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Sample Legislation: Overcrowding and Illegal Occupancies

Overcrowding and Illegal Occupancies

Municipalities are turning to different tactics to tackle the problem of overcrowded rental property and illegal occupancies. Illegal occupancies lead to a wide variety of costly problems for municipalities, including excessive traffic, parking shortages, increased generation of solid waste and sewer flow, overburdened municipal services, crowded schools and substandard housing units. Illegal occupancies are not taxed to compensate the municipality for these additional costs. Sample legislation presented below offers methods for determining which residential properties may house illegal dwellings (for example, number of mailboxes, doorbells and entrances; how a property is advertised; number of kitchens or partitions). Annual permits are required for rental properties, and inspections are required regularly, in an effort to detect illegal dwelling units and substandard housing. Another method employed is to assess penalties for attendance at schools by nonresidents. There are consequences for owners who rent substandard dwelling units, including paying for relocation of tenants.

 

Sample Ordinances:

Port Washington North, V., NY: Ch. 126, Art. XX
Hamilton Twp., NJ: Ch. 222
East Rutherford, B., NJ: Ch. 228
Harrison, Twp., NJ: Ch. 163
New Hyde Park, T., NY: Ch. 196
Bergenfield, B,, NJ: Ch. 239
Ridgefield, B., NJ: Ch. 319
Passaic, C., NJ: Chapter 125
Pittsfield, C., MA, Sec. 3-4.16

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 Village of Port Washington North, NY

Chapter 176
ARTICLE XX
Illegal Residential Occupancies and Illegal Over-Occupancies in Dwellings

[Added 10-24-2005 by L.L. No. 10-2005]

§ 176-210.  Prosecutions for illegal residential occupancies and illegal over-occupancy in dwellings.

A. In all civil and criminal prosecutions brought for the enforcement of this Code's provisions with respect to the illegal use of any building for residential purposes or the illegal residential occupancy of any dwelling or dwelling unit by more families than the number of families permitted for such dwelling or dwelling unit under this Code, the following rebuttable presumptions shall apply:

(1) That any detached dwelling or dwelling unit which maintains more than one mailbox or mail receptacle, more than one gas meter, more than one electric meter, and/or more than one water meter is being used as the residence of two or more families.

(2) That any detached dwelling or dwelling unit which maintains more than two mailboxes or mail receptacles, more than two gas meters, more than two electric meters and/or more than two water meters is being used as the residence of three or more families.

(3) That any detached dwelling or dwelling unit which maintains any entrance or entrances thereto, which entrance or entrances have not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Village Building Department, is being used as the residence of two or more families.

(4) That any detached dwelling or dwelling unit which maintains any third or additional entrances thereto, which entrance or entrances have not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Village Building Department, is being used as the residence of three or more families.

(5) That any building which has been advertised in any newspapers, magazines, or advertising publications as being available for sale or rent for residential purposes, in whole or in part, which advertisement expressly or implicitly provides that such building or the dwellings or dwelling units therein contain rooms for rent, contain more than one separate dwelling living unit, or may be occupied by more than one separate family, is being used as a dwelling containing the number of rooms for rent, dwelling units, or families stated or implied in such advertisement.

(6) That any dwelling or dwelling unit which maintains two or more doorbells is being used as a dwelling for the same number of families as there are doorbells.

(7) That any single-family dwelling or dwelling unit at which there are the following is being used for two or more families:

(a) Permanent partitions or internal doors which have not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Village Building Department, which may serve to bar access between segregated portions of the dwelling, including but not limited to bedrooms, or the inability of any occupant or person in possession thereof to have unimpeded and/or lawful access to all parts of the dwelling unit; and/or

(b) Two or more kitchens which have not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Village Building Department, each containing one or more of the following: a range, oven, microwave, or other similar device customarily used for cooking or preparation of foods.

(8) That any two-family dwelling unit at which there are the following is being used for three or more families:

(a) Permanent partitions or internal doors which have not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Village Building Department, which may serve to bar access between three or more segregated portions of the dwelling, including but not limited to bedrooms; and/or

(b) Three or more kitchens which have not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Village Building Department, each containing one or more of the following: a range, oven, microwave, or other similar device customarily used for cooking or preparation of foods.

B. The rebuttal of the aforesaid presumptions shall be an affirmative defense by the defendant that, notwithstanding the existence of such conditions, once such conditions have proven to the court, the subject building is not being used as a dwelling or the subject dwelling is not being used for more families than permitted under this Code.

C. A person charged with a violation of this Code as described herein may demand an inspection by the Village Building Department of the subject building or dwelling to rebut such presumption. Such demand shall be in writing addressed to the Village Building Department. The Building Department inspector shall prepare a report of the findings of the inspection together with photographs, if appropriate.

§ 176-211.  Penalties for offenses.

A. Notwithstanding any provision of this Code inconsistent herewith, for each code violation involving an illegal residential occupancy or an illegal over-occupancy of a dwelling or dwelling unit, the owner and any person who is in charge of the subject building, dwelling, or dwelling unit at the time of the violation shall be liable to a fine of not more than $3,500 for the first violation; for a second and any subsequent violation, the fine shall be not less than $5,000.

B. Alternative sentence.

(1) If a person, including any corporation, partnership, limited-liability company, or any other legal entity has gained money or property through the commission of any violation involving an illegal residential occupancy or an illegal over-occupancy of a dwelling, then, upon conviction thereof, the court, in lieu of imposing the fine authorized for the offense under this Code, may sentence the defendant to pay an amount, fixed by the court, not exceeding double the amount of the defendant's gain from the commission of the offense, as such gain is reasonably determined by the court.

(2) The intent of § 176-211B is, pursuant to the authority granted to villages by Municipal Home Rule Law § 10(1)(ii)(e)(3), to supersede Subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 80.05 of the Penal Law, to the extent necessary, to define "persons" to include corporations, partnerships, limited-liability companies, and all other legal entities.

C. Each day that a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
  

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 Hamilton Township, NJ 

Chapter 222
OCCUPANCY LIMITS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hamilton 9-19-2005 by Ord. No. 1544-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 222-1.  Adoption of Standards.

The Township of Hamilton hereby adopts Section 404 (Occupancy Limitations) of the International Property Maintenance Code (2003 Edition) in its entirety with the following conditions and exceptions:

A. The 2003 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code, Section 404, is attached with notations, and shall become part of this chapter.

B. In any situation where N.J.S.A. 5:10-22 (Subchapter 22 — Occupancy Standards) are applicable, said standards shall apply.

C. General definitions for this chapter shall be as set forth in the International Property Maintenance Code (2003 Edition), Section 202 (attached), and shall become part of this chapter.

§ 222-2.  Repealer.

All ordinances and parts of ordinances of Hamilton Township heretofore adopted that are inconsistent with any of the terms and provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

§ 222-3.  Severability.

If the provisions of any section, subsection, paragraph, subdivision or clause of this chapter, or other ordinance enacted together with this chapter, shall be judged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not affect or invalidate the remainder of any section, subsection, paragraph, subdivision or clause of same and, to this end, the provisions of each section, subsection, paragraph, subdivision or clause of this chapter, and of the ordinances reenacted together with this chapter, are hereby declared to be severable.

§ 222-4.  Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, or both, at the discretion of the Municipal Judge, and each day the violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense.

Exhibit A

SECTION 404
OCCUPANCY LIMITATIONS

404.1 Privacy. Dwelling units, hotel units, rooming units and dormitory units shall be arranged to provide privacy and be separate from other adjoining spaces.

404.2 Minimum room widths. A habitable room, other than a kitchen, shall not be less than 7 feet (2134 mm) in any plan dimension. Kitchens shall have a clear passageway of not less than 3 feet (914 mm) between counter fronts and appliances or counter fronts and walls.

404.3 Minimum ceiling heights. Habitable spaces, hallways, corridors, laundry areas, bathrooms, toilet rooms and habitable basement areas shall have a clear ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).
 Exceptions:

1. In one- and two-family dwellings, beams or girders spaced not less than 4 feet (1219 mm) on center and projecting not more than 6 inches (152 mm) below the required ceiling height.

2. Basement rooms in one- and two-family dwellings occupied exclusively for laundry, study or recreation purposes, having a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2033 mm) with not less than 6 feet 4 inches (1932 mm) of clear height under beams, girders, ducts and similar obstructions.

3. Rooms occupied exclusively for sleeping, study or similar purposes and having a sloped ceiling over all or part of the room, with a clear ceiling height of at least 7 feet (2134 mm) over not less than one-third of the required minimum floor area. In calculating the floor area of such rooms, only those portions of the floor area with a clear ceiling height of 5 feet (1524 mm) or more shall be included.

404.4 Bedroom requirements. Every bedroom shall comply with the requirements of Sections 404.4.1 through 404.4.5.

404.4.1 Area for sleeping purposes. Every bedroom occupied by one person shall contain at least 70 square feet (6.5 m2) of floor area, and every bedroom occupied by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet (4.6 m2) of floor area for each occupant thereof.

404.4.2 Access from bedrooms. Bedrooms shall not constitute the only means of access to other bedrooms or habitable spaces and shall not serve as the only means of egress from other habitable spaces.
Exception: Units that contain fewer than two bedrooms.

404.4.3 Water closet accessibility. Every bedroom shall have access to at least one water closet and one lavatory without passing through another bedroom. Every bedroom in a dwelling unit shall have access to at least one water closet and lavatory located in the same story as the bedroom or an adjacent story.

404-4.4 Prohibited occupancy. Kitchens and nonhabitable spaces shall not be used for sleeping purposes.

404-4.5 Other requirements. Bedrooms shall comply with the applicable provisions of this code including, but not limited to, the light, ventilation, room area, ceiling height and room width requirements of this chapter; the plumbing facilities and water-heating facilities requirements of Chapter 5; the heating facilities and electrical receptacle requirements of Chapter 6; and the smoke detector and emergency escape requirements of Chapter 7.

404.5 Overcrowding. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum area requirements of Table 404.5.

TABLE 404.5
MINIMUM AREA REQUIREMENTS (in square feet)

 

 

Space

1-2 Occupants

3-5 Occupants

6 or More

Living room a,b

No requirements

 120

 150

Dining room a,b

No requirements

 80

 100

 Bedrooms

Shall comply with section 404.4

  

 

For SI: 1 square foot = 0.093 m2.
a. See Section 404.5.2 for combined living room/dining room spaces.
b. See Section 404.5.1 for limitations on determining the minimum occupancy area for sleeping purposes.

404.5.1 Sleeping area. The minimum occupancy area required by Table 404.5 shall not be included as a sleeping area in determining the minimum occupancy area for sleeping purposes. All sleeping areas shall comply with Section 404.4.

404.5.2 Combined spaces. Combined living room and dining room spaces shall comply with the requirements of Table 404.5 if the total area is equal to that required for separate rooms and if the space is located so as to function as a combination living room/dining room.

404.6 Efficiency unit. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an efficiency living unit from meeting the following requirements:

1. A unit occupied by not more than two occupants shall have a clear floor area of not less than 220 square feet (20.4 m2). A unit occupied by three occupants shall have a clear floor area of not less than 320 square feet (29.7 m2).

These required areas shall be exclusive of the areas required by Items 2 and 3.

2. The unit shall be provided with a kitchen sink, cooking appliance and refrigeration facilities, each having a clear working space of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in front. Light and ventilation conforming to this code shall be provided.

3. The unit shall be provided with a separate bathroom containing a water closet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower.

4. The maximum number of occupants shall be three.

404.7 Food preparation. All spaces to be occupied for food preparation shall contain suitable space and equipment to store, prepare, and serve foods in a sanitary manner. There shall be adequate facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food waste and refuse, including facilities for temporary storage.

DEFINITIONS
SECTION 202

GENERAL DEFINITIONS APPROVED. Approved by the code official.

BASEMENT. That portion of a building which is partly or completely below grade.

BATHROOM. A room containing plumbing fixtures including a bathtub or shower.

BEDROOM. Any room or space used or intended to be used for sleeping purposes.

CODE OFFICIAL. The official who is charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or any duly authorized representative.

CONDEMN. To adjudge unfit for occupancy.

DWELLING UNIT. A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

ENVIRONMENT DANGER. A condition which could cause serious or life-threatening injury or death at any time.

EXTERIOR PROPERTY. The open space on the premises and on adjoining property under the control of owners or operators of such premises.

EXTERMINATION. The control and elimination of insects, rats or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that serve as their food; by poison spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other approved pest elimination methods.

GARBAGE. The animal or vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.

GUARD. A building component or a system of building components located at or near the open sides of elevated walking surfaces that minimizes the possibility of a fall from the walking surface to a lower level.

HABITABLE SPACE. Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces, and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.

INFESTATION. The presence, within or contiguous to, a structure or premises of insects, rats, vermin or other pests.

LABELED. Devices, equipment, appliances, or materials to which has been affixed a label, seal, symbol or other identifying mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, inspection agency or other organization concerned with product evaluation that maintains periodic inspection of the production of the above-labeled items and by whose label the manufacturer attests to compliance with applicable nationally recognized standards.

LET FOR OCCUPANCY OR LET. To permit, provide or offer possession or occupancy of a dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit, building, premise or structure by a person who is or is not the legal owner of record thereof, pursuant to a written or unwritten lease, agreement or license, or pursuant to a recorded or unrecorded agreement of contract for the sale of land.

OCCUPANCY. The purpose for which a building or portion thereof is utilized or occupied.

OCCUPANT. Any individual living or sleeping in a building, or having possession of a space within a building.

OPENABLE AREA. That part of a window, skylight or door which is available for unobstructed ventilation and which opens directly to the outdoors.

OPERATOR. Any person who has charge, care or control of a structure or premises which is let or offered for occupancy.

OWNER. Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court.

PERSON. An individual, corporation, partnership or any other group acting as a unit.

PREMISES. A lot, plot or parcel of land including any structures thereon.

ROOMING HOUSE. A building arranged or occupied for lodging with or without meals, for compensation and not occupied as a one- or two-family dwelling.

ROOMING UNIT. Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit occupied or intended to be occupied for sleeping or living, but not for cooking purposes.

RUBBISH. Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage; the term shall include the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible materials, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and dust and other similar materials.

STRICT LIABILITY OFFENSE. An offense in which the prosecution in a legal proceeding is not required to prove criminal intent as a part of its case. It is enough to prove that the defendant either did an act which was prohibited, or failed to do an act which the defendant was legally required to do.

STRUCTURE. That which is built or constructed or a portion thereof.

TENANT. A person, corporation, partnership or group, whether or not the legal owner of record, occupying a building or portion thereof as a unit.

TOILET ROOM. A room containing a water closet or urinal but not a bathtub or shower.

VENTILATION. The natural or mechanical process of supplying conditioned or unconditioned air to, or removing such air from, any space.

WORKMANLIKE. Executed in a skilled manner; e.g., generally plumb, level, square, in line, undamaged and without marring adjacent work.

YARD. An open space on the same lot with a structure.

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 Borough of East Rutherford, NJ 

Chapter 228
SCHOOLS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of East Rutherford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]

ARTICLE I
Penalty for Attendance by Nonresidents

[Adopted 10-18-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-14]

§ 228-1.  Prohibition.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to assist, aid, abet, allow, permit, suffer or encourage a student to register or enroll in the East Rutherford School District or Carlstadt-East Rutherford School District where the student is ineligible to attend.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person over the age of 18 years to knowingly permit his or her name, address, or other resident-designating documentation to be utilized in the registration or enrollment of any nonresident student in the East Rutherford School District or Carlstadt-East Rutherford School District.

§ 228-2.  Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

NONRESIDENT  — Any student who does not live within the boundaries of the Borough of East Rutherford, or any student who resides in an illegal housing unit not registered with the municipality as a dwelling unit.

§ 228-3.  Violations and penalties.

A. Any person violating or failing to comply with the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to make restitution to the East Rutherford Board of Education or Carlstadt-East Rutherford Regional Board of Education, whichever is applicable, and pay a fine not to exceed $1,000. In determining the amount of restitution, the court shall include the amounts incurred by the respective school district, including but not limited to tuition costs, investigation expenses and attorney's fees.

B. Any restitution ordered by the East Rutherford Municipal Court shall be converted into a lien against the property of the offending party.

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Township of Harrison, NJ 
  

Chapter 163
RENTAL UNIT REGISTRATION

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Harrison 5-21-2001 by Ord. No. 13-2001; amended in its entirety 11-7-2005 by Ord. No. 43-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 163-1.  Purpose.

A. This chapter requires the registration of all rental units by landlords, which includes a disclosure of the landlord/owner of the property, and the address and telephone number of the owner, operator or agent, in order to:

(1) Continue to promote healthy and safe housing for the benefit of all residents of the Township of Harrison.

(2) Prevent and abate harmful housing conditions.

(3) Provide for the inspection of rental units in order to comply with certain State of New Jersey Housing Codes.

(4) Prohibit the occupancy of any unit being rented until such time as a certificate of occupancy shall have been issued.

B. Farm labor housing is specifically excluded from any jurisdiction pertaining to this chapter.

§ 163-2.  Adoption of standards by reference.

Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12a et seq. and N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the New Jersey State Housing Code, the April 1993 Regulations for Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, and their respective amendments, as may be approved and adopted subsequent thereto by the Department of Community Affairs of the State of New Jersey, are hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in the Township of Harrison are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. Copies of said code and the regulations and the amendments thereto of the New Jersey Housing Code are available at the office of the Clerk of the Township of Harrison and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.

§ 163-3.  Amendments to standards.

The New Jersey Housing Code, and its amendments thereto, are for Harrison Township, amended by the addition of the following sections on duties and responsibilities of owner, operator and/or registered agent as pertains to the residential unit offered for rent:

A. Maintenance of the exterior of the premises, free of hazards and unsanitary conditions. The exterior of the premises, and all structures thereon, shall be kept free of all nuisances, and any hazard to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and any other persons utilizing the premises, and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner, operator and/or registered agent of residential rental unit. It shall be the absolute duty of the owner, operator and/or registered agent, individually or jointly, to keep the premises free of hazards, which include, but are not limited to the following:

(1) Refuse: brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash, waste and debris.

(2) Natural growth: dead and dying trees, limbs, stumps and other natural growth by which rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees, bushes and green growth shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.

(3) Overhanging objects: loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location of aboveground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.

(4) Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions: holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, icy conditions, uncleared snow, excretions of pets and other animals on paths, walks, sidewalks, curbs, driveways, parking lots and parking areas, or other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, and any excrement or other waste shall be promptly removed.

(5) Brush and hedges near the roadway: Any and all brush, hedges and similar plant life growing within 10 feet of any roadway and/or within 25 feet of an intersection of two roadways shall be cut to a height not more than 2 1/2 feet in elevation from ground level. The purpose of this is to provide clear sight triangles for motorists exiting from a driveway or road.

B. Responsibility. The occupant and any owner of any rental unit shall be jointly and individually responsible for compliance with all waste and recycling regulations of the Township of Harrison. The owner, operator or registered agent shall require by the lease terms that the tenant comply with such regulations. This shall not release the owner, operator or registered agent from joint responsibility.

C. Storage of materials on premises. No storage of building materials, commercial or industrial goods shall be permitted on residential property unless allowed by a use variance, which may be the subject of this chapter.

D. Signs. All signs permitted by reason of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use shall be maintained in good repair for purposes of protecting health and safety.

E. Obstructions. No obstructions shall be permitted in any residential unit being offered for rental for human occupancy so as to prevent access to and from the residential unit to the outside. No obstruction shall be permitted to be placed outside of any rental unit so as to impede the exit or entry to and from said building.

F. No residential unit being offered for rental shall be permitted to be occupied unless the residential unit shall contain operational windows, screens and operational doors, all of which must be maintained in a safe fashion, so as to permit their use by occupants.

G. No residential unit shall be offered for rental unless the following systems are in satisfactory operating order:

(1) The heating and air-conditioning systems. (Air conditioning only to apply if installed).

(2) The electrical system.

(3) The plumbing system, including domestic water, or public sewage and potable water supply.

H. No owner, operator and/or registered agent of any residential unit which may be covered by this chapter shall be rented to a new occupant without first notifying the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison.

I. In the event of an agreement, in writing, when the new tenant or owner of the rental unit has agreed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, as a condition of rental, the Township of Harrison shall permit the new tenant or owner of the rental unit to complete the repairs for purposes of complying with this chapter, but shall not permit the residential unit to be occupied until such time as a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison.

§ 163-4.  Enforcement.

The Township of Harrison shall appoint a person to exercise the powers proscribed in this chapter, by resolution duly adopted, at any time subsequent to the adoption of this chapter, by designating one or more public officers, which may include the Construction Code Official, the Building Inspector, or the designated Housing Officer, and Board of Health, for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 163-5.  Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

BASEMENT  — That portion of a building which is partly above grade, and has at least 1/2 its ceiling height above grade. Any sleeping rooms in a basement shall comply with the emergency escape section of the aforesaid New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.

CELLAR  — That portion of a building which is partly or completely below grade, and has more than 1/2 its ceiling height below grade.

FARM LABOR HOUSING  — Is specifically excluded from any jurisdiction pertaining to this chapter.

HABITABLE ROOM  — A room or enclosed floor space within a dwelling unit used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.

OCCUPANT  — Any individual who lives or sleeps in, or has actual possession of, a residential unit.

OWNER, OPERATOR or REGISTERED AGENT  — The applicant, owner, operator or registered agent shall be an individual or organization who shall be responsible for receiving notice of violation of this chapter, who exercises control of a rental facility, buildings and/or structures, and/or fulfills the responsibilities of managing, handling or dealing with a rental facility, for the purpose of correcting such violations. That person shall be described as a "registered agent," if not the owner or direct operator of the rental facility. The person designated as registered agent must be an individual or a responsible representative, who shall be a resident of the Township of Harrison, who may be contacted in the event of an emergency, or be capable of being served in the Township of Harrison of any notice required under this chapter. An owner/operator may also be a registered agent for purposes of this section. The name, address and telephone number of such registered agent, owner or operator shall be filed with the Township of Harrison, as provided for in this chapter.

RENTAL FACILITY  — Every building, group of buildings or a portion thereof consisting of a dwelling, apartment and/or one or more rooms.

RESIDENTIAL UNIT  — A room or group of rooms or any part thereof located within a building, forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.

TOWNSHIP  — The Township of Harrison.

§ 163-6.  Registration of all rental facilities.

A. All buildings, structures or residential units used, occupied or offered for occupancy as rental facilities in any form of lease must be registered in writing on a form provided by the Township of Harrison, which form is appended hereto, and made a part hereof, with the office of the Township Clerk. The registration of all rental facilities, whether they be residential or commercial, shall contain the following information:

(1) The name and address of the owner, or the name and address of the operator.

(2) Telephone number of the party responsible.

(3) Name, address and telephone number of registered agent.

(4) The location of the building, including block, lot and street address.

(5) If less than the total of the building is to be used as a rental facility, that portion shall be identified to be used for rental.

(6) Dimensions of each room. 

(7) Floor plan, which may be drawn by hand, indicating the location, use and dimensions of rooms.

(8) Name of the tenant, and those intended to occupy the property.

B. All such rental facilities shall be registered with the Township of Harrison within 180 days of the passage of this chapter. Any owner, operator and/or registered agent of any rental unit shall be responsible for filing an amended registration with the Township of Harrison within 10 days of any change or changes in any of the information required by the registration statement.

§ 163-7.  Inspections; certificate of occupancy requirements.

A. All buildings or structures, or any part thereof, used, occupied or proposed to be occupied as rental dwelling units shall be inspected by the Housing Officer appointed by the Township of Harrison before every initial occupancy.

B. No owner, agent, broker, person or entity shall rent or lease a rental unit in such a manner as to result, permit or allow any person or persons to occupy, or to live in, as an owner, occupant, tenant or otherwise, any dwelling unit or apartment or structure, or any part thereof, unless a certificate of occupancy certifying that the structure, or dwelling area is fit for human habitation. The purpose of this chapter is to provide housing that is safe and habitable.

C. Application; issuance.

(1) The owner, operator, agent, registered agent and/or personal representative of the owner of the subject property shall be responsible to complete an application for a certificate of occupancy before any initial occupancy by a tenant.

(2) The Housing Officer, or his representative, shall within 10 working days of receipt of said application make an inspection of the applicable dwelling unit or units or area to be occupied by human habitation. The owner, operator, agent, registered agent and/or personal representative must accompany the Housing Officer, or his representative, for purposes of carrying out the inspection, and shall provide access throughout the entire building, including areas not necessarily the subject matter of human occupancy, including the basement, heating systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, air-conditioning systems, smoke detection systems and other systems applicable to the utilization of the building.

(3) Upon determining that this chapter, which the Township of Harrison is empowered to enforce, has been complied with, the Housing Officer shall issue a certificate of occupancy permit approving the occupancy of the inspected residential rental dwelling unit and indicating that compliance has been satisfactorily met.

D. Correction of violations.

(1) Upon a finding by the Housing Officer or his representative, on behalf of the Township of Harrison, that the residential rental dwelling unit is not in compliance with this chapter, the owner shall thereupon be notified in writing within seven days after the inspection, specifically noting those violations requiring correction before any new occupancy shall be permitted to occur, and that the correction of the violations may require construction permits, to be issued upon proper application to the Construction Code Official. The period for correction may be extended by the Housing Officer for a definite number of days, for good cause shown. Good cause for an extension shall include, but shall not necessarily be limited to:

(a) Delays which may be attributable to weather conditions;

(b) Unavailability of building/construction materials;

(c) Unavailability of contractors to correct the violation;

(d) Compliance required by other agencies, including the State of New Jersey;

(e) Delays occasioned by the securing of permits, or the corrective action to be taken, whereby under the code or regulation the permit officer may not be required to issue the permit immediately upon application;

(f) Other extenuating conditions.

(2) Any such request shall be in written form and submitted to the Housing Officer, in writing, within seven days of receipt of the notice of violation.

E. No occupation during this period shall be permitted until the certificate of occupancy shall have been issued.

F. No certificate of occupancy shall be issued unless smoke and carbon monoxide detection systems as may be required shall have been inspected and approved by the Township of Harrison, which is authorized to provide such inspections and approvals. The carbon monoxide system shall not be older than permitted by code.

G. Any owner, operator, personal representative, agent of the owner or other interested party may file a written request challenging any part of the notice requiring correction of the code violation or violations. The written challenge shall be filed within 10 days of the notice of code violation, with the Construction Code Official of the Township of Harrison. The Construction Code Official shall affirm, modify or dismiss the notice of code violation, in writing, within 10 days of receipt of such written challenge.

H. Upon correction of any violation which may have been cited by the Housing Officer during the course of the certificate of occupancy application, the owner, operator, personal representative or registered agent shall notify the Housing Officer of the corrections, and within five working days thereafter, a reinspection shall be made of the required corrections.

I. A certificate of occupancy when issued and executed by the proper officials of the Township of Harrison shall be valid for 120 days from its issue, or upon the occurrence of any change of circumstance which would require a reinspection.

J. Fees.

(1) The applicant, who shall be the owner, operator, personal representative or registered agent, shall be charged a fee of $45 per unit for the initial inspection, to be paid to the Township of Harrison, and collected by the Housing Officer. In the event an additional inspection or reinspection may be required within the 120 days, an additional fee of $25 per unit must be paid. In the event an inspection is done after 120 days, the entire reinspection shall be performed at a cost of $45. Any reinspection thereafter shall be at the rate of $25, as long as it is within 120 days. All fees shall be paid in advance, together with the request for the inspection or reinspections.

(2) Fees for commercial units shall be charged at the rate of $75 for each commercial unit to be inspected in the Township of Harrison. Any reinspection shall be at the rate of $45 per unit, as long as it is made within 120 days. In the event such additional inspection is not performed within 120 days, the subsequent inspection shall be charged at the rate of $75 as long as it is within 120 days. All fees shall be paid in advance, together with the request for the inspection or reinspections.

K. Violations and penalties. Any person who shall violate any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,250, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. The violations described herein shall be for each separate offense, for each day that the party having failed to comply with an order to correct and obey the code violation or fails to obtain a valid certificate of occupancy, or for failure to register as may be required herein.

§ 163-8.  Occupancy of substandard dwellings prohibited.

A. No person shall rent to another for occupancy any dwelling unit or commercial unit, or any part thereof, for the purpose of living therein or operating a business use which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter, and the New Jersey Housing Code, as may be amended from time to time, and the New Jersey Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, and the State of New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, and their amendments or additions thereto. These organizations provide standards to be used in determining whether a dwelling or dwelling unit or commercial unit, or any part thereof, is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.

B. Smoke detectors. All smoke detectors must comply with the Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 5:18-4.19.

§ 163-9.  Inspections.

A. The Housing Officer or the person representing the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison and their designees are hereby authorized to make inspections to determine the condition of buildings and structures in order that they may perform their duty of safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of the occupants thereof and that of the general public. In order to carry out such inspections, the Housing Officer or designee is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey buildings and structures at all reasonable times. The owner, operator, personal representative, agent or occupant of every building or structure sought to be inspected shall give the Housing Officer free access to the building or structure at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such inspections as may be necessary to insure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

B. Complaint for alleged violation. Any person may file a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter, and, within seven days thereafter, the Housing Officer shall conduct an inspection as provided for herein.

§ 163-10.  Notice of violation; revocation of license; hearing required.

A. Whenever the Housing Officer shall have determined there has been a violation of this chapter, that Officer shall serve a written notice of the violation on the owner, operator, registered agent or personal representative, which shall include a statement of the reasons why the violation is being issued, and any action, if any, the responsible party must take to abate the violation. The notice shall include that the violation must be abated within 10 days, and if not, the certificate of occupancy for the subject premises shall be revoked, in addition to the remedies and provisions set forth in this chapter. The said period for correction may be extended for good cause, based upon the provisions of this chapter.

B. Revocation; appeal; hearing.

(1) If a violation is not corrected within the time specified herein or any extension thereof, the Housing Officer may serve an order upon the responsible party that the certificate of occupancy is revoked effective seven days from the date thereof.

(2) Notwithstanding the correction of any violations which may have been cited, the Housing Officer may conduct a hearing in the manner provided herein, to consider suspension or revocation of a certificate of occupancy on the grounds herein stated. If, as a result of such hearing, the Housing Officer determines that the subject building or structure or any part thereof has been the source of serious or repeated violations of this chapter, such that the operation of said rental facility is or has been harmful to the health and safety of the occupants, or has constituted a public nuisance, the Housing Officer may suspend such certificate of occupancy for such period as he shall determine, or may revoke such certificate.

§ 163-11.  Cost of abatement as lien against property.

The Township of Harrison may, by resolution of the Township Committee, direct the abatement of a nuisance, to correct a defect, or to require the premises to be placed in such proper condition so as to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and that the costs thereof, upon the certification to the Township Committee by the Housing Office, of the amount of such costs, shall be charged as a lien against the subject lands and premises, and shall be added to and shall become a form of taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands and premises, to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as real estate taxes.

§ 163-12.  Preparation of forms and documents.

The Township Committee of the Township of Harrison is hereby authorized to prepare such forms and documents as may be necessary from time to time in order to implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

§ 163-13.  Service of notice.

A. Any notice issued by the Housing Officer of the Township of Harrison shall be served upon the owner, operator, personal representative, registered agent or other person responsible for the property in question, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested.

B. In the event the whereabouts of the responsible party is unknown, then the service of such notice shall be made by posting a copy thereof upon the subject premises in a conspicuous place.

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 Town of New Hyde Park, NY

Chapter 196,
RENTAL DWELLING UNITS, LICENSING OF

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of New Hyde Park 11-1-2005 by L.L. No. 1-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]

ARTICLE I,
General Provisions

§ 196-1.  Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Licensing of Rental Dwelling Units Law of the Incorporated Village of New Hyde Park, New York."

§ 196-2.  Legislative intent.

The Board of Trustees has determined that there exist within the Village of New Hyde Park serious conditions which have arisen from the rental of dwelling units that are substandard or violative of the codes and ordinances of the Village, are inadequate in size, and are overcrowded and dangerous. Such dwelling units pose hazards to the lives, limbs and property of residents of the Village and to others. Such dwelling units also tend to promote or encourage deterioration of the housing stock of the Village, create blight, excessive vehicle traffic and parking problems, and overburden municipal services. The purpose of this chapter is to halt the proliferation of such conditions, and to enhance the public health, safety, welfare and the good order and governance of the Village. These regulations are intended to be remedial in nature and effect.

§ 196-3.  Applicability; more restrictive provisions to prevail. 

A. Scope. This chapter shall apply to all rental dwelling units in mixed occupancy buildings and multiple dwellings, whether or not the use and occupancy thereof shall be permitted under the applicable use regulations for the zoning district in which such rental dwelling unit is located. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to plans approved for filing by the Attorney General of condominium complexes and cooperative apartment complexes. Any dwelling unit, rooming house, rooming unit or any other premises subject to this chapter shall be presumed to be rented for a fee and a charge made if said premises are not occupied by the legal owner thereof.

B. Applicability. The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to supplement applicable state and local laws, ordinances, codes or regulations, and nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to abolish, impair, supersede or replace existing remedies of the Village, county or state, or existing requirements of any other applicable state or local laws, ordinances, codes or regulations. In case of conflict between any provision of this chapter and any applicable state or local laws, ordinances, codes or regulations, the more restrictive or stringent provision or requirement shall prevail. The issuance of any permit or the filing of any form under this chapter does not make legal any action or statement of facts that is otherwise illegal under any other applicable legislation.

§ 196-4.  Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated: 

CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER  — Superintendent of Buildings, Senior Building Inspector, or Building Inspector of the Village of New Hyde Park, or the delegates and assistants of such Superintendent or Inspector.  

DWELLING UNIT  — A structure or building, or part thereof, or an area, room or rooms therein, occupied or to be occupied by one or more persons as a home or residence.  

MIXED OCCUPANCY BUILDING  — A building occupied in part for residential use and in part for some other nonaccessory use. See "multiple dwelling."  

MULTIPLE DWELLING  — Any of the following:  

A. A building designed or occupied for residential purposes by more than two families; or

B. A series of attached, detached, or semidetached buildings which are provided as a group collectively with essential services and utilities, and which are located on a lot, plot, or parcel of land, under common ownership; or 

C. The residential part of a mixed occupancy building. 

OWNER  

(1) Owner or any other person or persons or entity or entities having the right to possession of a dwelling unit, except:  

(a) A public housing authority organized as such under the laws of the State of New York; and  

(b) A cooperative apartment corporation whose offering statement or prospectus has been accepted for filing by the New York State Attorney General under General Business Law § 352-e.    

(2) A tenant will be considered to be an owner in relation to a subtenant.    

RENT  — A return, in money, property or other valuable consideration (including payment in kind or services or other thing of value) for use and occupancy or the right to use and occupancy of a dwelling unit, whether or not a legal relationship of landlord and tenant exists between the owner and the occupant or occupants thereof.  

RENTAL DWELLING UNIT  — A dwelling unit established, occupied, used or maintained for rental occupancy.  

RENTAL OCCUPANCY  — The occupancy or use of a dwelling unit by one or more persons as a home or residence under an arrangement whereby the occupant or occupants thereof pay rent for such occupancy and use. There is a rebuttable presumption that any occupancy or use of a dwelling unit is a rental occupancy if the owner of the building containing the dwelling unit does not reside in the same building.     

ARTICLE II,
Rental Occupancy Permit

§ 196-5.  Rental occupancy permit required.

It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for any person or entity who owns a dwelling unit in a mixed occupancy building and in a multiple dwelling to establish, maintain, use, let, lease, rent or suffer or permit the occupancy and use thereof as a rental occupancy without having first obtained a valid permit for such rental occupancy from the Building Department of the Village as herein provided. 

§ 196-6.  Application. 

A. Application for a rental occupancy permit for a rental dwelling unit shall be made in writing to the Building Department on a form provided by the Building Department for that purpose.

B. Such application shall be filed in duplicate and shall contain: 

(1) The name, address and telephone number, if any, of the owner of the dwelling unit intended for rental occupancy. 

(2) The street address and Tax Map description (section, block and lot or lots) of the premises intended for rental occupancy or the premises in which the rental dwelling units intended for occupancy are located. 

(3) The number of people presently residing in or occupying such premises intended for rental occupancy. 

(4) A description of the structure, including: 

(a) The number of rental dwelling units in the structure;

(b) The number of persons intended to be accommodated by, and to reside in, each such rental dwelling unit; and 

(c) The number of rooms and the dimensions and use of each room in the structure but outside of the rental dwelling units.  

(5) For each rental dwelling unit, a description of the unit, including: 

(a) The number of rooms in the rental dwelling unit; and 

(b) The dimensions and use of each such room.   

(6) The name, address and telephone number, if any, of the managing agent or operator of each such intended rental dwelling unit. 

(7) The name and address of the insurance company, if any, providing the fire and other hazard and liability insurance for the owners of the premises, with a description of the type of insurance provided, policy limits for each coverage and the policy number and expiration date of such policy.   

C. Such application shall be signed by the owner of the premises and the statements of such owner therein contained shall be verified under oath. If an owner is a natural person permanently residing outside of Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Kings, New York, Richmond, Bronx and Westchester Counties, the application may be signed on behalf of the owner and may be verified by a managing agent having personal knowledge of the facts. An application executed on behalf of an owner by a managing agent having personal knowledge of the facts shall be verified under oath. 

D. Such application shall be accompanied by the following: 

(1) A property survey of the premises drawn to a scale not greater than 40 feet to one inch. 

(2) If not shown on the survey, a site plan, drawn to scale, showing all buildings, structures, walks, drives and other physical features of the premises and the number, location and access of existing and proposed on-site vehicle parking facilities. 

(3) A building permit application, properly prepared, for all proposed buildings, improvements and alterations to existing buildings on the premises, if any.

(4) A copy of the certificate of occupancy, certificate of completion, and/or certificate of existing use, if any.   

E. Notwithstanding the above, no rental occupancy permit shall be required for a residential care facility established under New York State guidelines.   

§ 196-7.  Fees. 

A. Permit application fee. 

(1) A nonrefundable permit application fee shall be paid upon filing an application for a rental occupancy permit in accordance with the following schedule of rental dwelling units per structure:

(a) One dwelling unit: $150.

(b) Two dwelling units: $300 

(c) Three dwelling units: $450. 

(d) Four dwelling units: $600. 

(e) More than four dwelling units: $600, plus $50 dollars for each unit in excess of four.   

(2) These fees may be changed from time to time by resolution of the Board of Trustees.

B. The fee required by this section shall be waived for any applicant which demonstrates that it is a not-for-profit housing development corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York, and that it is providing housing for senior citizens or other designated special populations subject to income guidelines established by either federal or state regulations.  

§ 196-8.  Review of application.

The Code Enforcement Officer shall review each application for completeness and accuracy and shall make an on-site inspection of the proposed rental dwelling unit or units. If satisfied that the proposed rental dwelling unit or units, as well as the premises in which the same are located, comply fully with all applicable state and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations of the county, town and Village, and that such rental dwelling unit or units would not create an unsafe or dangerous condition or create an unsafe and substandard structure, or create a nuisance to adjoining nearby property, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue the permit or permits. 

§ 196-9.  Term of permits.

All permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance and may be renewed for additional two-year periods thereafter. The renewal application shall contain substantially the same information required by § 196-6 of this chapter upon forms to be furnished by the Building Department. Approval of renewal applications shall be based upon compliance with the requirements of § 196-8 hereunder. The fees to be paid in connection with a renewal permit shall be the same as those fees set forth in § 196-7 of this chapter. 

§ 196-10.  Register of permits.

It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to maintain a register of permits issued pursuant to this chapter. Such register shall be kept by street address, showing the name and address of the permittee, the number of rental dwelling units at such street address, the number of rooms in each such rental dwelling unit and the date of expiration of the permit for such unit.

§ 196-11.  Additional criteria for granting of permits. 

A. Smoke detectors/carbon monoxide alarm. No permit shall be issued until the Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect the rental dwelling unit to determine that it is equipped with a functioning smoke-detector device and carbon monoxide alarm in compliance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the Residential Code of New York State. 

B. On-site parking. The premises shall provide the minimum on-site parking spaces as required by the Village Code. 

C. No rental permit shall be issued for a rental dwelling unit consisting of one room only unless such room shall provide a minimum clear floor area of 100 square feet.   

§ 196-12.  Inspections.

The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to make or cause to be made inspections to determine the condition of rental dwelling units. The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to enter, upon consent of the owner if the unit is unoccupied or upon consent of the occupant if the unit is occupied, any rental dwelling unit and the premises in which the same is located, at a reasonable time or at such other time as may be necessary in an emergency for the purpose of performing duties under this chapter. 

§ 196-13.  Application for search warrant authorized.

The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to make application to any court of competent jurisdiction for the issuance of a search warrant, to be executed by a police officer, in order to conduct an inspection of any premises covered by this chapter where the owner or occupant refuses or fails to allow an inspection of the rental dwelling unit or premises and where there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of this chapter or a violation of the Multiple Residence Law, the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, Residential Code of New York State, the Nassau County Fire Prevention Ordinance, the Town of North Hempstead Code, the Town of Hempstead or the Village Code has occurred. The application for a search warrant shall, in all respects, comply with applicable laws of the State of New York.  

ARTICLE III,
Revocation and Appeal

§ 196-14.  Revocation of permit; appeal.

A. The Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke a rental occupancy permit where he or she finds that the permit holder has caused, permitted, suffered or allowed to exist and remain upon the premises for which such permit has been issued, for a period of 10 days or more after written notice has been given to the permit holder or the managing agent of such rental dwelling unit, a violation of the Multiple Residence Law, New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, Residential Code of New York State, the Nassau County Fire Prevention Ordinance, the Town of North Hempstead Code, the Town of Hempstead or a violation of this chapter or other chapter of the Village Code. Revocation of a permit under this subsection cannot be done by a delegate or assistant of the Code Enforcement Officer. 

B. An appeal from such revocation may be taken by the permit holder to the Village Board of Trustees, by written request, made within 30 days from the date of such revocation. The Village Board of Trustees shall hold a public hearing on such appeal within 30 days after receipt of written notice of such appeal and, after such hearing, shall make written findings, and a conclusion and a decision either sustaining such permit revocation or reinstating such permit within 30 days after the close of such public hearing. Unless the Village Board of Trustees directs otherwise in circumstances constituting serious threats to health and safety, the filing of an appeal shall stay the effectiveness of a permit revocation until the Village Board of Trustees has considered and ruled upon the issue.

ARTICLE IV,
Rental Registration

§ 196-15.  Rental registration required.

It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for any owner to permit any tenant or other person to take up residence by a rental occupancy in any dwelling unit without the owner first having completed and filed with the Code Enforcement Officer a rental registration form approved by the Superintendent of Buildings. A new form must be filed whenever a dwelling unit or portion thereof has become vacant and the owner intends to permit a new tenant or other person to take up residence. A new form must also be filed whenever a transfer in ownership of a building that contains rental dwelling units occurs.

ARTICLE V,
Rent Collection

§ 196-16.  Collection of rent.

The following shall be conditions precedent to the collection of rent for the use and occupancy of any dwelling unit:

A. The issuance of a rental occupancy permit for the premises as required by § 196-5;

B. The filing of a valid rental registration form for the tenancy as required by § 196-15; and 

C. The tendering of a written receipt in exchange for any rent payment offered in cash.    

ARTICLE VI,
Penalties

§ 196-17.  Penalties for offenses.

A. Any person, association, firm or corporation which violates any provision of this chapter or assists in the violation of any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter only and shall be punishable as follows: 

(1) By a fine of not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both, for conviction of a first offense. 

(2) By a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both, for conviction of a second offense, provided the first and second offenses were committed within a period of five years of each other. 

(3) By a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both, for conviction of the third or subsequent offense or a series of offenses, all of which were committed within a period of five years.   

B. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation of this chapter.    

ARTICLE VII,
 Severability

§ 196-18.  Severability.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in said judgment.  

ARTICLE VIII
When Effective

§ 196-19.  When effective.

This chapter shall be effective upon filing with the Secretary of State. No violation of this chapter will be charged prior to June 1, 2006, and no violation of this chapter, regarding failure to obtain a permit, will be charged against a person or entity which: 

A. Has filed the necessary application in proper form and in good faith, with all required information and attachments, on or before June 1, 2006;

B. Has consented to an inspection of the premises question; and

C. Has not received a final determination on the application, for reasons over which the applicant has no control.

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Borough of Bergenfield, NJ
  

Chapter 239,
RENTAL PROPERTY

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Bergenfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
ARTICLE I,
Registration and Inspection  

[Adopted 7-15-2003 by Ord. No. 03-2307]

§ 239-1.  Scope.

The purpose of this article is to provide for the annual registration of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s).

§ 239-2.  Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

DWELLING UNIT  — Any room, rooms, suite, or portion thereof, whether furnished or unfurnished, which is occupied or intended, arranged or designed to be occupied for sleeping or dwelling purposes by one or more persons.

MULTIFAMILY STRUCTURE  — Structure with multidwelling units.

OWNER OCCUPIED  — Principal residence of owner(s).

RENTAL ROOM(S)  — Room(s) rented within a dwelling unit.

SINGLE-FAMILY STRUCTURE  — Structure with a single dwelling unit.

§ 239-3.  Registration.

A. The owner(s) of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s) shall register their structures annually with the Construction Official or his designee on forms specified by the Borough of Bergenfield.

B. The owner(s) of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s) shall reregister whenever a change in occupancy occurs during the annual registration period.

§ 239-4.  Inspection.

A. The owner(s) of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s) shall submit to an annual inspection of the structure for compliance with New Jersey state statutes and Borough of Bergenfield Ordinances by the Construction Official or his designee.

B. The owner(s) of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s) shall submit to an inspection whenever a change in occupancy occurs for compliance with New Jersey statutes and Borough of Bergenfield ordinances by the Construction Official or his designee.

§ 239-5.  Fees.   [Amended 9-23-2003 by Ord. No. 03-2310]

A. The minimum registration fee shall be $50.

B. The registration and reregistration fees shall be as follows:

(1) Non-owner-occupied residential structure: $50.

(2) Multifamily residential structure (each rental unit): $50. [Amended 3-2-2004 by Ord. No. 04-2322]

(3) Rental room(s) (each rental room): $25.

C. The registration and reregistration fee shall be waived for all senior citizens and veterans who quay and have been approved for the New Jersey State Senior Citizen's Property Tax Deduction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-8.43 or the Veteran's Property Tax Deduction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-8.13.

D. After the first year has passed following enactment of Ordinance 03-2310, failure of any homeowner who would otherwise qualify for waiver of the registration or reregistration fee under Subsection C herein to comply with the other requirements of Ordinance 03-2310 shall forfeit said fee waiver permanently.

§ 239-6.  Compliance.

A. The owner(s) of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s) shall, within 45 days of adoption of this article, register with the Construction Official or his designee on forms specified by the Borough of Bergenfield and schedule a compliance inspection.

B. The owner(s) of all non-owner-occupied single-family structures, multifamily structures and rental room(s) shall no later than February 15 of each calendar year submit an annual registration with the Construction Official or his designee on form(s) specified by the Borough of Bergenfield and schedule an annual compliance inspection.

§ 239-7.  Written notice.

A. An owner(s) who is not in compliance with this article shall receive written notice from the Construction Official or his designee to comply within 30 days.

B. An owners(s) who fails to comply with the written notice of the Construction Official or his designee is subject to municipal summons.

§ 239-8.  Violations and penalties.

A. First offense: fine of not less than $1,000.

B. Continuing and subsequent noncompliance: fine of not less than $2,500 or the forfeiture of all rents derived from the rental from the inception of this article, whichever is greater. The owner(s) may also be subject to an imprisonment of up to 10 days confinement and/or community service.

§ 239-9.  Limitations.

Structures subject to registration under N.J.S.A. 55:13B-1 et seq. are exempt from compliance with this article.

ARTICLE II
Illegal Housing Units Penalties

[Adopted 10-18-2005 by Ord. No. 05-2361]

§ 239-10.  Findings.

A. WHEREAS the Mayor and Council of Bergenfield hereby finds and declares that there has been a proliferation of what are commonly known as "illegal apartments," meaning residential dwelling units which are occupied in violation of zoning laws. Most typically, these illegal apartments manifest themselves as a second residential unit in a building in a one-family zone, and a third residential unit in a building in a two-family zone; and

B. WHEREAS the Mayor and Council hereby further finds and declares that such illegal units have a deleterious effect on the quality of life of Borough residents, require the provision of Borough services, increase the utilization of Borough programs and services, contribute to the costs of the Borough by increasing the generation of refuse (garbage) and sewer flow, contribute to overcrowding, generate traffic within the Borough, generate automobiles which contribute to parking shortages throughout the Borough, lead to the maintenance of dwelling units which often fail to meet health, safety and building code standards. By their nature, such units generally escape taxation as their maintains and existence is normally hidden and not used for tax assessment purposes. The use and maintenance of said illegal apartments is also unfair to the vast majority of Borough residents who abide by zoning laws; and

C. WHEREAS the Mayor and Council wish to eliminate illegal dwelling units within the Borough of Bergenfield, prevent them from reoccurring, and wish to establish specific guidelines for those who profit from illegal housing.

§ 239-11.  Violations and penalties.

A. Any person violating any provision of this article shall be subject to a fine or not less than $500 nor more than $2,000 for the first offense, (unless the violation is addressed and corrected within 10 days of the discovery of same. In such case, the violation can be reduced to a minimal fine of $25 due to the required inspection and reinspection) in addition to possible imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, for each separate violation. (As the harm and detriment to the Borough is difficult to measure, the most reasonable way to calculate the damage and detriment caused to the Borough is by calculating same as percentage of the rental payment charged by the owner to the occupant on account of the illegal occupancy. A percentage of 25% is considered fair and reasonable as a measure of the damage and detriment caused to the Borough, based upon the period of illegal occupancy.)

B. Any person violating the provisions of this Ordinance No. 05-2361 shall be liable to the tenant or occupant of the illegally used premises for the costs of relocation, up to an amount of six times the monthly rental that would have been paid by the displaced person to be paid to the municipality by the owner-landlord of the structure pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1g(c) or a minimal of $1,500.  

C. For second or subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy, as provided in this section, by any owner-landlord for a second or subsequent violation, the Court may impose a fine equal to three times the amount of the prior violation or not more than $5,000.

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Borough of Ridgefield, NJ
  

Chapter 319
RENTAL UNITS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Ridgefield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
ARTICLE I
Inspections

[Adopted 8-18-1980 by Ord. No. 1161EN; amended in its entirety 7-28-2003 by Ord. No. 1826]

§ 319-1.  Title.

This article shall be known as the "Rental Unit Inspection Ordinance."

§ 319-2.  Certificate of inspection; when required.

The owner of any residential rental property shall, prior to rental or lease involving a new occupancy of any unit or dwelling space in such property, obtain a certificate of inspection for said unit or dwelling space.

§ 319-3.  Issuance of certificate of inspection.

The certificate of inspection shall be issued by the Construction Official or such person designated by the Construction Official to issue the certificate of inspection. The certificate shall be issued or denied within 10 days of the date of application to the Building Department.

§ 319-4.  Content of certificate of inspection.

The certificate of inspection shall certify that the dwelling unit, and its intended use, complies with the provisions of applicable building, health, safety and fire codes, regulations, ordinances and statutes of the Borough of Ridgefield and State of New Jersey.

§ 319-5.  Fee for certificate of inspection.

The fee for the certificate of inspection as provided for herein shall be $50 and shall be paid at the time of and together with the filing of the written application by the owner or his authorized representative. Said fee shall reflect, in part, the cost for the initial inspection required by this article. In the event that subsequent inspection(s) are required due to violations, there shall be due from the owner or his authorized representative an additional fee of $10 for each such reinspection.

§ 319-6.  Application for certificate of inspection.

The Construction Official shall promulgate an application for the certificate of inspection. That form shall include at least the following information: name and address of owner or landlord; address of rental space to be inspected; description of rental premises, including number and description of rooms; names and ages of intended tenants or occupants.

§ 319-7.  Inspection required.  [Amended 2-28-2005 by Ord. No. 1921]

Within five days after receiving such notice that a dwelling unit has been vacated or is about to be rented, the Construction Official shall inspect or cause to be inspected said premises.  The Construction Official may request assistance from other Borough officials, including employees of the Building Department, employees of the Health Department and/or the Borough Attorney. The purpose of said inspections shall be to ascertain whether or not the vacated premises meet the standards of the applicable building, zoning, health, safety and fire codes, regulations, ordinances and statutes of the Borough of Ridgefield in the State of New Jersey and that the premises are safe and habitable for their intended use.

§ 319-8.  Duties of inspector.

In the event that the premises to be leased or rented meet the standards of the applicable building, health, safety and fire codes, regulations, ordinances and statutes of the Borough of Ridgefield and the State of New Jersey, the Construction Official shall issue a certificate of inspection. In the event that the premises do not meet the standards outlined herein, the Construction Official shall give notice in writing of repairs and/or corrections to be made. In such event, the Construction Official or his agent or designee shall make a reinspection within 14 days, or sooner if the Construction Official has been notified that the improper conditions have been corrected and, if the premises meet the appropriate standards of the applicable building, health, safety and fire codes, regulations, ordinances and statutes of the Borough of Ridgefield and the State of New Jersey, the Construction Official shall issue a certificate of inspection.

§ 319-9.  Correction of violations.

The applicant shall correct all violations as set forth by the inspector within 14 days from the denial of the certificate of inspection and notice of repairs and/or corrections to be made.

§ 319-10.  Rental or occupation prohibited without certificate of inspection.

Following the effective date of this article, no such vacated apartments or premises shall be rented or occupied in whole or in part by any tenant until the certificate of inspection has been received or a temporary certificate of inspection has been received. No owner or landlord may receive or collect rent for any residential apartment or rental unit which has not received a certificate of inspection. No real estate agency, company or other entity that is entitled to receive a commission or other emolument on account of the rental of an apartment covered by this article shall list, advertise or otherwise aid or assist or attempt to aid or assist in the rental of such apartment which does not have a certificate of inspection.

§ 319-11.  Temporary certificate of inspection.

The Construction Official may issue a temporary certificate of inspection if the repairs and/or corrections are not deemed by him to be injurious to the safety or the habitability of the premises. Said temporary certificate shall automatically expire 30 days after its issuance. If the owner or landlord has not made the repairs or the corrections within that time period, no certificate of inspection will be issued. If the repairs and/or corrections have been made, the Construction Official shall issue a certificate of inspection.

§ 319-12.  Statement to be filed for all residential rental units.

Every owner of premises used for residential rental purposes shall file, under oath, with the Construction Official of the Borough a statement containing the address of the premises; the name, address and telephone number of the agent in charge of the premises, if any; the name, address and telephone number of the superintendent, if any; the number of apartments or dwelling units in such premises; and a description of the number and type of rooms in each unit, the names of all tenants or occupants and the ages of any children age 18 and younger. When the owner of such premises is a corporation, such statement shall be made, under oath, by the appropriate officers of the corporation. All statements shall contain a telephone number where the owner of the premises may be reached in the event of an emergency situation.

§ 319-13.  Failure to comply; service of process.

In the event that the owner of such premises fails to supply such information to the Construction Official of the Borough of Ridgefield by December 15, 2003, then and in that instance, the owner of such premises shall be deemed to have appointed the Borough Clerk as his agent for the acceptance of process against him in any proceeding issuing out of the Municipal Court of the Borough by reason of a violation of this article. In such case, the Borough Clerk shall accept service of the original and a copy of the summons and two copies of the complaint, and the Borough Clerk shall forthwith send a copy of the summons and complaint by certified mail to the last known address of the owner of the premises as designated by the records of the Tax Office of the Borough, and the mailing of such notice of service of process shall be deemed full compliance with the jurisdictional requirements of due process and shall give the Municipal Court of the Borough jurisdiction over the owner of the premises and to constitute personal service of process on the owner.

§ 319-14.  Alternative service of process.

In the alternative, the service of process against the owner in any proceeding issuing out of the Municipal Court of the Borough by reason of violation of this article may be made by the Construction Official or his designee by affixing a copy of the summons and complaint onto the door of the main entrance of the premises, and the Construction Official or his designee, on the same day, shall mail a copy of the summons and complaint by certified mail to the last known address of the owner or agent of the premises as the name may be disclosed by the records of the Tax Office of the Borough and notify the owner of a hearing regarding the alleged violation. Such notice shall be given at least 10 days before the day of the hearing.

§ 319-14.1.  Violations and penalties.

A. If this article of the Code of the Borough of Ridgefield provides for the licensing or permitting of the violator, the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Ridgefield reserve the right to revoke such permit or license following a conviction of the violation of the provisions of this article.

B. Any person found guilty of violating this article of the Code of the Borough of Ridgefield shall be subject to a penalty consisting of a fine or imprisonment, or both, subject to the discretion of the Judge, the maximum of which shall be the maximum fine or term of imprisonment permitted to be imposed by the court having jurisdiction over the violation of this article of the Code of the Borough of Ridgefield.

C. In the event of a continuing violation, each day shall constitute a separate offense.

ARTICLE II
Unlawful Residential Units

[Adopted 6-29-1988 by Ord. No. 1350]

§ 319-15.  Rental or payment for use prohibited.  [Amended 6-24-1991 by Ord. No. 1442]

A. No person shall charge, demand, receive or accept any rent or other payment for the use or occupancy of any residential premises within the Borough of Ridgefield which is used or occupied in violation of the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Ridgefield. Each such charge, demand, receipt or acceptance of such rent or other payment in violation hereof shall constitute a separate offense.

B. No person, specifically including but not limited to those persons commonly known as "real estate agents," "brokers" or "salespersons," shall assist, aid or facilitate in the rental, sale, use or occupancy of any residential premises within the Borough of Ridgefield which is used or occupied or intended to be used or occupied in violation of the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Ridgefield. For purposes of this article, the acts of listing for rental or sale, advertising or otherwise offering for rent, lease or sale any residential premises within the Borough of Ridgefield which are used or occupied or intended to be used or occupied in violation of the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Ridgefield shall be deemed to constitute a violation of this article. Any person who is to receive a commission, profit or other form of remuneration or emolument as a result of a rental, lease or sale of residential premises shall have a duty to make reasonable inquiry to determine whether or not the use or occupancy or intended use or occupancy is or will be in violation of the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Ridgefield.

§ 319-16.  Notification of occupants.

Within 10 days following receipt of a notice to abate an unlawful occupancy in violation of the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Ridgefield or within 10 days following receipt of a summons for violation of this article or the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Ridgefield or prior to the institution of dispossess proceedings to correct an illegal occupancy, whichever first occurs, the owner of residential premises within the Borough of Ridgefield shall serve upon all of the unlawful occupants using or occupying said residential premises a copy of this article and shall post a copy of this article in a common area of the premises accessible to all the occupants thereof for inspection.

§ 319-17.  Violations and penalties.  [Amended 7-11-2005 by Ord. No. 1938]

A. Any person violating any provision of this article shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, for each separate violation of same.

B. In addition to requiring reimbursement from the owner-landlord of the structure for relocation assistance paid to a displaced tenant, and notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, the Court may impose an additional fine for zoning or housing code violation for an illegal occupancy up to an amount equal to 6 times the monthly rental paid by the displaced person to be paid to the municipality by the owner-landlord of the structure pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1g(c). Notwithstanding the penalties provided above, a second or subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy as provided in this subsection by any owner-landlord for a second or subsequent violation, the Court may impose a fine equal to the annual tuition costs of any resident of the illegally occupied unit attending a public school, which fine shall be recovered in a civil action by a summary proceeding in the name of the municipality pursuant to Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999, (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10 et seq.). The Municipal Court and the Superior Court shall have jurisdiction of the proceedings for the enforcement of the penalty provided by this section. The tuition costs shall be determined in the manner prescribed for nonresident pupils pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-19, and the payment of the fines shall be remitted to the appropriate school district.

C. In those instances where a violation of this section is based on the maintenance of residential dwelling units above the number of units permitted by the Zoning Ordinance on a particular parcel of land (e.g., the maintenance of a structure with three residential dwelling units in a zoning district where only two residential dwelling units are permitted), the defendant who is the owner of a property shall be required to permanently remove the kitchen in any such unlawful residential structure or structures. For purposes of this subsection, the term "remove the kitchen" shall mean the removal of the stove, refrigerator and kitchen sink in any such structure. The Borough Construction Official or his designee shall inspect the premises to insure that said removal is accomplished within 30 days of the date of the entry of the judgment of conviction by the Municipal Court.

§ 319-18.  Costs of moving to be borne by violator.  [Amended 5-13-2004 by Ord. No. 1872; 6-29-2004 by Ord. No. 1879; 7-11-2005 by Ord. No. 1938]

A. Any tenant who receives a notice of eviction pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.2 that results from zoning or code enforcement activity for an illegal occupancy shall be considered a displaced person and shall be entitled to relocation assistance in an amount equal to six times the monthly rental paid by the displaced person. The owner-landlord of the structure shall be liable for the payment of relocation assistance pursuant to this section.

B. The Borough of Ridgefield may, in the discretion of the Welfare Director, pay relocation assistance to any displaced person who has not received the required payment from the owner-landlord of the structure at the time of eviction pursuant to Subsection A above from a revolving relocation assistance fund established pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1a. All relocation assistance costs incurred by a municipality pursuant to this subsection shall be repaid by the owner-landlord of the structure to the municipality in the same manner as relocation costs are billed and collected under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1 and N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.2. These repayments shall be deposited into the municipality's revolving relocation assistance fund.

§ 319-19.  Finder's fee authorized.  [Added 5-13-2004 by Ord. No. 1872]

The Mayor and Council are authorized to enact, by adopting an appropriate resolution, a program whereby any person providing information which leads to the discovery of, and elimination of, a violation of § 319-15 of this article be paid a finder's fee not to exceed $500. If such a program is established by the Mayor and Council, by duly adopted resolution, the resolution shall establish the amount of the finder's fee, which shall not exceed the amount specified in this article, as well as the terms, conditions and provisions of how same is to be paid.

§ 319-20.  Restitution to Borough.  [Added 5-13-2004 by Ord. No. 1872]

The Mayor and Council hereby determines that the use and occupancy of illegal residential apartments, as set forth above, are detrimental to the general health, safety and welfare of the Borough, and that such illegal occupancies generate the utilization of Borough services, including fire, police, sanitation, public works and general administration, and further generate the use of motor vehicles which take parking spaces and create traffic, while escaping real estate taxation. The Borough finds this to be an unfair and inequitable situation. The Borough further determines that the harm and detriment to the Borough is difficult to measure and hereby determines that the most reasonable way to calculate the damage and detriment caused to the Borough by illegal occupancies is by calculating same as a percentage of the rental payment charged by the owner to the occupant on account of the illegal occupancy. The Borough determines that a percentage of 10% of the rent to be fair and reasonable as a measure of the damage and detriment caused to the Borough, and the Mayor and Council may authorize the Borough Attorney to recover from any person who charges, demands, receives or accepts rent or payment for such an illegal occupancy to make restitution to the Borough for the damage and detriment caused to the Borough during a period of illegal occupancy.

§ 319-21.  Findings and declarations.  [Added 5-13-2004 by Ord. No. 1872]

The Mayor and Council hereby finds and declares that there has been a proliferation of what are commonly known as "illegal apartments", meaning residential dwelling units which are occupied in violation of zoning laws. Most typically, these illegal apartments manifest themselves as a second residential unit in a building in a one-family zone, and a third residential unit in a building in a two-family zone. The Mayor and Council hereby further finds and declares that such illegal units have a deleterious effect on the quality of life of Borough residents, require the provision of Borough services, generate young people who attend Borough schools, increase the utilization of Borough programs and services, contribute to the costs of the Borough by increasing the generation of refuse (garbage) and sewer flow, contribute to overcrowding, generate traffic within the Borough, generate automobiles which contribute to parking shortages throughout the Borough and lead to the maintenance of dwelling units which often fail to meet health, safety and building code standards. By their nature, such units generally escape taxation as their maintenance and existence is normally hidden and not used for tax assessment purposes. The use and maintenance of said illegal apartments is also unfair to the vast majority of Borough residents who abide by zoning laws.

§ 319-22.  Declarations of policy.  [Added 5-13-2004 by Ord. No. 1872]

The Borough of Ridgefield hereby declares it to be the policy of the Borough to eliminate all illegal dwelling units within the Borough of Ridgefield and prevent them from reoccurring.

§ 319-23.  Adoption of transition.  [Added 5-13-2004 by Ord. No. 1872]

The Borough of Ridgefield hereby determines and declares that, prior to beginning a program of active enforcement designed to eliminate illegal apartments throughout the Borough, the Borough will allow a period of time which will expire on August 1, 2004, for property owners to voluntarily eliminate illegal occupancies. Nothing in this section shall prevent the Borough, or any of its duly authorized officials, from enforcing zoning laws and building code laws prior to August 1, 2004. Rather, the foregoing is an expression of the general policy of the Borough to withhold active and aggressive enforcement prior to that date in order to allow homeowners to voluntarily comply with zoning laws.

ARTICLE III
Annual Inspection of Rental Units in Multifamily Dwellings

[Adopted 6-27-2005 by Ord. No. 1935]

§ 319-24.  Applicability.

This article shall apply to all residential units by and within the Borough of Ridgefield where there are three or more rental units in any one structure or on any once piece of property.

§ 319-25.  Annual inspections.

Every residential rental unit to which this article applies shall be inspected at least annually by the Borough of Ridgefield to insure compliance with building, health, safety and fire codes and ordinances and statutes of the Borough of Ridgefield and State of New Jersey. Any residential rental unit which is inspected pursuant to Article I of this chapter shall not be required to have the annual inspection performed under this Article III.

§ 319-26.  Responsibility for inspections.

The inspections required by this article shall be carried out by personnel of the Building Department and/or Health Department.

§ 319-27.  Fee for inspections.

A landlord shall pay a fee for each inspection of a residential unit conducted annually pursuant to this article as follows:

A. Three to five units: $30;

B. Six to 12 units: $25;

C. Thirteen to 20 units: $20; and

D. Twenty-one or more units: $15.

§ 319-28.  Violations and penalties.

Any person who shall refuse to permit, disallow, disrupt, obstruct or willfully hinder any required inspection under this article, or who shall fail to pay the required fee within 30 days of receiving notice of same, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,000 as determined by the Municipal Court Judge.

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City of Passaic, NJ
  

Chapter 125
DWELLING UNITS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Passaic as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
ARTICLE I,
Illegal Occupancies

[Adopted 12-6-1984 by Ord. No. 814-84]

§ 125-1. Definitions.

The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this article, shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes of this article, except in those instances where the content clearly indicates otherwise:

ATTIC — The space between the ceiling beams of the top story and the roof rafters. [Added 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85]

CAUSING OCCUPANCY — Placing or directing a person or persons to utilize a room or rooms or space or spaces for a specific purpose, including but not limited to sleeping. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a property owner shall be the cause of occupancy of any portion of his/her property. [Added 10-3-1985 by Ord. No. 883-85]

CELLAR — Any portion of a building in which more than 50% of the height of such portion, measured from clear floor to ceiling, shall be below average adjoining ground level.

DWELLING UNIT — Any room or rooms or suite or apartment thereof, whether furnished or unfurnished, which is occupied or intended, arranged or designed to be occupied for such sleeping or dwelling purposes by one or more persons, including but not limited to the owner thereof or any of his servants, agents or employees, and shall include all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use of occupancy thereof.

ILLEGAL CONVERSION — A change in the use of any room or rooms or space or spaces, whether or not any construction takes place, to create dwelling units without approval of the requisite agencies or boards of the City of Passaic and for which no certificate of occupancy exists.

INDEPENDENT ROOMING UNIT — A rooming unit in other than a single-family dwelling which opens directly to the exterior of the premises by way of a common hallway, common areaway or common stairway or door to the exterior of the premises without passing through any other rooming unit or dwelling unit. [Added 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85]

OCCUPYING — Using a room or rooms or space or spaces for a specific purpose, including but not limited to sleeping. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any room or rooms or space or spaces which shall have within an assembled bed or daybed or convertible sofa or other convertible furniture is being occupied for sleeping purposes. [Added 10-3-1985 by Ord. No. 883-85]

PERMITTING OCCUPANCY — Allowing a person or persons to utilize a room or rooms, space or spaces for a specific purpose, including but not limited to sleeping. An owner or operator of any premises shall be responsible for the utilization of any room or rooms or space or spaces within any premises under his/her ownership/control. [Added 10-3-1985 by Ord. No. 883-85]

ROOMING HOUSE — Any dwelling, whether furnished or unfurnished, in which there are one or more rooming units where there are sleeping accommodations available for rent or other considerations, and where there is no agreement between the operator and any occupant for feeding, personal care or specific supervision or attention, except hotels. To be a legal "rooming house," the facility must have been licensed as such and have had a valid certificate of occupancy for such use at the time jurisdiction over rooming houses was assumed by the State of New Jersey. Absent proof of a valid certificate of occupancy and prior licensing by the city, a "rooming house" shall not be considered a legal facility even if it has been licensed by the State of New Jersey, for such licenses by definition do not supersede the municipal zoning regulations. [Added 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85]

ROOMING UNIT — Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit, other than a dwelling unit, which is rented or available for rent for sleeping purposes. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any room, which shall have a door-locking device commonly called a "Yale lock" or similar device added in the door, is intended as a "rooming unit" and the burden of disproving the same rests with the owner, operator or occupant. [Added 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85]

USE — The specific purpose for which land or a building is designed, arranged, intended, occupied or maintained.

§ 125-2. Unapproved occupancy of cellars prohibited. [Amended 4-6-1995 by Ord. No. 1321-95; 9-18-1997 by Ord. No. 1416-97]

A. Cellars shall be used only for incidental storage for the dwelling units above. Use of cellars for sleeping purposes or as a dwelling unit, rooming unit or independent rooming unit is prohibited. Partitions, walls and/or showers and/or bathtubs and/or kitchens, except kitchens used in conjunction with the dwelling unit above, are prohibited in cellars. [Amended 4-18-2005 by Ord. No. 1654-05]

B. Use of a cellar for purposes other than incidental storage may be permitted, provided that all UCC permits and all other applicable municipal approvals are obtained prior to such use.

§ 125-3. Unapproved occupancy of attics prohibited. [Amended 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85; 4-6-1995 by Ord. No. 1321-95; 9-18-1997 by Ord. No. 1416-97; 3-2-2000 by Ord. No. 1484-00]

Any residential attic used for other than incidental storage must meet the following criteria:

A. Under no circumstances shall the attic be offered as a separate dwelling unit, rooming unit or independent rooming unit.

B. The attic must be an integral part of the dwelling unit below and shall not be leased to any party. Attic occupant(s) shall have full use of the floor below.

C. Access to the attic shall be through the dwelling unit immediately below the attic. If fire exits are required, only egress shall be allowed. Entrance to the attic through fire exits shall be prohibited, and proper door hardware shall be installed to prevent entry.

D. The attic shall be limited to having only a stall shower, toilet and vanity.

E. There shall be no kitchen or food cooking/preparing facilities (hotplates, refrigerator, food cabinets or sink) permitted in the attic.

F. One door leading to the stairwell between the attic and the unit immediately below will be allowed. The door will be at the lower level of the stairwell and will have no locks on the door. The door will be a thirty-minute-fire-resistant-rated door.

G. Egress windows must be installed in every attic bedroom prior to occupancy.

H. Fire stopping must be installed throughout the attic at the floor level in all walls which communicate with a lower floor or level; must obtain certificate of occupancy for attic part and parcel.

I. Preexisting thirty-six-inch width stairways may remain. Any existing stairway less than thirty-six-inch width shall be enlarged to 44 inches in width and no variations of the Uniform Construction Code.

J. All walls and ceilings in an attic unit must have a minimum one-hour fire rating.

K. All floors of the building, including any basements, subbasements, cellars, etc., shall have interconnected, hardwired smoke detectors with battery backup. Plans for placement of detectors must be approved by the Fire Department and Fire Subcode Official prior to occupancy of the attic dwelling unit.

L. An exterior flashing strobe light connected to the smoke detector system shall be installed on the street address side of the building at the peak of the roofline in such a manner as to be visible from the curbline of the building to indicate attic occupancy.

M. Only family members of the dwelling unit immediately below the attic shall be permitted to occupy the attic. Family members shall include parents, children, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

N. The number of occupants permitted in the attic area shall be based on the number of square feet of living space in the attic. This is to avoid overcrowding conditions. Ceiling height must be seven feet for at least 70 square feet of the room or space. Not to be counted is any portion of the room less than five feet in height.

O. The attic dwelling unit must be inspected and approved by all applicable city agencies before occupancy and may be subject to annual inspections.

P. Existing legal attic dwelling units are exempt from compliance with this section except for the requirements under Subsections K and L above. Existing attic units will have a period of 90 days after the adoption of this section to come into compliance with Subsections K and L. All existing requirements for the occupancy shall be adhered to. Should renovations of the building exceed 25% of the value of the building or should the attic be damaged due to a fire, that unit must be brought into compliance with this revised section before being reoccupied.

Q. In addition to the above requirements, the following codes and regulations pertaining to attic use shall be enforced, along with all applicable codes enforced by the City of Passaic.

(1) Plans are to be submitted for existing rooms; subcode officials are to determine if they need to be signed and sealed by an architect.

(2) Signed and sealed plans are required for the construction of any room.

(3) All work performed is to conform to the most recent editions of the following codes:

(a) Uniform Construction Code N.J.A.C.  5:23-1.1 et seq.

(b) BOCA Code.

(c) National Electrical Code.

(d) National Standard Plumbing Code.

(4) Observance of the regulations presently in effect is mandatory.

(a) Useable floor area of the attic shall not exceed 1/3 of the floor area below.

(b) Each room shall have adequate outlets.

(c) Each bathroom outlet must be a ground fault interrupter (GFI) outlet.

(d) Rooms used for sleeping must have an operable window with the minimum clear opening of 5.7 square feet.

(5) Necessary permits are to be obtained before any work begins.

(6) Rooms are not to be occupied until a Uniform Construction Code (UCC) certificate of occupancy is issued.

(7) The entrance to the attic must be through the second floor apartment.

(8) Smoke detectors shall be installed within each bedroom, and a second hardwired battery backup interconnected smoke detector shall be installed in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, including the floor below. In addition to the above, smoke detectors are to be installed at every floor level, hardwired battery backup.

R. No portable heating appliances shall be used in the attic.

S. Privacy locks only will be permitted on bedroom doors.

§ 125-4. Occupancy of units created by illegal conversions prohibited. [Amended 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85]

Occupying, causing occupancy or permitting occupancy of any room or space or dwelling unit or rooming unit or independent rooming unit for which rent or other consideration is sought or paid and which has been created by means of an illegal conversion as hereinbefore defined is prohibited.

§ 125-5. Property maintenance standards. [Added 3-7-1985 by Ord. No. 836-85EN]

Where it shall be determined that a dwelling unit, rooming unit or independent rooming unit for which rent or other consideration is sought or accepted is in violation of §§ 125-3, 125-4 or 125-5 of this chapter, or any parts thereof or combinations thereof, and where the existence of such units by their existence causes violations of certain specific health or safety provisions of the Property Maintenance Code of the City of Passaic, the person or persons deemed in violation shall be subject to penalties for such violations without necessity for prior notification. The specific sections of the Property Maintenance Code to which this section shall be applicable are as follows:

A. Section 219-86, Smoke detectors and smoke alarms in multiple dwellings.

B. Section 219-77, Basic facilities for dwelling units.

C. Section 219-78, Second means of egress required for dwelling units.

D. Section 219-79, Second means of egress from basement dwelling units.

E. Section 219-80, Egress from independent rooming units.

F. Section 219-81, Window as part of egress.

G. Section 219-82, Door in path of egress.

H. Section 219-83, Location and number of exits.

I. Section 219-22, Prevention of infestation required.

J. Section 21, Floor area requirements.

K. Section 219-67, Floor area of dwelling units.

L. Section 219-68, Floor area of rooms occupied for sleeping.

§ 125-6. Violations and penalties. [Amended 10-3-1985 by Ord. No. 883-85]

A. The City Council of the City of Passaic finds and declares its purpose in adopting this legislation is to counter a situation which is inimical to the public health, safety and welfare. The Council declares its intention that this legislation be strictly construed so as to further such purpose and, further, declares its belief that every purchaser of real property in the past, present or future was, is and shall be obliged to ascertain the property occupancy level of such premises and, failing to do so, shall not attempt to excuse oneself because an illegal conversion may have been made by a prior owner or operator.

B. Any violation of any section or subsection of this Article shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail for each violation committed hereunder.

C. Each violation of a section or subsection of this Article shall constitute a separate and distinct violation independent of any other section or subsection. Each day's violation of any section or subsection of this Code shall constitute a separate violation, and each dwelling unit within a single building shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.

ARTICLE II,
Rental and Occupancy by New Tenants

[Adopted 12-17-1987 by Ord. No. 1006-87]

§ 125-7. Applicability.

The owner of any dwelling unit, except those exempted below, shall be subject to the provisions of this article.

§ 125-8. Certain units exempt.

The following dwelling units shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:

A. Units in owner-occupied buildings of four or fewer units.

B. Units in buildings which are totally vacant at the time of enactment of this article and have been so for at least 30 days prior to October 1, 1987.

C. Units in newly constructed buildings which are being rented for the first time. Once rented, such units shall be governed hereby.

D. Units where the owner is participating in an affordable housing project approved by the Department of Community Development of the City of Passaic.

E. All units in hotels, motels or rooming units.

F. Units in a building whose owner has received a notice of filing from the Department of Community Affairs upon the latter's receipt of any application for registration for conversion to condominium or cooperative ownership pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:22A-30.

§ 125-9. Time limit for rental and occupancy by new tenant.

All dwelling units, except those expressly exempted in § 125-8 hereof, shall be rented and occupied by a new tenant within 60 days of the termination of the preceding tenancy, which shall be defined as, the last day of residence of the prior tenant or tenants, except where this requirement has been waived by the Rent Leveling Board under provisions of § 125-12 hereunder, in which case the unit shall be rented and occupied within the time set by the Board.

§ 125-10. Owner to notify Rent Leveling Board of vacancy.

A. The owner of any dwelling unit covered by § 125-9 of this article, which unit is still vacant 30 days after the termination of the preceding tenancy, shall notify the Rent Leveling Board within five days thereof of such continuing vacancy.

B. Such notification shall contain the following:

(1) The address of the building containing the dwelling unit and the designation of such unit.

(2) The rent last paid by the departed tenant and the rent to be charged to the proximate incoming tenant.

(3) The name, address and telephone number of the owner.

(4) The name, address and telephone number of the owner's agent and/or the resident manager.

§ 125-11. Owner to notify Rent Leveling Board of rental and occupancy.

Within 30 days of submission of the report required in § 125-10, the landlord shall notify the Rent Leveling Board that the unit has been rented and occupied, setting forth the name of the new tenant and the terms of tenancy. Failure to have the unit rented and occupied within 60 days of termination of prior tenancy, except where a waiver has been granted, shall be considered a violation of this article, and every day thereafter shall be considered a separate and distinct violation, subject to the penalties set forth in § 125-13 hereunder.

§ 125-12. Waiver of time limit.

A. A landlord may seek a waiver of the sixty-day requirement set forth above where condition of the unit or other special circumstances make rental within such time period impossible. To obtain a waiver, the landlord must make application to the Rent Leveling Board within 10 days of the termination of the prior tenancy, setting forth specifically:

(1) The reasons why the unit cannot be rented and occupied within the prescribed sixty-day period.

(2) The steps the landlord shall take to remedy the conditions that make it impossible to rent the unit.

(3) The date by which the unit shall be rented and occupied.

B. Full documentation, such as code violation reports or engineering reports, shall be provided by the landlord. Any waiver granted by the Board under this section shall set forth a specific date by which the unit shall be rented and occupied. The Board may extend such date upon written request of the landlord, but in no case shall the total elapsed time from termination of prior tenancy to rental and occupancy by a new tenant exceed 180 days.

C. The following circumstances shall constitute grounds for granting of a waiver by the Rent Leveling Board:

(1) The owner wishes to maintain a vacant unit to reserve the same for a family member. The owner shall be required to provide the name of the future tenant and the date of occupancy.

(2) The owner wishes to improve the condition of the subject unit. The owner shall be required to provide up-to-date building and housing inspection reports, improvement plans, all related permits and the date the unit shall be rented and occupied.

(3) The owner wishes to correct code violations in the subject unit. The owner shall be required to provide violation reports, correction plans, permits and the date by which unit shall be rented and occupied.

§ 125-13. Violations and penalties.

Violations of this article shall be punishable by fines of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or 90 days in jail, or both, for each unit found in violation and for each day such violation shall be found to exist.

§ 125-14. Legislative intent.

A. The City Council of the City of Passaic, in enacting this article, expresses its legislative intent as follows:

(1) The article and its provisions are intended to avoid conflict with any state statutes regulating possession of apartments and regulating conversion of rental units into other forms of ownership. If any ambiguity arises with respect to such conflict, this article should be construed to carry out its purpose to avoid such conflict.

(2) This article is intended to address a potentially serious diminution of rental housing within the city, and the City Council finds that violation of the provisions of § 125-9 is particularly deleterious to the welfare of the city and its residents and should be dealt with severely, especially in cases of repeat violations.

(3) The article is intended to apply to any dwelling units currently vacant, and any landlord of any unit which has been vacant 30 days or more from the termination of the prior vacancy as of the effective date of this article shall be required to file the notification required under § 125-10 of this article and to comply with all other provisions of this article as set forth in §§ 125-11 and 125-12.

§ 125-15. Copies to be sent to known property owners.

Upon final passage of this Article, a copy thereof as adopted shall be sent to all known owners of property subject to the provisions hereof. "Known owners" shall mean all owners who have filed landlord registration certificates with the Division of Housing in the Department of Community Development, which Department shall be responsible for the notification. Such Department shall further generally inform the public with respect to the terms and provisions of this Article by placement of at least one display advertisement in the legal newspapers designated for the City of Passaic.

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City of Pittsfield, MA

Sec. 3-4.16. Occupancy limitations.

(a) Privacy. Dwelling units, hotel units, rooming units, and dormitory units shall be arranged to provide privacy and be separate from other adjoining spaces.

(b) Access from sleeping rooms. With the exception of dwelling units that contain fewer than two bedrooms, sleeping rooms shall not constitute the only means of access to other sleeping rooms or habitable spaces.

(c) Area for sleeping purposes. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.

(d) Water closet accessibility. Every bedroom shall have access to at least one water closet and one lavatory without passing through another bedroom.

(e) Overcrowding. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum occupancy area requirements of Table A.

Table A
Minimum Occupancy Requirements (in sqaure feet)

Space

1-2 Occupants

3-5 Occupants

6 or More

Living room

No requirements

120

150

Dining room

No requirements

80

100

Kitchen

50

50

60

Bedrooms

Shall comply with section 3-4.15(3)

 

 

(f) Combined spaces. Combined living room and dining room spaces shall comply with the requirements of Table A if the total area is equal to that required for separate rooms and if the space is located so as to function as a combination living room/dining room.

(g) Prohibited occupancy. Kitchens, nonhabitable spaces, and interior public areas shall not be occupied for sleeping purposes.

(h) Minimum ceiling heights. Habitable spaces, other than kitchens, shall have a clear ceiling height of not less than seven feet, three inches. Hallways, corridors, laundry areas, bathrooms, toilet rooms and kitchens shall have a clear ceiling height of not less than seven feet.

Exceptions:

(1) Beams or girders spaced not less than four feet (1219 mm) on center and projecting not more than six inches (152 mm) below the required ceiling height, provided that the minimum clear height is not less than six feet, eight inches (2033 mm).

(2) Dropped or furred ceilings over not more than one-half of the minimum floor area required by this code, provided that no part of such dropped or furred ceiling is less than seven feet (2134 mm) in height.

(3) Rooms occupied exclusively for sleeping, study, or similar purposes and having a sloped ceiling over all or part of the room, with a clear ceiling height of at least seven feet (2134 mm) over not less than one-third of the required minimum floor area. In calculating the floor area of such rooms, only those portions of the floor area with a clear ceiling height of five feet (1524 mm) or more shall be included.

(4) Basement rooms in one- and two-family dwellings occupied exclusively for laundry, study or recreational purposes, having a ceiling height of not less than six feet, eight inches (2033 mm) with not less than six feet, four inches (1932 mm) of clear height under beams, girders, ducts, and similar obstructions.

(i)   Minimum room widths. A habitable room, other than a kitchen, shall not be less than seven feet (2134 mm) in any plan dimension. Kitchens shall have a clear passageway of not less than three feet (914 mm) between counterfronts and appliances or counterfronts and walls.

(j) Food preparation. All spaces to be occupied for food preparation purposes shall contain suitable space and equipment to store, prepare and serve foods in a sanitary manner. There shall be adequate facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food wastes and refuse, including facilities for temporary storage.

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