Township of Wayne, NJ
Passaic County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: 1988 Code §§ 145-1—145-20 adopted as amended through December 31, 2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the intent and purpose of this chapter to:
A. 
Provide uniform standards for rent control in the Township of Wayne.
B. 
Provide tenants with reasonable protection against abnormal, unwarranted, excessive and unpredictable increases, where such protection is necessary.
C. 
Provide property owners and tenants with simple, easily calculated, just and fair procedures to follow to obtain or to protect one's self against housing space rental increases.
D. 
Improve the ability of and to encourage owners of property to maintain standards of habitability commensurate with the quality of life of the Township of Wayne.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BASE RENT
The gross monthly rent, exclusive of all extraordinary charges paid by the tenant for the prior lease period. "Base rent" shall not include charges granted by the Rent Leveling Board due to hardship considerations or for capital improvement expenditures.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
The provision of an additional, permanent beneficial fixture, equipment, structure or service not previously afforded to tenants, which is provided by way of a one-time capital expenditure by the landlord, which expense qualifies and is depreciated under the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service for depreciation over a period of at least 5 years and must be an additional and substantial benefit to the tenants. Excluded from this definition shall be the repair or replacement of existing fixtures, equipment, structures or services which constitute usual and/or normal maintenance or which provide services that the landlord was previously required to furnish. Improvements which are mandated by federal, state or local authorities are not excluded from consideration solely by virtue of that fact, but may be considered if all other criteria are met.
COMPLEX
Includes all multiple-family housing projects advertised as available for rent to tenants under the same management or ownership or under the same name.
C.P.I.
The housing component of the Consumer Price Index, New York Region, Northeastern New Jersey, all urban consumers, issued by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
EXTRAORDINARY CHARGES
Those charges made by the landlord for services which are or which were, when the housing space was first rented, optionally available to a tenant and/or which items are or have been previously shown separately in the most recent or a prior lease. Said charges are commonly for items, such as air conditioners, garages, swimming pool, carpeting and other items and services not necessarily furnished to all tenants in a complex.
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of a dwelling or apartment complex rented or offered for real for living and residential purposes to an individual or unit, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property, excluding mobile home rental units.
JUST CAUSE
"Just cause" for eviction means that the landlord recovered possession of a housing space for one of the reasons outlined in N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53 or 2A:18-61.1.
LANDLORD
Includes any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity and any officer, agent or employee of any of the foregoing which is the owner, rental agent, manager of or otherwise has authority to rent any rental unit to a tenant. "Landlord" may be used synonymously with "property owner."
PERIODIC TENANT
A tenant that continues from month to month or other recurring period until terminated by the tenant or landlord as provided by lease. Month-to-month tenants are included and shall be entitled to the same rights, privileges and protection as tenants under written leases.
SERVICE
Provision of light, heat, hot water, maintenance, elevator, air conditioning, bathing, storm windows, screens, superintendent services and any other benefit, privilege or facility connected with the use or occupancy of any housing space, covered under this chapter.
A. 
Establishment of rents between a landlord and a tenant, to whom this chapter is applicable, shall be determined by the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this chapter shall be void, and in no event shall a landlord request or receive more than one rental increase for a dwelling unit during the term of the lease, except where there was a clear mistake in calculation of the appropriate rental increase and except as provided for in § 145-11.
[New]
C. 
At the expiration of a lease term, or at the expiration of a lease term extension, or at the termination of the lease of a periodic tenant, or at the end of each year of a multiyear lease, no landlord shall be entitled to request or receive an increase in either base rent or extraordinary charges from a tenant, with or without a written lease, greater than the percentage difference in the C.P.I. for a one-year period computed as follows:
(1) 
For leases or terms expiring during the months of January, February or March, reference shall be made to the C.P.I. for the preceding August as compared to the C.P.I. 12 months prior thereto.
(2) 
For leases or terms expiring during the months of April, May or June, reference shall be made to the C.P.I. for the preceding November as compared to the C.P.I. 12 months prior thereto.
(3) 
For leases or terms expiring during the months of July, August or September, reference shall be made to the C.P.I. for the preceding February as compared to the C.P.I. 12 months prior thereto.
(4) 
For leases or terms expiring during the months of October, November or December, reference shall be made to the C.P.I. for the preceding May as compared to the C.P.I. 12 months prior thereto.
D. 
A landlord shall not request or receive any additional rental or surcharge for real property taxes or fuel pass along; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not bar hardship or capital improvement increases as hereinafter authorized in other sections.
E. 
A landlord seeking an increase in rent shall use the form approved and/or designated by the Rent Leveling Board in notifying the tenant of the calculations involved in computing the increase. The form shall include but shall not necessarily be limited to the following: name of complex; name, address, telephone number, apartment number and number of rooms of tenant; date tenant's existing lease began; date tenant took possession of premises; present rent of tenant, i.e., prior to proposed increase; date and amount of last increase in rent, i.e., prior to proposed increase; the actual dollar amount of the proposed increase; prior lease period dates; the proposed total rent; and the itemized extraordinary charges.
F. 
Any rental increase herein permitted shall be of no effect unless and until the same is set forth by the landlord in a written notice in duplicate, which shall be served upon the tenant or a member of his/her immediate family 14 years of age or older and residing therein or by certified mail, return receipt requested, no later than 30 days prior to the effective date thereof in compliance with all applicable New Jersey law; nor shall any such notice be effective unless it states with particularity the information specified in Subsection E herein immediately before.
G. 
No tenant shall be forced to take, receive and/or to pay for any extraordinary charge item, provided that notice of said refusal be given to the landlord within 30 days of the tenant's receipt of the landlord's notice of said charge. Extraordinary charges will be listed separately on all leases and rent increase notice forms.
H. 
No increase, unless otherwise provided for under this chapter, shall be granted unless the dwelling unit is in substantial compliance with Chapter 99, Housing Standards; Residential Property, of the Code of the Township of Wayne.
I. 
In addition to the requirements of § 145-4E of this chapter, the landlord shall include the following statement in said notice: "The Township Rent Leveling Ordinance bars any rental increase unless the apartment unit is in substantial compliance with the Housing Maintenance Code." Whereupon the tenant shall have the opportunity to bring any violations to the attention of the Health and/or Fire Official or their designee.
[New]
In the case of housing space which is controlled and/or regulated by the Federal Housing Administration of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development or the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency, whenever the controlling and/or regulating agency approves a rental increase during the term or portion of the term of the lease, said increase may be requested, implemented and received, subject, however, to the following conditions:
A. 
No landlord shall request or receive an increase in rental for any housing space more than once in any rental term.
[New]
B. 
No landlord shall request or receive an increase in rent during the term or portion of the term of a lease by reason of the special conditions set forth herein in § 145-4.1, unless the tenant, upon receipt of notice of an increase in rental, shall be given an option to vacate the housing space occupied by him without further penalty or liability to the landlord. Said tenant shall notify the landlord within 60 days of the first day of the first month following receipt of notice of increase in rental permitted in this section as to whether said tenant will vacate the multiple dwelling occupied by him/her. In the event that the tenant chooses to vacate the premises in accordance herewith, said tenant shall vacate said housing space within 120 days after the first day of the month following receipt of the notice of increasing rent as permitted by this section.
C. 
All of the provisions of § 145-4 A through H apply hereto as if stated in their entirety.
A. 
A landlord shall maintain a rent roll ledger for three prior years listing rents charged for each housing space in his/her complex.
B. 
This rent roll ledger shall state the base rent of each and every housing space.
C. 
Each landlord shall maintain and/or have available for inspection at the rental office upon request by the Rent Leveling Board each lease, as executed or a legible copy, for the prior 3 years.
A. 
In the event that a landlord fails to receive a fair net operating income, he/she may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for a hardship rent increase. A landlord may not apply for an operating cost adjustment more than once every 24 months.
B. 
For purposes of a Rent Leveling Board hearing, "net operating income" means the amount by which annual income exceeds annual operating expenses; "annual income" means the legal monthly, weekly or other periodic rent for all units in the complex on the date the petition is filed, computed on an annual basis, together with any other income earned from the operation of the building during the test year, provided that where a unit has seasonal, alternate or other varying rents, appropriate adjustment shall be made by the agency, and in any case where a rental unit is occupied in whole or in part rent-free, the full rental value, shall be considered the legal rent; "annual operating expenses" means all real estate taxes and operating costs necessary to the operation and maintenance of the building, but excluding depreciation, mortgage interest and amortization, properly allocated to the test year in accordance with principles determined by the Board; and "test year" means the most recent full calendar or fiscal year or any 12 consecutive months ending not earlier than 30 days before the date the application is filed. The net operating income of the building shall be deemed unfair if it is less than 40% of the annual income of the building. The landlord shall be entitled to a rent increase sufficient to produce a fair net operating income of 40.0% of gross annual income.
C. 
(Reserved)
D. 
In computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses under this chapter, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
(1) 
Taxes shall be limited to amounts actually paid, including those in escrow for appeal.
(2) 
Repairs and maintenance shall be limited to arm's length transactions and shall be reasonable and necessary. Cost of service contracts shall be prorated over the period covered. Painting costs shall be prorated over the number of years of actual painting cycle in the building, but in no event shall painting be prorated over a period of less than 3 years for the interior of dwelling units or 5 years for the exterior and common areas.
(3) 
Purchase of new equipment shall be reflected and prorated over the useful life of the item.
(4) 
Legal and auditing expenses shall be limited to reasonable and necessary costs of the operation of the property. No legal expenses or audit expenses shall be allowed as a deduction that do not directly result from the landlord-tenant relationship. A landlord may not deduct expenses incurred in litigating any declaratory or injunctive relief as to his/her rights under any state, local or federal law. All costs shall be itemized on the application.
(5) 
Management fees shall be limited to actual services performed, including the resident manager's salary, telephone expenses, postage, office supplies, stationery and the value of the apartment provided, if included in income. In no event shall management fees exceed 5% of the first $50,000 of gross maximized income, including commercial and professional space income; 4 1/2% of the next $25,000; 4% of the next $100,000; 3 1/2% of the next $100,000; and 3% of any amount over $275,000.
(6) 
Salaries not included in management fees shall be limited to actual services performed and shall be limited to amounts for similar positions in the area, including rental value, if included in income, and expenses and wages and benefits paid.
(7) 
Advertising shall be limited to actual costs that are reasonable to ensure occupancy only. Where waiting lists exist, advertising expenses shall not be allowed.
(8) 
Utilities, including but not limited to gas, electric, water and oil, shall derive from arms's-length transactions, and the landlord shall demonstrate that all reasonable efforts to conserve energy and fuels have been used.
(9) 
Insurance premiums shall derive from all arm's-length transactions and shall be prorated over the terms of the policies and shall not include the landlord's life, medical or other personal policies.
(10) 
No penalties, fines, depreciation, interest, mortgage, amortization or mortgage service fees for any reason shall be allowed.
(11) 
The history of the income and expenses shall be consistent with the application or fully documented as to any changes. Where an owner has, for at least 2 years, spent more than 60% for reasonable and necessary operating expenses, the Rent Leveling Board may allow the increase over the same number of years.
E. 
An application for hardship relief shall include the amount of increase and percentage of increase requested, together with all facts and figures of at least 5 years of income and expenses, if available, all of which shall be duly certified, under oath, by the landlord or his/her agent. The landlord shall also provide, by way of supporting documentations, operating statements, income tax returns and, to the extent available, audited statements, compilations of cost and the expense of the complex. At the time of the application, the landlord shall notify all tenants affected, in writing, by regular mail or by personal service, that an application is being made and is available to any tenants requesting same. The owner shall also make available to the Rent Leveling Board all records and books supporting the application. Any interested tenant or group of tenants or association of tenants who wish to be heard at the public meeting may notify the Rent Leveling Board of their intention, and the Rent Leveling Board shall permit that tenant, group of tenants or association of tenants to be parties to the hearing. This provision shall be liberally construed as to afford ample opportunity for all interested parties to present their view before the Rent Leveling Board.
F. 
If, after a full public hearing, the Rent Leveling Board shall determine that the landlord's reasonable and necessary operating expenses, computed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, exceed 60% of the income or that such ratio level will forseeably result in the immediate future, the Rent Leveling Board shall permit a rental increase sufficient to establish or maintain the 60% ratio to fair net operating income. Any such hardship increase granted shall be prorated among all dwelling units within the complex in the proportion that the total square feet of dwelling area contained in each such dwelling unit bears to the total square feet of dwelling area contained in the complex. Such increase shall be paid by the tenants to the landlord in a number of installments equal to the number of months for which the landlord has been granted a hardship increase, be on the monthly rental due date at least 90 days following notification thereof to the tenant.
G. 
In the event said public hearing is adjourned or is postponed, the party requesting said adjournment or postponement will be required to re-notify all affected parties, by personal service or by regular mail, of the date of the new hearing. Should the public hearing be continued or carried beyond the original hearing date, no further notice will be required if the Rent Leveling Board announces a subsequent hearing date at that time. If the subsequent hearing date is not so announced, further notice to all parties will be required, in writing, by personal service or by regular mail, of the new hearing date.
A. 
Apart from a hardship proceeding pursuant to § 145-6, a landlord may seek additional rental in the amount of 50% of the total cost of any capital improvements by application to the Rent Leveling Board. Such application shall set forth the total cost of the completed capital improvements, the number of years of useful life, as limited to and by Internal Revenue Service straight-line depreciation guidelines, the average annual cost of the improvement or service, the total square footage of rental living space in the dwelling in which any housing space is situated, the total number of square feet of rental living space occupied by each affected tenant and the capital improvement or service increase surcharge which the landlord is seeking from each tenant. The tenant shall only be liable for a surcharge in the amount of 50% of the cost of the capital improvement. Said surcharge shall not exceed the same ratio to the total annual cost thereof as the number of square feet of rental living space occupied by said tenant bears to the total rental square footage of living space in the dwelling in question. The capital improvement increase, as heretofore defined, shall be payable by the tenant over the same number of years as defined by the Internal Revenue Service straight-line depreciation guidelines. The Rent Leveling Board shall determine whether any such improvement is a capital improvement and the amount of the surcharge allocable to each tenant. Any landlord shall be entitled to a classification and determination of such capital improvement prior to the commencement of such improvement. Commencing with the month succeeding the date of the granting of any such capital improvement surcharge, each tenant affected thereby shall have his/her monthly rental increased by 1/12 of the portion of such surcharge allocated to him by application of the calculation hereinabove set forth. A notice of such application and the place and date scheduled for the hearing thereof shall be served by the landlord, by certified mail or by personal service, upon all tenants affected not less than 15 days in advance of the date scheduled for the hearing of such application.
B. 
The cost to the landlord of interest expense required to finance capital improvements may be included as a part of the total cost of said capital improvements in application to the Rent Leveling Board for rent adjustments under Subsection A above.
C. 
In the event of a postponement or adjournment of the public hearing, the same requirements for re-notification shall apply as set forth in § 145-6G.
A. 
There is hereby created a Rent Leveling Board consisting of 7 members and, unless otherwise stated, appointed by the Mayor to serve without monetary compensation. Two members of the Board shall be a tenant in housing space regulated by the provisions of this chapter, to serve for a term of 2 years. Two members shall be property-owner landlords, or their designees, of housing space regulated, to serve for a term of 2 years. One member of the Board shall be an employee of the Township, to serve for a term of 2 years. Said Township employee's salary shall not act to prohibit said member from serving. Two Board members, who shall be neither landlords, tenants of housing space coming under the regulations of this chapter nor employees of the Township of Wayne, to serve for a term of 3 years. The Board shall elect a Chairman from their number.
B. 
All members of the Board shall attend all Board meetings called in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. Any Board member who fails to attend 3 consecutive meetings without an excuse approved by a consensus of the Board may be removed from office upon request of the Board to the Mayor.
C. 
Four members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
D. 
The Board shall reorganize on or before January 20 of each year and shall comply with all of the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act.
[New]
E. 
Legal counsel and professional secretarial assistance shall be authorized and provided for by ordinance. In addition to legal counsel and professional secretarial assistance, the Township Attorney at the request of the Board Attorney may hire experts as may be necessary, subject to budgetary limitations.
[New]
F. 
In the event that any group hereinabove authorized and designated to nominate an appointee fails to do so as prescribed within 30 days of notification that a vacancy exists, the Mayor shall appoint an at-large representative of his/her own choosing to fill the unexpired portion of the applicable term.
A. 
The Rent Leveling Board is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers of this chapter, including but not limited to the following powers:
(1) 
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement this chapter, which rules and regulations shall have the force of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the Board in the exercise of its discretion, provided that such rules are filed with the Township Clerk.
(2) 
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from tenants for reduced rental as hereinafter provided.
(4) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from landlords for additional rental as hereinafter provided. Where a landlord requests increased rental due to clear mistake in calculation pursuant to § 145-4B, the landlord shall file the request for such increase within 6 months after the date the lease rental increase went into effect, requesting Rent Leveling Board approval of the recalculation correction and shall not put said recalculated increase into effect without Rent Leveling approval. The tenant shall have 3 months to appeal to the Rent Leveling Board from such corrected calculations. In any such event, the tenant shall be given notice of correction by the landlord with a complete statement of recalculation.
(5) 
May request the Township Attorney commence the subpoena process.
(6) 
To enforce the provisions of the Rent Leveling Ordinance, including the power to bring complaints in the Municipal Court signed by the Chairman of the Board or the Secretary of the Board.
B. 
Said Board shall give both landlords and tenants reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination.
C. 
Any complaint arising out of rental increases must be filed with the Board within 30 days after the date the rental increase goes into effect. The landlord shall advise the tenant in writing that the tenant has 30 days to file an appeal of the rental under the new lease.
[New]
D. 
A hearing upon an application from a tenant for a reduced rental, as provided herein, shall be heard within 45 days of its receipt by the Board.
E. 
All decisions of the Rent Leveling Board shall be final, and appeal therefrom shall be solely by filing a notice of appeal with the Township Council within 20 days from the date of receipt of the decision of the Rent Leveling Board. The notice shall specify the grounds for appeal. The Township Council shall hear said appeal within 35 days from the date of the filing of said appeal.
[New]
Either party may appeal any determinations of the Board to the Township Council by filing with the Township Clerk within 20 days from the date of said determination and requesting a hearing thereon by the Township Council. The Township Council shall hear said appeal within 30 days from the date of the filing of an appeal. The Township Clerk of Wayne Township shall notify the Board, the landlord and the tenant of the date upon which the appeal will be heard by the Township Council. There shall be a verbatim record made by electronic recording device of all proceedings held before the Rent Leveling Board. In the event of an appeal, the Board shall promptly furnish a typed transcript to the Township Council prior to the hearing of the appeal by the Council. The appellant shall bear any costs incurred in the preparation of said transcript. The Township Council may, by resolution, either affirm, reverse, remand or modify the findings and determination made by the Board. The Township Council shall make its findings and determination upon the record made before the Board, and no further evidence shall be taken, provided that the parties or their counsel may present summation-type argument.
A. 
Anything set forth in the Rent Leveling Ordinance of the Township of Wayne, as revised, amended and supplemented, to the contrary notwithstanding, the owner or landlord of any unit of multiple-dwelling house space, subject to rent regulation under the terms of this chapter, rented or offered for rent for the first time after a vacancy has occurred in any such unit shall not be restricted by the terms of this chapter in fixing the amount of the rental charged for such unit, upon each letting thereof, subsequent to the occurrence of such vacancy. Any subsequent increase in the rental charged or collected for such unit during the term of each such tenancy, however, shall be governed by all of the terms and provisions of this chapter.
[New]
B. 
For the purposes of the interpretation and application of this chapter, a vacancy in any such unit shall be deemed to have occurred only if said unit has become vacant and unoccupied by reason of the fact that; any tenant or tenants occupying the same has or have died or voluntarily surrendered possession and removed therefrom or been lawfully evicted and removed therefrom pursuant to the order or judgment and warrant of a court of competent jurisdiction.
C. 
Anything hereinbefore in this chapter set forth to the contrary notwithstanding, no landlord renting or offering for rent any such housing space for the first time after a vacancy therein has occurred shall demand, receive or collect a rental therefor higher in amount than the rental in effect as of the date on which such vacancy occurred, unless and until such landlord shall have filed with the Rent Leveling Board of the Township of Wayne, in writing and under oath, the amount of the monthly rental in effect for such unit as of the date on which said housing space became vacant, the rent to be charged therefor for the first time after such vacancy therein has occurred and the cause or reason which resulted in such unit's having become vacant and unoccupied and the date and time a duplicate copy of said application to the Rent Leveling Board was personally served upon a prospective new tenant, if any, prior to the application to said Board.
D. 
Where a complex or portion thereof is converted to a condominium or cooperative and the landlord relocates a tenant to a vacant apartment within the same complex pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.11, the provisions of vacancy decontrol shall not apply to the relocated tenant who shall carry the preexisting rental and lease terms to the second apartment unit.
[New]
The owner of a housing space or dwelling being rented for the first time and new multiple-family housing units shall establish the rental. Any subsequent rental increases, however, shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
During the term of this chapter, the landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing space and dwelling as he/she provided or was required to do by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into.
B. 
An individual tenant or a class of tenants who fail to receive substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture or furnishings or equipment may file a complaint with the Rent Leveling Board for a rental abatement as a result of such deficiency.
C. 
Decisions of the Rent Leveling Board shall be final, and appeal therefrom shall be made in accordance with procedures established under §§ 145-9D and 145-10.
A. 
No landlord shall take retaliatory action against any tenant who exercises any rights conferred upon him by this chapter. For purposes of this section, "retaliatory action" shall mean any actions taken by the landlord, directly or indirectly, inducing undue, unusual or unreasonable inconvenience, violation of privacy, harassment, select reduction in quantity or quality of services or other form of threat or coercion.
B. 
Every landlord shall post in the rental office a copy of the most recent update of Truth in Renting, a statement for landlords and tenants, as described in N.J.S.A. 46:8-43 et seq. A copy shall be given without charge to each tenant in every complex covered under this chapter.
[New]
A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall supersede the provisions of any prior ordinance relating to rent control or rent leveling, and in the event of any conflict or ambiguity between any of the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of any prior ordinances, the provisions of this chapter shall control, nor shall the provisions of this chapter abrogate or affect any existing or prior leasehold agreements.
A. 
Exempt from control and/or regulation by this chapter are: public housing, dwelling space in any motel, hotel or any other premises primarily serving transient guests and housing complexes containing less than four units and mobile home rental spaces and/or units.
B. 
Multiple-dwelling units which are controlled and/or regulated by the Federal Housing Administration of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency are subject to all conditions and procedures in this chapter except as provided for in § 145-4.1.
Any provision in any lease concerning the rental of housing space, as herein defined, which purports to waive or nullify any of the provisions of this chapter shall be void and of no force and effect as against public policy.
Where no other penalty is provided, any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be liable to the penalty stated in Chapter 1, Section 1-15.
This chapter of the Code of the Township of Wayne shall operate prospectively from its effective date and thus does not affect leases or complaints entered into prior to said date.