[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Pittsgrove 5-27-1987 by Ord. No. 9-1987; amended in its entirety 12-30-1991 by Ord. No. 19A-1991. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Whereas the Township Committee of Pittsgrove Township in Salem County hereby finds that a housing state of emergency exists within mobile home parks located within the Township; whereby the Township Committee seeks to prevent any possible exorbitant rental increases resulting from any housing shortage while allowing the landlords and park operators a fair and equitable return upon their investment, and in accordance with the police powers granted to the Township Committee of the Township of Pittsgrove in order to protect and promulgate the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Township of Pittsgrove, the Committee has the authority to establish and maintain and does hereby establish and enact the within chapter for rent stabilization; including the appointment of a Board to administer this chapter and penalties for the violation thereof.
This chapter shall be known and cited as the “Mobile Home Park Rent Stabilization Ordinance of Pittsgrove Township.”
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANTS
- Fit for rental and habitation as defined by the statutes, codes and ordinances in full force and effect in the State of New Jersey, County of Salem and Township of Pittsgrove, and occupied or unoccupied and offered for rent.
- BASE RENT
- The lawful rent in effect for the mobile home space on October 1, 1987, together with all subsequent base rent increases granted by the Rent Control Board pursuant to this chapter. The term “base rent” shall not include any of the following:
- A. The cost of supplied utilities.
- B. The base cost of trash removal, being the cost to remove trash to a park operator one year prior to the date of the park operator's application for annual increase.
- C. Space and pad fees.
- D. Property taxes.
- E. The amount granted by the Rent Control Board for major capital improvements or other pass-throughs as provided by this chapter for the preceding year.
- CPI, CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
- The CPI-U regional and selected cities for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as published by the Bureau of Labor Standards of the United States Department of Labor using the 1982-1984 equals one-dollar index.
- GROSS ANNUAL INCOME
- All income resulting directly or indirectly from the operation of a mobile home park, including income which could have resulted from residential vacancies, unless such vacancies resulted from market conditions. In addition, it shall include, but not be limited to, all rent, whether from residential or nonresidential transactions, received or collectible, including any rent from less-than-arm's-length transactions; the landlord's share of interest for administrative expenses on security deposits; all earnings from commissions, laundry equipment and supplies or vending machines; earnings from the sale of gas or LP fuel; deductions from security deposits; entrance fees, hookup fees, late fees, pet fees, parking fees, charges for use of recreational areas and amounts received by the landlord as a result of real estate tax appeals; and income from rebates, tax surcharges, capital improvement surcharges, rent surcharges and hardship surcharges for the year immediately prior to the date the application is filed. In any case where a housing unit is occupied in whole or in part rent free, the full rental value shall be considered the legal rent. All income, as defined above, shall be computed on an annual basis.
- Includes all facilities which are vital to the use of the premises for residential purposes, including but not limited to all facilities pertaining to sanitation, security and safety, privacy and any other condition that contributes to the tenants' peaceful enjoyment of their mobile home.
- The mobile home park operator, owner, lessor, sublessor, receiver, trustee, executor, assignee or other person receiving or entitled to receive rent for the use or occupancy of the entire mobile home park or a portion thereof, including an individual mobile home and/or a mobile home park space.
- Includes any written or oral agreement pursuant to which any person is permitted to occupy a mobile home and/or a mobile home park space.
- MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
- A substantial addition to the mobile home park accommodations such as would materially increase the rental value of the mobile home space and which provides an additional service or benefit to the residents of the park not previously accorded them. The term does not include repairs or replacements which merely maintain the mobile home park in an efficient operating condition. In determining whether a particular expenditure constitutes a “major capital improvement” under this section, the Rent Control Board shall consider the following:
- A. The nature of the improvement.
- B. The extent and cost of the improvement.
- C. The additional service or benefit to the mobile home park and to the residents' enjoyment thereof gained as a result of the improvement.
- D. The degree of permanency of the improvement.
- E. Whether the park owner depreciated the cost of the improvement over the full useful life of the object on his tax return.
- MATERIAL COMPLIANCE
- Compliance with those requirements which have an effect upon the functional operation of the mobile home park facility.
- MOBILE HOME PARK
- Any lot or parcel of land and premises where the owner, lessee or other person having control thereof shall offer sites for mobile homes on a rental or lease or other basis.
- MOBILE HOME PARK SPACE
- That portion of a mobile home park rented or offered for rent for the purpose of parking a mobile home or modular home for living and dwelling purposes to one or more tenants or family units, together with all privileges, services, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such property or portion of property. “Mobile home park spaces” or pads which are newly constructed and rented for the first time are exempted, and the initial rent may be determined by the owner during the first two years of rental operation.
- NET OPERATING INCOME
- The gross annual income less reasonable and necessary operating expenses (see “reasonable and necessary operating expenses”).
- Any natural person or any partnership, limited partnership, joint venture, association or corporation or other entity.
- REASONABLE AND NECESSARY OPERATING EXPENSES
- All valid expenses incurred and paid by a mobile home park owner or operator that were reasonably necessary for the operation of the park during the comparable period used for the gross annual income. In computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
- A. Expenses incurred in furtherance of the sales of new or used mobile homes shall not constitute a reasonable and necessary operating expense.
- B. Operating expenses shall not include fines, penalties, mortgage amortization (principal) payments, mortgage interest payments or depreciation.
- C. Taxes shall be limited to amounts actually paid, including those paid into escrow pending appeal. Taxes shall not include the park owner's real estate taxes on his personal residence(s).
- D. Repairs and maintenance expenses shall not include expenditures for major capital improvements, as defined in this chapter. Unusual or extraordinary expenses for repairs and maintenance shall be prorated over the time period that the particular expense is not expected to reoccur, but not to exceed five years.
- E. Purchase costs of new or replacement equipment not qualifying as a major capital improvement under this chapter shall be prorated over the useful life of the item.
- F. Professional fees, including legal and accounting expenses, shall be limited to the actual cost of the services necessary for the day-to-day operation of the park.
- G. Management expenses shall be limited to actual services performed in the operation of the mobile home park and paid for by the landlord, to include the resident manager's salary, telephone expenses, postage, office supplies, stationery and the value of the resident manager's mobile home site if said value is included in the gross income. In the case of a park managed by the owner performing management duties from an on-site personal residence, the management expenses shall be allocated between the moneys expended in the operation of the park and the moneys expended for the owner's personal household expenses.
- H. Expenses shall also include real estate taxes; water and sewer and septic charges; advertising expenses necessary to effect full occupancy of the park; dues for professional organizations; heating fuel; electricity; water; garbage and trash removal and disposal; security and grounds maintenance; any other taxes, permits or fees which the Board, in its discretion, shall deem appropriate; and insurance charges for fire, liability, compensation and other appropriate insurance coverage, but excluding FHA, VA or other mortgage insurance.
- Any reimbursement received by or credited to the landlord for any tax or utility charge paid or assessed against the landlord in connection with the operation of a mobile home park or any reduction in the amount of any tax or utility charge or assessment a landlord is required to pay in connection with the operation of a mobile home park.
- Includes any charge or charges made, fixed, demanded or charged for the use or occupancy of a mobile home and/or mobile home park space, whether or not commonly known as “rent.”
- The reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing mobile home park for the purpose of its maintenance.
- Mailing to the home address by regular mail, supported by certification or in-hand delivery certified by affidavit or an acknowledgment of service executed by the person served, which affidavit or acknowledgment of service must be retained in the records of the person causing service.
- SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE
- That as a quantitative matter, any violation that may exist is only de minimis in amount.
- SUPPLIED UTILITIES
- Trash removal, fuel, electrical, water (including water testing mandated by any state or local public agency) and sewer services supplied directly to the individual mobile home and not to the common areas of the park, for which services the landlord is responsible to the supplier for payment.
- A mobile home owner who rents and occupies a mobile home park space and/or a tenant who rents both a mobile home and park space in combination.
- VACANCY DECONTROL
- Free market conditions shall determine the rental structure of mobile home and pad rights sold outside of the vested tenancy period. However, under no circumstances shall the impact of the free market conditions be permitted to cause an increase in rental of the mobile home park space greater than 25% of the previous lot rental. Vacancy decontrol shall allow mobile home park space rental fees to automatically float to reflect current market conditions subject to the twenty-five percent cap herein described.
- VESTED TENANCY
- Any tenant selling his or her mobile home during the period from January 1, 1992, to December 31, 1992, shall pass on to his or her buyer a protected tenancy status for that period that will vest in the buyer rights to the seller's rent-control-governed monthly rental fee subject to any additional assessments or pass-through charges as allowed by the Rent Control Board.
There is hereby created a Rent Stabilization and Control Board within and for Pittsgrove Township. The Board shall consist of five members and three alternates, all of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Township Committee. Two initial members shall be appointed for one-year terms, two for two-year terms and one for a three-year term. Subsequent members shall serve three-year terms, and vacancies shall be filled for the balance of any term. There shall be no compensation for the Board members.
The membership of the Board shall be as follows: One regular member shall be an owner or manager of a mobile home park located in Pittsgrove Township. One member shall be a tenant of a mobile home park located in Pittsgrove Township. The three remaining members of the Board shall be residents of Pittsgrove Township who are neither owners nor managers of a mobile home park nor tenants of such a park. The Chairman/woman shall be chosen by the Rent Control Board from among the nonlandlord/tenant members. The Rent Control Board shall also designate a Vice Chairman/woman and shall appoint a Secretary to the Board. Each of said terms shall be deemed to commence on the first day of July for the first year of their respective appointments, and subsequent appointees shall begin their terms on that date. There shall be three alternates to serve in the absence or disqualification of a corresponding member of the Board, one of whom shall be a park owner or manager and one of whom shall be a tenant in a Township mobile home park, but neither the alternate landlord nor tenant member of the Board shall be of the same mobile home park as the regular member. The remaining alternate shall be a resident of Pittsgrove Township who is neither a landlord, manager nor tenant of a mobile home park. The three alternate members shall be appointed annually by the Mayor and confirmed by the Township Committee and shall also serve without compensation.
There shall be appropriated in the annual budget of Pittsgrove Township such sum as may be determined by the Township Committee to be necessary for the purpose of administering this chapter, and the Board shall submit specific appropriations for inclusion in the Township annual budget. The Township Committee may appoint a financial consultant when needed to assist the Board. The Rent Control Board will appoint an attorney to assist the Board in its duties. The salaries and terms of the attorney and the Board Secretary shall be determined by the Township Committee.
The Rent Control 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.
To adopt such rules and regulations, including bylaws, as it deems necessary for its own government not inconsistent with this chapter or with law.
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter, such rules and regulations being subject to the approval of the Township Committee.
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants and to assist them in complying with the provisions of this chapter and to provide to applicants forms of application, including instructions as to what documentation is required in support of those applications.
To hold hearings and to adjudicate applications from landlords for additional rental income or charges as hereinafter provided.
To hold hearings and to adjudicate applications from tenants for reductions in rental income or charges as herein provided.
To administer oaths, to examine witnesses and by subpoena to compel the attendance and the testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, documents or other tangible things, pursuant to the provisions of the County and Municipal Investigations Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:67A-1 et seq.). The Board shall give both the landlord and the tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination and shall base its determination on the reasonable and credible evidence before it, although the strict rules of evidence shall not apply. The Board shall render a written decision in the form of a resolution, clearly stating the amount of increase, if any, granted, the effective date of said increase and the reasons for the Board's decision. The Board shall issue its findings, in writing, not more than 60 days after filing of a complete application in accordance with this chapter.
The Board may delegate one or more of its members to set up a prehearing conference with the landlords and interested tenants for the purpose of reviewing the application, establishing stipulations, determining issues in controversy and expediting a hearing.
The Board shall meet and conduct hearings at least once a month at a time and place to be set by the Board unless there shall be no pending business before the Board. Special meetings may be called by the Chairman/woman or a majority of the members (not alternates) upon at least 72 hours' notice to all members and alternates, in writing.
A quorum shall be necessary to conduct business and shall consist of a simple majority of the full membership of the Board.
Each regular member shall participate in all meetings of the Board and shall have one vote when present.
Each alternate member can fully participate in all meetings of the Board but shall only have a vote if the member of his or her class is absent or disqualified.
A member or alternate may vote on matters already in progress upon certification, in writing, that he or she has reviewed all prior proceedings in the matter and is familiar therewith.
A verbatim recording shall be taken of all meetings of the Board, copies of which shall be produced and supplied upon request and upon payment of the actual cost of transcribing and copying the number of copies requested.
Accurate minutes of all meetings and decisions shall be kept by the Recording Secretary and filed monthly with the Township Clerk.
The following fee schedule for petitions and applications to the Rent Control Board is established. The fees shall be payable to the Township Clerk of Pittsgrove Township.
Each tenant petition for rent reduction, as herein provided, shall be accompanied by a filing fee as indicated in Chapter A120, Fees, which is nonrefundable.
Each landlord petition for rent increase shall be accompanied by a filing fee as indicated in Chapter A120, Fees, which is nonrefundable. In the event that a landlord files for a rent increase based on capital improvements, as provided herein in § 75-14, or a hardship increase, as provided herein in § 75-17, his application shall be accompanied by a consulting escrow fee in the amount as indicated in Chapter A120, Fees. This consulting escrow fee shall be utilized to pay for the services of a licensed or certified public accountant at rates to be fixed by the Township Committee, who shall review the landlord's submissions and determine the accuracy and propriety of the depreciation schedules, interest payments and methods of calculation as submitted in support of the landlord's petition. Escrow fees which are deposited in excess of the amount required for the consulting services shall be refunded to the landlord. In the event that additional moneys are needed above the escrow fee indicated above for the service by the consultant, the applicant shall be informed of the amount needed, and that amount shall be deposited with Pittsgrove Township, but in no case shall the fee be higher than as indicated in Chapter A120, Fees.
Any owner or tenant who is affected by any action or decision of the Rent Control Board may appeal the final decision or order of said Board to the Superior Court of New Jersey, as provided by law, and shall have no right of appeal to the Township Committee.
[Amended 9-13-2005 by Ord. No. 9-2005; 3-14-2006 by Ord. No. 4-2006]
A willful violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or of a final resolution or order of the Board, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Board of any material misstatement of fact, shall be punishable, upon conviction, by one or more of the following: imprisonment in the county jail for any term not exceeding 90 days; or by a fine of no less than $100 and not more than $2,000; or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. A violation affecting more than one mobile home space shall be construed as a separate violation as to each separate mobile home space so affected.
At or within 60 days of the expiration of a lease for one or more years or less or the termination of a periodic tenancy of one or more years or less, a landlord may apply on an annual basis for an increase in rents which, at the discretion of the Board, may be granted at an amount set by the Board but shall not exceed the percentage increase between the consumer price index which existed 120 days (four calendar months) prior to the expiration of the lease or twelve-month tenancy and the consumer price index which existed 120 days (four calendar months) prior to the date on which the landlord and tenant entered into the expiring lease agreement. In the case of a periodic tenancy whose lease term shall have been less than one year, the increase, if any, shall be determined by applying the increase in the CPI during the one-year period as outlined above [i.e., increase in the CPI for a period of 16 months prior to the expiration of the tenant's lease and ending at the period four months prior to the expiration of the tenant's lease]. An increase under this section shall not be permitted less than 12 months after any prior annual increase or hardship increase. An increase, based on the CPI as explained herein, may be up to but shall not exceed 6%.
Sixty days prior to any proposed increase under this section, the landlord shall serve in accordance with this chapter upon the tenants who may be affected and upon the Rent Control Board a notice setting forth:
A certification that the names and addresses of the affected tenants have been attached to the application and are on file with the Township Clerk.
A certification that a full list of the lot numbers of the affected tenants has been attached to the application and is on file with the Township Clerk.
The inception date and expiration date of the lease or periodic tenancy.
The proposed date of increase.
The base rent for the unit, as defined under this chapter.
A clear and precise explanation of the items and amounts excluded from the existing gross rent in determining the base rent and the dates of any adjustments pertaining thereto (including calculations which show how the landlord arrived at these figures.)
The amount of any increase sought in accordance with the consumer price index and as provided by the Board Secretary.
The dollar effect of said increase on the base and gross rent.
The location where notices of the date, time and place of public hearings shall be posted about the landlord's establishment and a certification that such a notice has been posted advising the tenants that an application has been filed and that it is likely that the application will be considered at the Board's next monthly meeting and the date, time and place of the next meeting which follows the filing of the application.
A certification that the park is in substantial material compliance with state, county and municipal regulations and that no substantial maintenance, upkeep, licensing or unabated health problems exist; provided, however, that insubstantial or nonmaterial violations resulting in delay in the issuance of a license shall not disqualify a landlord's application hereunder. The landlord shall further obtain certification from the Township Tax Collector that no more than two quarters of real estate property taxes are still due at the time of the application being filed and certification from the Township Clerk that all pad fees due at the time of the application have been paid.
A certification from the park operator that he or she is in compliance with N.J.S.A. 46:8-28f, which provides:
[Amended 9-13-2005 by Ord. No. 9-2005]
The Rent Control Board, upon receipt of any application which is deemed to be incomplete, shall return the application to the park operator for completion, and any time limitations imposed by this chapter upon the Board shall not be effective until the Board has received a complete application.
It is intended that a park operator shall receive annually the percentage of increase in the consumer price index as described above, contingent upon meeting the requirements as stated above.
The Board Secretary, upon receiving the application, shall notify the applicant of the scheduled public hearing date so that the applicant can meet the requirements set forth in Subsection B(9) above. The landlord shall certify, in writing, at or before the public meeting, the fact that the public notices were actually posted.
A landlord is entitled to pass through to tenants its increases in property taxes from those levied in the immediately preceding tax year, provided that the landlord has complied with the provisions of this subsection.
No increase shall be permitted if the landlord is delinquent in more than two quarters of real estate tax payments. The landlord shall notify the tenants and the Rent Control Board not less than 60 days prior to the proposed increase or pass-through by regular mail or by personal service, each supported by certification or affidavit and which shall contain the following information:
The tax bill for the current year and the paid tax bill for the preceding year; or proof showing the amount and payment of the prior year's property taxes and proof showing that no more than two quarters of taxes are due and owing.
A certification by a duly qualified civil engineer, licensed land appraiser or other suitable expert, which clearly indicates the parts of the property that are:
Areas undeveloped and presumed not part of the current operation of the residential uses of the mobile home park with a clear statement of what portion of the tax assessment is based on that area.
Areas developed and used for the personal purposes of the owner and/or management, including residences and personal and nonoperational storage facilities, with a clear statement of what portion of the tax assessment is based on those areas.
Areas developed and used for commercial or other nonresidential operations, with a clear statement of what portion of the tax assessment is based on those areas.
Areas developed, used and available for use to the mobile home residents, including pads and common areas which shall include all areas and facilities reasonably considered to be incidental to the operation of a mobile home park, with a clear statement of what portion of the tax assessment is based on those areas.
In the event that the landlord certifies, by submission of a written affidavit, that the conditions referred to in Subsection A(1)(b)[a], [b], [c] and [d] above remain unchanged from the last approved certification, the submissions for Subsection A(1)(b)[a], [b], [c] and [d] for that application shall incorporate the documentation submitted in prior years.
Calculations showing the amount of increase over the prior year's taxes and any ancillary proofs which demonstrate that the property under consideration is within the area of the mobile home park which is available for use of the mobile home residents.
Calculations which demonstrate the total amount of tax increase for the area of the mobile home park which is available for use of the mobile home residents divided by the total number of mobile home spaces to indicate the annual amount to be passed through to each tenant.
Calculations dividing the annual amount by 12 to indicate the amount the park operator is seeking to pass through to each tenant on a monthly basis.
A landlord must submit to the Rent Control Board all documentation reflecting that any real estate evaluation increase is being appealed. Should the Rent Control Board approve the requested application for a real estate tax pass-through, the landlord shall furnish to the Rent Control Board, within 60 days after a decision has been rendered by the Appeals Board, documentation stating the Appeals Board decision. If the Appeals Board decision results in a lowering of the landlord's real estate taxes, the landlord shall file a request for a pass-through reduction of real estate tax charges to the tenants retroactive to and to coincide with the date of reduction approved by the Appeals Board.
A landlord is entitled to pass through to tenants its increases in supplied utilities, as defined in § 75-3, provided that the landlord has complied with the provisions of this subsection. No increase shall be permitted if the landlord is delinquent in more than two quarters of real estate tax payments. The landlord shall notify the tenants and the Rent Control Board not less than 60 days prior to the proposed increase or pass-through by regular mail or personal service, supported by certification or affidavit and which shall contain the following information:
The invoice for the utility or service at issue showing the increase along with an invoice showing the costs to the landlord prior to the increase and/or a notice from the utility or service provider that an increase will take effect.
A statement as to what date the utility or service rate increase became or becomes effective.
A statement by the landlord that the rate increase is not to be a temporary rate increase by the supplier.
Calculations showing the amount of increase over the prior year's cost and any ancillary proofs which demonstrate that the utility or service under consideration is within the area of the mobile home park which is available for use of the mobile home residents.
Calculations which demonstrate how the utility or service increase is to be divided or apportioned by or among the total number of mobile home spaces to indicate the annual amount to be passed through to each tenant.
Calculations dividing the annual amount by 12 to indicate the amount the park operator is seeking to pass through to each tenant on a monthly basis.
A landlord shall be entitled to pass through to its tenants increases in governmental charges and/or space, pad and licensing fees from those imposed by the municipality in the immediately preceding year, provided that the landlord has complied with the provisions of this section. Increased costs for owner-supplied utilities, as mandated by public authority or law and which are payable to the State of New Jersey, County of Salem or Pittsgrove Township, shall be applicable to this section.
No increase shall be permitted if the landlord is delinquent in payment of the previous year's municipal charges, including taxes, space and pad fees and licensing fees.
Any increase in governmental charges and for space and pad fees and licensing fees shall be determined by using the rate of the prior calendar year and then calculating the increase per unit using generally the guidelines as set forth in § 75-11 of this chapter.
The landlord shall notify the tenants and the Rent Control Board 60 days prior to the proposed increase by regular mail or by personal service, each supported by certification or affidavit, such notice to include the following:
The calculations which demonstrate the increase over the prior year of governmental charges, pad fees or licensing fees, including exhibits which demonstrate the cost per unit as a result of the mandated charges, including exhibits which demonstrate the increased cost to the park operator.
A statement that the landlord is not delinquent in the payment of the previous year's governmental charges, space, pad or licensing fees.
Governmental charges, space or pad fees and licensing increases allowable under this section shall be paid by the tenant in 12 equal monthly installments which shall commence at the time of the annual increase pursuant to § 75-10.
The Board shall schedule a public hearing with respect to the proposed increase within 30 days of the landlord's application or at its next monthly meeting, and the landlord shall post a notice regarding the public hearing, as provided in § 75-10B(9) of this chapter.
All mobile home park tenants residing within a park as of the effective date of this amended chapter, January 1, 1992, shall be granted vested tenant status. Such status shall remain in effect until January 1, 1993. If during the period of the tenant's vested status the tenant sells and transfers his/her mobile home and limited right to a space within the park to a purchaser for value in an arm's-length transaction, said purchaser shall assume the selling tenant's vested tenancy status as it pertains to rent control for the duration of the vested tenancy (until January 1, 1993).
Purchasers of mobile homes or pad rights within the park after January 1, 1993, shall take such mobile homes from their sellers, subject to the pad rents established pursuant to the vacancy decontrol provisions set forth herein pursuant to §§ 75-10, 75-11, 75-13, 75-14, 75-15, 75-16, 75-17 and 75-21.
Vacancy decontrol. The purchasers of mobile homes, pursuant to Subsection B, shall have their pad rental fee determined pursuant to the fair market rent as established by the Rent Control Board, together with and in accordance with the timetable and procedures specified in § 75-10 of this chapter; provided, however, that the determination of the fair market rent shall be exclusively based upon the submission of written opinions by qualified experts. The credibility and qualifications of experts shall remain within the reasonable discretion of the Rent Control Board.
A landlord may seek a pass-through surcharge for major capital improvements, as defined in this chapter, to cover the cost of a completed major capital improvement.
A landlord may also seek a preliminary determination from the Board as to whether a contemplated capital improvement or any part thereof will be considered a major capital improvement under this chapter. The application for a preliminary determination must include the information mandated in Subsection B(1) through (7) below; provided, however, that factors related to the costs of proposed capital improvements may be estimated based on the submission of a licensed architect or engineer. For those capital improvement projects for which preliminary determination has been made, the scope of criteria for review shall be limited to compliance and adherence to the preliminary determination; any portion of said capital improvement project which was not included in the preliminary determination shall be subject to review de novo pursuant to this section.
A landlord may not be entitled to receive a major capital improvement surcharge which shall be necessitated as a result of deterioration of the park or other deterioration beyond ordinary wear and tear or failure of the landlord to perform ordinary repair, replacement or maintenance.
A landlord shall file an application as defined below, including all supporting documents, and a public hearing shall be required for all major capital improvement surcharges or preliminary determinations by the Board. At least 45 days prior to the public hearing, the landlord shall notify each tenant in the park by regular mail or personal service, supported by certification or affidavit. This notice shall include the following information:
A detailed description of the improvement.
The total cost of the completed improvement.
The number of years of useful life claimed by the landlord for the major capital improvement and the basis therefor.
The total number of spaces or pads contained in the park for which the surcharge income is sought.
If the park consists of different sizes or classes of spaces, the ratio of the different classes of spaces based on an average base rent.
The apportioned surcharge the landlord is seeking from each tenant space or class of tenant space in accordance with this section.
The identification of the locations where notices of any public hearing will be posted.
Notice of the public hearing shall include the date, time and place and shall be posted in conspicuous locations at least five days before the hearing.
Not less than five days prior to any hearing, all supportive documentation for the surcharge shall be presented to the Secretary of the Rent Control Board for public inspection.
The capital improvement surcharge approved by the Board shall be apportioned among all units or spaces unless, in the discretion of the Board, the improvement benefits units in varying degrees according to the amount of living space, in which case the Board shall equitably apportion the cost of the improvement on the basis of space or pad size. In the event that the improvement is equally beneficial to all dwelling units regardless of the living area or pad size, then the cost of the improvement shall be equally surcharged to all such spaces.
Any surcharge granted hereunder shall not exceed 10% of the tenant's base rent in effect at the time the surcharge is granted. The surcharge paid by each tenant shall be paid in monthly installments and shall be 1/12 of the tenant's total yearly surcharge. The payment shall be made during the useful life of the improvement as determined by the Board. A surcharge granted by the Rent Control Board shall not be considered rent for the purposes of computing automatic rent increases and shall not be included in a base rent for any other purpose.
In the event of a successful tax appeal by a landlord resulting in a reduction of the municipal property tax, the tenant shall receive 50% of the net tax refund after deducting all reasonable expenses incurred by the landlord in prosecuting the appeal. The tenant's share in subsequent years shall be 50% of the gross tax reduction.
The proportionate share of each individual tenant is to be determined on the basis of the number of mobile home spaces or pads.
The landlord shall, within 30 days of the receipt of a tax refund, identify for each tenant and the Rent Control Board, in writing:
If the tenant is still residing in the dwelling or complex, then the tenant's proportionate share of the refund shall be deducted from his next month's rent. A tenant who is no longer residing in the complex is entitled to his proportionate share of the tax refund. The landlord shall so inform him by sending him a notice to his forwarding address. Money unclaimed after 60 days shall revert to the Township.
A tenant shall be entitled to a rent reduction from a landlord because of a decrease in the municipal property taxes or cost of supplied utilities or any decrease in the space fees or license fees charged by the municipality or for the existence of municipal code violations, as provided for in Subsection B hereof.
The reduction shall not exceed that amount authorized by the following provisions:
Where the decrease consists of a decrease in the municipal property tax due to aid received from state aid for school funds and where said decrease is subject to the provisions of P.L. 1976, c. 63 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-6.2 et seq.), as may be amended from time to time, the landlord shall make such rebate upon such terms as P.L. 1976, c. 63, provides.
Where the decrease consists of a decrease in the municipal property tax, other than that decrease provided for in Subsection A(1) above, the landlord shall divide the decrease in the present tax over the tax for the previous year by the total number of mobile home spaces in the park. The decrease each tenant is entitled to shall be a credit against the tenant's rent in 12 monthly installments. Any tenant entitled to a rent decrease hereunder shall be served with a notice of the calculations involved in computing such reduction and the effective date of such reduction. The notice shall be served on the Board and the tenants within 60 days of notification to the landlord of the reduction.
In the event that the decrease consists of a decrease in the cost of supplied utilities, space fees or license fees, the landlord shall divide the decrease in the present cost of supplied utilities, space fees or license fees over the cost of supplied utilities, space fees or license fees for the previous year by the total number of mobile home spaces in the mobile home park to obtain the decrease per space. The decrease which each tenant is entitled to receive shall be a credit against rent in 12 monthly installments. Notice of said decrease shall be served on the Board and the tenants within 45 days of the notice to the landlord of the decrease, and the credit against rent for any such decrease shall be implemented within 60 days of the landlord's receipt of a notice of reduction.
Where a mobile home park or any part thereof is being operated in violation of municipal codes and where such violation adversely affects habitability, any affected tenant or tenants may apply to the Board for a reasonable reduction in rent, commensurate with any such effect on habitability, whereupon the Board shall duly notify the landlord and schedule the matter for a hearing. If as a result of the hearing the Board determines that a violation of a municipal code exists and that such violation affects habitability, it may grant a reasonable reduction in rent to the affected tenant or tenants, which rent shall remain in effect until the landlord corrects said violation or violations.
An application for reduction based on habitability shall include:
A clear statement of the reasons for the basis of the claim for a reduction with mathematical calculations of all amounts relevant to the requested reduction.
A detailed list of all mobile home spaces affected by the alleged violation.
A certification that the application is being made in good faith and not for the purpose of retaliating for or delaying any increases otherwise provided for under this chapter.
An identification of the individual tenants or the organization of tenants making the application.
Individual tenants shall state their names and addresses and the location of their mobile home spaces.
An unincorporated association of mobile home park residents shall state:
It is expressly recognized that an efficient landlord is entitled to a just and reasonable rate of return from the operation of his property. To that end, a landlord is permitted to make application to the Board for rental increases on the basis that rents allowed by this chapter prevent the landlord from receiving a just and reasonable rate of return. Such rental increases shall be allowed only on the basis of the formula set forth in this provision, which formula shall be the exclusive formula for determining a just and reasonable rate of return. Upon application duly made and pursuant to the requirements of this chapter, the Board may grant to the park owner a rental increase upon his showing that his reasonable and necessary operating expenses for the last full fiscal year exceeded 60% of his gross annual income (60/40 Rule). If the Board is satisfied that such a showing has been established and that the landlord has conducted the operation of his park and business in a reasonable and efficient manner, then the Board may grant a rental increase sufficient to restore reasonable and necessary operating expenses to 60% of the gross annual income.
Every application under this section shall be served on the Board and on all tenants and shall include the following:
The name and address and telephone number of the landlord.
The name and address of the attorney, if any, and the accountant who prepared the application on behalf of the landlord.
A certified rent list indicating thereon all actual and allowable rents, as well as the rental sought in the application from each tenant.
A written explanation of the basis for the requested increase.
A detailed financial report setting forth the justification for the requested increase, including income statements, balance sheets, cash-flow analysis, statements of charges from previously submitted applications, statements of projected expenses and revenues and such other documents as may be helpful to or requested by the Board. The articles contained in this subsection shall be sworn to by a licensed public or certified public accountant if the same shall be requested by the Board.
A copy of the termination notice to the tenants to be used if the increase is granted.
A copy of the notice to be forwarded to the tenants notifying them of the hearing.
A detailed description of each category of tenant-occupied space or area available for rent to tenants, including all amenities and square footage.
A statement setting forth what the applicant believes to be the reasonable rental for each unit.
Each petition for rent increases in accordance with this section shall be accompanied by the necessary application fee and deposit for the cost of consulting services as required by this chapter. The consulting escrow moneys shall be utilized to pay for the services of financial consultants, who shall review the landlord's submission, determine its acceptability as to form and shall then prepare a detailed accounting and financial review, and/or for a real estate appraiser who shall review the property for determination of value and prepare a report for consideration by the Board. Any amount of the escrow fee in excess of that required for consulting services shall be refunded to the landlord.
Items to be submitted under specific subsections in support of an application for hardship are as follows:
Actual increased annual operating expenses and costs of operations:
The application will require submission of financial data indicating the increase in the reasonable and necessary operating expenses for the most recent twelve-month period, said period ending no earlier than 60 days from the date of the application.
Documents in support of this section shall include such costs as repairs, maintenance, taxes, administration and salaries, as well as projected expenditures for the next twelve-month period, repairs and maintenance reasonable and necessary to maintain the premises in good condition and real estate taxes actually paid, including sums in escrow pending appeal.
Just and reasonable rate of return on owner's investment. The application should include the following:
A calculation of the return on historic costs for the most recent twelve-month period, said period ending no earlier than 60 days prior to the date of application and also for the entire period since purchase of the park by the current owners.
A calculation of the projected return on historic costs for the next twelve-month period.
The investment basis, including a schedule of the original investment and the additional investments and decreases in investments by the present owners.
A schedule of the receivables from or payable to the owners.
Disclosure of any affiliation with any other company, including a summary of intercompany transactions during the period under consideration (prior and the projected 12 months).
The estimated income tax savings that are expected to result to the parent company or to the owners if the company is operating as a partnership or tax option corporation under Subchapter S as a result of the entity generating a net operating loss for tax purposes that would be available to the parent company or to the owners.
A schedule of rates of return on their investments having comparable risks.
A statement demonstrating that repairs and maintenance costs were reasonable and necessary to maintain the premises in a good condition.
A statement demonstrating that real estate taxes are actually paid, including sums in escrow pending appeal.
Upon receipt of an application for hardship increase, the Recording Secretary of the Board or the Board itself caused, through its financial consultant, a preliminary review to indicate whether the application is complete and whether it meets the requirements of this chapter. Within 15 days of the submission of the application, the Recording Secretary or financial consultant shall notify the applicant whether the application is deemed complete and proper or improper. If improper, the Recording Secretary or financial consultant shall return the application to the applicant with specific instructions as to what corrections or additions need to be made to the application to complete the proper scheduling of a hearing.
Within 20 days of the submission of an application under this section, unless the same has been returned as improper or incomplete, the Recording Secretary shall establish a hearing date and notify the applicant of the same. Such hearing date shall be no later than 60 days from the date of the submission of the application. At least 15 days prior to the date scheduled for the hearing, the applicant must cause proper service to be effected upon all tenants in units to be affected by the rental increase sought by the landlord. The notification to the tenants must include the date of the hearing, the proposed monthly increase to each tenant and a notice that the supporting documents for the proposed increase are available for review during business hours at the office of the applicant and by prearrangement at the Township Municipal Building. A copy of the notice and affidavit of mailing or service shall be filed with the Rent Control Board prior to commencement of the hearing.
Clear and legible copies of all documents upon which the applicant intends to rely in support of the hardship application, including such additional documents as requested by the Board, will be filed with the Secretary of the Board at the time of the filing of the original application or within five working days of a request from the Board for additional or supplemental information.
If the Board, after full hearing, determines that the landlord is entitled to a hardship increase in accordance with the 60/40 Rule, the amount of such increase shall be entered in the form of a resolution and served upon the landlord who shall serve notice of the total award and the amount applicable as rent to each tenant under the provisions of this chapter.
A landlord may not apply for a hardship increase more than once during any twelve-month period.
A hardship increase, if awarded, shall be considered rent and shall be utilized in calculating any subsequent base rents or automatic increase.
Notwithstanding the 60/40 Rule as applied in § 75-20, it is acknowledged that in the most extreme of circumstances, a landlord or park operator who avails himself or herself of all available hardship and other increases and efficiently operates his or her park may still be unable to make a profit on his or her investment. A park operator who has properly sought and received all available increases under the preceding sections of this chapter may, upon notice to the Board and affected tenants, as required in § 75-18, apply to the Board for extraordinary increase to the extent that the landlord or park operator shall be permitted an increase in rents to effect a profit. The granting of such extraordinary relief shall be in the sole discretion of the Board and shall be based on the enumerated information as required for hardship increase in § 75-18 and such other documentation as the landlord shall choose to submit to document his failure to achieve profit.
The award of any such extraordinary increase shall be predicated on the Board's finding that the park has been operated in a proper and efficient manner and that, despite such operation, the operator has demonstrated a legitimate, as opposed to technical or self-created, failure to achieve a profit.
Any rental income or additional charge or increase in excess of that authorized by the Board and the provisions of this chapter shall be void.
This chapter, being necessary for the health and welfare of the citizens of Pittsgrove Township, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof.