[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Somerville 8-18-97 as Ord. No. 2035. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough of Somerville recognizes a need for an organized inspection program of residential rental premises within the borough in order to upgrade rental units to meet borough and State life safety, health, fire and zoning codes, and to provide a more efficient system compelling both absentee and local landlords to correct violations and to maintain rental property in proper condition. The borough hereby determines that the most efficient system to provide for regular inspections is the creation of a program requiring the registration of all residential rental premises so that orderly inspection schedules may be arranged and implemented.
As used in this chapter:
- DWELLING UNIT
- Shall mean a single unit providing complete independent living facilities for one (1) or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
- Shall mean any corporation, firm, partnership, association, organization or other entity, as well as an individual.
- Shall mean a rental dwelling unit, the public and/or common areas of the dwelling of which the unit forms a part, and the real property upon which such dwelling is located.
- RENTAL UNIT
- Shall mean any non-owner occupied unit for the usage of which the occupant provides consideration to the owner.
- Shall mean a component part of a building.
No person shall rent or allow to be rented to another person for occupancy, any dwelling unit without first having made and filed a registration statement with the Clerk of the Borough of Somerville. Registration shall be effected upon forms furnished by the Clerk for such purpose and shall include the following minimum information:
Name, address and phone number of the dwelling unit owner.
Name, address and phone number of the local property manager if different from the dwelling unit owner.
Street address of the dwelling.
The number of rental dwelling units within the dwelling.
The maximum number of occupants permitted for each rental dwelling unit.
Name, address and phone number of the person authorized to make or order the making of repairs or performance of services for the dwelling unit if in violation of code, law, rule, regulation or ordinance, if different from the owner or local manager or in the event of an emergency and an inability to contact the person primarily authorized.
Every dwelling must be registered on or before December 1, 1997, and annually thereafter on or before December 1 of each year. Only one (1) registration statement shall be required for each dwelling in which all units are under common ownership.
Every new owner of a rental dwelling unit, whether as fee owner or contract purchaser, shall furnish the Clerk, prior to taking possession, with any changes in the registration information occasioned by the change in ownership. Provided the prior owner has complied with all the requirements of this chapter and there are no outstanding violation notices, no new registration fee shall be required until the next annual registration is required.
[Amended 6-4-01 by Ord. No. 2163]
The annual registration fee shall be as follows:
All premises except those specifically herein exempted, shall be systematically inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer and his designees to determine compliance with all provisions of applicable codes, laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances.
The following rental dwellings and premises shall not be subject to inspection pursuant to this chapter:
All premises subject to inspection pursuant to this chapter shall be inspected at least once every five (5) years. For a period of five (5) years immediately following completion and issuance of a certificate of occupancy for newly constructed buildings, no further inspections shall be systematically scheduled. The owner of any dwelling unit subject to this chapter shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer, in writing, of any change of tenant within thirty (30) days of such change; and the Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect such premises within ninety (90) days thereafter. Provided, however, the provisions of this section shall not be construed to preclude more frequent inspections should same be determined appropriate in the reasonable judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer.
No person shall rent or allow to be rented to another person for occupancy, any dwelling unit subject to inspection pursuant to this chapter without first having obtained a valid, current certificate of inspection.
If upon completion of an inspection, the premises are in compliance with all applicable codes, laws, rules, regulations and ordinances, the borough shall issue a certificate of inspection for the dwelling.
If upon completion of an inspection the premises are not in such compliance, a written notification of violation of the specific substantive code, law, rule, regulation or ordinance shall be served upon the owner or designated local property manager. The failure of the owner to correct any such violation in accordance with the provisions of the applicable substantive code, law, rule, regulation or ordinance shall also be considered a violation of this chapter.
Any owner or designated local property manager, may request an inspection of a dwelling.
A certificate of inspection shall be transferable to a new owner provided that the new owner has complied with the registration requirements of Section 132-5, the prior owner has complied with all requirements of this chapter, and there are no outstanding violation notices.
Upon request of an existing or prospective tenant, the owner or the owner's agent shall exhibit the certificate of inspection.
Upon conviction for violation of any provision of this chapter the maximum penalty shall be one or more of the following: a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in the County Jail for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days, and/or a period of community service not to exceed ninety (90) days. Each and every day upon which a violation of any provision of this chapter exists shall constitute a separate violation.
[Added 5-17-04 by Ord. No. 2163]
The annual registration fee shall be and remain a lien upon the dwelling, until fully paid and satisfied.
If prompt payment shall not be made when due and shall remain in arrears, the Tax Collector shall file a statement showing the amount of the arrears, which shall be a lien on the real estate to the same extent as taxes are a lien upon real estate in the borough and shall be collected and enforced by the Tax Collector in the same manner as liens.
Interest and penalties for arrears shall be assessed at the rate of eight (8%) percent.