Borough of Palisades Park, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
This chapter shall be administered by the Rent Leveling Board.
The Board shall be comprised of the following members:
A. 
Class 1: two members who are landlords of buildings within the Borough of Palisades Park.
B. 
Class 2: two members who are tenants in buildings which are subject to the provisions of this chapter. A member of this class shall not be an agent or employee of a landlord.
C. 
Class 3: two members who are neither a landlord nor a tenant.
[Amended 9-19-1995 by Ord. No. 1228]
D. 
One alternate for each of the above three classes.
The members and alternates shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. Each member and alternate shall serve for a term of three years or until that person becomes ineligible to serve in the class in which he or she was appointed.
[Amended 3-6-1990 by Ord. No. 1103]
Each member, upon assuming office, shall provide to the Secretary/Investigator of the Board a sworn statement that he or she is eligible to serve in the class to which he or she was appointed.
One member of each class must be present to hold meetings and conduct business. If no regular member of a class is present, then the alternate for that class shall serve. The alternate shall serve as the voting member for all hearings and decisions related to the case in which such member participated, in lieu of the regular member.
The Board shall, at its annual reorganization meeting, to take place in the month of January, elect a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson. These officers shall serve for one year following election.
[Amended 3-6-1990 by Ord. No. 1103]
The Mayor and Council shall appoint and fix compensation for a Secretary/Investigator and counsel to the Board.
[Amended 3-6-1990 by Ord. No. 1103]
The Board Secretary/Investigator shall provide administrative services to the Board, such as receiving applications, reviewing applications, scheduling hearings, answering correspondence, communicating decisions to the interested parties and such other duties as might be necessary.
The Board shall hold hearings and make decisions as provided for in this chapter.
A. 
The Board shall adopt rules and regulations to provide for orderly administration of this chapter.
B. 
These rules and regulations and later amendments shall first be introduced at a meeting of the Board and voted upon at the next subsequent meeting.
C. 
These rules and regulations and later amendments shall be filed with the Borough Clerk no later than five business days after adoption. The Mayor and Council shall have the right to veto by majority vote any and all regulations of the Board.
A. 
By December 31 of each year, the Board shall prepare a report indicating the following information:
(1) 
The number of applications filed with the Board and the nature of the same.
(2) 
The disposition of each application.
(3) 
Rent increases and/or surcharges granted.
(4) 
The number of units in each apartment house for which the Board granted a rent increase or surcharge.
(5) 
The purchase date of the apartment house.
(6) 
The purchase price of the apartment house.
(7) 
The age of the apartment house.
B. 
A copy of the report shall be filed with the Mayor and Council.
A. 
The Board shall hold hearings on the following:
(1) 
Appeals from decisions of the Secretary/Investigator of the Board. All appeals shall be in writing. All appeals shall be filed with the Board Secretary/Investigator within 15 days from the date the decision is made.
[Amended 3-6-1990 by Ord. No. 1103]
(2) 
Tenant complaints, as provided for in this chapter.
(3) 
Applications for capital improvement surcharges, as provided for in this chapter.
(4) 
Applications for hardship surcharges, as provided for in this chapter.
(5) 
Applications for a reduction of services, as provided for in this chapter.
(6) 
Applications for a decrease in rent, as provided for in this chapter.
B. 
Notice requirements; expert testimony; documentation list.
(1) 
The Board shall establish a date for the hearing no later than 120 days from the proper filing of the application. The Board shall notify the applicant of the date of the hearing. The applicant shall provide 30 days' notice, in writing, of the date of the hearing. The applicant, if a tenant, shall notify the landlord and all affected tenants. If the applicant is a landlord, he or she shall notify all affected tenants. Said notice shall include a copy of the application and the date for the hearing and shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested. A copy of the notice of the date of the hearing and a copy of the application shall be posted in the lobby of the dwelling or, if no lobby is present, in a conspicuous place in and about the premises.
(2) 
The applicant or any other party receiving notice of a hearing may submit expert testimony in support of his position. Expert testimony may only be presented if a written report summarizing the nature of the testimony is submitted to the Board Secretary/Investigator. The applicant shall submit all expert reports at least 25 days prior to the hearing date.
(3) 
The applicant or any other party receiving a notice of a hearing shall submit a list of all documents that the applicant or other party will rely upon at the time of the hearing. The documentation list of the applicant shall be submitted at least 25 days prior to the hearing date. The documentation list of all other parties shall be submitted at least 10 days prior to the hearing date. The list shall indicate when and where copies of the documents can be examined. Copies of all documents to be relied on during the hearing shall be submitted to the Board 25 days prior to the hearing by the applicant and 10 days prior to the hearing by all other parties. Documents not submitted and set forth on the list may not be relied upon in the presentation of any testimony.
C. 
The Board shall establish rules for the conduct of hearings. Said rules shall include but shall not be limited to:
(1) 
Provisions governing the following:
(a) 
Submission of evidence.
(b) 
Notification to the Board and all parties or witnesses.
(c) 
Submission of legal memorandums and other documentation.
(d) 
Time limitations for presentations by parties.
(2) 
All other rules deemed necessary for the orderly and proper conduct of hearings.
D. 
The Board may compel the applicant to submit 10 copies of all documentation it deems necessary to adjudicate the application. This documentation shall include but shall not be limited to financial statements, balance sheets and income and expense statements of dwellings, as prepared by a certified public accountant. The applicant shall also supply one copy of all documentation to each group or party who may be affected by the application.
E. 
The Board may, by resolution, determine that the services of an independent auditor are required for the review and rendering of a report on documentation submitted with an application. In that event, the Mayor and Council may, by resolution, authorize the hiring of an auditor and establish a fee for the services to be rendered. In that event, the auditor's fee shall be paid by the person making the application to the Board. No application shall be heard by the Board until the fee shall have been paid.
F. 
All parties appearing before the Rent Leveling Board in connection with hearings, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, are entitled to be represented by counsel admitted to the practice of law in the State of New Jersey. All corporations appearing at such hearings or appeals shall be represented by counsel admitted to the practice of law in the State of New Jersey, as provided for under New Jersey law.
G. 
A verbatim recording shall be made of all hearings.
H. 
All findings and determinations of the Board shall be issued in writing no later than 60 days after the conclusion of any hearing. Any increases in rental resulting from an order of the Board shall take effect on the first day of the succeeding month only if that allows for 15 days' notice of the calculation of the surcharge; if not, the surcharge will commence on the first of the following month. No surcharge may be assessed retroactively. Said notification shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested.
I. 
The party filing an application before the Rent Leveling Board shall make the findings and determinations of the Board available to all parties to whom he is required to provide notice of said application. Said notice of findings and determinations shall be forwarded in the same manner as said notice of application. Said findings and determinations shall be forwarded within 10 days of receipt of the same by the applicant.
J. 
The Board may establish a committee of Board members to informally review applications to determine whether additional information and/or professional services are required.
K. 
The decision of the Board shall be by resolution, with certified copies mailed to the landlord and tenant who appeared at the hearing. Copies of the resolution shall be sent by certified mail within 10 days of the decision.
A. 
The Board shall hold hearings on tenant complaints covering allegations of rent increases in excess of the allowable rate, failure to maintain the same standards of service as originally provided and other matters arising from the failure of the landlord to observe this chapter. The tenant shall file the complaint on the form specified in the regulations established by the Board.
B. 
If the Board should make a determination that the tenant's case is justified after hearing both the tenant and landlord presentations and reviewing the evidence, the Board shall order the landlord to make an appropriate adjustment to that tenant's rent and all other tenants' rent to which the same situation applies.
C. 
If the Board should make a determination that the evidence indicates that the landlord or his agent knowingly and willfully violated this chapter through demanding rent increases in excess of this chapter, the Board shall direct the Secretary/Investigator to file a complaint with the Municipal Court against the landlord or agent.
[Amended 3-6-1990 by Ord. No. 1103]