Township of Mantua, NJ
Gloucester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mantua 11-25-2003 by Ord. No. O-15-2003 (Ch. 128 of the 1978 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
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 Gloucester and Township of Mantua, and either occupied, unoccupied and offered for rent.
DWELLING
Includes any building, structure or trailer or land used as a trailer park, either occupied or unoccupied, rented or offered for rent to one or more tenants or family units.
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of a dwelling, either occupied or unoccupied, rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to an individual and/or family unit, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property.
JUST AND REASONABLE RATE OF RETURN
One which is not confiscatory. It should be one generally commensurate with returns on similar investments; however, an evaluation must be made of the interests of not only the investor but also of the tenants and general public.
LEASE
A written or oral lease in existence between the landlord and the tenant, and, in the absence of a written or oral lease or in the circumstances wherein a month-to-month tenancy is created by the tenant and landlord, either explicitly, implicitly or by operation of law, lease shall mean, for the purposes of this chapter, the twelve-month period commencing on February 1 of each year.
MOBILE HOME SPACE
That portion of a mobile home park rented or offered for rent for the purpose of parking or positioning a trailer or mobile 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 portion of the property.
MULTIPLE DWELLING
Any building or structure of one or more stories and any land appurtenant thereto, and any portion thereof in which five or more units of dwelling space are occupied or are to be occupied by five or more persons or families who live independently of each other. This definition shall also mean any group of 10 or more buildings on a single parcel of land or on contiguous parcels under common ownership, in each of which two units of dwelling space are occupied or intended to be occupied by two persons or households living independently of each other, and any land appurtenant thereto and any portion thereof. This definition shall not be construed to include any building or structure defined as a hotel and registered as a hotel with the Commissioner of Community Affairs and occupied or intended to be occupied exclusively as such. This definition shall not be construed to include any building section containing not more than two dwelling units held under a condominium or cooperative form of ownership, or by a mutual housing corporation, where all the dwelling units in the section are occupied by their owners, if a condominium, or by shareholders in the cooperative or mutual housing corporation, and where such building section has at least two exterior walls unattached to any adjoining building section and is attached to any adjoining building sections exclusively by walls of such fire-resistant rating as shall be accepted or expected by recognized standards; this definition does not include any building of three stories of fewer, owned or controlled by a nonprofit corporation organized under any law of this state for the primary purpose to provide for its shareholders or members housing in a retirement community as the same is defined under the provisions of the Retirement Community Full Disclosure Act (N.J.S.A. 45:22A-1 et seq.) of the Laws of the State of New Jersey.
PRICE INDEX
The consumer price index (all items) for the region of the United States of which the Township of Mantua, State of New Jersey, is a part, published periodically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor.
PROTECTED TENANCY
A dwelling or housing space occupied by a tenant that is not subject to vacancy decontrol as hereinafter described. A protected tenancy arises at the commencement of a tenancy relationship with the landlord in which the provisions of this chapter are directed. Such a protected tenancy commences following the vacancy decontrol of a unit and continues throughout the parties' relationship.
RENTAL INCOME
The payable rent charged and received for the mobile home space over the previous twelve-month period exclusive of any of the following: space fees or license fees charged by the Township of Mantua pursuant to any duly adopted ordinance; any cost of supplied utilities; and any increase for hardship or major capital improvements as permitted hereinafter.
SERVICE
Mailing to the home address by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by hand delivery certified to by affidavit or by 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.
SUPPLIED UTILITIES
Fuel, electrical, water and sewer services supplied directly to the individual mobile home, for which services the landlord is responsible to the supplier for payment.
The establishment of rents between a landlord and a protected tenant to whom this chapter is applicable shall hereafter be determined by using either of the methods set forth in Subsection A or B below, but not both, and by utilizing the procedures set forth in Subsections C, D, E and F below.
A. 
Rent increases shall be allowed only to the extent which is reasonably necessary to permit an efficient landlord to realize a just and reasonable return on his property, with reliance given upon the following grounds:
(1) 
A rent increase reasonably necessary to indemnify an efficient landlord for the increased cost to the landlord for supplied utilities and for the cost of completed capital improvements as determined by § 318-9, where the absorption of those costs will materially and adversely diminish the return realized by the landlord on his property.
(2) 
A rent increase necessary to cover the inadequacy of the landlord's net working capital generated from operations to cover mortgage payments, where the mortgage payments result from a capitalization equity ratio which is commercially reasonable and reasonably related to the acquisition or refinancing of the dwelling for rental purposes.
(a) 
A landlord who finds that present rental income and additional charges from the housing space on which he seeks relief hereunder are insufficient to cover the cost of payments on a first mortgage and any subsequent mortgages directly used to improve and upgrade the housing space and/or payments for maintenance and/or all operating costs may appeal to the Board for a hardship, the Board may grant the landlord a hardship rent increase to meet these needs after considering the proofs presented by the landlord, the condition of housing space and degree of hardship to the landlord.
(b) 
The burden of proof in regard to value computation, the reasonableness of expenses, reasonable rental, inadequacy rate of return and all items pertaining thereto is on the applicant. Where a majority of the Board decides that it is unable to make a proper determination from the facts as presented, the Board may call for an independent examination of all relevant documents, and the independent examiner shall then present his findings to the Board prior to its deciding on the application.
(3) 
Any increase to the landlord in mobile home space fees or license fees charged by the Township of Mantua pursuant to any duly adopted ordinance. The landlord may also seek an increase as reimbursement for 1/2 of his application fee paid to the Township at the time of filing the application with the Township for a rent increase.
B. 
Any amount equal to the percentage difference between the consumer price index for December of the year in which the increase is sought and the consumer price index for December of the previous year, whichever is less. Any continuing tenant shall not suffer or be caused to pay the rent increase for the housing space or dwelling unit within any twelve-month period which exceeds the above-permitted increase for the twelve-month period. Specifically, in the event that a specific term for the tenancy does not exist between the landlord and tenant pursuant to any written or oral lease or in the event that explicitly, implicitly, applied or by operation of law the relationship between the landlord and tenant is realistically deemed to be a month-to-month tenancy, tenants so situate shall not suffer or be caused to pay more than one rent increase allowable under § 318-2, in any twelve-month period commencing February 1 of each year, for the relevant housing space or dwelling unit.
[Amended 8-23-2005 by Ord. No. O-13-2005]
C. 
Rent increase. The approved rent increase shall become effective on the later of the anniversary of the effective date of the last approved rent increase or the date of the petition and be collectible over a period of not less than 12 months from the date it becomes effective.
D. 
Application requirements for standard consumer price index increase. An application by a landlord pursuant to this chapter shall include the following, in addition to any requirements which may be mandated by other sections of this chapter:
(1) 
A certification by the landlord certifying:
(a) 
That he is an efficient operator of the residential real property.
(b) 
That the residential real property is in a safe and sanitary condition and that there are no outstanding code violations at the site that have been issued by Township, county, state, or federal authorities. Within the meaning of this section, code violations shall encompass all areas and services over which the landlord exercises dominion, control or responsibility, such as common areas to multiple tenants and/or maintenance of the dwelling space when the parties' agreement provides. Such statement by the landlord must be dated within 90 days prior to the date the proposed rent increase is to take effect. In the event that the landlord has been found in violation of any existing health or safety codes, the landlord shall describe in detail the nature of the alleged violation, the date such violation was found and the landlord's timetable for curing such violations or the reasons for his inability to cure such violations.
(c) 
That all municipal taxes, municipal utilities charges and county municipal charges have been paid to date.
(d) 
A statement identifying the effective date of the last rental increase allowed by the Board and the nature of the increase granted.
(2) 
A nonrefundable filing fee in the amount of $150.
(3) 
Computation of the new proposed rents for each unit within the complex and the date upon which said increase would go into effect, absent any prior vacation of each said unit.
(4) 
The landlord shall submit an original and 10 copies of an application for a standard increase to the Board Secretary.
(5) 
The landlord shall notify the Rent Leveling Board, in writing, at least 60 days prior to the proposed increase effective date pursuant to the provisions of this section, and said application shall have attached to it the calculations and/or computations involved in computing the requested increase. A copy of said notice shall be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, or personal service on any tenant who may be affected by the increase, together with a notice to the tenant stating that the tenancy established at the outset of the leasehold is hereby terminated and that a new tenancy may be created by the parties at an increased rental, if approved by the Board.
(6) 
Where an increase is sought based upon § 318-2, no hearing shall be scheduled unless requested by a tenant, and the increase shall become effective upon the date specified in said notice.
(7) 
A certification by the landlord that he is not earning a fair net operating income pursuant to his present rental structure. The application shall include the amount of the increase and the percentage of the increase requested.
(8) 
Notwithstanding any other provisions in this section, no hearings shall be required by the Rent Leveling Board on any proposed increase unless a hearing is requested, in writing, by a tenant within 30 days of receipt of a notice of the proposed increase.
(9) 
If the tenant(s) is represented by an attorney or a tenants' association, said representation shall be indicated, in writing, prior to or at the initial hearing on an application. If the representation is acting on behalf of more than one tenant, he shall submit a list of the names and addresses of all tenants that are represented by him and provide the Board with a calculation as to the percentage of tenants in the multiple dwelling concerned by the application that are represented by him.
E. 
Petition. A petition for relief under this section shall contain the information described in Subsection D above. The merits of a petition shall be determined on the basis of the relief sought, the surrounding circumstances and upon the adequacy, competency and credibility of the evidence. The existence of discretionary information shall not relieve a petitioner from its burden of proof. The landlord shall supply the Board with the following:
(1) 
Proof of service of termination notice required by Subsection D(5).
(2) 
A schedule of rental rates for the previous operational year for all units to which this chapter is applicable by providing the rent rolls with the categories listed below.
(a) 
Unit number.
(b) 
Tenant.
(c) 
Base rent approved.
(d) 
Rent presently charged.
(e) 
Term of lease.
(f) 
Lease expiration date.
(3) 
A statement setting forth the estimated reasonable expenses and all other reasonable costs for the operational year, by providing the following:
(a) 
Statement of financial condition (balance sheet) for the period ended in the application (no more than 60 days prior to the filing of application).
(b) 
Statement of revenue (for the year ended no more than 60 days prior to the filing of the application). The statement should include:
[1] 
Gross rents (per rent roll) less:
[a] 
Vacancy.
[b] 
Uncollectibles.
[c] 
Employee apartments.
[2] 
Net rents.
[3] 
Other income.
[4] 
Total revenue.
(c) 
Statement of operating expenses (for the year ended no more than 60 days prior to filing the application). The operating expenses should be detailed enough to make an analysis of the expenses meaningful. The operating expenses will not include depreciation or interest expenses.
(d) 
Comparative statement of operations. This statement will show, side by side, the revenue and operating expenses for the current and two preceding years on an actual basis and for the year under review on an estimated basis. The projection should assume no rental increase.
(e) 
Statement of changes in financial position.
(f) 
Analysis of operating expenses. The applicant should furnish a detailed analysis of cost in the following areas for the then most recent and the projected operational years:
[1] 
Payroll.
[a] 
Position.
[b] 
Duties.
[c] 
Hours worked.
[d] 
Salary or wages.
[2] 
Calculation of fringe benefits and payroll taxes.
[3] 
Maintenance.
[a] 
Description of maintenance performed by own staff and cost.
[b] 
Maintenance performed by outside contractors.
[c] 
Major repairs and costs.
[d] 
Other items.
[4] 
Utilities: break out type of utility. Where a tenant pays his own utilities, a statement should be provided by the utility as to the average cost to the tenant.
[5] 
Management fees.
[a] 
Rate.
[b] 
Relationship of owners of the management company to the landlord.
[c] 
Duties performed and services rendered for which the fee is collected.
(4) 
A statement setting forth the reasonable rental of property. The statement should address but not be limited to:
(a) 
Comparable rents being charged at other complexes;
(b) 
The rate of return on the investment; and
(c) 
The capital investment to maintain the complex.
(5) 
A schedule showing the original cost of the investment and capitalized expenditures since date of purchase.
(6) 
Statement of value. This can consist of a statement by the landlord or an appraiser's report. However, the establishment of value must be fully explained and disclosed.
(7) 
Statement of return. The landlord must calculate the present rate of return the requested increase will yield. The rate of return must be substantiated as being reasonable for the type of investment and risk involved. Comparison to similar types of investments and their yields should be discussed.
(8) 
Certification by the landlord as to the accuracy of all financial statements. The landlord's certification should be accompanied by either an examination, compilation or an agreed-upon procedure of a certified public accountant as prescribed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
(9) 
No application for any increase shall be reviewed or heard by the Board unless a proof of payment of all real estate taxes and municipal utility authority service charges is submitted by the applicant at the time of filing of the application.
(10) 
The burden of proof in regard to value computation, the reasonableness of expenses, reasonable rental, vacancies, inadequacy of rate of return and all items pertaining thereto is on the applicant. Where a majority of the Board decides that it is unable to make proper determination from the facts as presented, the Board may appoint an auditor or an accountant to make an independent examination of all relevant documents or a real estate appraiser to make an independent appraisal of the value of the complex, and they shall the present their findings to the Board prior to its deciding on the application.
F. 
Increase by agreement.
(1) 
The landlord and the tenants may effectuate rent increases by agreement. The agreement must be in writing and signed by the landlord and signed by the tenants representing 75% plus one of the rental units affected by the rent increase. The written agreement must contain the following information: the old rent, the new rent, the effective date of the new rent, the amount of increase and any other terms and conditions of the agreement.
(2) 
Landlords seeking a rent increase pursuant to this subsection shall be obligated to file an application with the Board pursuant to Subsection D of this section along with a copy of the proposed agreement.
(3) 
If there is a tenant or tenants that does not agree to be bound by the agreement for increase proposed by the landlord and the agreeing tenants, the dissenting tenants shall have the right to a hearing by the Board upon timely notice to the Board of their objection to the agreement. No increase pursuant to this subsection may take effect until the Board makes a final determination concerning the agreement. Upon receipt of an objection, the Board Secretary shall schedule a date for the Board to consider the agreement if the agreement has been memorialized. Once the date has been set, the landlord must notify all of the tenants whose rental units are to be affected by the rental increase of the date of the meeting and at the same time provide the tenants with a copy of the proposed agreement. Said notification must be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service.
(4) 
At the time the Board meets to consider the proposed agreement, the Board shall take testimony concerning the proposed agreement. The decision of whether or not to approve the proposed agreement shall remain solely with the Board, who shall also have the authority to modify the agreement as it deems necessary.
(5) 
Resolution of disputes. In the event that all parties agree to a settlement of any petition properly brought before the Board under the provisions of this chapter, the Board may nevertheless hold a hearing, make independent findings of fact and determinations and issue a decision in the form of a written resolution, clearly indicating the amount of rent increase granted, the effective dates and the reasons for the Board's decision. The Board, in its sole discretion, may accept or reject, in whole or in part, any settlement agreed on by the parties.
Any rental increase at a time other than as permitted by this chapter or at the expiration of a lease or termination of a periodic lease shall be void. Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this chapter shall be void, and increased payments made pursuant to said illegal rent increase shall be returned to the tenant(s).
A. 
Any landlord who is subject to this chapter who wishes to apply to the Rent Leveling Board for an increase pursuant to § 318-2B or for a supplied utility increase as allowed by the chapter shall file his or her application with the Rent Leveling Board and give the appropriate notice to the tenants as provided by this chapter between the first day of the month of March and the last day of April in any year in which the landlord intends to seek such an increase. In addition, the landlord shall also have the right to apply for a real estate tax surcharge and/or supplied utilities increase during the month of August or within 30 days of the transmission of the proposed real estate tax increase to the landlord by the municipality, whichever is later. However, a landlord shall only have the right to apply for an increase based upon the consumer price index during the months of March and April in the year in which the landlord seeks the increase. It is the intent of this provision to establish a uniform and fixed period upon which both landlords and tenants may rely in which an increase as set forth above may be applied for and thereafter determined. This provision is also intended to conserve the financial expenditures of the municipality and conserve the time of the Rent Leveling Board members, who serve on the Rent Control Board without compensation.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Any landlord seeking to obtain the approval of the Rent Leveling Board for a consumer price index increase to which this section is applicable shall base his or her calculations upon the facts as they exist as of February 1 of the year in which the increase is sought. Therefore, applications for these increases shall rely on the facts as they appear as of February 1 of the year in which the increase is sought and the facts as they appeared as of February 1 of the previous year.
C. 
Any tenant wishing to contest a landlord's petition or notice of proposed rent increase for a change in the consumer price index or supplied utility increase pursuant to this chapter must do so with 10 days of service of the petition or notice by the landlord upon the tenant by providing written notice to the Board Secretary and landlord. Such an objection to the increase sought must state with particularity the basis for the tenant's objection, alleging one or more of the following: a miscalculation, error in calculation, diminution of services, failure to maintain the premises, lack of real estate tax increase or other reason. Upon receipt of an objection in conformance with this subsection, the Rent Leveling Board shall set the matter down for a hearing and direct that notice be provided as set forth elsewhere in this chapter. If the Board deems the objection not to be in conformance with this subsection, the Board shall promptly notify the tenant of the deficiency of the application.
[Amended 8-23-2005 by Ord. No. O-13-2005]
A. 
Where any housing space or dwelling or any part thereof is being operated in violation of state, county or municipal codes and where such violation adversely affects habitability, any affected tenant or tenants may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for a reasonable reduction in rent, commensurate with such effect upon habitability.
B. 
Upon receipt of said application, which must be in writing, the Rent Leveling Board shall notify the landlord of the application and shall schedule the matter for a hearing.
C. 
If as a result of such hearing the Rent Leveling Board determines that a violation of any state, county or 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. The Board shall determine the reduced rent by using the following suggested but not exclusive guidelines:
(1) 
Violation of the applicable housing, building, maintenance or sanitary code.
(2) 
Nature of the deficiency or defect as it affects habitability.
(3) 
The potential and actual effect of the deficiency or defect upon safety, security and sanitation of the dwelling and surrounding area.
(4) 
Length of time of the existence of the deficiency or defect.
(5) 
Age of the structure.
(6) 
Amount of rent.
(7) 
Any responsibility of the tenant for the creation of the defect of deficiency or denial of access to correct the deficiency or defective condition.
Any landlord seeking an increase in rent predicated upon § 318-2A or B shall, in the application for a rent increase, annex the actual calculations involved in computing the rental increase and shall also attach said calculations to the notice. Said notice of increase and calculation shall include:
A. 
For a year-to-year tenant:
(1) 
The consumer price index as of February 1 in the year the increase is sought.
(2) 
The consumer price index as of February 1 of the previous year.
(3) 
The difference between Subsection A(1) and (2), as computed by subtracting Subsection A(2) from Subsection A(1).
(4) 
The percentage of increase allowed, determined by dividing Subsection A(3) by Subsection A(2).
(5) 
Actual rental increase in terms of dollars, determined by multiplying the old rent by the percentage and adding this amount to the old rent to determine the new rent.
B. 
For a periodic tenant of less than one year:
(1) 
The consumer price index as of February 1 of the year in which the increase is sought.
(2) 
The consumer price index as of the date the lease was entered into with said tenant.
(3) 
The differences between Subsection B(1) and B(2), as computed by subtracting Subsection B(2) from Subsection B(1).
(4) 
The percentage of increase allowed, determined by dividing Subsection B(3) by Subsection B(2).
(5) 
Actual rental increase in terms of dollars, determined by multiplying the old rent by the percentage and adding this amount to the old rent to determine the new rent.
C. 
For a tenant whose tenancy has no specific term pursuant to an oral or written lease with the landlord or whose tenancy is construed, explicitly, implicitly or implied or by operation of law, as a month-to-month tenancy:
(1) 
The consumer price index as of February 1 of the year for which the rental increase is desired.
(2) 
The consumer price index as of February 1 of the preceding year.
(3) 
The difference between Subsection C(1) and C(2), as computed by subtracting Subsection C(2) from Subsection C(1).
(4) 
The percentage of increase allowed, determined by dividing Subsection C(3) by Subsection C(2).
(5) 
Actual rental increase in terms of dollars, determined by multiplying the old rent by the percentage and adding this rent to the old rent to determine the new rent.
D. 
A landlord shall provide to each tenant an itemization as to the amount of money they are paying for "rent," itemizing as to utilities, charges for capital improvements and other expenses in addition to normal rent. Such breakdown shall be provided on an annual basis and then no later than March 15 of each year. In order to provide a clear understanding as to how much rent is being paid, each resident in a mobile home park should be provided an itemization as to the amount of money they are paying for "rent." For example, there should be an itemization as to what is paid for utilities, capital improvements, and pad fee in addition to rent. This should be provided on an annual basis so that residents are provided a true breakdown as to the cost of residing in the park.
[Amended 8-23-2005 by Ord. No. O-13-2005]
A tenant shall be entitled to a rent reduction from a landlord by reason of a decrease on municipal water and/or sewer rates, or cost of supplied utilities or any decrease in space fees or license fees charged by the Township of Mantua. The tenant shall also be entitled to a rent reduction where a landlord fails to maintain the same standard of service, maintenance and equipment in the mobile home park and mobile home spaces as was contracted for. The reduction shall not exceed that amount authorized by the following provisions:
A. 
Where the decrease consists of a decrease on the municipal property tax by reason of aid received from the State Aid for Schools Fund 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 reductions in the form of a rebate upon such terms as is provided in P.L. 1976, c. 63.
B. 
Where the decrease consists of a decrease in municipal property tax other than that decrease provided for in Subsection A above, the landlord shall divide the decrease in yearly taxes by 12, and the tenant shall receive a decrease in the monthly rent equal to 1/12 of the tenant's prorated share of the annual decreases in taxes in the present tax over the tax for the previous year divided by the total number of completed dwelling or housing spaces existing under the landlord's control. The decrease each tenant is entitled to shall be a credit against rent taken in 12 equal monthly installments commencing September of each year. Making such computation, a landlord shall include as a denominator for distribution of the proportionate decrease the total number of lots in the development. 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.
C. 
Where 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, mobile home space fees or license fees over the cost of supplied utilities, mobile home space fees or license fees of the previous year by the total number of completed dwelling or housing spaces under his control and subject to this chapter in order to obtain the decrease per space. The decrease each tenant is entitled to shall be a credit against rent on 12 monthly installments commencing from the effective date of said reduction. Any tenant entitled to a rent decrease hereunder shall be served with a notice by the landlord, including the calculations involved in computing said reduction and the effective date of said reduction.
D. 
Where the decrease consists of a failure to provide maintenance on the part of the landlord (as required by § 318-13), the decrease awarded shall equal the reasonable value of the maintenance service which is not being provided by the landlord, taking into consideration the habitability of the rented premises. The decrease shall begin on the first next date rental is due following the grant of the decrease by the Board and shall continue during the entire period that the reason for the decrease continues to occur, but in any event not less than a one-month period. The landlord shall notify the Board of the corrections or the restoration of maintenance, and the Board shall verify the same prior to the rent returning to its previous level. At any time after the grant of the decrease, the landlord may apply to the Rent Leveling Board for an elimination of the decrease and the Board shall establish a hearing date to consider the application. In order to eliminate the decrease, the landlord must show that the reasons for which the decrease was granted have been corrected or eliminated and the maintenance restored or completed. An elimination of a rent decrease shall be made retroactive by the Board based on its discretion to the point at which the reason for the decrease started.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 128-9, Tax appeals, which followed this section, was repealed 8-23-2005 by Ord. No. O-13-2005.
A. 
A landlord who finds that present rentals from the building or housing spaces under his control and which are subject to this chapter, on which he seeks relief hereunder, are insufficient to cover the cost of payments on a first mortgage and any subsequent mortgages, the proceeds of which are directly used to improve and up grade the building or housing space complex on which relief hereunder is sought, and payments for maintenance may appeal to the Rent Leveling Board for increased rental. The Board may grant the landlord a hardship rent increase to meet these payments after considering the condition of the premises and the degree of hardship to the landlord.
B. 
Hardship application. A hardship application requires the same financial data presented for a standard increase pursuant to § 318-2D and E. Additionally, the applicant must submit the following:
(1) 
Tax returns for the three most recent years.
(2) 
A cash-flow statement, including debt service, for the most recent three-year period and the project year.
(3) 
A statement of indebtedness:
(a) 
To whom owed.
(b) 
Payment terms.
(c) 
Interest rate.
(d) 
Collateral.
(e) 
Guaranty by owner.
C. 
Noncomplying lease provisions void. Any provisions of a lease or other agreement, which attempts to waive or modify any provision of this chapter, shall be deemed against public policy and shall be voided.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 128-11, Exclusions from rental income, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 8-23-2005 by Ord. No. O-13-2005.
A landlord may seek an additional increase per year in rent for major capital expenditures. A capital expenditure shall be any item considered as such under the Federal Internal Revenue Statute and Regulations. Prior to filing an appeal with the Rent Leveling Board, the landlord must serve each tenant with a notice of the total cost of the completed major capital expenditures; the number of useful years of life of the improvement as claimed by the landlord for purposes of depreciation for income tax purposes; the average cost, including debt service, of the improvement (calculated by dividing the cost of the major improvement by the total number of completed dwelling or housing spaces under the control of the landlord and subject to this chapter); and the major capital expenditures surcharge he is seeking from each tenant. The landlord seeking a major capital expenditures surcharge shall appeal for said surcharge to the Rent Leveling Board, which shall determine, after the landlord has served notice to the affected tenants for the hearing date, if such improvement is a major improvement and, if so, the amount of increase granted for such major improvement and shall establish the conditions for such increase. If such increase is granted, it shall not be considered rental income and shall not be included in the calculations to determine allowable increases as permitted under § 318-2 hereof. In any event, no increase granted under this section shall exceed 10% of the tenant's rental income unless said increase or capital expenditure is mandated by law. An application for an increase under this section shall not be ripe for determination by the Board until the actual improvement has been completed or the applicant has entered into a binding contract for all costs with a contractor for a sum certain for work to be commenced on a specified date during the pendency of the application.
The Rent Leveling Board may appoint a Public Interest Accountant to review any hardship application or increase for major improvements sought by a landlord. The Public Interest Accountant shall have the liberty to examine any and all physical records of the applicant for the past three years if the Accountant deems same necessary. The Public Interest Accountant shall report to the Rent Leveling Board any unnecessary, extraordinary or inflated mortgages, interest payments or operating expenses and shall list any reasons why the hardship rent increase is not necessary to ensure the continued operation of the dwelling or housing spaces under the control of the landlord and subject to this chapter.
A. 
There is hereby created a Rent Leveling Board within the Township of Mantua.
(1) 
Membership. The Rent Leveling Board shall be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the members of the Township Committee and shall be composed of five persons, one of whom must be a residential tenant in a dwelling owned by another, one of whom must be the landlord of a residential or other rental property or an employee of a corporate landlord and three of whom must be neither residential tenants nor landlords. In addition, there will be two alternate members, designated "first alternate" and "second alternate." Such alternates will be neither residential tenants nor landlords. The alternates will attend meetings of the Rent Leveling Board but will only vote in the event that one of the regular members of the Board is absent. In the event that it is necessary for an alternate to vote, it will fall to the first alternate and, in his or her absence, then to the second alternate.
(2) 
Term. The term of each regular member on the Rent Control Board shall be for three years; provided, however, that the terms of no more than two regular members for the Rent Control Board shall expire in one year. Terms shall begin on the first day of January and end on the 31st day of December of the applicable year. To allow for the staggering of terms, one member shall have a term beginning on January 1, 1991, and ending on December 31, 1991; two members shall have a terms beginning on January 1, 1991, and ending on December 31, 1992, and two members shall have terms beginning on January 1, 1991, and ending December 31, 1993. Alternates shall also have terms of three years with no more than one alternate having his or her term expire in any one year. To provide for such staggering of terms, on initial selection, Alternate No. 2 shall have a term beginning January 1, 1991, and ending on December 31, 1992, and Alternate No. 1 shall have a term beginning on January 1, 1991, and ending on December 31, 1993.
(3) 
Residency; other services. Each of the persons named to the Rent Leveling Board must reside in Mantua Township. However, the landlord member, though he must reside in Mantua Township, need not own rental property that is located within the Township. The members of the Rent Leveling Board shall serve without compensation. The Rent Leveling Board shall have available to it the services of a municipal attorney and, if need be, a secretary, who shall hold terms commencing January 1 and ending December 31 of each year. No member of the Township Committee may serve on the Rent Leveling Board.
B. 
Powers and duties. 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:
(1) 
To issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter, which rules and regulations shall have the force of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the Board in the exercise of its discretion. Such rules and/or regulations shall be filed with the Township Clerk.
(2) 
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from landlords for additional rental as provided herein.
(4) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications for tenants for reduced rental as provided herein.
(5) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications from tenants for clarification of computations of calculations served upon tenants by the landlord.
(6) 
To charge fees to cover the cost of processing, reviewing and determining applications for increased rent due to a hardship or major capital improvement cost.
(7) 
To take testimony of the parties, witnesses and their experts under oath. Witnesses shall be subject to cross-examination by the parties as well as to questions by the Board.
(8) 
To compel the production of witnesses and documents pursuant to the law and under the power given by this chapter.
(9) 
To enforce the provision of this chapter and to initiate proceedings in the Municipal Court for willful violations thereof.
(10) 
To appoint a committee to determine the completeness of any or all applications.
C. 
The Rent Leveling Board shall give both landlord and tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination. The Board shall begin hearings on any proposed rental change within 30 days of the first notice of a proposed rental change given to the Board, in writing, be either a landlord or a tenant. The Board shall conclude the hearings, including the receipt and consideration of any accounting reports of information, and shall notify all concerned parties of its decision, in writing, within 60 days from the date when written notice of the proposed rental change is provided to the Board by the landlord. Failure to so conclude the proceedings within 60 days of notice shall not render any decision of the Rent Leveling Board invalid, but any increase or decrease in the rent granted in the Board's decision shall be retroactive to a date 60 days after written notice of the proposed rental change was first provided to the Board, in the event that the Board takes more than 60 days to render its decision.
D. 
Rent Control Board.
(1) 
Any application for a standard increase hereunder may be given a full hearing by the Rent Control Board as provided by the terms of this chapter. However, no hearing may be held if any municipal taxes or municipal utilities charges and county utilities charges remain unpaid. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board may:
(a) 
Grant the application in full;
(b) 
Conditionally grant the application in full;
(c) 
Grant less than the full amount requested;
(d) 
Conditionally grant less than the full amount requested; or
(e) 
Deny the application.
(2) 
The Board shall render its decision upon such application within 90 days of filing of a completed application with the Board, and upon failure to do so, the application, unless otherwise extended with the consent of the applicant, shall be deemed to be denied in the same manner as though the Board had rendered a decision to that effect. No increase or decrease shall become effective until the first day of the month following the Board's final decision.
(3) 
In reaching such conclusion, the Board shall hear any evidence offered about the following and may consider the following in arriving at its decision:
(a) 
Whether the landlord is an efficient operator of the residential rental property.
(b) 
Whether the residential rental property is in a safe and sanitary condition both as to the individual units and common areas. If the landlord/applicant is a mobile home park operator and the tenants own or are responsible for the maintenance of their individual units, the Board shall only consider the safe and sanitary condition of the park's common areas.
(c) 
Whether the residential rental property has maintained the same housing standards in its individual units and common areas as it did at the commencement of the leases, including but not limited to amenities, utilities, charges, maintenance, furnishings, equipment, bus service, off-street parking, refuse disposal and recreational facilities.
E. 
Whenever the Board takes the condition of park maintenance into consideration in connection with any increase application, the Board is authorized to delay implementation of the consumer price index increase where it finds that the condition of the community is not in a safe or sanitary condition or the landlord has not maintained the same housing standards as it did at the commencement of the leases, until a point in time where those deficiencies are remedied by the landlord.
A. 
Either landlord or tenant may appeal the decision of the Rent Leveling Board to the Township Committee by delivering a written notice of appeal to the Township Clerk within 10 days of the date the decision of the Rent Leveling Board was served. The Township Committee shall not consider any new testimony or documentary evidence not submitted to the Rent Leveling Board and shall reach its decision by a review of the evidence presented to the Rent Leveling Board, the written decision of the Board and the verbatim record of the proceedings before the Rent Leveling Board, if any. Upon the filing of an appeal, the Municipal Township Clerk shall order preparation of a transcript, the cost of which is to be paid by the landlord. The Township Committee shall render its decision within 45 days from the date the notice of appeal was served upon the Township Clerk and shall send a brief written statement of its decision to the landlord and tenants. Implementation of any rent change granted by the Rent Leveling Board shall be held in abeyance pending any decision on an appeal to the Township Committee, but any change in rent shall be computed retroactively to the date of the written decision rendered by the Rent Leveling Board. Failure of the governing body to hold a hearing and to conclude a review of the record and to render a decision within such specified period without written consent of the appellant shall constitute a decision confirming the action of the Board.
B. 
The affirmative vote of a majority of the entire governing body shall be necessary to reverse, remand or modify any final action of the Board.
C. 
Any party dissatisfied with the determination of the appeal by the Township Committee may bring any action in any court of competent jurisdiction as otherwise provided by law or rule of court.
A. 
Whether or not the landlord is seeking a rent increase, he must at all times maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings, recreational facilities and landscaping as he is required to do by law or by the terms of the lease at the date the lease was entered into. The intent of this subsection is to have the landlord maintain its facilities at all times and to upgrade its facilities for the betterment of the community. Any fraudulent inducement by the landlord which results in the signing of a lease by the tenant shall be considered by the Board in its determination.
B. 
Pursuant to the landlord's duty to maintain the standards at the complex as provided by law and this chapter, the Board, at its discretion, is authorized to inspect the exterior and common areas of any complex subject to this chapter. The landlord, upon and by his application to the Board for a rent increase pursuant to this chapter, shall be deemed to consent to such inspection by the Board. The Board shall make such rules and regulations as it deems necessary for the conduct of such inspections.
A. 
If a landlord increases rents without the approval of the Rent Leveling Board, such landlord shall have violated this chapter. A tenant shall first bring an action before the Rent Leveling Board to set aside such unauthorized increase. Appeals of the determination of the Rent Leveling Board may be heard by the Township Committee or in the Municipal Court. However, nothing shall preclude any interested party from bringing an action in the Superior Court.
B. 
A willful violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Rent Leveling Board of any material misstatement of fact, shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail or any place provided by the municipality for the detention of prisoners for a term up to but not exceeding 90 days or by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $2,000 and/or by a period of community service up to but not exceeding 90 days, or a combination of the above. A violation affecting more than one leasehold shall be considered a separate violation as to each leasehold.
C. 
Each day that a violation exists, occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense for the purpose of imposing the penalties referred to above.
This chapter, being necessary for the welfare of the Township and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes hereof.
[Added 8-23-2005 by Ord. No. O-13-2005]
A. 
Notwithstanding any limitations upon permissible rent increases under any other provision of this chapter, upon voluntary and uncoerced vacation of any dwelling or housing space or upon the voluntary uncoerced change of resident's tenancy in a mobile home located on the mobile home space for which rent increases are controlled by this chapter, the landlord shall have the right to fix the rent for such vacated apartment, dwelling space or mobile home space at such sum as landlord deems appropriate. Subsequently, however; any future rent increase sought for such dwelling, housing space or mobile home space which remains rented to the same tenant shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
The decontrol provisions of this section shall apply only to dwelling units which are physically vacated, or mobile home spaces where the tenants are changed subsequent to the effective date of this section.
C. 
This section is retroactive to November 25, 2003. It is the intent of the governing body to allow vacancy decontrol to be uninterrupted despite its temporary repeal between November 25, 2003, and the date of this amendment.
A. 
An application pursuant to § 318-2 shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $150.
B. 
An application pursuant to § 318-8 or 318-9 shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $150, together with an escrow deposit of $1,500. The total escrow deposit collected shall be placed in an escrow account with the Township, to be applied to the payment for any services rendered by an accountant, auditor or real estate appraiser retained by the Board.
C. 
An applicant seeking an increase pursuant to § 318-8 or 318-9 may avoid placing an escrow with the Township for review fees by providing to the Board at the time an application is filed a certified statement of an accountant as to the calculations included in the application.