[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Harrison 5-21-2001 by Ord. No. 13-2001; amended in its entirety 11-7-2005 by Ord. No. 43-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter requires the registration of all rental units by landlords, which includes a disclosure of the landlord/owner of the property, and the address and telephone number of the owner, operator or agent, in order to:
Continue to promote healthy and safe housing for the benefit of all residents of the Township of Harrison.
Prevent and abate harmful housing conditions.
Provide for the inspection of rental units in order to comply with certain State of New Jersey Housing Codes.
Prohibit the occupancy of any unit being rented until such time as a certificate of occupancy shall have been issued.
Farm labor housing is specifically excluded from any jurisdiction pertaining to this chapter.
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12a et seq. and N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the New Jersey State Housing Code, the April 1993 Regulations for Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, and their respective amendments, as may be approved and adopted subsequent thereto by the Department of Community Affairs of the State of New Jersey, are hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in the Township of Harrison are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. Copies of said code and the regulations and the amendments thereto of the New Jersey Housing Code are available at the office of the Clerk of the Township of Harrison and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
The New Jersey Housing Code, and its amendments thereto, are for Harrison Township, amended by the addition of the following sections on duties and responsibilities of owner, operator and/or registered agent as pertains to the residential unit offered for rent:
Maintenance of the exterior of the premises, free of hazards and unsanitary conditions. The exterior of the premises, and all structures thereon, shall be kept free of all nuisances, and any hazard to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and any other persons utilizing the premises, and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner, operator and/or registered agent of residential rental unit. It shall be the absolute duty of the owner, operator and/or registered agent, individually or jointly, to keep the premises free of hazards, which include, but are not limited to the following:
Refuse: brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash, waste and debris.
Natural growth: dead and dying trees, limbs, stumps and other natural growth by which rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees, bushes and green growth shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
Overhanging objects: loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location of aboveground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions: holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, icy conditions, uncleared snow, excretions of pets and other animals on paths, walks, sidewalks, curbs, driveways, parking lots and parking areas, or other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, and any excrement or other waste shall be promptly removed.
Brush and hedges near the roadway: Any and all brush, hedges and similar plant life growing within 10 feet of any roadway and/or within 25 feet of an intersection of two roadways shall be cut to a height not more than 2 1/2 feet in elevation from ground level. The purpose of this is to provide clear sight triangles for motorists exiting from a driveway or road.
Responsibility. The occupant and any owner of any rental unit shall be jointly and individually responsible for compliance with all waste and recycling regulations of the Township of Harrison. The owner, operator or registered agent shall require by the lease terms that the tenant comply with such regulations. This shall not release the owner, operator or registered agent from joint responsibility.
Storage of materials on premises. No storage of building materials, commercial or industrial goods shall be permitted on residential property unless allowed by a use variance, which may be the subject of this chapter.
Signs. All signs permitted by reason of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use shall be maintained in good repair for purposes of protecting health and safety.
Obstructions. No obstructions shall be permitted in any residential unit being offered for rental for human occupancy so as to prevent access to and from the residential unit to the outside. No obstruction shall be permitted to be placed outside of any rental unit so as to impede the exit or entry to and from said building.
No residential unit being offered for rental shall be permitted to be occupied unless the residential unit shall contain operational windows, screens and operational doors, all of which must be maintained in a safe fashion, so as to permit their use by occupants.
No residential unit shall be offered for rental unless the following systems are in satisfactory operating order:
No owner, operator and/or registered agent of any residential unit which may be covered by this chapter shall be rented to a new occupant without first notifying the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison.
In the event of an agreement, in writing, when the new tenant or owner of the rental unit has agreed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, as a condition of rental, the Township of Harrison shall permit the new tenant or owner of the rental unit to complete the repairs for purposes of complying with this chapter, but shall not permit the residential unit to be occupied until such time as a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison.
The Township of Harrison shall appoint a person to exercise the powers proscribed in this chapter, by resolution duly adopted, at any time subsequent to the adoption of this chapter, by designating one or more public officers, which may include the Construction Code Official, the Building Inspector, or the designated Housing Officer, and Board of Health, for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- That portion of a building which is partly above grade, and has at least 1/2 its ceiling height above grade. Any sleeping rooms in a basement shall comply with the emergency escape section of the aforesaid New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.
- That portion of a building which is partly or completely below grade, and has more than 1/2 its ceiling height below grade.
- FARM LABOR HOUSING
- Is specifically excluded from any jurisdiction pertaining to this chapter.
- HABITABLE ROOM
- A room or enclosed floor space within a dwelling unit used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
- Any individual who lives or sleeps in, or has actual possession of, a residential unit.
- OWNER, OPERATOR or REGISTERED AGENT
- The applicant, owner, operator or registered agent shall be an individual or organization who shall be responsible for receiving notice of violation of this chapter, who exercises control of a rental facility, buildings and/or structures, and/or fulfills the responsibilities of managing, handling or dealing with a rental facility, for the purpose of correcting such violations. That person shall be described as a "registered agent," if not the owner or direct operator of the rental facility. The person designated as registered agent must be an individual or a responsible representative, who shall be a resident of the Township of Harrison, who may be contacted in the event of an emergency, or be capable of being served in the Township of Harrison of any notice required under this chapter. An owner/operator may also be a registered agent for purposes of this section. The name, address and telephone number of such registered agent, owner or operator shall be filed with the Township of Harrison, as provided for in this chapter.
- RENTAL FACILITY
- Every building, group of buildings or a portion thereof consisting of a dwelling, apartment and/or one or more rooms.
- RESIDENTIAL UNIT
- A room or group of rooms or any part thereof located within a building, forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.
- The Township of Harrison.
All buildings, structures or residential units used, occupied or offered for occupancy as rental facilities in any form of lease must be registered in writing on a form provided by the Township of Harrison, which form is appended hereto, and made a part hereof, with the office of the Township Clerk. The registration of all rental facilities, whether they be residential or commercial, shall contain the following information:
The name and address of the owner, or the name and address of the operator.
Telephone number of the party responsible.
Name, address and telephone number of registered agent.
The location of the building, including block, lot and street address.
If less than the total of the building is to be used as a rental facility, that portion shall be identified to be used for rental.
Dimensions of each room.
Floor plan, which may be drawn by hand, indicating the location, use and dimensions of rooms.
Name of the tenant, and those intended to occupy the property.
Editor's Note: Said form is on file in the Township offices.
All such rental facilities shall be registered with the Township of Harrison within 180 days of the passage of this chapter. Any owner, operator and/or registered agent of any rental unit shall be responsible for filing an amended registration with the Township of Harrison within 10 days of any change or changes in any of the information required by the registration statement.
All buildings or structures, or any part thereof, used, occupied or proposed to be occupied as rental dwelling units shall be inspected by the Housing Officer appointed by the Township of Harrison before every initial occupancy. A certificate of occupancy shall be issued prior to occupation for use or change of use pursuant to § 225-154 of the Code of the Township of Harrison.
[Amended 8-15-2016 by Ord. No. 24-2016]
No owner, agent, broker, person or entity shall rent or lease a rental unit in such a manner as to result, permit or allow any person or persons to occupy, or to live in, as an owner, occupant, tenant or otherwise, any dwelling unit or apartment or structure, or any part thereof, unless a certificate of occupancy certifying that the structure, or dwelling is fit for human habitation. The purpose of this chapter is to provide housing that is safe and habitable, and compliant with the provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and all applicable ordinances of the Township of Harrison, including, but not limited to, Chapter 159, Property maintenance.
[Amended 8-15-2016 by Ord. No. 24-2016]
The owner, operator, agent, registered agent and/or personal representative of the owner of the subject property shall be responsible to complete an application for a certificate of occupancy before any initial occupancy by a tenant.
The Housing Officer, or his representative, shall within 10 working days of receipt of said application make an inspection of the applicable dwelling unit or units or area to be occupied by human habitation. The owner, operator, agent, registered agent and/or personal representative must accompany the Housing Officer, or his representative, for purposes of carrying out the inspection, and shall provide access throughout the entire exterior and interior of the building, including areas not necessarily the subject matter of human occupancy, including the basement, heating systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, air-conditioning systems, smoke detection systems and other systems applicable to the utilization of the building. In addition, the Housing Officer, or his representative, shall confirm that the property is in compliance the Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Harrison.
[Amended 8-15-2016 by Ord. No. 24-2016]
Upon determining that this chapter, which the Township of Harrison is empowered to enforce, has been complied with, the Housing Officer shall issue a certificate of occupancy permit approving the occupancy of the inspected residential rental dwelling unit and indicating that compliance has been satisfactorily met.
Correction of violations.
Upon a finding by the Housing Officer or his representative, on behalf of the Township of Harrison, that the residential rental dwelling unit is not in compliance with this chapter, the owner shall thereupon be notified in writing within seven days after the inspection, specifically noting those violations requiring correction before any new occupancy shall be permitted to occur, and that the correction of the violations may require construction permits, to be issued upon proper application to the Construction Code Official. The period for correction may be extended by the Housing Officer for a definite number of days, for good cause shown. Good cause for an extension shall include, but shall not necessarily be limited to:
Delays which may be attributable to weather conditions;
Unavailability of building/construction materials;
Unavailability of contractors to correct the violation;
Compliance required by other agencies, including the State of New Jersey;
Delays occasioned by the securing of permits, or the corrective action to be taken, whereby under the code or regulation the permit officer may not be required to issue the permit immediately upon application;
Other extenuating conditions.
Any such request shall be in written form and submitted to the Housing Officer, in writing, within seven days of receipt of the notice of violation.
No occupation during this period shall be permitted until the certificate of occupancy shall have been issued.
No certificate of occupancy shall be issued unless smoke and carbon monoxide detection systems as may be required shall have been inspected and approved by the Township of Harrison, which is authorized to provide such inspections and approvals. The carbon monoxide system shall not be older than permitted by code.
Any owner, operator, personal representative, agent of the owner or other interested party may file a written request challenging any part of the notice requiring correction of the code violation or violations. The written challenge shall be filed within 10 days of the notice of code violation, with the Construction Code Official of the Township of Harrison. The Construction Code Official shall affirm, modify or dismiss the notice of code violation, in writing, within 10 days of receipt of such written challenge.
Upon correction of any violation which may have been cited by the Housing Officer during the course of the certificate of occupancy application, the owner, operator, personal representative or registered agent shall notify the Housing Officer of the corrections, and within five working days thereafter, a reinspection shall be made of the required corrections.
A certificate of occupancy when issued and executed by the proper officials of the Township of Harrison shall be valid for 60 days from its issue, or upon the occurrence of any change of circumstance which would require a reinspection.
[Amended 8-15-2016 by Ord. No. 24-2016]
Fees. See § 97-2, Fees, of the Code of the Township of Harrison.
[Amended 8-15-2016 by Ord. No. 24-2016]
Violations and penalties. Any person who shall violate any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,250, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. The violations described herein shall be for each separate offense, for each day that the party having failed to comply with an order to correct and obey the code violation or fails to obtain a valid certificate of occupancy, or for failure to register as may be required herein.
No person shall rent to another for occupancy any dwelling unit or commercial unit, or any part thereof, for the purpose of living therein or operating a business use which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter, and the New Jersey Housing Code, as may be amended from time to time, and the New Jersey Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, and the State of New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, and their amendments or additions thereto. These organizations provide standards to be used in determining whether a dwelling or dwelling unit or commercial unit, or any part thereof, is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.
Smoke detectors. All smoke detectors must comply with the Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 5:18-4.19.
The Housing Officer or the person representing the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison and their designees are hereby authorized to make inspections to determine the condition of buildings and structures in order that they may perform their duty of safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of the occupants thereof and that of the general public. In order to carry out such inspections, the Housing Officer or designee is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey buildings and structures at all reasonable times. The owner, operator, personal representative, agent or occupant of every building or structure sought to be inspected shall give the Housing Officer free access to the building or structure at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such inspections as may be necessary to insure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
Complaint for alleged violation. Any person may file a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter, and, within seven days thereafter, the Housing Officer shall conduct an inspection as provided for herein.
Whenever the Housing Officer shall have determined there has been a violation of this chapter, that Officer shall serve a written notice of the violation on the owner, operator, registered agent or personal representative, which shall include a statement of the reasons why the violation is being issued, and any action, if any, the responsible party must take to abate the violation. The notice shall include that the violation must be abated within 10 days, and if not, the certificate of occupancy for the subject premises shall be revoked, in addition to the remedies and provisions set forth in this chapter. The said period for correction may be extended for good cause, based upon the provisions of this chapter.
Revocation; appeal; hearing.
If a violation is not corrected within the time specified herein or any extension thereof, the Housing Officer may serve an order upon the responsible party that the certificate of occupancy is revoked effective seven days from the date thereof.
Notwithstanding the correction of any violations which may have been cited, the Housing Officer may conduct a hearing in the manner provided herein, to consider suspension or revocation of a certificate of occupancy on the grounds herein stated. If, as a result of such hearing, the Housing Officer determines that the subject building or structure or any part thereof has been the source of serious or repeated violations of this chapter, such that the operation of said rental facility is or has been harmful to the health and safety of the occupants, or has constituted a public nuisance, the Housing Officer may suspend such certificate of occupancy for such period as he shall determine, or may revoke such certificate.
The Township of Harrison may, by resolution of the Township Committee, direct the abatement of a nuisance, to correct a defect, or to require the premises to be placed in such proper condition so as to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and that the costs thereof, upon the certification to the Township Committee by the Housing Office, of the amount of such costs, shall be charged as a lien against the subject lands and premises, and shall be added to and shall become a form of taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands and premises, to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as real estate taxes.
The Township Committee of the Township of Harrison is hereby authorized to prepare such forms and documents as may be necessary from time to time in order to implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter.
Any notice issued by the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison shall be served upon the owner, operator, personal representative, registered agent or other person responsible for the property in question, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested.
In the event the whereabouts of the responsible party is unknown, then the service of such notice shall be made by posting a copy thereof upon the subject premises in a conspicuous place.