P.L. 1997, CHAPTER 31, approved March 7, 1997
Assembly, No. 1603
An Act concerning life safety improvements in boarding houses and amending P.L.1983, c.530.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.1983, c.530 (C.55:14K-3) is amended to read as follows:
3. As used in this act:
a. "Agency" means the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency as consolidated by section 4 of P.L.1983, c.530 (C.55:14K-4), or, if that agency shall be abolished by law, the person, board, body or commission succeeding to the powers and duties thereof or to whom its powers and duties shall be given by law.
b. "Boarding house" means any building, together with any related structure, accessory building, any land appurtenant thereto, and any part thereof, which contains two or more units of dwelling space arranged or intended for single room occupancy, exclusive of any such unit occupied by an owner or operator, including:
(1) any residential hotel or congregate living arrangement, but excluding any hotel, motel or established guesthouse wherein a minimum of 85% of the units of dwelling space are offered for limited tenure only; (2) a residential health care facility as defined in section 1 of P.L.1953, c.212 (C.30:11A-1) or licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.); (3) any foster home as defined in section 1 of P.L.1962, c.137 (C.30:4C-26.1); (4) any community residence for the developmentally disabled as defined in section 2 of P.L.1977, c.448 (C.30:11B-2); (5) any dormitory owned or operated on behalf of any nonprofit institution of primary, secondary or higher education for the use of its students; (6) any building arranged for single room occupancy wherein the units of dwelling space are occupied exclusively by students enrolled in a full-time course of study at an institution of higher education approved by the Department of Higher Education; and (7) any facility or living arrangement operated by, or under contract with, any State department or agency.
c. "Bonds" mean any bonds, notes, bond anticipation notes, debentures or other evidences of financial indebtedness issued by the agency pursuant to this act.
d. "Continuing-care retirement community" means any work or undertaking, whether new construction, improvement or rehabilitation, which may be financed in part or in whole by the agency and which is designed to complement fully independent residential units with social and health care services (usually including nursing and medical services) for retirement families and which is intended to provide continuing care for the term of a contract in return for an entrance fee or periodic payments, or both, and which may include such appurtenances and facilities as the agency deems to be necessary, convenient or desirable.
e. "Eligible loan" means a loan, secured or unsecured, made for the purpose of financing the operation, maintenance, construction, acquisition, rehabilitation or improvement of property, or the acquisition of a direct or indirect interest in property, located in the State, which is or shall be: (1) primarily residential in character or (2) used or to be used to provide services to the residents of an area or project which is primarily residential in character. The agency shall adopt regulations defining the term "primarily residential in character," which may include single-family, multi-family and congregate or other single room occupancy housing, continuing-care retirement communities, mobile homes and nonhousing properties and facilities which enhance the livability of the residential property or area; and specifying the types of residential services and facilities for which eligible loans may be made, which may include, but shall not be limited to, parking facilities, streets, sewers, utilities, and administrative, community, educational, welfare and recreational facilities, food, laundry, health and other services and commercial establishments and professional offices providing supplies and services enhancing the area. The term "loan" includes an obligation the return on which may vary with any appreciation in value of the property or interest in property financed with the proceeds of the loan, or a co-ventured instrument by which an institutional lender or the agency assumes an equity position in the property. Any undivided interest in an eligible loan shall qualify as an eligible loan.
f. "Family" means two or more persons who live or expect to live together as a single household in the same dwelling unit; but any individual who (1) has attained retirement age as defined in section 216a of the federal Social Security Act, or (2) is under a disability as defined in section 223 of that act, or (3) such other individuals as the agency by rule or regulation shall include, shall be considered as a family for the purpose of this act; and the surviving member of a family whose other members died during occupancy of a housing project shall be considered as a family for the purposes of permitting continued occupancy of the dwelling unit occupied by such family.
g. "Gross aggregate family income" means the total annual income of all members of a family, from whatever source derived, including but not limited to, pension, annuity, retirement and social security benefits; except that there may be excluded from income (1) such reasonable allowances for dependents, (2) such reasonable allowances for medical expenses, (3) all or any proportionate part of the earnings of gainfully employed minors, or (4) such income as is not received regularly, as the agency by rule or regulation may determine.
h. "Housing project" or "project" means any work or undertaking, other than a continuing-care community, whether new construction, improvement, rehabilitation, or acquisition of existing buildings or units which is designed for the primary purpose of providing multi-family rental housing or acquisition of sites for future multi-family rental housing.
i. "Housing sponsor" means any person, partnership, corporation or association , whether organized as for profit or not for profit, to which the agency has made or proposes to make a loan, either directly or through an institutional lender, for a housing project.
j. "Institutional lender" means any bank or trust company, savings bank, national banking association, savings and loan association, or building and loan association maintaining an office in the State, or any insurance company or any mortgage banking firm or mortgage banking corporation authorized to transact business in the State.
k. "Life safety improvement" means any addition, modification or repair to a boarding house which is necessary to improve the life safety of the residents of the boarding house, as certified by the Department of Community Affairs, including, but not limited to, the correction of a violation of the" State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), the "Rooming and Boarding House Act of 1979," P.L.1979, c.496 (C.55:13B-1 et seq.), or the "Uniform Fire Safety Act," P.L.1983, c.383 (C.52:27D-192 et seq.) and the administrative regulations promulgated in accordance with these acts.
l. "Life safety improvement loan" means an eligible loan the proceeds of which are to be used to finance, in whole or in part, the construction, acquisition or rendering of life safety improvements at or to boarding houses.
m. "Loan originator" means any bank or trust company, savings bank, national banking association, savings and loan association, or building and loan association maintaining an office in the State, or any insurance company or any mortgage banking firm or mortgage banking corporation authorized to transact business in the State, or any agency or instrumentality of the United States or the State or a political subdivision of the State, which is authorized to make eligible loans.
n. "Municipality" means any city of any class or any town, township, village or borough.
o. "Mutual housing" means a housing project operated or to be operated upon completion of construction, improvement or rehabilitation exclusively for the benefit of the families who are entitled to occupancy by reason of ownership of stock in the housing sponsor, or by reason of co-ownership of premises in a horizontal property regime pursuant to P.L.1963, c.168; but the agency may adopt rules and regulations permitting a reasonable percentage of space in such project to be rented for residential or for commercial use.
p. "Persons and families of low and moderate income" mean persons and families, irrespective of race, creed, national origin or sex, determined by the agency to require assistance on account of personal or family income being not sufficient to afford adequate housing. In making such determination the agency shall take into account the following:
(1) the amount of the total income of such persons and families available for housing needs, (2) the size of the family, (3) the cost and condition of housing facilities available and (4) the eligibility of such persons and families to compete successfully in the normal housing market and to pay the amounts at which private enterprise is providing sanitary, decent and safe housing. In the case of projects with respect to which income limits have been established by any agency of the federal government having jurisdiction thereover for the purpose of defining eligibility of low and moderate income families, the agency may determine that the limits so established shall govern. In all other cases income limits for the purpose of defining low or moderate income persons shall be established by the agency in its rules and regulations.
q. "Project cost" means the sum total of all costs incurred in the acquisition, development, construction, improvement or rehabilitation of a housing project, which are approved by the agency as reasonable or necessary, which costs shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, (1) cost of land acquisition and any buildings thereon, (2) cost of site preparation, demolition and development, (3) architect, engineer, legal, agency and other fees paid or payable in connection with the planning, execution and financing of the project, (4) cost of necessary studies, surveys, plans and permits, (5) insurance, interest, financing, tax and assessment costs and other operating and carrying costs during construction, (6) cost of construction, reconstruction, fixtures, and equipment related to the real property, (7) cost of land improvements, (8) necessary expenses in connection with initial occupancy of the project, (9) a reasonable profit or fee to the builder and developer, (10) an allowance established by the agency for working capital and contingency reserves, and reserves for any operating deficits, (11) costs of guarantees, insurance or other additional financial security for the project and (12) the cost of such other items, including tenant relocation, as the agency shall determine to be reasonable and necessary for the development of the project, less any and all net rents and other net revenues received from the operation of the real and personal property on the project site during construction, improvement or rehabilitation.
All costs shall be subject to approval and audit by the agency. The agency may adopt rules and regulations specifying in detail the types and categories of cost which shall be allowable if actually incurred in the development, acquisition, construction, improvement or rehabilitation of a housing project.
r. "Retirement family" means one or more persons related by blood, marriage or adoption who live or expect to live together as a single household in the same dwelling unit, provided that at least one of the persons is an individual who (1) has attained retirement age as defined in section 216a of the Federal Social Security Act, or (2) is under a disability as defined in section 223 of that act, or (3) such individuals as the agency by rule or regulation shall include; and provided further, that the surviving member of a retirement family whose other members died during occupancy of a continuing-care retirement community shall be considered as a retirement family for purposes of permitting continued occupancy of the dwelling unit occupied by such retirement family.
(cf: P.L.1995, c.359, s.9)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
The purpose of this bill is to clarify that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency may make life safety improvement loans to boarding houses to remedy construction and fire safety code violations, or to remedy a violation of regulations issued pursuant to the "Rooming and Boarding House Act of 1979," P.L.1979, c. 496. Currently, this loan making authority is being interpreted as being limited to making loans to remedy only fire safety code violations.
The current interpretation ignores the equally urgent need of boarding house operators to have low cost financing to remedy construction code violations and and violations of rooming and boarding house regulations, as well as fire safety code violations, to ensure that their structures are safe for their residents. The current interpretation also ignores the reality that quite often remedying a fire safety code violation is conditioned upon concurrently remedying a construction code violation. The operators find that often, without financial assistance to remedy the construction code violation or the rooming and boarding house regulation violation, the fire safety code violation cannot be remedied. Substantial fines are thus incurred, forcing the operator to close the facility, a result not desired for the operator or the vulnerable residents that the facility serves. The innovative approach adopted by this bill will help to alleviate this problem.
Clarifies scope of life safety improvement loans made to boarding houses by HMFA.