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City of Passaic, NJ
Passaic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Passaic 6-26-1986 by Ord. No. 934-86.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Apartment rental businesses — See Ch. 83.
Certificates of occupancy and tenancy — See Ch. 100.
Dwelling units — See Ch. 125.
Heating of residential property — See Ch. 165.
Multiple dwellings — See Ch. 185.
Real estate practitioners — See Ch. 229.
Protected tenancies — See Ch. 281.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 231, Rent Control, adopted 12-2-1982 by Ord. No. 715-82, as amended and extended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANTS
Fit for habitation as defined by the statutes, codes and ordinances in full force and effect in the State of New Jersey, County of Passaic and City of Passaic and occupied or unoccupied and offered for rent.
BASE RENT
The lawful rent in force and effect for any multiple-dwelling housing space on the effective date of this chapter, but shall not include any heat surcharge or capital improvements increase.
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of a dwelling rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one individual or family unit together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, garage, parking and such other facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property.
MULTIPLE DWELLING HOUSING SPACE or DWELLING UNIT
Any room or rooms, suite, flat, apartment, condominium or cooperative unit, whether furnished or unfurnished, which is occupied or intended, arranged or designed to be occupied for sleeping or dwelling purposes by one or more persons, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy thereof; specifically exempted from this chapter, however, is any room or combination of rooms in a motel, hotel, one-family house, two-family owner-occupied house, a single condominium or cooperative unit in a particular building or complex if the condominium or cooperative unit's owner does not own any additional condominiums or cooperative units within the building or complex, except for an additional single condominium or cooperative unit occupied by the owner, rooms rented by nonprofit organizations, rooming units in licensed, lawful rooming and boarding houses and new residential construction completed after May 1, 1978. Moreover, this chapter shall not apply to any unit where the rental is below $75 per room for units where heat is paid by the landlord or $60 per room where the heat is not paid by the landlord.
[Amended 12-15-1986 by Ord. No. 963-86; 8-6-1987 by Ord. No. 991-87; 4-21-1988 by Ord. No. 1020-88; 5-5-2003 by Ord. No. 1574-03]
Example A
Units Where Heat Is Paid by the Landlord
Number of Rooms
Rental
1
$75.00
2
$150.00
3
$225.00
4
$300.00
5
$375.00
6
$450.00
7
$525.00
8
$600.00
9
$675.00
10
$750.00
Example B
Units Where Heat Is Not Paid by the Landlord
Number of Rooms
Rental
1
$60.00
2
$120.00
3
$180.00
4
$240.00
5
$300.00
6
$360.00
7
$420.00
8
$480.00
9
$540.00
10
$600.00
ROOM
Shall not include a bathroom, pantry closet, storage room or any such similar area. In units labeled or consisting of 1/2 room, which contain, for example, efficiency areas, the computations above shall be reflected to include a one-half-room charge minimum (e.g., 2 1/2 rooms, A unit: $187.50; B unit: $150).
[Amended 4-21-1988 by Ord. No. 1020-88].
[Amended 12-9-1999 by Ord. No. 1480-99]
A. 
Establishment of rent for any multiple-dwelling housing space shall be governed by all of the terms and provisions hereof, and it shall be unlawful for any landlord of a multiple-dwelling housing space to demand, receive or collect any rent therefor in excess of the base rent for such housing space except increases as may be granted pursuant to this chapter.
B. 
The terms and provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any dwelling unit which becomes vacant after the effective date of this section, nor shall it apply to any multiple-dwelling housing space rented or offered for the first time subsequent to the effective date of this section.
It shall be unlawful for any landlord of a multiple-dwelling housing space to demand, receive or collect any rental increase more than once in any twelve-month period; or, in situations in which a lease for a period of time greater than 12 months is involved, no landlord shall demand, receive or collect any rental increase more than once in a twelve-month period, excluding increases put into effect under § 231-13 of this chapter.
[Amended 9-11-1986 by Ord. No. 948-86; 4-21-1988 by Ord. No. 1020-88; 3-24-1994 by Ord. No. 1277-94]
A. 
On and after the effective date of Ordinance No. 948-86[1], a landlord may increase the base rent a maximum of the increase of the consumer price index for urban workers for New York - Northeastern New Jersey for the most recent prior twelve-month period for which such data are available as of that date, provided that the base rent has not been increased within a twelve-month period directly through an increase based on the expiration of a twelve-month period or via a hardship increase. A capital improvement surcharge, as permitted under this chapter, shall not be considered a rent increase for the purpose of this section. The landlord may increase the base rent on each annual anniversary date of each tenancy by a maximum of the increase in the consumer price index for urban workers for New York - Northeastern New Jersey as promulgated on each anniversary date of Ordinance No. 948-86. The original increase and each succeeding annual increase shall be calculated administratively by the Department of Human Resources of the City of Passaic, and said percentage figure shall be posted on the bulletin board outside the City Clerk's office. Notwithstanding the above provisions of this section, no annual increase shall exceed $25 per month.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance, which comprises this section, § 231-4, of this chapter, was adopted 9-11-1986.
B. 
The tenant rental monthly fees shall be further adjusted, exclusive of the consumer price index, to include a municipal property tax increase. Any landlord under this chapter who receives a municipal property tax increase may pass 100% of the increase on to his tenants. Any adjustment should take effect upon the anniversary date of each tenancy. Adjustments shall be applicable to the 1998 tax year and each successive tax year, with 1997 being the base year.
[Amended 3-5-1998 by Ord. No. 1434-98]
C. 
The total annual adjustment allowable under this section shall not exceed $25 per month when the following conditions are met:
[Amended 3-5-1998 by Ord. No. 1434-98; 12-9-1999 by Ord. No. 1480-99]
(1) 
The dwelling unit is occupied by a maximum of two individuals, with at least one of the individuals being 65 years of age or older; and
(2) 
The total annual income of the occupant(s) of the dwelling unit who is/are 65 years of age or older cannot exceed $50,000.
[Amended 2-17-2000 by Ord. No. 1483-00]
[Amended 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
A property owner may seek imposition of a surcharge for any eligible capital improvement or rental increase for any substantial increase in services rendered to the tenant that is not a repair or replacement, that increases the present value of the dwelling unit, that renders a benefit to the living conditions of the tenant and that, if a capital improvement, is deemed a depreciable asset under the Internal Revenue Code.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
A. 
A property owner shall be entitled to recover 50% of the cost of a mandated capital improvement, which shall be defined as a capital improvement mandated by any governmental agency or any of the following:
(1) 
Wiring that substantially increases electrical capacity.
(2) 
New insulation that substantially improves energy efficiency.
(3) 
Storm windows and doors which do not replace existing storm windows or doors.
(4) 
Installation of a new heating plant that substantially increases energy efficiency.
(5) 
Installation of a complete new roof.
B. 
Upon completion of any such project, the landlord shall apply to the Rent Leveling Board, which shall determine the true cost of such improvement and shall establish an amortization period.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
Any landlord who undertakes any capital improvements as defined in this section or provides a substantial increase in services may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for appropriate rental adjustment. The Board shall determine the validity of the claim, the true cost thereof and the amortization thereof.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
Amortization of any capital improvement surcharge imposed under this section shall be over a period of not fewer than three years and in accord with demonstrable past practices.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
No surcharge granted shall be considered rental for the purposes of calculating any future rent increases.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
Where a rent increase is approved in connection with a substantial increase in services, the first-year cost of such service shall be divided by the total number of rooms of housing space affected times the number of rooms of housing space in each affected dwelling unit divided by 12 to produce the rental increase.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
Any rental increase granted hereunder shall go into effect with the commencement of service increase or in the first month following final disposition of the application for same, whichever is later, but such increase shall in no way alter the date of the annual increase as provided in § 231-4 hereof.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
A capital improvement surcharge shall be apportioned according to the following formula:
   The sum to be recovered shall be divided by the number of rooms of housing space affected times the number of rooms of housing space in each affected dwelling unit divided by the number of months in the amortization schedule (not fewer than 36) to produce the monthly surcharge.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
A. 
At any time prior to undertaking an improvement, a landlord may make application to the Board for classification of the proposed improvement and, upon completion thereof, the Board shall continue its hearing to determine the final cost and amortization thereof.
B. 
At any time after completing a capital improvement, the landlord may apply to the Board for a capital improvement surcharge, but, for any application made more than six months following completion of work, the amount to be recovered shall be reduced by the ratio of time elapsed to useful life of improvement.
C. 
At any time prior to or after instituting a substantial increase in services, a landlord may apply for a rental increase. Regardless of when the application is made, it shall be predicated on the first-year cost of such service.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
All applications for capital improvement surcharge, including mandated capital improvements, or for rental increases for substantial increases in service shall be the subject of a public hearing at which any and all interested parties shall be heard. At such hearing, the Rent Leveling Board shall determine the validity of the application and, if relief is to be granted, the extent of such relief, the dwelling units affected thereby, the extent to which each is affected and the method and date of implementation of the relief granted.
[Added 10-15-1987 by Ord. No. 1000-87]
At least 10 days prior to any hearing required hereunder, the landlord shall notify by certified mail each tenant of such hearing and provide in such notice the time and place thereof and relief to be sought. A copy of such notice shall also be posted in the lobby of the building or in some other conspicuous location on site.
A. 
For capital improvement surcharge: The landlord shall provide the total cost of the improvement, the number of years of useful life claimed by the landlord for purposes of depreciation for federal tax purposes, the date improvement was completed, the average annual cost of improvement over useful life remaining at time of application (full life if application made within six months of completion), the total number of rooms of housing space affected, the number of rooms occupied by each tenant affected and the monthly surcharge sought for each tenant affected.
B. 
For a substantial services increase rental increase: The landlord shall provide a detailed description of the service, the first year cost of service, the date of implementation of service, the total number of rooms of housing space affected, the number of rooms occupied by each tenant affected and the monthly increase sought for each tenant affected.
A property owner whose current rentals are insufficient to provide a fair return may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for a hardship increase permit a fair, just and reasonable rate of return. Prior to any such appeal to the Board, a landlord must post in the lobby in each building or, if no lobby is present, in a conspicuous place in and about the premises a notice of said appeal, setting forth the basis for said appeal. Said notice must be posted and served upon the tenants at least 10 days prior to the proposed date of said appeal.
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
FAIR NET OPERATING INCOME
Gross maximized annual income less reasonable and necessary operating expenses, such expenses not to exceed 65% of the gross maximized annual income.
GROSS MAXIMIZED ANNUAL INCOME
All income resulting directly or indirectly from the operation of such multiple dwelling or dwellings, including but not limited to all rent received or collectible, including any rent from a less-than-arm's-length transaction, the landlord share of interest on security deposits, all earnings from commissions, vending machines, deductions from security deposits, late fees, pet fees, parking fees, pool fees, key charges, finder's fees, amounts received from successful tax appeals, income from rebates, tax surcharges, capital improvement surcharges, rent surcharges and hardship surcharges.
REASONABLE AND NECESSARY OPERATING EXPENSES
All valid expenses incurred and paid by the landlord in the operation of such multiple dwelling or dwellings during the period reflected in income computed or in accordance with the provisions and limitations of this section.
B. 
Application for increase.
(1) 
Whenever a landlord shall determine that the reasonable and necessary operating expenses, as hereinabove defined and hereinbelow set forth, of a multiple dwelling or dwellings subject to rent regulation under the terms of this chapter are greater than 65% of the gross maximized annual income, as hereinbefore defined, of such multiple dwelling or dwellings, said landlord may make application to the Rent Leveling Board for a hardship rental increase.
(2) 
When a landlord shall file an application before the Rent Leveling Board for a hardship rental increase, the Rent Leveling Board shall review said application to determine the eligibility of the landlord for said hardship increase pursuant to this chapter, to determine that the facts set forth in said application comply with the determination of the net operating expenses as set forth hereinbelow and to modify said facts to conform to those articles of net operating expenses as discussed hereinbelow.
(3) 
If the Rent Leveling Board is satisfied that the landlord named in said application is eligible for a hardship rental increase and that the facts set forth in said application comply as required in Subsection B(2) hereinabove, then said Rent Leveling Board shall compute the proper gross maximized annual income by dividing the reasonable and necessary operating expenses contained in the application, as they may be modified by the Board, by 65%, said reasonable and necessary operating expenses being the numerator of the equation and 65% being the denominator. The Rent Leveling Board shall subtract from the new gross maximized annual income that gross maximized annual income which was previously received by the landlord/applicant and which was set forth in his application to the Board. The resulting remainder shall be prorated to all other dwelling units within the multiple dwelling or dwellings covered by the application in the ratio that the total square feet of dwelling area contained in each such dwelling unit bears to the total square feet of the dwelling area contained in the multiple dwelling or dwellings covered by the application. The Rent Leveling Board shall have the discretion to divide the prorated rental increases per apartment over a period not to exceed six months so as to minimize the effect of said rental increase on the tenants of said dwelling units.
(4) 
The application of the landlord for a hardship rental increase shall include all facts and figures of at least three years of income and expenses, if available, all of which shall be duly certified under or by the landlord or his agent and shall be supported by a statement from a certified public accountant as to the accuracy of said facts and figures. At the time of application, the landlord shall notify all tenants affected, in writing, that an application is being made and is available to any tenants requesting the same. The owner shall also make available to the tenants and the Rent Leveling Board all records and books supporting the application. Any interested tenants or groups 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 views before the Rent Leveling Board.
C. 
In computing gross maximized annual income under this section, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
(1) 
No allowance shall be permitted for a vacancy, except as the same may be adequately demonstrated to be the result of market conditions and/or deteriorated physical conditions of the dwelling unit which the landlord/applicant may show as to be unavailable for rental due to said deteriorated conditions.
(2) 
Income and expenses arising out of a nonresidential use, including that for professional or commercial space resulting from arm's-length transactions.
(3) 
No loss caused by a nonresidential use may be considered.
D. 
In computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses under this section, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
(1) 
Taxes shall be limited to amounts actually paid, including those in escrow for appeal, and the landlord shall further demonstrate that taxes assessed against the property were reasonable and, if not, have been appealed.
(2) 
Repairs and maintenance shall be limited to arm's-length transactions and shall be reasonable and necessary as not to cause over maintenance of premises. The cost of service contracts shall be prorated over the period covered. Painting costs shall be prorated over the number of years of the actual painting cycle in the building, but in no event shall painting be prorated over a period of less than three years for the interior of dwelling units or five years for the exterior and common areas.
(3) 
The purchase of new equipment shall be reflected and prorated over the useful life of the term.
(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 rights under any state, local or federal law, except for actions in the nature of a writ of mandamus. 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 expend 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 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 arm'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 reasons shall be allowed.
(11) 
The history of the income and expenses shall be consistent with the application or fully documented as to any changes.
A. 
A property owner whose housing space is controlled by the terms of this chapter shall distribute a copy of this chapter to each tenant within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter and, in the event of new tenancies, shall, within 30 days of the establishment of a landlord/tenant relationship, distribute a copy of this chapter to each new tenant and maintain a ledger of said distribution.
B. 
In the event that the property owner fails to comply with this provision, he shall be subject to the penalty provisions in § 231-14 of this chapter and shall not be permitted to pass on any increases as permitted under §§ 231-4, 231-5 and 231-6. The landlord shall file proof of service of each distribution of this chapter with the Rent Leveling Board within 30 days after such distribution, which proof shall be in the form of an affidavit or certification.
[Amended 3-5-1987 by Ord. No. 975-87; 3-9-2010 by Ord. No. 1823-10]
A. 
There is hereby created a Rent Leveling Board within the City of Passaic. Said Board shall consist of three regular members. The regular members shall be a landlord, a tenant and an expert member of the general public. All members must be residents of Passaic. The terms of regular members shall be four years. Each member shall serve without compensation.
B. 
There shall be three alternate members, including one tenant, one landlord and one expert member of the general public, all of whom must be residents of the City of Passaic. The terms of said alternate members of the Board shall be for a period of four years. In the event that a permanent member is absent or unavailable for a meeting, then the member appointed in the same category, i.e., tenant and alternate tenant, landlord and alternate landlord or expert and alternate expert, shall replace the permanent member. In no case shall an alternate member replace the member of a different category at any meeting. Each alternate member shall serve without compensation.
C. 
The Council, by majority vote, shall select all regular and alternate Board members, and members shall serve until their successor is qualified and appointed. If there are any vacancies on the Board, the Council shall fill the seat for the remainder of the term. Any Board member who shall, during a calendar year, be absent for three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the Board to which he or she has been appointed shall be subject to removal by the City Council in accordance with the provisions of this section. The Secretary to the Rent Leveling Board shall be required to report to the City Council three consecutive absences in the calendar year by any member of the Board, and when requested to do by the Council, the member of the Board who missed three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings during the calendar year shall submit a written explanation for each of his or her absences.
[Amended 2-8-2011 by Ord. No. 1861-11]
D. 
In the event that the Council determines preliminarily that there have been three consecutive absences from regularly scheduled meetings by any appointed member and that the absences are without "reasonable justification" as defined herein, the Council shall have the right to adopt a resolution to institute removal proceedings. No member of the Board shall be removed based on his or her absence at a regularly scheduled meeting where there was a reasonable justification for the absence. "Reasonable justification" for absence shall mean illness of the Board member or immediate family member of the Board member; exigent business or personal responsibilities which render it impracticable for the Board member to be in attendance. Where the Council has instituted such removal proceedings, the proceedings shall be as follows:
[Amended 2-8-2011 by Ord. No. 1861-11]
(1) 
A written notice of intention to remove shall be mailed to the Board member at his or her home address. The notice shall advise the Board member as to a right to a hearing before the City Council; as to the right to be represented by counsel; and as to the right to cross-examine witnesses and present witnesses on his or her behalf. The notice shall set forth a date for a proposed hearing and shall notify the Board member that if he or she wishes to contest the removal, a written notice of intention to contest must be submitted to the City Clerk at least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing. The notice to the Board member shall list the dates of the regularly scheduled meetings from which the Board member is alleged to have been absent.
(2) 
The hearing shall be conducted by the City Council in Council chambers. The Board member shall have a right to participate in the proceedings, either personally or by counsel, and shall have a right to examine witnesses and present evidence. Upon conclusion of all the evidence, the City Council shall make findings of fact and conclusions as to whether the Board member shall be removed.
E. 
The Secretary for the Rent Leveling Board shall forward the minutes of all Rent Leveling Board meetings to the City Council once approved by the Rent Leveling Board.
[Added 2-8-2011 by Ord. No. 1861-11]
The Rent Leveling Board is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:
A. 
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this act, 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 City Clerk.
B. 
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from landlords and tenants for additional rental or lesser rental as herein provided within 60 days of the filing of said application.
D. 
To hold hearings in order to interpret and/or classify capital improvements or substantial service increases as such under the provisions of this chapter within 60 days of the filing of said application for the same.
E. 
Said Board shall give both landlord and tenant reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard before making any determination. The application shall give 10 days' written notice to the other party.
F. 
The Rent Leveling Board shall, within 30 days after holding any hearing pursuant to this section, render its decision, in writing, accompanied by a statement of facts and determinations, to the applicant and shall provide that a copy is available to the public for inspection at the office of the Rent Leveling Board.
Both landlord and tenant may appeal the findings and determinations of the Board to the Municipal Council within 20 days from the date of such determination and request a hearing thereon by the Municipal Council. The party appealing any such determination as aforesaid shall serve on every other party in interest a copy of said notice of appeal to the Municipal Council at least 10 days prior to the hearing. If an appeal to the Council is timely filed, the decision of the Board shall be stayed until the Council's determination, whose decision shall be retroactive to the date of the Board determination.
During the term of this chapter, every landlord shall maintain the same standards of service and maintenance and shall provide the same furniture, furnishings and equipment in the multiple-dwelling housing space covered hereby as was maintained and provided on the date of the initial rental between the landlord and said tenant, except where the tenant has previously received a reduction in rent by virtue of a reduction in services application before the Rent Leveling Board, based upon a difference or differences in service and maintenance between the date of the initial rental between said landlord and tenant and the effective date of this chapter.
A. 
Landlords shall be required to keep a rental log book of each apartment in his or its building. The rent log shall include the apartment number, name of tenant, rental paid and number of rooms. This log must be produced for all apartments upon request of the Rent Leveling Board. A landlord in violation of this section shall be subject to the punishment prescribed in § 231-14 hereof.
B. 
A property owner or tenant may seek a reduction in the standards of service and/or maintenance rendered to the tenants, provided that the tenants receive a proportionate decrease in rental for the loss of services and/or maintenance. The property owner shall notify each tenant at least 10 days prior to the hearing of the total cost of the services and/or maintenance to be reduced, the average annual cost of the service to be reduced, the total number of rooms of housing space in the structure in which any multiple-dwelling space is situated, the total number of rooms occupied by the tenant and the amount of the reduction in rental which is proposed for each tenant. The tenant shall receive a reduction in rent in the same proportion to the total annual reduction in rent as the number of rooms occupied by said tenant bears to the total number of rooms of housing space in the building or structure in question. Any property owner seeking a reduction in the standards of service and/or maintenance shall apply for such reduction to the Rent Leveling Board. If any reduction in rent shall be granted, such reduction shall decrease the base rent for each such unit of housing space. In no event shall the Rent Leveling Board grant any reduction in service and/or regard to building or health codes, or which would violate any laws of the State of New Jersey. Commencing with the first of the month next succeeding the completion of the reduction in services and/or maintenance, each tenant affected thereby shall receive the proportionate reduction in the base rent as provided by the decision of the Rent Leveling Board.
No landlord shall, after the effective date of this chapter, charge any rents in excess of the lawful rent allowable from the effective date of this chapter, except for increases as authorized by this chapter.
[Added 12-9-1999 by Ord. No. 1480-99[1] ]
Any tenants desiring to remain in their units may do so without provocation or retaliation from landlords. For the purposes of this section, harassment of tenants shall mean conduct, whether direct or indirect, committed intentionally or negligently by a landlord or anyone acting on his behalf. These actions include, but are not limited to: a reduction in the quality of basic services necessary to the health, safety and welfare of the tenants; heat, hot water; adequate security; intermittent failures; bothersome telephone calls or letters; frivolous eviction threats or legal proceedings; and actions which would cause a reasonable person of like age and physical condition of a tenant to fear for his/her life, limb, property or home.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former § 231-13, Fixing of initial rent.
Any person found guilty of violating any provisions of this chapter or of willfully filing with the Rent Leveling Board any material misstatement of fact shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both. A violation affecting two or more tenancies shall be considered a separate violation as to each tenancy. However, notwithstanding this section, any landlord who fails to refund the percentage of his property tax reduction as required by § 231-17 hereof shall pay a fine of $100 per day for every day that the reduction to the tenants is later than the deadline set forth in § 231-17, in addition to the penalty prescribed in this section.
This chapter, being necessary for the welfare of the City and its inhabitants shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose hereof.
[Amended 9-23-2008 by Ord. No. 1775-08]
Every application by a property owner/landlord for a rent surcharge other than the automatic annual rental increase provided for in § 231-4 hereof or for a reduction of services shall be accompanied by a fee of $50 per apartment unit but not more than $1,000 per building. Any tenant may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for relief under any of the provisions of this chapter. No application by a tenant shall be required to be accompanied by a filing fee. The Rent Leveling Board shall have the power to award filing fees to the landlord as the interests of justice dictate.
[Amended 3-5-1998 by Ord. No. 1434-98]
A. 
Any property owner under this chapter who receives a municipal property tax refund by means of an appeal shall pass 100% of the refund, less the property owner's reasonable and documented expenses associated with the appeal, on to his tenants and shall do so no later than 45 days from the receipt of said refund. Adjustments shall become applicable to the 1998 tax year and each successive tax year.
B. 
Any property owner under this chapter who receives a reduction in municipal property tax shall pass 100% of the reduction to his tenants. Any adjustment should take effect upon the anniversary date of each tenancy. Adjustments shall be applicable to the 1998 tax year and each successive tax year, with 1997 being the base year.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Rent Board Administrator shall, upon the submission of every application for rental increase, inspect the Code Enforcement, Health Department and Division of Housing files in order to determine if any violation or violations exist pertaining to the application being submitted. If any such violation or violations are present, any hardship rental increase granted to a particular landlord cannot be implemented until all violations which, in the determination of the Construction Code Official, are major ones, such as electrical, plumbing or structural violations, or which, in total, are substantial quantitatively are corrected.
Any complaints pertaining to the provisions of this chapter by landlords or tenants may be brought to the attention of the Rent Leveling Board Administrator, City Hall, at 365-5542 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays. A notice as to the same shall be posted by the landlord in each multiple-dwelling housing lobby.
[Added 9-2-1993 by Ord. No. 1232-93]
Evidence that a tenant willfully fails to permit a landlord to enter his/her housing space or dwelling between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. of any weekday (Monday through Friday) where at least 48 hours' notice, in writing, has been given in order for the landlord to make necessary repairs may be considered as an element of a violation of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(c) for which that tenant can be evicted in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61 et seq.
[Added 3-5-1998 by Ord. No. 1434-98[1]]
A property owner whose housing space is controlled by the terms of this chapter shall distribute an annual rent allocation statement to each tenant on the tenant's anniversary date. The rent allocation statement form, to be promulgated by the City Administration, will be available to property owners in the Rent Leveling Administrator's office. The annual rent allocation statements are to be maintained by the property owner and must be made available to the Rent Leveling Administrator upon request.
[1]
Editor's Note: Pursuant to this ordinance, former § 231-21, Violations and penalties, was redesignated as § 231-22.
[Added 9-2-1993 by Ord. No. 1232-93]
A violation of § 231-20 shall be subject to the general penalty provisions of the Code of the City of Passaic, § 1-3.