[Ord. 5/5/80 § 1]
As used in this chapter:
- HOUSING SPACE
- Shall mean any building, housing complex, garden apartment structure or trailer, permanent or temporary, or any part thereof, and all other real or personal property related thereto, which is rented or offered for rent as a residence, home sleeping place, or lodging place, and includes all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, and all health and recreational facilities, garage, connected with the use or occupancy of that property. It does not include, and this chapter does not apply to:
- a. A hospital, nursing home, retirement home, asylum, or public institution, college or school dormitory, or any charitable, educational, or non-profit institution.
- b. A hotel or motel characterized by the customary hotel or motel services such as, but not limited to, laundry and maid service, telephone, switchboard, and front lobby desk, and use by transient lodgers. Steady or prolonged use (three months or more) is subject to this chapter, even though rent or cost is paid weekly, etc.
- c. Public housing, or that related to any governmental entity.
- d. One-family detached houses, condominiums and cooperative housing developments (after initial sale); provided, however, that any tenant who resides in a condominium or cooperative unit, either prior to the recording of the master deed or the lawful establishment of the cooperative development, shall be entitled to the protection of this chapter.
- e. Premises (in addition to d above) wherein there are five units or less and the landlord resides in one of the units. Housing accommodations, newly constructed and rented for the first time, are exempted. The initial rent may be determined by negotiations between landlord and tenant. All subsequent rentals will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
- f. Caretaker or superintendent, wherein substantially all rent is paid for by services, maintenance, security or upkeep, with or without some salary or other arrangement.
- Shall mean an owner, lessor, sublessor, assignee, or other person receiving or entitled to receive rent or any agent of a person receiving or entitled to receive rent for use, rental or occupancy of housing space, whether by written or oral lease, letting, or otherwise.
- MAXIMUM RENT
- Shall mean the maximum lawful consideration allowable for the occupation, rental or use of housing space, which may be expressed in terms of monthly rent and other charges or privileges, however called or agreed to, including garage rent; fee for use of health or recreational facilities, all of which are controlled hereunder.
- PRICE INDEX
- Shall mean the Consumer Price Index (all items) for the region of the United States of which New Jersey is a part, published periodically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor.
- Shall mean a lessee or other person who pays rent (in whatever form) for use, rental, or occupation of housing space, and related garage, services and facilities.
- TOTAL RENTAL AND HOUSING ARRANGEMENT
- Shall mean all the rental, terms, obligations, conditions, rights and privileges of the landlord and tenant regarding rental and use of housing space, including but not limited to:
- a. Exact space rented and used or occupied.
- b. Money or thing of value, paid or delivered as rent or other cost or charges; and in what form, and for what period; shown as base rent and all other rent.
- c. Additional health, recreational or other facilities, costs or charges, rights, services or privileges enjoyed, such as basement storage space, clothesline, garage, elevator, parking; yard or garden, washing or drying machines or facilities, heat, hot water, security, painting and decorating and similar terms and conditions.
- d. If a written lease is in existence, it shall serve as the initial rental statement and proof of the total rental and housing arrangement, unless contrary to this chapter or applicable law.
Editor's Note: For the purposes of Section 12-1, Definitions, it is hereby clarified and confirmed that from the inception of this chapter, the term "landlord resides in one of the units" requires residence by a substantial beneficial owner thereof in order to exempt the premises from rent control and to make the chapter inapplicable, under the section.
The term "Landlord" as defined in Section 12-1 refers to persons leasing or in control of premises, once the Rent Control Ordinance becomes applicable.
This clarification was adopted by Ord. 7/20/81.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 2; Ord. No. 13-2018]
Established. Based upon the shortage of adequate housing at reasonable rents, and need for housing space and reasonable controls relating thereto, in the exercise of the Police power and to protect public health, safety and welfare, rent control is hereby established in Guttenberg for all housing space and all housing space rentals covered by this chapter, as of January 1, 1980. All rentals and related services and privileges in the total rental and housing arrangement shall be maintained at the same base rent.
Base Rent. Such rentals as were established by bona fide renting arrangements, in whatever form, of housing space in Guttenberg, covered under this chapter, are hereby controlled, as of January 1, 1980, and no additional rent, cost or charges may be lawfully collected hereafter without authority under this chapter. The lawful rental actually paid rather than a stated lease rent which is partially waived or conceded, shall be the lawful controlled base and maximum rent hereunder.
Basic Policy. It is the intent and policy of this chapter that normally the base rent shall command and pay for the normal total rental and housing arrangement covering the particular housing space in Guttenberg.
Special Rental Action.
In addition to normal cost of living rental increases, hereafter provided for; and any other Town wide across-the-board rent increases that may be authorized hereunder for tax surcharge, fuel surcharge or the like, application for "special rental action" may be made at any time by landlord or tenant under Section 12-3 hereof to increase or decrease rent or applicable obligations, terms, facilities, privileges or services.
Such special rental action shall require prior order of the Rent Control Board which shall act only for good cause shown, after notice and opportunity to be heard and furnish proofs (oral hearing only on leave granted) in the following situations:
Landlord has materially reduced services, facilities, privileges, maintenance of the premises, or other attributes of the total rental and housing arrangement, beyond reasonable ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant or its subtenants (children, etc.) have abused the premises or have failed to clean the rental portion of the premises, or defaced same or the property, or have conducted themselves in such loud or disorderly or unpleasant manner as to disturb other tenants or otherwise have disturbed the quiet enjoyment of the premises or the neighborhood.
Such unforeseen economic factors as constitute a serious hardship on the landlord, unless some reasonable rent increase is granted.
Such other special unforeseen circumstances as would require adjustment of the rent upward or downward to prevent great hardship or injustice.
Major necessary capital improvements to the premises made subsequent to this chapter.
All such applications shall be made in writing stating the total rental and housing arrangement, a clear detailing of the special circumstances with supporting proofs; the amount of increase or decrease requested with all reasons therefor; and a request for hearing if testimony is required, and shall be filed 30 days before the requested effective date of increase or decrease.
Existing Leases and Options to Renew. The terms and provisions, insofar as concerns base rent payments in existing leases and options to renew such leases agreed to prior to January 1, 1980, shall continue in full force and effect until the termination of the lease or option period. All new leases or renewals offered or executed or to commence thereafter, shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter. The base rent level in leased rented housing space shall be the rent in effect at the expiration after January 1, 1980 of such lease term or renewal after which date the tenant may remain under lease or as a monthly tenant, and the premises shall thenceforth remain subject to the provisions of this chapter.
Application to Certain Lease Clauses. All tax adjustment, fuel or other rent escalation and rent adjustment clauses in existing leases shall be subject to the provisions of this ordinance in their prospective application, as to future renewals after January 1, 1980.
Permitted Rent Increase. Increases in annual rent are permitted as follows:
3% annual increase is permitted where the landlord provides NO utilities to Tenant (i.e. heat, electric).
3.5% annual increase is permitted where the Landlord provides utilities to Tenant.
If the Tenant is a Qualified Senior or Disabled person the Landlord may increase the annual rent by 2.5% or Consumer Price Index ("CPI"), whichever is less. In determining whether a person qualifies as a senior citizen or disabled person under this section, such person shall be required to satisfy the criteria as set forth in the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Protective Tenancy Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.22 et seq. Qualification for eligibility for senior citizens and disabled person status:
In determining whether a person qualifies as a senior citizen or disabled person under this section, such person shall be required to satisfy the criteria as set forth in the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Protective Tenancy Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.22, et seq.
All persons seeking to qualify as senior citizens or disabled persons shall complete application forms provided by the Rent Control Board.
The determination as to eligibility shall be made by the Rent Control Board within 60 days after the receipt of a complete application.
Hearings by the Rent Control Board on applications for eligibility shall be held in closed session with only the affected landlord and tenant and their agents in attendance. All data utilized at such hearing shall be held in strict confidence at the request of the tenant.
Once a tenant obtains initial eligibility, said tenant must certify at the expiration of every two years thereafter as to his/her continued eligibility. Such certification forms shall be provided by the Rent Control Board.
Said certification must be completed by an eligible tenant not less than three months prior to lease-renew or annual rent increase.
For good cause shown, a landlord may apply to the Rent Control Board for a hearing on the question of a tenant's eligibility at the anniversary date of such tenant's eligibility after the initial two-year period of eligibility.
Frequency and Maximum Percentage of Increase. Such increase shall be deemed a basic economic cost of living increase, and shall be limited to one such increase if otherwise justified, in anyone twelve-month period after July 1, 1980 and without prejudice to any other rent increase provided hereunder, but all increases together, for any reason whatsoever, cannot exceed 9.5% in any one year after July 1, 1980, subject to special cases under Section 12-3 hereof.
All subsequent rent increases; and calculations regarding increases in the Consumer Price Index; fuel oil costs, and the like, will commence or be calculated or compared from the date of the last rent increase received hereunder, as near as may be. Tax increases will be calculated on an annual basis.
Tax Surcharges. A landlord may seek 90% surcharge from a tenant because of an increase in municipal property taxes if such taxes are $100 in excess of those assessed for the 1980 tax year. The landlord shall divide the increase in the current property tax over the property tax for the 1980 tax year by:
Determining the total number of rentable square feet in the dwelling (excluding halls, stairs, basement or the like) to obtain the tax increase per square foot of rentable space. The tenant shall not be liable for a tax surcharge exceeding 90% of the tax increase per square foot of rentable space multiplied by the number of square feet occupied by the tenant, or
Determining the total number of rooms in the dwelling available for rent to obtain the tax increase per room. The tenant shall not be liable for a tax surcharge exceeding the tax increase per room, multiplied by the number of rooms occupied by the tenant.
Tenant shall pay the lower of the two tax surcharge rent increase calculations.
Any landlord seeking a tax surcharge shall notify the tenant and the board in writing of the calculations involved in computing the tax surcharge, including the present amount of municipal property tax for the dwelling, the amount of municipal property tax for the dwelling for the year 1980, and
The total number of rentable square feet in the dwelling, the tax increase per square foot of rentable space, the number of square feet occupied by the tenant and the maximum allowable tax surcharge, or
The total number of rooms in the dwelling available for rent, the tax increase per room, the number of rooms occupied by the tenant, and the maximum allowable tax surcharge.
Tax Surcharge Payments; Installments; Time Payable. The Tax surcharge for which each tenant may be liable, shall be paid in 12 equal monthly installments, each being 1/12 of the total annual surcharge, such payments commencing July 1 of each year. The tax surcharge shall not be considered part of base rent for the purpose of computing cost of living increases, but shall be paid separate in addition to the base rent, whenever authorized.
Reduction in Municipal Property Taxes. In cases in which the tenant has paid the tax surcharge, the tenant shall be entitled to a tax rebate in the event of a reduction in municipal property taxes. The landlord shall compute the rebate to which the tenant may be entitled by use of the same formula as set forth above in computing a tax surcharge. Payment thereof shall be made in the form of a credit against the monthly rent or of a check made payable to the tenant.
Tax Appeal by Landlord. In the event a tax appeal is taken by the landlord and the landlord is successful in such appeal and the taxes are reduced, the tenant shall receive 60% of the reduction as applied to his portion of rentable space footage or the number of rooms occupied by the tenant calculated as above set forth.
Fuel Oil Surcharge. Similar fuel oil surcharge shall be allowable to the extent of 90% of the increase in future years over 1980 of annual fuel oil costs, provided such increase is more than $100. In such case, fuel oil surcharge shall be allowable, but shall not constitute part of base rent.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 3]
Hardship Increases. In the event of hardship or inability to make a fair return on the landlord's actual investment, or if a landlord cannot meet his mortgage and interest payments and maintenance requirements, he may apply to the Rent Control Board for additional increased rental. The Board may grant the landlord a hardship rent increase to meet these payments. Prior to any such application to the Board, a landlord shall serve upon each tenant a true copy of each application, setting forth the basis in detail for such application, and a true copy thereof shall be served at least one month prior to any hearing thereon.
Major Capital Improvements or Services. A landlord may seek additional rent for major capital improvements or services. The landlord shall compute the average cost of the improvement or service per year of useful life by dividing the cost of the completed capital improvement or service by the number of years of useful life of the improvement, as claimed by the landlord for income tax depreciation purposes, or other proper method. The landlord shall apportion the average cost of the completed improvement service per year of useful life among the tenants in the dwelling, in accordance with the formula set forth in Section 12-2i hereof for computing a tax surcharge. The latter method shall be used when the Board determines that the benefit of the improvement or service is essentially equally shared by all tenants regardless of the amount of space occupied. If such increase is granted, it shall not be considered base rent or calculated in the cost of living increase.
Maximum Yearly Percentage Allowable. Increases in rent due to hardship applications and/or major capital improvements or service applications, singly or combined, shall be limited to a maximum of 9.5% of the existing base rent in any one twelve-month period, at all events.
Rehabilitated Dwellings Substantially Rebuilt. Rehabilitated dwellings offered for rent in newly rehabilitated condition, after the effective date of this ordinance, shall be exempt from rent controls set forth herein until a bona fide base rent has been established, provided the costs of rehabilitation exceed 1/2 of either the undepreciated cost or the fair market value of the dwelling prior to rehabilitation, and the rehabilitation was necessary and substantial.
Rent Reduction Appeal; Decline in Care and Services. Whenever services, care or maintenance materially decline in any dwelling, any tenant may apply to the Rent Control Board for a decrease or reduction in rent. True copy of such notice shall be served upon the landlord and all other tenants in such building simultaneously setting forth in detail the reasons for such application. At least one month shall elapse prior to the date fixed for hearing thereon.
Tenant may appeal rental or increase on the grounds that landlord receives excessive return on actual investment.
Procedure for Hearings and Determinations. The Rent Control Board, upon any application, or on its own motion, may set an oral hearing date, consider proof, and grant, deny, modify and otherwise adjust any and all rentals, rent increases, rent decreases or reductions, rent status or adjustments, as well as make such determinations concerning any and all conditions, services, equipment, terms and related matters pertaining to rentals and controlled premises. All persons shall have notice and an opportunity to be heard, before decision, but oral hearing shall be held only on request, and granted by Rent Control Board, if facts exist, or may be on the written record, if only documents and argument are involved.
Order of Board Required for Rent Increase. No landlord may request, demand, receive or obtain any rent increase nor shall any tenant be obligated to pay any rent increase, unless and until the landlord and the tenant are in receipt of an order to that effect by the Rent Control Board, setting forth in detail the amount of the existing base rental, the percentage or amount of rent increase allowed, any conditions; the new rental amount including the increase; and the effective date of such increase; all of which shall be in the discretion of the Rent Control Board.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 4; Ord. 6/2/86 § 1; Ord. #001/06; amended 9-28-2020 by Ord. No. 25-20]
There is hereby created a Rent Control Board in the Town of Guttenberg. Such board will consist of five members, who shall be appointed by the Board of Council by resolution, adopted by a majority vote, and their terms of office shall be for a period of one year each, with each member serving without compensation.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that "present members of the Rent Control Board may continue to serve for the duration of their appointed terms unless earlier removed, as may otherwise be provided for by law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, new appointments or reappointments of members of the Rent Control Board shall not be made if by doing so the number of Rent Control Board members would thereby exceed five.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 4; Ord. #001/97]
The Rent Control Board is hereby granted, and shall have and exercise all the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the use of subpoenas. Such rules and regulations shall have the force of law, until revised, repealed or amended, by the Board of Council in the exercise of its discretion, provided that such rules and regulations are first filed in the office of the Town Clerk.
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to aid and assist them in complying with the provisions of this chapter.
To consider and decide all applications and proceedings under this chapter.
To investigate and secure compliance; and to have all access to all books, records, and materials necessary to function under this ordinance.
To exercise such other powers as necessary to administer and enforce this chapter and all orders and decisions relating thereto.
A quorum for a hearing shall consist of at least three members, and a majority of the quorum shall be authorized to issue orders relating to the powers and functions of the Board. The Board shall give both landlords and tenants reasonable opportunity, with or without counsel, to be heard before making any determination and may grant oral hearings on applications if the cause requires same.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 6; Ord. #014/04]
Landlord to Maintain All Reasonable Standards of Service, Maintenance, etc. During the time this chapter is in force and effect, the landlord shall maintain all reasonable standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings, use and equipment in the housing space and dwelling as he provided or was required to maintain by law or lease at the date the lease or tenancy was entered into or commenced, or on January 1, 1980.
Compliance Required in Rental Increases. No landlord shall receive or charge any rents in excess of that which he was receiving or charging on January 1, 1980, except for rental increases as authorized by this chapter, or as otherwise provided herein.
All rent increases shall be rounded upward or downward to the nearest half-dollar.
Liberal Construction of Chapter. This chapter being deemed necessary and essential for the health, safety and welfare of the Town and its inhabitants, shall be generally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof. If any provision is invalidated or limited, all other provisions shall be deemed severable and in full effect.
Compliance with State Law. No rent increase shall be granted until all requirements of law are fulfilled by the landlord.
Denial for Nonpayment of Taxes, Liens. In any application for any increase of rent filed by a landlord who has failed to make payment of any municipal real estate taxes, assessments or municipal liens on such premises that may be due and owing to the Town, the Board shall hold such application in abeyance until there has been compliance herewith and current tax payment.
All dwellings which are subject to the provisions of this chapter shall file by October 1, 2004 and each year thereafter on October 1 of that year, a registration statement and a filing fee of $25 with the Rent Leveling Board. This registration statement shall include the following information to be provided on a form supplied by the Rent Leveling Board; the name of each tenant and the apartment number; the number of rooms for each apartment; the current rent for each apartment; the amount of the last increase for each apartment unit; the date of the last increase for each apartment unit; the address of the owner of the building and his or her telephone number; and the superintendent's name, address and phone number, if applicable. This annual registration statement must be filed by October 1, 2004 and each anniversary date thereafter. Failure to register or reregister or false registrations shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. A copy of the annual registration statement shall be presented to any tenant upon demand.
For the purpose of disclosure, the registration statement shall be considered a public document which shall be made available for inspection pursuant to reasonable regulations established by the Rent Leveling Board.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 7]
Any dwelling unit needed as a bona fide dwelling by a landlord or his immediate family (child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, stepchild, brother or sister) shall become exempt from rent control, provided the family member actually resides or wishes to reside therein (without limitation as to number of units needed). If the family member vacates within one year, the old tenant forced to vacate, shall receive the difference between new rent and old rent for balance of one year that premises were not occupied by family member.
Landlord or buyer shall give 45 days' notice of need of apartment or housing space, with full particulars including names, present addresses, relationship and all circumstances, and requesting possession and advising that after a particular date, the premises will no longer be under rent control.
Such provision shall not exempt owner from serving other appropriate notice to quit and demand for possession under State laws or proceeding under State law for possession.
In the case of bona fide notice and need for the premises, the premises shall thereafter be decontrolled, and any reasonable rent may be charged thereafter, upon further subsequent notice of rent increase, pursuant to State law.
[Ord. 5/5/80 § 8]
Besides being limited as to rentals and other provisions, each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the filing with the Rent Control Board or the Board of Council of any material misstatement of fact, shall be punishable by the penalty stated in Chapter 1, Section 1-5. A violation affecting more than one household or tenancy shall be considered a separate violation as to each leasehold or tenancy, and each month shall constitute a new separate violation.
[Ord. #1994-05 §§ I-IV; Ord. #005/02; Ord. No. 05-2018]
A tenant who received a notice of eviction from an owner-landlord because of zoning or code enforcement by the Town for an illegal occupancy, deemed a "displaced person" by N.J.S.A. 20:4-1, et seq. and N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1g, shall be entitled to relocation assistance in an amount equal to six times the displaced person's monthly rent from the owner-landlord. The owner-landlord shall pay the relocation assistance directly to the displaced person.
An additional fine for zoning or housing code violations for an illegal occupancy may be assessed by the Town against the owner-landlord in an amount up to six times the displaced person's monthly rent.
Upon a second or subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy, after the opportunity for a hearing, an owner-landlord may be fined in an amount equal to the annual tuition cost of any resident of the illegally occupied unit attending a public school. This fine is in addition to the fine set forth in paragraph b and shall be recovered in a civil action by summary proceeding in the name of the Town of Guttenberg pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10, et seq. The Municipal Court and the Superior Court shall have jurisdiction of the proceedings for the enforcement of this penalty. The tuition cost shall be determined in the manner prescribed for nonresident pupils, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:28-19 and the payment of the fine shall be remitted to the Town's school district.
For purposes of this section, the owner-landlord of a structure shall not include mortgagees in possession of a structure through foreclosure.
For purposes of this section, a "second or subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy," as set forth in paragraph c., shall be limited to those violations that are new and a result of distinct and separate zoning or code enforcement activities and shall not include any continuing violations for which citations are issued by a zoning or Code enforcement agency during the time period required for summary dispossession proceedings to conclude if the owner has initiated eviction proceedings in a court of proper jurisdiction.
The Town of Guttenberg shall not be responsible for the payment of relocation assistance to any tenant who is deemed a displaced person as a result of this section.
The Construction Code Official shall be responsible for all inspections, regulations and enforcement.
The Town may provide by resolution that where a resident is displaced from his/her dwelling by fire or other emergency, and the damage resulting from the fire or other emergency in the judgment of the housing inspector or other official charged with equivalent responsibility, is such as to render the dwelling uninhabitable, the resident shall be deemed a displaced person under the "Relocation Assistance Act" and shall be eligible for relocation assistance as afforded persons displaced as a result of code enforcement activities. State appropriations of relocation assistance shall not be used for this purpose unless specifically permitted by language in the annual appropriations act.
Repayment to Town by Owner-Landlord. All relocation assistance costs incurred by the Town pursuant to this section shall be repaid by the owner-landlord of the structure to the Town in the same manner as relocation costs are billed and collected under Section 1 of P.L. 1983, c. 536 (N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1) and Section 1 of P.L. 1984, c. 30 (N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.2). These repayments shall be deposited into the municipality's revolving relocation assistance fund.
Creation of Revolving Relocation Assistance Fund. The Town shall create a revolving relocation assistance fund to be funded in such amount as may be determined by the Town.