[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Lumberton 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18; amended in its entirety 7-22-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-15. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- The Township Construction Code Official, the Township Building Inspector or any other local official duly authorized and appointed by the Township Administrator to perform the duties set forth in this chapter.
- LANDLORD, OWNER or TITLE HOLDER
- The natural person(s) or legal entity(ies) listed on the title as it appears in the public records of the Township of Lumberton after the deed has been properly recorded in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey and the Township of Lumberton, including any person who owns any legally cognizable interest in the deeded property and any person who is properly authorized to exercise powers of or for an owner of property used as a residential rental unit.
- OCCUPANT or TENANT
- Any natural person or persons who have contracted as lessees to lease a unit or apartment from the landlord, owner or title holder, regardless of the kind or type of tenancy under which they occupy the unit or apartment.
- The leasing, rental, letting or other granting of occupancy for any period of time where title to the residence is not transferred to the occupant at any time during the residency.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL PROPERTY
- Any building, structure, cottage, bungalow, boardinghouse or other dwelling unit, or part thereof, containing one or more residential or living units, furnished or unfurnished, which is occupied or so intended, arranged or designed to be occupied for sleeping or dwelling purposes and is so registered with the Township of Lumberton in accordance with Township laws, codes and ordinances, and the laws of the State of New Jersey, for the purpose of residential occupancy, except that it shall not include residential property that is owner-occupied, meaning that the person seeking to rent, lease or let the residential rental property resides in a unit or apartment contained within the building in which that person seeks to rent, lease or let units.
- UNIT or APARTMENT
- Any portion of a residential rental property rented or offered for rent, for the purposes of living and/or dwelling, to an individual or family, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities, permanent fixtures and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property. Such units may be a room, collection of rooms, all or part of a floor in a building, quarters or appended room or dwelling, with or without housekeeping facilities, which is occupied or intended to be occupied by an individual or family for sleeping or dwelling purposes.
The owner of every residential rental property situated within the Township of Lumberton shall file a rental property registration statement, on forms provided by the Township Department of Inspections, with the office of the Township Department of Inspections, to be filed with the office of the Township Building Inspector, who will maintain custody of all rental property registration statements. Copies of the same will be provided to the Lumberton Police Department and Fire Chief.
In the event that tenancy changes after the filing date, the owner shall amend the rental property registration statement within 90 calendar days of the change in tenancy.
In the event that a landlord, owner and/or title holder no longer rents, leases or lets the property to another for the purpose of residential occupancy, the landlord, owner and/or title holder shall notify the Department of Inspections of such a fact, in writing.
Upon the conveyance of ownership of a residential rental unit, the new owner and/or title holder shall, within 10 days of the date of conveyance, notify the Department of Inspections, in writing, of the change in ownership.
The provisions of this section of this chapter do not apply to owner-occupied rental properties situated within the Township of Lumberton.
The rental property registration statement shall contain:
The names and addresses of every natural person and legal entity who are the owners, landlords or title holders of the residential rental property(ies) at issue and the legally recognized agents, partners or representatives who have the authority to accept service and/or notices or correspondence on their behalf.
The names and addresses of the managing agents, if applicable, or the superintendents, supervising janitor or custodian or other person employed to provide regular maintenance services to the residential rental property(ies) who can be reached in event of an emergency or natural disaster affecting the residence.
The names of every person contracted to reside as an occupant or tenant and the address and unit in which they are contracted to reside.
The addresses of the residential rental units.
The term of the existing or anticipated lease.
All landlords or owners to whom this chapter applies shall register in accordance with this section within 60 days of the date of adoption hereof, excepting therefrom any landlord or owner currently registered in accordance with this chapter, along with a fee as specified in the Lumberton Township Fee Schedule for the initial registration and inspection as required herein.
Editor's Note: Said Fee Schedule is on file in the Township offices.
Certificate of inspection required. No person shall rent, lease or in any way deliver for occupancy or possession to any occupant or prospective occupant of any residential unit for the purpose of living therein any residential unit until that person has obtained a certificate of occupancy for the premises and has registered the premises as hereinafter provided. A certificate of occupancy for the premises will not be issued for any residential unit which is not safe, clean and fit for human occupancy, which does not comply with and conform to the provisions of the Property Maintenance Code of the State of New Jersey and the Township Maintenance Code for residential dwellings.
Notice of vacation; fee. Prior to any residential rental unit becoming occupied or prior to the transfer of occupancy by lease or other rental agreement, the owner shall give written notice thereof to the Township enforcement official. This notice shall contain the name and address of the owner and, if a notice is given by someone on behalf of the owner, it shall include that person's name and address, as well. The notice shall describe the residential rental unit and shall be accompanied by a fee of $45 for the initial inspection for the issuance of the certificate of occupancy. If the unit should fail inspection, a fee of $30 shall be charged for reinspection of the rental unit.
Inspection; issuance of certificate; notice of defect. Within 10 working days of receipt of the notice and fee as set forth above, the enforcement official shall make an investigation of the premises; said inspection shall be made for the purpose of determining the conditions of residential rental units in order that the enforcement official may perform his duties of safekeeping the health and safety of the occupants of the residential rental units. For the purpose of making such inspections, the enforcement official is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable time all residential rental units and all rooms therein. If the residential rental unit complies with the requirements of § 232-2 above, the enforcement official shall issue a written certificate of occupancy. If the residential rental unit does not comply with the requirements, then no certificate of occupancy shall be issued, but the enforcement official shall issue a written notice of defect specifying the violations of the requirements. Each certificate and notice shall be dated, and a duplicate copy shall be retained by the enforcement official. In the event of a notice of defect, it shall be served upon the owner and the parties in interest, either personally or by leaving a copy thereof at his usual place of abode in the presence of a member of the family, and they shall be informed of the contents thereof or, if not found, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to his last known address or to the address of his agent.
It shall be the responsibility of the owner, landlord and/or title holder to place in an open and conspicuous place within a common area within the residential rental property the certificate of occupancy, certificate of inspection, maximum resident occupancy and the cover of the rental property registration statement filed with the Township. An inspection discovering the failure to post any or all of the above will constitute a violation of this chapter.
In the event that, upon inspection, the residential rental property is not found to be in compliance with all applicable codes and ordinances to the satisfaction of the inspector, the landlord, owner and/or title holder will be responsible for making all repairs, adjustments, additions or corrections to the property within the time prescribed by the inspector. If the repairs, adjustment or corrections prescribed to be made to bring the residential rental property within compliance are not made within the period set by applicable codes, ordinances and/or the inspector finding the residential rental property to not be in compliance, the owner, landlord and/or title holder will be deemed in violation of this chapter and will thereby be held in separate and distinct violations for every day that the violations continue and will therefore be assessed all reasonable and allowable fines and penalties under this chapter. Extensive, repeated and/or continuing violations may result in the revocation of the owner, landlord and/or title holder's certificate of occupancy for a period specified or permanently.
Inspections conducted under this chapter will be made with the consent of the landlord, owner, title holder and/or agent and an adult of legal age and reasonable competence residing in each individual unit to be inspected.
Reasonable attempts will be made to obtain the consent of the occupant or tenant. If the same cannot be obtained, the inspector may apply, by affidavit, to a municipal judge or magistrate for the issuance of an administrative search warrant for the limited purpose of conducting the necessary inspection, setting forth in the affidavit the reasonable basis for believing that a nuisance or violation of this Code exists in the specific unit.
The occupants and tenants of the individual units are to make all reasonable arrangements for the inspections to take place and are to facilitate the inspections.
Hearing on notice of defect. Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant hereto may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Township Committee, provided that such person shall file in person or by mail in the office of the Township Clerk a written petition requesting such hearing within 10 days after the notice was served.
Upon receipt of such petition, the Township Clerk shall set a time and place of such hearing within 30 days therefrom and shall give the petitioner and enforcement official five days' written notification thereof. At any hearing held in accordance with this section, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The Township Committee shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations in connection with the conduction of any such hearing, and the rules of evidence prevailing then in the courts shall not be controlling in any such hearings.
Order. After hearing, the Township Council shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant hereto have been complied with. If the Township Committee sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. The proceedings at such hearings, including the findings and decision of the Township Committee, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Township Clerk. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Township Committee may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction as provided by the laws of this state.
No person shall occupy any unit or apartment in any residential rental property situated within the Township of Lumberton, nor shall the same be permitted by the owner, landlord or title holder, unless that specific unit is registered in accordance with this chapter and issued a current certificate of occupancy.
Only those persons listed within the rental property registration statement as required in § 232-2C of this chapter will be allowed to reside on the premises of the residential rental property. It shall be unlawful and a violation of this Code and all other applicable ordinances, regulations and statutes for any other person to reside on the premises or for any person not registered to a specific unit to reside therein. Violations of this provision may be enforced against the tenant/occupant and/or the owner, landlord or title holder.
In every written lease by which the owner, landlord or title holder contracts with a tenant or occupant for rent, let or lease of a unit within a rental property as defined in this ordinance, the landlord shall include:
A statement setting forth the maximum number of residents permitted in the unit and the location of designated and permitted sleeping areas;
A provision that upon entering into the rental or lease agreement, the tenant or occupant agrees to make arrangements for and assist in the facilitation of reasonable inspections of the premises by Township officials, which inspections are to be made upon reasonable notice to the owner, landlord and/or title holder and the tenant.
Temporary certificate of occupancy. Upon the inspection of any residential rental unit, the Construction Official or Building Inspector, in his discretion, may cause to be issued a temporary certificate of occupancy conditioned upon the owner removing any conditions which violate the standards set forth in § 232-4 above within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 30 days from the issuance of said certificate. Upon removal of the violations by an owner who has received a temporary certificate of occupancy and satisfactory completion of a reinspection, the Construction Official or Building Inspector shall issue a permanent certificate of occupancy.
Failure to inspect. If the inspection is not made by the enforcement official and neither a certificate of occupancy nor a notice of violation is issued to the owner within 15 days of the application for a certificate of occupancy, the owner may permit the residential rental unit to be occupied, but subject to the right of the enforcement official to inspect said residential rental unit and, if a violation is found, to require the owner to correct said violation within 30 days of receipt of notice thereof.
Nonliability of Township.
The Township of Lumberton shall not, by the performance of inspections and reinspections required hereby, become or be considered to be a guarantor to any owner, tenant or other person as to the condition of any building, unit or premises inspected or a participant in any contractual relationship between any persons or parties to the same.
The issuance of a certificate of occupancy indicates that, with the exception of any deficiencies noted, only a general inspection of the visible parts of the rental unit has been made and no imminent hazardous conditions were observed which would preclude the continued legal use of the structure.
It shall be the responsibility of the owner, landlord and/or title holder to ensure that all residential rental property(ies) situated within the Township of Lumberton are not operated and maintained so as to present, create or maintain a nuisance or any unreasonable disturbance or disruption to the surrounding properties, property owners or the general public.
Definition. For the purposes of this section, the creation and maintaining of a nuisance or disturbance of the peace by a tenant or tenants of any residential rental property described herein shall constitute the creation or maintaining of a nuisance or disturbance of the peace by that/those tenants' houseguests or other social acquaintances invited to or entertained at the residential rental property.
Notice to landlord.
After receipt by the Township of any complaint(s) of the creation and/or maintenance of any nuisance or unreasonable disturbance of the peace at a residential rental property and investigation by the appropriate Township official(s) confirming the existence of such nuisance or disturbance of the peace as described herein, the owner, landlord and/or title holder shall be provided written notice of same by the same Township official who conducted the investigation. The notice shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
The notice shall either be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested or hand delivered to the party identified in § 232-2C(1) above. A copy of the notice shall also be delivered by way of regular mail or hand delivery to the tenant(s) identified in the rental property registration statement as residing in the residential rental unit.
Imputation of liability. In the event that a tenant or tenants residing in a specific residential rental property are found to commit three separate and distinct violations of § 232-6A of this chapter through the creation and maintenance of a nuisance or disturbance of the peace at the specific residential rental property where they reside within a period of 180 days (which period will begin upon the day of the first offense), the violations of that person or those persons will be imputed to the owner, landlord and/or title holder as a single violation, by which the landlord, owner and/or title holder will be subject to the penalties and fines set forth under § 232-7 of this chapter.
In the event that the owner, landlord and/or title holder is found to have committed three separate and distinct violations of § 232-6A of this chapter through the creation and maintaining of a nuisance or disturbance of the peace through their own actions, or as imputed to them as the result of the actions of their tenant or tenants as set forth herein, in any twelve-month period (which period begins upon the date of the commission of the first offense by the owner, landlord and/or title holder or the administrative decision to impute liability to the same for violations set forth in § 232-A(3), whichever is first in occurrence), the owner, landlord and/or title holder will be subject to the fines and penalties set forth in § 232-7 of this chapter.
All residential rental property(ies) situated within the Township of Lumberton shall be maintained so as to comply with all fire, occupancy, zoning and building regulations, ordinances, statutes and laws promulgated by the Township of Lumberton and the State of New Jersey. The owner, landlord and/or title holder shall be responsible for the maintenance of all residential rental properties, including all maintenance necessary to maintain the safety and appearance of the residential rental property(ies) and individual units therein, which includes all maintenance to the infrastructure of the residential rental property, all maintenance for the proper and safe operation of all permanent fixtures and attachments within and leading to each individual unit (which includes all water, sewer and gas pipes, heat pumps, boilers, water heaters, heating and cooling ducts and vents), the maintenance of all common hallways, passageways, stairs, elevators and doors both within and leading to the outside of the rental property; the maintenance, upkeep and proper operation of all gates (whether electronic, manual or key-operated), fences, yards, landscaping, walkways, sitting areas, playgrounds, parking lots and refuse collection areas. The failure of any owner, landlord and/or title holder to comply with the requirements of this subsection shall be a violation of this chapter and will subject the owner, landlord and/or title holder to the fines and penalties set forth in § 232-7 of this chapter.
Every tenant and occupant must provide the owner, landlord and/or title holder access to any part of a rental facility, rental unit and/or boarding facility for the purpose of making such repairs and/or maintenance so as to maintain the safety and upkeep of the residential rental property and individual units.
Fines for violations. Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable for each violation by a fine of not more than $1,250 or by imprisonment of not more than 90 days or by community service for up to 90 days, or any combination thereof. Any person who is convicted of violating any of the provisions of this section within one year of the date of a previous violation of the same provision and was fined for the previous violation shall be sentenced by the court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. Each act of violation and each day upon which any such violation shall occur shall constitute a separate offense. In addition to the penalty prescribed above, the Township may pursue other remedies such as abatement of nuisances, injunctive relief and revocation of licenses, permits or certificates of occupancy.
Fine collectible as lien. In the event of imposition of a fine or penalty by the municipal court or any other court of competent jurisdiction against the owner, operator or lessor of any building or structure in the Township required to be registered for violation of any Township ordinance or any state law applicable to the Township, the fine or penalty shall be collectible as a lien against the premises in addition to any other remedies provided by law.
Revocation of certificate of occupancy. In the event that the owner, landlord and/or title holder of any rental property situated within the Township of Lumberton is found to have violated § 232-6 of this chapter, the owner, landlord and/or title holder will be subject to all applicable fines and penalties set forth in the preceding subsections of § 232-7 and will also be subject to the revocation of the certificate of occupancy to rent or let properties in the Township of Lumberton. If after a hearing following the procedures set forth in § 232-4 of this chapter a landlord's, owner's and/or title holder's certificate of occupancy is revoked, and subject to the payment of all fines and the fulfillment of all penalties and conditions imposed therefor, application may be made for the reinstatement of a certificate of occupancy.
Fines or penalties for any violation of this chapter shall be enforceable by the Lumberton Township Police Department, Board of Health, Construction Code Official or such other persons designated by the Township Committee or having such authority by law.