SENATE, No. 2795

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 21, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

Senator  STEVEN V. OROHO

District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Connors and Addiego

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Clarifies enforcement responsibility of State Housing Code concerning multiple dwellings from municipalities to the State under the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the inspection of multiple dwellings for compliance with safety and other codes, supplementing P.L.1962, c.66 (C. (C.40:48-2.12a et seq.) and revising various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  The Legislature finds and declares:

     a.     That the Statewide inspection of rental units, under the Department of Community Affairs, is a necessary and appropriate task for State government to perform.

     b.    That all apartment communities in New Jersey containing three or more units fall under the State’s jurisdiction via the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," P.L.1967, c. 76  (C.55:13A-1 et seq.). New Jersey was one of the first states in the nation to adopt Statewide regulations governing multi-family housing and remains one of just a handful to have Statewide registration and inspection requirements.

     c.     There is an overlap of jurisdiction under New Jersey laws concerning the maintenance requirements for and inspection of multiple dwellings.  While the State Housing Code provides municipalities with the ability to adopt local ordinances with minimum maintenance standards in accordance with that act, and which code is applicable to all types of buildings, statutes enacted subsequent to that law place the responsibility to enforce fire, and building codes, and certain health and safety items, including use, occupancy and maintenance, on the State, through the Bureau of Housing Inspection, Division of Codes and Standards, in the Department of Community Affairs.

     d.    There is also a duplication of laws permitting or requiring landlord registration, which creates confusion, and permits additional fees to be charged to landlords for the same purpose.

     e.     This confusing array of laws, many of which have in effect been rendered moot by subsequent enactments, requires Legislative correction, so that the State’s requirements for landlord registration, and maintenance and use standards and inspection therefore of multiple dwellings are clear and not duplicated at the local level.

     f.     The Legislature determines that it is appropriate for the statutes authorizing municipal ordinances effectuating the State Housing Code to be amended to exclude the regulation of multiple dwellings.  The Legislature further determines that it is appropriate that the minimum requirements under the State Housing Code for multiple dwellings be enforced by the State Department of Community Affairs pursuant to “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,” in addition to the other protections provided by that act.

 

     2.    (New section)  The provisions of the State Housing Code, N.J.A.C.5:28 -1 et seq., adopted by the Department of Community Affairs pursuant to P.L.1966, c.168 (C.2A:42-74 et seq.) which may be applied to multiple dwellings shall be enforced solely pursuant to P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).  The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prevent a municipality from abating a nuisance or from inspecting a multiple dwelling upon a change of occupancy pursuant to P.L.1979. c.476 (C.40:48-2.12m).

 

     3.    Section 5 of P.L.1966, c.168 (C.2A:42-78) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    Any ordinance adopted [under this act] pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1966, c.168 providing for the regulation of rents may provide for the registration of the owners [and management] of every multiple dwelling in the municipality.  Such  registration shall be with the clerk of the municipality upon forms prescribed by and furnished by the municipality.  Every such registration form shall include the name and address of the owner and the name and address of an agent in charge of the premises residing in the municipality.  Notwithstanding any ordinance to the contrary, no municipality may charge a fee for a registration made pursuant to this section.

(cf: P.L.1966, c.168, s.5)

 

     4.    Section 1 of P.L.1962, c.66 (C.40:48-2.12a) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    The governing body of any municipality may make, amend, repeal and enforce ordinances to regulate buildings and structures, provided that such ordinances do not conflict with the State Uniform Construction Code Act, P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.) and the code promulgated pursuant to that act, and [their] the use and occupation of such buildings and structures to prevent and abate conditions therein harmful to the health and safety of the occupants of said buildings and structures and the general public in the municipality, other than those conditions and uses regulated in multiple dwellings pursuant to P.L.1967, c. 76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).

(cf: P.L.1962, c.66, s.1)

 

     5.    Section 1 of P.L.1979. c.476 (C.40:48-2.12m) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    a. The governing body of a municipality may adopt ordinances, other than as prohibited in subsection b. of this section, regulating the maintenance and condition of any unit of dwelling space, upon the termination of occupancy, in any residential rental property for the purpose of the safety,  healthfulness, and upkeep of the structure and the adherence to such other standards of maintenance and condition as are required in the interest of  public safety, health and welfare.  Such ordinances shall require the owner of  any residential rental property, prior to rental or lease involving a new occupancy of any unit of dwelling space in such property, to obtain a certificate of inspection or occupancy for the unit of dwelling space.  Such certificate of inspection or occupancy shall be issued by the municipality upon the inspection of the unit of dwelling space by a municipal inspector and his findings that such unit meets the standards provided by law.  The municipality may charge a fee to fund the costs of the inspections and the issuance of the certificates.  The fee shall be reasonable and shall not exceed the costs of the inspection.  For purposes of this act “owner" means the person who owns, purports to own, or exercises control of any residential rental property.

     b.    Nothing in subsection a. of this section shall authorize a municipality to inspect multiple dwellings as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-3), on any basis other than upon the termination of occupancy of a multiple dwelling unit.

(cf: P.L.1979, c.476, s.1)

 

     6.    Section 2 of P.L.1974, c.50 (C.46:8-28) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    Every landlord shall, within 30 days following the effective date of this act, or at the time of the creation of the first tenancy in any newly constructed or reconstructed building, file with the clerk of the municipality, or with such other municipal official as is designated by the clerk, in which the residential property is situated, in the case of a [one-dwelling unit rental or a two-dwelling unit non-owner occupied] one- or two- unit rental dwelling premises, or with the Bureau of Housing Inspection in the Department of Community Affairs in the case of a multiple dwelling as defined in section 3 of the "Hotel and Multiple  Dwelling Law" (C.55:13A-3), a certificate of registration on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Community Affairs, which shall contain the following  information:

     a.     The name and address of the record owner or owners of the premises and the record owner or owners of the rental business if not the same persons.  In the case of a partnership the names of all general partners shall be provided;

     b.    If the record owner is a corporation, the name and address of the registered agent and corporate officers of said corporation;

     c.     If the address of any record owner is not located in the county in which the premises are located, the name and address of a person who resides in the county in which the premises are located and is authorized to accept notices from a tenant and to issue receipts therefor and to accept service of process on behalf of the record owner;

     d.    The name and address of the managing agent of the premises, if any;

     e.     The name and address, including the dwelling unit, apartment or room number of the superintendent, janitor, custodian or other individual employed by the record owner or managing agent to provide regular maintenance service, if any;

     f.     The name, address and telephone number of an individual representative of the record owner or managing agent who may be reached or contacted at any time in the event of an emergency affecting the premises or any unit of dwelling space therein, including such emergencies as the failure of any essential service or system, and who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the building and any repair thereto or expenditure in connection therewith and shall, at all times, have access to a current list of building tenants that shall be made available to emergency personnel as required in the event of an emergency;

     g.     The name and address of every holder of a recorded mortgage on the premises;

     h.     If fuel oil is used to heat the building and the landlord furnishes the heat in the building, the name and address of the fuel oil dealer servicing the building and the grade of fuel oil used.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.56, s.2)

 

     7.    Section 3 of P.L.1981, c.442 (C.46:8-28.1) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    In the case of a filing under section 2 of P.L.1974, c.50 (C.46:8-28) with the municipal clerk, or with such other municipal official as is designated by the clerk, the clerk or designated official shall index and file the certificate and make it reasonably available for public inspection.  In the case of a filing with the Bureau of Housing Inspection, the filing shall be accompanied by the filing fee required pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1967, c. 76 (C. 55:13A-12).  The bureau shall review the certificate and, if it is found to be in conformity with this law and any regulations promulgated hereunder, validate the certificate and issue a validated copy to the landlord and a validated copy to the clerk of the municipality in which the building or project is located.  The clerk shall index the validated certificates, or forward them to the designated official for indexing, and the certificates shall be made available as with the certificates required of [one and two] one- or two- unit rental dwelling [unit nonowner occupied] premises.  To reduce administrative costs, any information required to be transmitted pursuant to this section may be provided and stored in an electronic format, and shall be updated frequently on a reasonable basis, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

(cf: P.L.2001, c.264, s.2)


     8.    Section 7 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-7) is amended to read as follows:

     7.    The commissioner shall issue and promulgate, in the manner specified in section 8 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-8), such regulations as the commissioner may deem necessary to assure that any hotel or multiple dwelling will be maintained in such manner as is consistent with, and will protect, the health, safety and welfare of the occupants or intended occupants thereof, or of the public generally.

     Any such regulations issued and promulgated by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall provide standards and specifications for such maintenance materials, methods and techniques, fire warning and extinguisher systems, elevator systems, emergency egresses, and such other protective equipment as the commissioner shall deem reasonably necessary to the health, safety and welfare of the occupants or intended occupants of any units of dwelling space in any hotel or multiple dwelling, and on or after the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall include all items listed in the State Housing Code which are applicable to multiple dwellings, including but not limited to:

     (a)   Structural adequacy ratings;

     (b)   Methods of egress, including fire escapes, outside fireproof stairways, independent stairways, and handrails, railings, brackets, braces and landing platforms thereon, additional stairways, and treads, winders, and risers thereof, entrances and ramps;

     (c)   Bulkheads and scuttles, partitions, walls, ceilings and floors;

     (d)   Garbage and refuse collection and disposal, cleaning and janitorial services, repairs, and extermination services;

     (e)   Electrical wiring and outlets, and paints and the composition thereof;

     (f)    Doors, and the manner of opening thereof;

     (g)   Transoms, windows, shafts and beams;

     (h)   Chimneys, flues and central heating units;

     (i)    Roofing and siding materials;

     (j)    Lots, yards, courts and garages, including the size and location thereof;

     (k)   Intakes, open ducts, offsets and recesses;

     (l)    Windows, including the size and height thereof;

     (m)  Rooms, including the area and height thereof, and the permissible number of occupants thereof, including the use and occupancy of space in accordance with the State Housing Code;

     (n)   Stairwells, skylights and alcoves;

     (o)   Public halls, including the lighting and ventilation thereof;

     (p)   Accessory passages to rooms;

     (q)   Cellars, drainage and air space;

     (r)    Water-closets, bathrooms and sinks;

     (s)   Water connections, including the provision of drinking and hot and cold running water;

     (t)    Sewer connections, privies, cesspools, and private sewers;

     (u)   Rain water and drainage conductors;

     (v)   Entrances and ramps; and

     (w)  Presence of lead-based paint hazards in multiple dwellings and in single-family and two-family dwellings, exclusive of owner-occupied dwelling units, subject to P.L.2003, c.311 (C.52:27D-437.1 et al.).  In a common interest community, any inspection fee for and violation found within a unit which is solely related to this subsection shall be the responsibility of the unit owner and not the homeowners' association, unless the association is the owner of the unit.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.251, s.5)

 

     9.    Section 21 of PL 1967 c. 76 (C.55:13A-21) is amended to read as follows:

     21.  a. Each municipality of this State is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this act, and any rules or regulations promulgated thereunder, within the corporate limits thereof, subject to the control and supervision of the commissioner and in accordance with such rules and regulations as the commissioner may issue and promulgate.  The commissioner shall consult with and advise any municipality which enforces the provisions of this act, and any rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, and each such municipality shall  furnish the commissioner with such reports, data and information as the commissioner may deem necessary.

     b.    On or after the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and notwithstanding any municipal ordinance to the contrary, the regulations promulgated by the commissioner to effectuate P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.) shall provide the exclusive standards and specifications for all maintenance, occupancy and use requirements of the State Housing Code applicable to multiple dwellings, and shall preempt any separate municipal periodic inspections of multiple dwellings except as expressly authorized pursuant to P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).

(cf: P.L.1967, c.76, s.21)

 

     10.  Section 25 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-25) is amended to read as follows:

     25.  (a) This act is not intended, and nothing in this act shall be construed, to abrogate or impair the powers and duties of local boards of health, of the Department of Health under chapter 177 of the laws of 1947.

     (b)   [This act is not intended, and nothing in this act shall be construed, to preclude the right of any municipality to adopt and enforce ordinances or regulations more restrictive than this act or any rules or regulations promulgated thereunder] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.1967, c.76, s.25)

 

     11.  The following sections are repealed:

     Section 3 of P.L.1962, c.66 (C.40:48-2.12c)

     Section 2 of P.L.1983, c.2 (C.40:48-2.12a1)

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     All apartment communities in New Jersey containing three or more units fall under the State’s jurisdiction via the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," P.L.1967, c. 76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).  By enacting that 1967 law, New Jersey was one of the first states in the nation to adopt Statewide regulations governing multi-family housing and remains one of just a handful of States to have Statewide registration and inspection requirements.

     There is an overlap of jurisdiction under New Jersey laws concerning the maintenance requirements for and inspection of multiple dwellings.  The State Housing Code adopted by the Commissioner of Community Affairs provides municipalities with the ability to adopt local ordinances with minimum maintenance standards in accordance with that act; the code applies not only to multiple dwellings, but to all types of buildings.  Subsequent to the enactment of the law authorizing the State Housing Code, the Legislature enacted the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,” which provides a separate, uniform maintenance code for multiple dwellings, with a special emphasis on fire safety.  Virtually all of the standards contained in the State Housing Code are also included in the regulations of the department concerning hotels and multiple dwellings.  Municipalities are also authorized under a separate law to inspect for fire safety and health violations upon a change of occupancy in a rental unit.

     There also exist several laws permitting multiple dwelling landlord registration by both municipalities and the State, which creates confusion, and permits additional fees to be charged for the same purpose.

     This bill corrects this situation by moving the enforcement of the provisions of the State Housing Code which may be applied to multiple dwellings, to the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law.”  This means that periodic inspection of multiple dwellings for compliance with property maintenance codes, and use and occupancy requirements, will now be performed solely by the State, and not by a municipality, unless it is performing the State inspection pursuant to a contract with the State.  The bill also clarifies the laws concerning landlord registration, and requires registration of any rental unit, regardless of whether a portion of it is owner-occupied, either with the municipality if a one- or two-unit rental dwelling, or with the State, if a multiple dwelling. Municipalities would continue to be authorized to register rental dwellings for the purposes of enforcing rent-leveling ordinances, but would be prohibited from charging a separate fee for that registration.  In addition, municipalities will continue to be authorized to issue “continuing certificates of occupancy “ upon a termination of occupancy in a rental unit, but would be preempted by the bill from having or adopting ordinances under which periodic inspections of multiple dwellings would be made.