g. 
When a unit becomes a market rate unit, the landlord shall file a statement with the Rent Leveling Board of the increase/decrease in rent.
h. 
The landlord shall file an annual statement not later than January 31st of each year on how many units became market rate units in the previous year and how many units are still subject to Rent Leveling. The statement shall also identify each unit by building, floor, number of bedrooms and unit number. The statement shall also include a statement of average rents for the year of each type of unit.
[1982 Code § 177-27; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
a. 
The following fees shall apply to all applications or other proceedings of the Rent Leveling Board:
1. 
Tenant request for written ruling without hearing: fifteen ($15.00) dollars.
2. 
Tenant request for written ruling with hearing before the Board: twenty-five ($25.00) dollars.
3. 
Landlord request for increase in permitted rental: twenty-five ($25.00) dollars per dwelling unit, up to ten (10) units, and an additional ten ($10.00) dollars for each additional unit over ten (10).
b. 
Fees shall be paid only by check or money order made payable to the Borough of Little Ferry. All legal tender shall be accepted.
[1982 Code § 177-28; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
No landlord shall, after the effective date of this chapter, charge any rents in excess of what he was receiving from the effective date of this chapter except for increases as authorized by this chapter.
[1982 Code § 177-29; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
The owner of housing space or dwelling being rented for the first time shall not be restricted in the initial rent charges. Any subsequent rental increases, however, shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
[1982 Code § 177-30; New; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Rent Leveling Board of any material misstatement of fact, shall be liable to the penalty stated in Chapter 1, Section 1-5. A violation affecting more than one (1) leasehold shall be considered a separate violation as to each leasehold.
[1982 Code § 177-31; Ord. No. 1380-09-13]
This chapter, being necessary for the welfare of the Borough and its inhabitants, is remedial and shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof.