[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Atlantic City 10-21-1998 by Ord. No. 63-1998. This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 41, Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board, adopted 11-6-1985 by Ord. No. 56-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Housing Authority — See Ch. 32.
The following words used herein shall have the definition and meaning set forth herein:
- BASE RENT
- The rent legally enforced as of the effective date of this chapter. "Base rent" shall include the legally enforced rent and any permitted increases as provided for in this chapter. Such increases may include but are not limited to capital improvement increases, Consumer Price Index increases and hardship increases.
- CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
- A permanent improvement that is reasonably expected to last for five years or more and must be subject to allowances for depreciation under the federal income tax provisions. Capital improvements do not include normal and regular maintenance.
- COMMERCIAL USE
- Any use which is primarily for business activity such as retail, wholesale marketing, office, warehouse or any similar nonresidential activity.
- DWELLING UNIT
- For the purposes of this chapter, a "dwelling unit" is defined as an apartment (i.e., the unit must contain a kitchen, a bathroom and living space). Efficiency apartments are included in the definition of a "dwelling unit."
- GROSS MAXIMIZED ANNUAL INCOME
- All income resulting directly or indirectly from the operation of a property or building, including but not limited to any rent from an arm's length transaction, the landlord's share of interest on security deposits, all earnings from commissions, vending machines, deductions from security deposits, late fees, pet fees, parking fees, pool fees, key charges, finder's fees, amounts received from successful tax appeals, income from rebates and capital improvement surcharges.
- HOUSING SERVICES
- Includes repairs, replacement and maintenance, painting, providing light, heat, hot and cold water, elevator services (where applicable), storm windows and screens, superintendent services (where applicable) and any other benefit, privilege or facility connected with the use or occupancy of any proportionate part of the dwelling or services provided to common facilities of the building in which the dwelling is contained.
- HOUSING SPACE
- Apartment, as already defined herein.
- The owner, lessor, sublessor or any other person entitled to receive rent for the use and occupancy of housing space or any agent or successor of any of the foregoing.
- LANDLORD -TENANT AFFAIRS
- All rights, responsibilities, requirements, laws, regulations, rules or ordinances relating to landlords and/or tenants, including but not limited to those contained in Chapter 310 of the New Jersey Public Laws of 1975, and the footnotes thereof, commonly known as the "Truth In Renting Act."
- NET OPERATING INCOME
- Gross maximized annual income, less reasonable and necessary operating expenses.
- Includes written notice to a landlord, tenant or any interested party, which notice is mailed to the residence of said party(ies) by regular mail. The notice sent to the landlord shall be sent to the address currently on file with the Tax Assessor's Office, such address being the same location as where the tax notices are sent.
- PRICE INDEX
- The Consumer Price Index for the housing component of the Consumer Price Index, being the index figure appearing opposite the word "housing" in the column for the city in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers for the region of the United States of which southern New Jersey is a part, published periodically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, which city is the closest in proximity to the City of Atlantic City.
- REASONABLE AND NECESSARY OPERATING EXPENSES
- All actual expenses incurred and paid by the landlord for the residential property during the period reflected in income and computed in accordance with the provisions and limitations of this chapter. Mortgage interest is considered a "reasonable and necessary operating expense."
- Includes the consideration, including any bonus, benefit or gratuity demanded or received for or in connection with the use or occupancy of housing space or the transfer of a lease for such housing spaces, including but not limited to monies demanded or paid for parking, heat and utilities, pets, the use of furniture and subletting. In the event that rent is paid upon some interval other than one month, then the monthly rent shall be calculated by apportioning the rent so as to determine the sum for the term of one month.
- A tenant, subtenant, lessee, sublessee or any other person entitled under the terms of a housing space agreement to the use and occupancy of any housing space.
There is hereby provided by the enactment of this chapter the establishment of a five- member Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board, hereinafter referred to as the "Board." Two members shall be appointed by the Mayor and three members shall be appointed by City Council. So as to stagger terms, the first two appointees shall each serve a three-year term. The subsequent two appointees shall each serve a two-year term. The fifth appointee shall serve a one-year term. Of the members appointed to the Board, at any given time only two members may be tenants and only two members may be landlords. The landlord members of the Board must own rental property within the City of Atlantic City, but need not be residents of the City. The tenant members of the Board must be residents of the City of Atlantic City. The remaining member of the Board must be a homeowner and a resident of Atlantic City. All subsequent appointees shall serve a full three-year term. Three members will constitute a quorum.
The Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board shall serve as an appellate body reviewing cases decided by the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs. The Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board shall have the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the powers set forth in § 41-3 herein and as follows:
All meetings and hearings shall be open to the public and conducted pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs. The Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs shall maintain hearing dockets. The dockets shall list the time, the date, the place of the hearing, the names of the parties involved, the addresses of the dwellings involved and the final disposition of the appeals heard by the Board. All meetings shall be conducted pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7 et seq.
The Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board shall give the landlord and the tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination. All parties to a hearing may have assistance in presenting evidence and developing their position from attorneys, legal workers, tenant union representatives or any persons designated by said parties. All determinations and decisions by the Board shall be adopted by a majority of the Board members, which shall consist of at least three members. No hearing may be held unless at least three members are present. All determinations and decisions of the Board shall be in writing. Either the landlord or the tenant may appeal the decision of the Board to a court of competent jurisdiction.
There is hereby created the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs. The Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs shall come under the direction of the Director of Licensing and Inspections and shall have all of the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the power:
[Amended 7-24-2000 by Ord. No. 23-2002; 1-27-2010 by Ord. No. 03-2010]
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter or any rules, regulations or laws relating to landlord-tenant affairs.
To serve as a source of information for members of the Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board and determine the vacancy rate of the dwelling units in the City.
Under the direction of the Director of Licenses and Inspections, to enforce and administer this chapter.
To correlate and summarize all pertinent information regarding properties subject to public hearing and present such information using narrative comparative statements and other related data at the Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board public hearings.
To accept, review and dispose of applications for rental increases. The decision of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs may be appealed by either the landlord or the tenant to the Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board and a hearing will be scheduled. Any determination or decision rendered by the Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board shall be in writing.
To accept complaints of tenants of illegal rent increases and investigate and correct rents where violations to this chapter are found.
To perform all other functions necessary and appropriate for the proper implementation of this chapter.
To provide information regarding the necessity of other permits or licenses as it relates to the occupancy of the building, including but not limited to certificates of occupancy, construction permits, approvals and final certificates.
The position of Administrator of Landlord-Tenant Affairs is hereby created and shall be under the direction of the Director of Licenses and Inspections. The duties of said Administrator shall include:
Coordination of the work of the staff of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs with the members of the Landlord-Tenant Affairs Board created by this chapter.
Determination of the internal organization of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs; formulation of the necessary internal rules and regulations; determination of the best use of available funds, personnel, equipment and supplies; determination of suitable assignments and instructions to other employees in Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs; provision of staff with needed advice and assistance when difficult and unusual problems arise; and checking their work to see that proper procedures are followed.
Said Administrator of the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall have the qualifications and experience outlined by the State of New Jersey Department of Personnel for the title of Rent Regulation Officer.
Within 60 days of the passage of this chapter, every landlord, owner or rental agent of a building subject to the provisions of this chapter shall register, whether currently registered or not, with the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs. In addition, within 30 days of occupancy or purchase of a dwelling unit, every landlord, owner or rental agent of a dwelling unit subject to the provisions of this chapter shall register, whether currently registered or not, with the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs and shall also apply for an inspection of the premises to determine City Code violations. The applicant for such inspection shall state, in writing, his full name, residence and the reasons for the inspection request. The application may be denied for failure to comply with this requirement. The legal base rent to be charged for any unit shall be established at this time. The failure of any landlord, owner or rental agent of a building subject to the provisions of this chapter to register with the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs is a violation of this chapter. Any violation of this section shall be subject to the provision of § 41-18. Each unregistered leasehold shall be considered a separate violation and subject to a separate penalty.
[Amended 2-7-2001 by Ord. No. 3-2001; 10-6-2010 by Ord. No. 69-2010]
The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs is hereby designated as the clearinghouse for all information and registration required under this chapter and any other ordinance or law relating to Landlord - Tenant affairs. The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall investigate, compile, computerize and verify information relating to Landlord - Tenant Affairs required to be filed with the City Clerk's office, Bureau of Investigation and Inspections, Fire Prevention Bureau, Fire Department, Police Department, Housing Authority, Tax Collector's Office and any other municipal agency. The City Clerk's office shall maintain such records as are required by N.J.S.A. 46:8-27 in the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. The Bureau of Investigations and Inspections shall make available applications for certificates of occupancy at the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs and shall file a copy of the certificate of occupancy issued for the property at the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs.
At the time of the filing of a completed registration form, and prior to the issuance of a license, the owner or agent of the owner must pay a fee in accordance with the following:
[Added 10-6-2010 by Ord. No. 69-2010]
An annual registration fee of $30 per year.
A reinspection fee of $15.
If the owner of the property is a senior citizen who resides in a unit of the property and rents out the remaining unit and would otherwise qualify under the State of New Jersey property tax deduction under N.J.S.A. 54:4-8.41, there shall be no fee.
If any fee is not paid within 30 days of its due date, a late fee surcharge of $30 will be assessed.
In the City of Atlantic City, rental increases for all dwelling units shall be determined by the provisions of this chapter.
Each year a landlord may increase the rent by the price index increase for the previous 12 months prior to the termination of the lease of said periodic tenant. No hearing shall be required on the landlord's application for the price index increase, provided that he has provided the information and calculations to the tenant by certified mail or personal service of the calculations involved in computing the cost of living increase. The landlord's notification to the tenant must occur at least 30 days prior to the Consumer Price Index increase taking effect. The Consumer Price Index will be published on a quarterly basis by the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. The landlord shall use the latest Consumer Price Index published by the Office for the amount for the increase. The landlord shall file the same calculations that have been provided to the tenant with the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. The landlord shall also provide proof to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs of the notification to the tenants. Failure of the landlord to provide the tenant with the information required by this section shall make the cost of living increase void for that year and the tenant shall recover for any increases paid. The cost of living increase is an automatic increase to the extent that the landlord files the calculations with the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs for the period applied for. The landlord shall not be entitled to a cost of living increase for any period which has not been applied for through the Office of Landlord Tenant Affairs.
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C, regarding the increase being payable in equal monthly Installments, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 2-25-2004 by Ord. No. 8-2004. Tab ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former Subsection D as Subsection C.
Every owner of dwelling units which come under the jurisdiction of this chapter shall maintain the following records and shall file the same with the Landlord - Tenant Affairs Office.
All owners or landlords shall be required to register all rental dwelling units with the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. The registration shall include the following:
The address of each dwelling unit and the block and lot of the property.
The name and usual address of the owner or his designee for the purpose of receiving service of process and for the purpose of receiving and providing receipts for all notices and demands.
The rent charged for each dwelling unit as of the effective date of this chapter.
The housing services provided to the occupants or tenants thereof.
A list of all vacant units and the date on which said unit or units most recently became vacant.
The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall provide the forms for this purpose.
A copy of this registration information shall be kept at the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs and shall be open for public inspection and copying.
Apartments offered for rental within the City of Atlantic City are subject to this chapter with the following exceptions:
Any housing which is federally subsidized, including but not limited to all Section 8 housing; any apartments in buildings which have Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mortgages; and apartments renovated under the Rental Rehabilitation Program.
All public housing units.
Apartments in buildings of three or more units constructed after June 25, 1987, as per N.J.S.A. 2A:42-84.2.
Any owner-occupied duplex or triplex.
Seasonal rentals as defined by N.J.S.A. 2A:18-59.2 as a hotel, motel or guesthouse rented to a transient guest or seasonal tenant.
A landlord shall maintain the same services, standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing unit as he provided or was required to provide by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into. Any individual or class of tenants who is not receiving substantially the same standards of service, maintenance, furnishings or equipment as was provided or required to be provided by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into or who is subject to surcharge increases due to the fault of the landlord through the negligence of normal maintenance may present evidence to that effect to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs.
Where services, standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing unit are not substantially maintained as outlined above, any tenant may complain to and make application to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs for a decrease in rent. The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs may gather information from other tenants at the same property. Based upon the complaint and the information gathered, the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs may determine that the rent is being decreased by the value of the lost services or equipment. All such decisions made by the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs may be appealed to the Board. Tenants are not limited to the remedies stated herein. Tenants may avail themselves of any remedies provided pursuant to statute, including those enumerated but not limited to N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 et seq.
Capital improvement increase to common areas. A landlord may seek a capital improvement surcharge for any contemplated major capital improvement by applying to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. In calculating the amount of capital improvement increase a landlord may charge monthly, it shall be prorated among all of the tenants in the following manner; the total cost of the capital improvement is divided by the expected life of the capital improvement. This figure represents the annualized rate. The annualized rate is divided by the number of apartments in the building. This figure represents the amount each apartment pays as their pro rata share of the capital improvement. Five percent of the pro rata improvement is added to this amount. This represents the amount intended to be a fair return on the landlord's investment. The pro rata increase is added to the current rent paid by the tenant and becomes part of the base rent. Commencing with the month following the approval of the capital improvement increase by the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs, each tenant shall pay his share of the capital improvement increase in 12 equal monthly payments as computed herein for each year.
Capital improvements increases for individual units. A landlord may seek a capital improvement increase for any contemplated capital improvements for an individual unit by applying to the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs. The amount of capital improvement increase for the individual unit the landlord may charge shall be determined as follows: the total cost of the improvement shall be divided by the expected life of the capital improvement. This figure represents the annualized rate. Five percent of the improvement is added to the annualized rate. This total represents the per annum charge to the tenant for the capital improvement to the individual unit. This total is added to the current rent of the tenant and becomes part of the base rent. Commencing with the month following the approval of the capital improvement increase by the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs, the tenant shall pay the capital improvement increase in 12 equal monthly payments as computed herein.
Notice provisions to tenant. A landlord seeking a capital improvement surcharge shall petition the Landlord - Tenant Affairs Office prior to performing the work, after first informing all of the tenants by certified mail or personal service of his intention to seek a capital improvement surcharge. The landlord shall inform the tenant in the body of the notice of the calculations involved in determining the increase. The landlord shall provide a copy of the notice to the tenant to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs, upon receipt of the completed application, shall give reasonable opportunity to be heard to both the landlord and the tenant before making its determination. Any decision made by the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs regarding capital improvement increase may be appealed to the Landlord - Tenant Affairs Board by either the landlord or the tenant.
Approval of capital improvement increase. Upon the approval of a capital improvement increase, the landlord must provide to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs copies of all permits, approvals and final certificates issued by the Division of Construction of the City of Atlantic City as these documents become available during the course of the capital improvement. In addition to these documents, the landlord must make available to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs all receipts for labor and materials for the capital improvements. No capital improvement increase shall become effective until all capital improvements are completed.
Wherever a landlord shall determine that the current net operating income (NOI)/gross maximized annual income ratio is less than 40%, or the current year NOI/gross maximized income ratio is less than the average of three prior years' net operating income to gross maximized annual income ratio, the landlord may make application to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs for a hardship increase in rent.
It shall be presumed that the rent(s) charged in the three-year base period yielded a fair net operating income.
Upon the establishment by the landlord of the factors set forth in this section, the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs will grant a hardship surcharge equal to the lesser of:
An increase necessary to provide a current NOI/gross maximized annual income ratio equal to the average three prior years' net operating income to gross maximized annual income ratio; or
An increase necessary to provide a current net operating income/gross maximized annual income ratio of 40%.
In all such applications, the landlord shall specifically allege that:
He is an efficient operator of the residential property involved;
The residential property is in a safe and sanitary condition free from any local health and housing maintenance code violations which would cause a unit or a structure to become less livable; and
The landlord is in full compliance with the state laws pertaining to tenants rights.
If at any time during the course of a consideration of a hardship increase pursuant to the provisions of this chapter the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall determine that the landlord is not in substantial compliance with any or all of the above, the Administrator may temporarily withhold further consideration of the application for a hardship increase until such time as the landlord has corrected any such deficiency.
In computing gross income under this chapter, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
No allowance shall be permitted for vacancies unless it can be shown that the vacant units have been advertised as such in a newspaper of general circulation within Atlantic City and meets the city housing code requirements;
Income and expenses arising out of a nonresidential use, including that for professional space, shall result from arm's length transactions;
No loss caused by a nonresidential use may be considered.
In computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses under this chapter, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:
Taxes shall be limited to amounts actually paid, including those in escrow;
Repairs and maintenance shall be limited to arm's length transactions and shall be reasonable and necessary so as not to cause over-maintenance of the premises. Cost of service contracts shall be prorated over the period covered. Painting costs shall be prorated over the number of years of actual painting cycle in the building, but in no event shall painting be prorated over a period of more than three years for the exterior of common areas;
Purchase of new equipment shall be reflected and prorated over the useful life of the item;
Legal and accounting expenses shall be limited to reasonable and necessary costs of the operation of the property;
Management fees shall be limited to actual services performed in connection with the operation of the property, including the resident manager's salary, telephone expenses, postage, office supplies, stationary and the value of the apartment provided, if included in income. In no event shall management fees exceed 5% of the first $50,000 of gross maximized income, including commercial and professional space income, 4 1/2% of the next $25,000 and 4% of the next $100,000 and 3% of any amount over $275,000;
Salaries not included in management fees shall be limited to actual costs that are reasonable to ensure occupancy only;
Advertising shall be limited to actual costs that are reasonable to ensure occupancy only;
Utilities, including but not limited to gas, electric, water and oil shall derive from arm's length transactions and the landlord shall demonstrate that all reasonable means to conserve energy and fuel have been used;
Insurance shall derive from arm's length transactions prorated over a policy's term and shall not include landlord's life, medical or other personal policies;
No penalties or fines for any reason shall be allowed; mortgage interest is specifically allowed as an expense in determining net operating income;
The data regarding the income derived from any expenses incurred in operating a property which are used in computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses shall be fully substantiated with documentation and shall justify the request for an increase based on hardship.
The landlord shall make application to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs, together with all necessary certifications, to demonstrate that he is not earning a fair net operating income. The application shall include the amount of increase and percentage of increase requested, together with all facts and figures of at least three years of income and expenses, if available. At the time of application, the landlord shall notify all tenants effected by certified mail or personal service that an application is being made. The landlord shall adhere to the notice provisions of § 41-10C. The landlord shall also make available to the tenants and to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs all record's and books supporting the application. Any interested tenants or group of tenants or association of tenants who wish to be heard at the public meeting held in connection with a landlord's application may notify the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs, who will permit that tenant, group of tenants or association of tenants to be heard. This provision shall be liberally construed so as to afford ample opportunity for all interested parties to present their views before the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs.
If, due to no fault of the landlord, the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall not hear the application within the time parameters set forth in this chapter and reach a determination within those parameters, the landlord shall be entitled, upon notice to the tenants effected, to collect the amount requested provided that the amount does not exceed 10% above the current rent. If the amount exceeds 10% above the current rent, the landlord shall be limited to only 10% until the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs has reached a final determination. The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs may stay the increase if, in fact, the landlord has contributed to the delay. Any increase paid by the tenant shall be without prejudice. If the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs determines that a lesser amount of increase or no increase shall be allowed, the tenant paying the increase shall be entitled to an immediate credit against rents due and owing. The credit shall be equal to the excess rents paid after written notice to the landlord of the amount involved.
The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall, within 15 days after an application for a hardship increase is filed, convene a prehearing conference, which shall include the landlord and tenants for the purpose of ascertaining facts, specifying issues in dispute and establishing stipulated facts.
If, after a complete review of the application, the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall determine that the landlord is in full compliance with the provisions of this chapter and this section, they shall permit a rental increase sufficient to reestablish the relation of fair net operating income, gross maximized annual income and any increase granted under a fair net operating income formula shall be prorated to all of the units within the structure.
Each time a subject apartment is voluntarily vacated by its tenant(s) or becomes vacant as the result of a court-ordered eviction, the new rent shall be determined by the landlord. The new rent will become the legal base rent from which increases will be determined as applications for which increases are made. The landlord shall notify the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs after each change in tenancy and register the new rent.
The landlord shall also advise the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs as to the reason why the prior tenant vacated the unit, including but not limited to for example, eviction by court action, voluntary vacation at the end of the term of the lease or any other reason for vacating the unit.
If the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs receives information or determines that the landlord harassed the former tenant into leaving, the Office shall have the power to return the unit to rent control and to order the rent decreased to the maximum allowable amount under rent control.
Any tenant or any class of tenants may make a complaint to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs alleging any unauthorized or illegal increase or any violation of any law, ordinance or regulation pertaining to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs. Upon notice to the landlord, the Office shall determine the basis for the complaint, amount of overpayment, if any, resulting from violations of this chapter and shall establish a schedule of credits or rent abatements, as necessary, to remedy the overpayment made. The decision of the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs may be appealed to the Landlord - Tenant Affairs Board by either the landlord or the tenant.
No landlord of housing or rental space to which this chapter is applicable shall serve a notice to quit upon any tenant or institute any action against a tenant to recover possession of the rental unit, whether by summary dispossess proceedings, civil action for the possession of the land or otherwise as a reprisal for the tenant's efforts to secure or enforce any rights under his leasehold arrangement or under this chapter. Such unlawful reprisal on the part of the landlord shall be punishable by penalties hereinafter set forth.
A willful violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Office of Landlord -Tenant of any material misstatement of facts, is a willful violation of this chapter and punishable by the provisions set forth in § 41-18.
Any provision of a lease or other agreement whereby any provision of this chapter is waived shall be deemed against public policy and shall be void.
The base rent shall be the rent legally enforced as a result of the landlord, owner or rental agent of a building subject to the provisions of this chapter registering within 60 days of the effective date of this chapter pursuant to § 41-5 with the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs.
This chapter, being necessary for the welfare of the City and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof.
[Amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 104]
Any person found guilty before the Municipal Court of the City of Atlantic City for violating the provisions of this chapter, whether individual, partnership or corporate, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $2,000 or subject to a penalty of 90 days in the country jail, or both, at the discretion of the Judge. A violation affecting more than one leasehold shall be considered a separate violation as to each leasehold.
Landlords and/or their agents are responsible for properly and effectively completing applications for rental increases and furnishing all required documentation related to such applications. While the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs may answer questions and assist with the application process, it is the responsibility of the landlord and/or his agent to submit a completed application. Once submitted to the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs, an application will be reviewed for completeness within 10 days. Incomplete and/or deficient applications will be returned to the applicant.
The Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs shall have 30 days from the date of an application to determine if it is complete, to render a written decision and notify the landlord, who is responsible for notifying all necessary tenants. The landlord and/or his agent(s) shall have 10 business days from the date of receipt of the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs decision within which to file an appeal to the Landlord - Tenant Affairs Board. The tenant shall have 20 business days within which to file an appeal with the Landlord -Tenant Affairs Board from the date of receipt of the notice from the landlord.
The Landlord - Tenant Affairs Board, in turn, must review documents relating to any appeal within 10 business days of the filing of such appeal and render a decision to either uphold, modify or reject the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affair's determination.
Provisions for a fee schedule for applications for hardships, capital improvements and various surcharges are hereby established. Such fees would allow the city to secure the services of an outside accountant, when necessary, to assist in the calculations necessary for a determination of an increase or decrease in rents. The services of the accountant shall be used solely within the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs.
The fee schedule shall be structured as follows:
One dwelling unit: $20 (or for the first unit in or a multiple dwelling).
Two to 50 units: $10 per unit (for each unit after the first unit up to and including the 50th unit), plus charge for first unit as described in Subsection B(1).
The above fees would apply if the rents had been updated within the last three years. If the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs finds that there has been a lapse of four or more years since the landlord has provided current, updated information to the Office, then the Administrator would have the power to double the base fees, in its discretion.
No application requiring the payment of fees shall be accepted by the Office of Landlord - Tenant Affairs without payment of the appropriate fees.