[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the City of Clifton 12-20-1960 by Ord. No. 3319 as Article 4 of Chapter 18 of the Revised Ordinances of the City of Clifton, New Jersey, 1960; amended in entirety 12-1-1981 by Ord. No. 4677-81. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The local Health Officer or his designee shall, whenever necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of residential tenants, act as an agent for a landlord in engaging a fuel-oil dealer, a natural gas utility company, an electrical utility company, electrician, plumber or any other tradesman or serviceman necessary to restore the proper heating of any residential property rented by said landlord; provided, however, that at least 12 hours have elapsed if the outside temperature is between 33º F. and 55º F., inclusive, or at least four hours have elapsed if the outside air temperature is 32º F. or less, since the tenant has lodged a complaint with any municipal officer or agency, prior to which complaint a bona fide attempt, as set forth in a sworn affidavit, has been made by the tenant to notify the landlord or his representative of the lack of heat and the landlord has failed to take appropriate action.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- LACK OF HEAT
- Maintaining less heat than required by N.J.S.A. 26:3-31.
Any fuel-oil dealer, natural gas utility company, electrical utility company, electrician, plumber or other tradesman or serviceman who provides material or services in accordance with § 269-1 of this chapter may bill the landlord directly, or the City of Clifton may issue a voucher to the fuel-oil dealer, natural gas utility company, electrical utility company, electrician, plumber of other tradesman or serviceman who provided material or service. The voucher shall be paid in the manner provided for the approval and payment of claims pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:5-17.
Any landlord, or his agent, whose negligence or failure to act results in municipal action pursuant to § 269-1 of this chapter shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $300, nor less than $100, for each such affected dwelling unit in the residential property. Such penalty shall be recoverable by the City of Clifton in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the Penalty Enforcement Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq.). Any action to collect or enforce any such penalty shall be brought in the Superior Court, County District Court or Municipal Court. The amount of such penalty shall be paid to the City of Clifton to be used for general municipal purposes.
In any penalty enforcement proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter, the court shall also order the landlord or his agent to reimburse the City of Clifton for the actual costs incurred for any services or materials delivered to said premises for the purposes of restoring heating and for reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The court shall further be empowered to issue any appropriate injunctive orders and to authorize immediate collection of reimbursable costs due the City of Clifton out of the goods and chattels of the landlord, including all sums due, or which may come due, as present or future rents. Any landlord who prevails in such an action shall be entitled to reimbursement by the City of Clifton for all reasonable costs and expenses. Such landlord, however, shall still remain responsible for the cost of any services and materials delivered to said premises and any charge for the restoration of heating incurred by the City of Clifton.
Except for the gross negligence or malfeasance of any municipal official, officer or employee, no municipal official, officer or employee shall be liable for any damages to any person or property in enforcing this chapter.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to owner-occupied residential rental properties containing five units or less.