City of Camden, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Camden 3-12-1981 by Ord. No. MC-1719. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Homestead Board — See Ch. 60.

Urban enterprise zones — See Ch. 106.

Fire prevention and protection — See Ch. 240.

Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 266.

Housing standards — See Ch. 295.

Motels and hotels — See Ch. 355.

Property maintenance — See Ch. 418.

Certificates of rental approval — See Ch. 442.

Zoning and land use — See Ch. 577.

§ 443-1
Definitions. 

§ 443-2
Maximum rent increase. 

§ 443-3
Reduction of improperly raised rents.  

§ 443-4
Surcharge for tax, water and sewer charge increases.  

§ 443-5
Tax credits.  

§ 443-6
Rebates on tax appeals. 

§ 443-7
Capital improvements surcharge.  

§ 443-8
Heating fuel surcharge.  

§ 443-9
Landlord's hardship surcharge. 

§ 443-10
Voluntary vacancy. 

§ 443-11
Office of rent control established.  

§ 443-12
Powers and functions of Office of Rent Control.  

§ 443-13
Tenant and landlord to be heard before Officer's decision.  

§ 443-14
Ordered rebates to be penalty.  

§ 443-15
Appeal of Officer's decisions to Rent Control Board.  

§ 443-16
Rent Control Board established. 

§ 443-17
Membership of Board. 

§ 443-18
Vote and interest of each member of Board. 

§ 443-19
Removal of members of Board. 

§ 443-20
Compensation of Board. 

§ 443-21
Statements of members' interests. 

§ 443-22
Powers of Rent Control Board. 

§ 443-23
Tenant, landlord heard before Board's decision. 

§ 443-24
Notice of appeals. 

§ 443-25
Services and standards to be maintained. 

§ 443-26
Registration and records required.  

§ 443-27
Rents not to exceed allowed increases. 

§ 443-28
Rent in rehabilitated and newly constructed housing. 

§ 443-29
Violations and penalties. 

§ 443-30
Construal.  

§ 443-31
Tenant complaint application fee.  

§ 443-32
Costs of independent consultant.  

§ 443-1 Definitions.

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

AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANT
Includes housing fit for habitation, as defined by the statutes, codes and ordinances in effect in the State of New Jersey, the County of Camden and the City of Camden, and offered for rent, whether occupied or unoccupied.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
A permanent improvement that is reasonably expected to last more than one year and must be subject to allowances for depreciation under the federal income tax provisions. Capital improvements do not include normal maintenance, repairs, painting, appliances or fixtures.
COMMERCIAL USE
Any use which is primarily for business activity, such as retail, wholesale marketing, office, warehouse or any similar nonresidential activity.
DWELLING or RENTAL DWELLING
Includes any building, structure, mobile home, land used as a mobile home park, including all mobile home pads located thereon, rented or offered for rent to one or more tenants or family units, except motels, hotels, buildings used solely for commercial purposes, owner-occupied two-family dwellings, public housing units and units receiving state and/or federal subsidies. In the case of those apartment complexes where federally subsidized units are mixed with nonsubsidized units, only those subsidized units are exempt from this chapter. Further exempt, for a period of two years, are all multiunit dwellings that are newly constructed and rented for the first time after the effective date of this chapter and all units of rental dwellings substantially rehabilitated (as defined in this section) after the effective date of this chapter.
[Amended 12-18-2003 by Ord. No. 3899]
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, tax surcharges, capital improvement surcharges and heating fuel surcharges computed in accordance with the provisions and limitations of this chapter.
HOUSING SERVICES
Includes repairs, replacement and maintenance, painting and providing light, heat, hot and cold water, elevator services (where applicable), storm windows and screens (where applicable), superintendent services and any other benefit, privilege or facility connected with the use or occupancy or any proportionate part of the dwelling or services provided to common facilities of the building in which the dwelling is contained.
HOUSING SPACE
Includes that portion of a dwelling rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one individual or family unit, together with all the privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities, improvements and common areas connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property.
LANDLORD
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.
MOBILE HOME
A unit of housing which:
[Added 12-18-2003 by Ord. No. 3899]
A. 

Consists of one or more transportable sections that are substantially constructed off site and, if more than one section, are joined together on site;

B. 

Is built on a permanent chassis;

C. 

Is designed to be used, when connected to utilities, as a dwelling for one or more persons on a permanent or nonpermanent foundation; and

D. 

Is manufactured in accordance with the standards promulgated for a mobile home pursuant to the State Uniform Construction Code Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq. "Mobile home" also means and includes any unit of housing, including but not limited to trailers and house trailers, that is manufactured before the effective date of the standards promulgated under the aforementioned Act, but which otherwise meets the criteria set forth in this subsection.

MOBILE HOME PAD
A space that shall consist of a minimum of 1,000 square feet for the sole purpose of installing and/or anchoring a mobile home within a mobile home park.
MOBILE HOME PARK
A parcel of land, or any contiguous parcels of land, containing no fewer than two sites equipped for the installation of mobile homes, where these sites are under common ownership and control for the purpose of leasing, either free of charge or for revenue, each site to the owner of a mobile home for the installation thereof, and where the owner or owners provide services that are provided by the City for property owners outside the park, together with any building, structure or enclosure used as part of the equipment of such park.
NET OPERATING INCOME (NOI)
The gross maximized annual income less reasonable and necessary operating expenses.
NOTICE
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.
REASONABLE AND NECESSARY OPERATING EXPENSES
All actual expenses incurred and paid by a landlord for a residential rental property during the period reflected in income computed in accordance with the provisions and limitations of this chapter. Debt service costs and depreciation charges are not included.
RENT
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 moneys demanded or paid for parking, heat and utilities, pets, the use of furniture, subletting, and the use of a mobile home pad. 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.
[Amended 12-18-2003 by Ord. No. 3899]
SUBSTANTIALLY REHABILITATED
The cost of capital improvements exceeds $10,000. The improvements must be made after the effective date of this chapter and must be accomplished in a single renovation program within one year's time and must be related to the total structure and not merely to a portion thereof.
[Amended 9-26-2002 by Ord. No. MC-3785]
TENANT
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.

§ 443-2 Maximum rent increase.

Editor's Note: See also § 443-27.
[Amended 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957]
A. 

No landlord shall, after the effective date of this section, charge any rents, as defined herein, in excess of what he was receiving on January 1, 1981, except for increases and surcharges authorized by this chapter and all amendments thereto. Establishments of rents between a landlord and a tenant to whom this act is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the provisions of this chapter. At the expiration of a lease, no landlord shall request or receive a percentage increase in rent either in excess of the average consumer price index for the preceding 12 months, for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or by more than 6% of the most recent rent, whichever is less.

[Amended 10-27-1994 by Ord. No. MC-3040]

B. 

This section, as amended, shall not be retroactively applied to complaints filed prior to the effective date of this amendment.

Editor's Note: The effective date of this amendment was June 15, 1983.

§ 443-3 Reduction of improperly raised rents.

[Amended 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957; 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]
A. 

All landlords covered by this chapter shall report all increases in rent imposed after the effective date of this chapter to the Office of Rent Control within 30 days after the effective date of this amendment.

Editor's Note: The effective date of this amendment was June 15, 1983.
Any rent increase imposed after the effective date of this amendment which the Rent Regulations Officer determines to be in excess of that which is permitted by this chapter is hereby declared null and void to the extent of such excess. Such excess shall be refunded to the tenant within 30 days after the landlord receives notice of the Rent Regulations Officer's determination. However, if refunding of excess rents would place an undue hardship upon a landlord, the Rent Regulations Officer may authorize such landlord to refund the excess rents to his tenants by means of a reduction in rents over a period not exceeding four months.

B. 

In order to qualify for an authorization to make a refund by means of a rent reduction, the landlord shall submit, in writing, a petition to the Rent Regulations Officer, stating the specific reasons for requesting such relief, within 14 days after the landlord's receipt of notice as to excess rent. The Rent Regulations Officer shall grant such request if, after considering the landlord's petition, he determines compliance with the normal cash refund procedure would place an undue burden on the landlord and not seriously inconvenience the tenants.

§ 443-4 Surcharge for tax, water and sewer charge increases.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]
A. 

In addition to any rent increase or surcharge permitted by this chapter, a landlord shall be entitled to impose a rent surcharge as a result of an increase in the property tax and water and sewer charges. In order for a landlord to obtain said surcharges, the landlord must comply with the following provisions of this section.

B. 

Any landlord imposing a rent surcharge under this section shall be required to give notice to the tenant(s) and the Rent Regulations Officer, at least 30 days prior to imposing the surcharge, of the calculations involved in computing the tax and water and sewer surcharge, including the present tax and water and sewer costs for the dwelling(s), said costs for the dwelling(s) for the previous year, the number of square feet of floor space within the rental dwelling(s), the tax and water and sewer increase per square foot of floor space, the amount of floor space square footage attributable to common areas and each tenant's housing space and the maximum allowable surcharge for each tenant. The surcharge shall become effective 30 days after the landlord gives the required notice unless the Rent Regulations Officer determines the landlord's calculations to be incorrect. In such cases, the Rent Regulations Officer shall correct the calculations and determine the proper amount of the surcharge before the surcharge shall become effective.

C. 

Every landlord must submit a written application to the Rent Regulations Officer of the Office of Rent Control. Said application shall be served upon the Rent Regulations Officer by certified mail, return receipt, or by personal delivery to said Officer. The landlord shall pay $10 per unit per application. Every application for the imposition of such surcharges shall set forth the following:

[Amended 9-26-2002 by Ord. No. MC-3785; 10-14-2008 by Ord. No. MC-4431]

(1) 

The property is in substantial compliance with all state local building/maintenance codes. The landlord shall furnish a copy of the last report of inspection or shall request an inspection of the unit in conjunction with this application.

(2) 

The landlord is in compliance with the provisions of § 443-26 of the Administrative Code.

(3) 

All taxes (if tax surcharge is sought), water and sewer payments (if water and sewer surcharge is sought) have been fully paid and are current or that an appeal of such surcharges has been filed (include the date of filing and the entity with whom filed).

D. 

Upon receipt of the application for surcharge(s), the Rent Regulations Officer shall, within seven days, notify the landlord of any deficiencies in the application. Said notification shall be sent to the landlord by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Rent Regulations Officer shall take no further action on the landlord's request to impose surcharges until such time as all deficiencies desist; the landlord shall receive written notice from the Rent Regulations Officer that the application is under review. Said notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

(1) 

The Rent Regulations Officer shall review the landlord's calculations involved in computing the tax and water and sewer surcharges, including the present tax and water and sewer surcharges and costs for the dwelling(s), said costs for the dwelling(s) for the previous year, the number of square feet of floor space within the rental dwelling(s), the tax and water and sewer increase per square foot of floor space, the amount floor space square footage attributable to common areas and each tenant's housing space and the maximum allowable surcharge for each tenant. The Rent Regulations Officer shall complete said review within 30 days from the date the landlord receives notice that the application is under review.

(2) 

The Rent Regulations Officer shall notify the landlord of the determination within three days after completion of the review. In the event that the Rent Regulations Officer approves the surcharges, the landlord shall give notice to the tenants of said approval by ordinary mail and shall serve upon the Rent Regulations Officer a sworn affidavit evidencing notice of the proposed surcharge on all tenants. The landlord shall thereafter forward to the Rent Regulations Officer the original affidavit of service upon the tenants by certified mail, return receipt requested. The surcharge(s) shall become effective within 14 days of service upon the Rent Regulations Officer of said affidavit.

E. 

The surcharge(s) shall continue until such time as there is a decrease in property taxes or a lowering of the assessed evaluation of the property or a decrease in water and sewer charges. In such case, the tenants shall be entitled to a credit in accordance with § 443-5 of this Code.

§ 443-5 Tax credits.

[Amended 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957]
A. 

In a manner similar to that set forth in § 443-4, if the taxes on a dwelling are decreased in a given year due to either a decrease in property taxes or a lowering of the assessed valuation of the property, then the tenants are entitled to a tax credit. Apportionment of such credit shall be on a square-foot basis in the same manner as tax and water and sewer surcharges, starting immediately after the decrease occurs.

B. 

In the event that the landlord fails to make the reduction, the tenant may file a complaint with the Office of Rent Control.

C. 

The tax credit shall not be considered rent for the purposes of computing rent increases.

§ 443-6 Rebates on tax appeals.

A. 

In the event that a tax appeal is taken by the landlord for taxes already paid and the landlord is successful in said appeal and taxes are reduced, the tenants of the affected dwelling(s) shall receive 75% of said reduction in the form of a rebate. The amount of each tenant's rebate shall be determined after deducting all reasonable expenses incurred by the landlord in prosecuting said appeal and shall be calculated in the same manner as described in § 443-4.

B. 

The landlord shall be deemed to have received his rebate upon his receipt thereof from the City Treasurer or upon the execution of any agreement with the Receiver of Taxes to credit the amount of the rebate to any outstanding tax bill of the landlord.

C. 

The tenants must receive notice within 14 days from when the landlord receives his notice of successful appeal.

D. 

The landlord must notify the tenants within 30 days of the time the landlord receives his rebate of the amount he has received, with the computations as to how much the tenant is entitled.

E. 

The amount due the tenant shall be forwarded to the tenant within the same thirty-day period.

F. 

In the event that the landlord fails to forward the tenant's share within the designated period, the tenant may file a complaint with the Office of Rent Control.

[Amended 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957]

§ 443-7 Capital improvements surcharge.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

In addition to any rent increase or other surcharge permitted by this chapter, the landlord may seek a capital improvement surcharge for capital improvements made by him in the dwelling or attributable to the dwelling by applying to the Rent Regulations Officer. The amount of the monthly increase which a landlord may charge shall be prorated among all tenants in accordance with § 443-4 herein, and all such rent increases shall be charged for no period greater than the depreciation period of said improvements as set by the Rent Regulations Officer. Upon filing said application, the landlord shall notify each tenant affected, by certified mail, of the proposed rent surcharge.

§ 443-8 Heating fuel surcharge.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

In addition to any rent increase or other surcharge permitted by this chapter, a landlord may seek a heating fuel surcharge for his tenant(s) when he incurs an increase in his heating fuel cost over the previous year. To obtain the surcharge, the landlord must file a request with the Rent Regulations Officer. The request should be accompanied by verified copies of heating fuel bills for the present year and the immediately prior two years and should include such information concerning size and dimensions of the rental dwelling and its units and a calculation of the requested heating fuel surcharge as follows:

A. 

The amount of the cost increase for fuel shall be divided by the total number of heated cubic feet within the rental dwelling which is either used as housing space or as a common area available to all tenants. The total number of heating cubic feet attributable to the common areas of the rental dwelling(s) shall then be divided by the number of apartments or units to obtain each unit's proportionate share of the fuel increase for such common areas.

B. 

The amount of the tenant's fuel surcharge shall equal the amount of the fuel increase per heated cubic foot of housing space he occupies plus his apartment's or unit's proportionate share of the fuel increase attributable to common areas. The Rent Regulations Officer shall determine the method the landlord shall use for collecting the surcharge, including the schedule of payment of the surcharge, so as to minimize the financial impact upon the affected tenants.

§ 443-9 Landlord's hardship surcharge.

A. 

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 annual 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 Rent Regulations Officer or for a hardship increase in rent.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

B. 

It shall be presumed that the rent(s) charged in the three-year base period yielded a fair net operating income.

C. 

Upon the establishment by the landlord of the factors set forth in this section, the Rent Regulations Officer will grant a hardship surcharge equal to the lesser of:

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

(1) 

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

(2) 

An increase necessary to provide a current net operating income/gross maximized annual income ratio of 40%.

D. 

A landlord shall not be permitted a hardship surcharge in excess of 15% above the rent increase of 6% allowed in § 443-2 of this chapter within 12 months after said rent increase is granted.

E. 

In all such applications, the landlord shall specifically allege that:

(1) 

He is an efficient operator of the residential property involved.

[Amended 5-28-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957]

(2) 

The residential property is in a safe and sanitary condition, free from any local health code violations which would cause a unit or structure to become less livable.

(3) 

The owner is in full compliance with the state laws pertaining to tenants' rights.

F. 

If, at any time during the course of a consideration of a hardship increase pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the Rent Regulations Officer shall determine that the landlord is not in substantial compliance with any or all of the above, the Officer may temporarily withhold further consideration of the application for a hardship increase until such time as the landlord has corrected any such deficiency.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

G. 

In computing gross income under this chapter, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:

(1) 

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 Camden and meet the City housing code requirements.

(2) 

Income and expense arising out of a nonresidential use, including that for professional space, shall result from arm's length transactions.

(3) 

No loss caused by a nonresidential use may be considered.

H. 

In computing reasonable and necessary operating expenses under this chapter, the following limitations shall apply in all cases:

(1) 

Taxes shall be limited to amounts actually paid, including those in escrow for appeal.

(2) 

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.

(3) 

Purchase of new equipment shall be reflected and prorated over the useful life of the item.

(4) 

Legal and accounting expenses shall be limited to reasonable and necessary costs of the operation of the property.

(5) 

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, 3 1/2% of the next $100,000 and 3% of any amount over $275,000.

(6) 

Salaries not included in management fees shall be limited to actual services performed in connection with the operation of the property and to salaries for similar positions in the area, including rental value, if included in income and expenses and wages and benefits paid.

(7) 

Advertising shall be limited to actual costs that are reasonable to ensure occupancy only.

(8) 

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.

(9) 

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.

(10) 

No penalties, fines or interest for any reason shall be allowed.

(11) 

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.

I. 

The landlord shall make application to the Rent Regulations Officer, together with all necessary certifications and an application fee of $10, including an application by the owner and his agent, to demonstrate that they are 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 affected, in writing, that an application is being made and is available to any tenant requesting the same. The owner shall also make available to the tenants and the Rent Regulations Officer all records 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 the landlord's application may notify the Rent Regulations Officer, who may 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 Rent Regulations Officer.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112; 10-14-2008 by Ord. No. MC-4431]

J. 

Within 45 days of receipt of the completed application, the Rent Regulations Officer shall hold a public hearing and make a transcript of that hearing. If, due to no fault of the owner, the Rent Regulations Officer shall not hear the application within 45 days and reach a determination 30 days thereafter, the owner shall be entitled, upon notice to the tenants affected, to collect the amount requested, provided that the amount does not exceed 10% of the current rent. If the amount exceeds 10% above the current rent, the owner shall be limited to only 10% until a final determination has been reached by the Rent Regulations Officer. The Officer 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 Rent Regulations Officer 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 becoming due and owing. The credit shall be equal to the excess rents paid after written notice to the owner of the amount involved.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

K. 

The Rent Regulations Officer shall, within 15 days after an application for a hardship increase is filed with him, convene a pre-hearing conference, which shall include the Rent Regulations Officer and/or his representative(s), the landlord and the affected tenants, for the purpose of determining whether the landlord's application is complete, ascertaining facts, specifying issues in dispute and establishing stipulated facts.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

L. 

If, after a full hearing, the Rent Regulations Officer shall determine that the landlord is in full compliance with the provisions of this chapter and this section, he 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. In addition, notwithstanding any other provision herein, the hardship approval shall be fixed for a period of one twelve-month period with reevaluation by the Rent Regulations Officer, upon written application of the landlord and notice to all tenants.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

§ 443-10 Voluntary vacancy.

A. 

In the event that any dwelling, unit or housing space, as defined in this chapter, shall become vacated voluntarily, the same unit shall not be subject to the rental control provisions of this chapter. The rental level charged for such a unit may be increased to the rent level for comparable units within the same complex of buildings. However, once said dwelling, unit or housing space has become occupied, it shall then become fully subject to the rental control provisions of this chapter.

B. 

"Vacated voluntarily" applies to a tenant leaving the premises of his/her own free will and the eviction of a tenant for nonpayment of rent but shall not apply where the premises are in violation of the City housing standards.

[Added 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957]

§ 443-11 Office of rent control established.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

There is hereby established within the City of Camden an Office of Rent Control. The Office shall be headed by a Rent Regulations Officer who shall possess all the qualifications necessary to administer this chapter and the Office of Rent Control.

§ 443-12 Powers and functions of Office of Rent Control.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

The Office of Rent Control, under the direction of the Rent Regulations Officer, shall have the following powers and functions:

A. 

To remedy violations of this chapter by adjusting rentals, ordering rebates and bringing appropriate legal action as provided in this chapter.

B. 

To accept complaints from tenants of illegal rental increases, provided that all claims are sworn to and acknowledged by a person authorized by law to administer oaths.

C. 

To accept applications from landlords for rental increases under the tax and water and sewer surcharges, capital improvement surcharges, heating fuel surcharges and newly constructed and substantially rehabilitated housing space sections of this chapter, provided that all applications are sworn to and acknowledged by a person authorized by law to administer oaths.

D. 

To review applications and investigate complaints prior to rendering a final decision in any case.

E. 

To establish new rentals in the case of heating fuel, capital improvements and tax and water and sewer surcharges and grant exemption from rent controls for housing space fully constructed and rented for the first time and housing space substantially rehabilitated after the effective date of this chapter.

F. 

To correct rentals which violate § 443-2 of this chapter.

G. 

To accept and dispose of applications for rent increases under § 443-9 of this chapter.

H. 

To perform all other functions necessary and appropriate for the proper implementation of this chapter.

§ 443-13 Tenant and landlord to be heard before Officer's decision.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]
A. 

No decision by the Rent Regulations Officer shall be rendered unless the tenant and landlord have been afforded the opportunity to be heard on proper notice. However, if the tenant and/or landlord have been served on proper notice and fail to appear, the Rent Regulations Officer may render a temporary determination until such time that all parties appear.

[Amended 9-26-2002 by Ord. No. MC-3785]

B. 

The landlord and the tenant shall be informed of their right of appeal of decisions to the Rent Control Board.

§ 443-14 Ordered rebates to be penalty.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

Any rebate ordered by the Rent Regulations Officer shall be considered a penalty against the landlord, and if said rebate is not made to the tenant within 30 days after the landlord has been notified of the final determination of the Officer, the tenant shall have the right to withhold from his next due rent an amount equal to 1 1/2 times the amount due to said tenant. In the event that the tenant is no longer a tenant of the landlord in question, the tenant may bring an action in Municipal Court for the collection of the above-mentioned penalty, after the time allowed, as provided in New Jersey Court Rules 4:70-1.

§ 443-15 Appeal of Officer's decisions to Rent Control Board.

[Amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

Any party to a proceeding before the Rent Regulations Officer shall have the right to appeal the determination of the Rent Regulations Officer to the Rent Control Board under any of the provisions of this chapter within 20 days after receipt of the same. All determinations of the Rent Regulations Officer shall be in writing.

§ 443-16 Rent Control Board established.

There is hereby created a Rent Control Board to assist in the administration of this chapter.

§ 443-17 Membership of Board.

A. 

The Board shall consist of seven members appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of a majority of the City Council, to serve for a term of two years.

B. 

Two members shall be tenants residing in the City of Camden; two members shall be landlords who own or operate rental dwellings in the City of Camden; two members shall be residential homeowners who have been homeowners in Camden for at least three years and who are presently neither landlords nor tenants in Camden or elsewhere; and one member shall be a management-level employee of a lending institution that is doing business in the City of Camden.

§ 443-18 Vote and interest of each member of Board.

Each member shall have one vote in all matters before the Board; provided, however, that no member shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he or she has a direct or indirect personal or financial interest, nor vote on a matter if that member was not present at the hearings conducted in connection with that matter.

§ 443-19 Removal of members of Board.

Members may be removed for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office by either a two-thirds vote of the City Council or by the Mayor with the advice and consent of a majority of the City Council.

§ 443-20 Compensation of Board.

Members shall serve without compensation, but may be compensated for reasonable expenses.

§ 443-21 Statements of members' interests.

Members shall submit a verified statement listing their membership in tenants' or landlords' associations, all of their interests and dealings in real property, including but not limited to the ownership, sale or management thereof, and their investment in, membership in or association with partnerships, corporations, joint ventures and syndicates engaged in the ownership, sale or management of real property during the previous three years.

§ 443-22 Powers of Rent Control Board.

The Rent Control Board is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all powers necessary and appropriate to see that the purposes of this chapter are carried out and executed, including but not limited to the following:

A. 

To issue and promulgate all procedural rules and regulations as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.

(1) 

The Board shall cause to be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the City of Camden said rules and regulations, printed in both English and Spanish.

(2) 

Rules and regulations of the Board shall have the force of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the Board in the exercise of its discretion, provided that such rules and regulations are first filed with the City Clerk. The City Council may reject any rule of the Board, and such rejected rule shall be deemed null and void and be of no force.

B. 

To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.

C. 

To review appeals, hold hearings and adjudicate appeals from tenants for reduced rental in accordance with provisions of this chapter.

D. 

To review appeals, hold hearings and adjudicate appeals of landlord hardship applications in accordance with provisions of this chapter.

E. 

To hold hearings and adjudicate appeals from landlords for additional rentals and surcharges in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter.

F. 

To determine the schedule of meetings and hearings as is necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, provided that, upon the request of at least five Board members or the Mayor, a special meeting may be called. All meetings and hearings shall be open to the public and conducted pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Board. The Board shall maintain, in the Office of Rent Control, hearing dockets. Said dockets shall list the time, date, place of hearing, the names of the parties involved, the addresses of the dwellings involved and the final disposition of the petitions heard by the Board.

G. 

To give both landlord and 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 of the Board shall be adopted by a majority of the Board members present at any Board meeting, provided that no vote or hearing may be conducted unless there is a quorum of at least four Board members present. All determinations of the Board shall be in writing, and both landlord and tenant may appeal the determination or findings of the Board to a court of competent jurisdiction according to law. The appealing party shall provide written notice to all parties having an interest in the outcome of the dispute. Said notice shall indicate the caption of the matter, the date, time and place of the hearing and description of the nature of the matter on appeal and shall be served as follows:

[Added 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

(1) 

If the landlord institutes the appeal, he shall notify all tenants in writing who may be affected by the disposition of the appeal. The landlord shall submit a sworn affidavit to the Rent Regulations Officer of his service upon all tenants.

(2) 

If the tenant(s) institutes the appeal, the tenant(s) shall provide notice to the landlord or the landlord's registered agent, by certified mall, return receipt requested. The tenant shall forward the return receipt card to the Rent Regulations Officer by certified mail, return receipt requested.

§ 443-23 Tenant, landlord heard before Board's decision.

A. 

Said Board shall give both landlord and tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination.

B. 

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.

C. 

All determinations and decisions of the Board shall be adopted by a majority of the Board members present at any Board meeting, provided that no vote or hearing may be conducted unless there is a quorum of at least five Board members present.

D. 

All determinations of the Board shall be in writing, and both landlord and tenant may appeal the determination or findings of the Board to a court of competent jurisdiction according to law.

§ 443-24 Notice of appeals.

A. 

The appealing party shall provide written notice, by ordinary mail, to all parties, as follows:

(1) 

If the landlord institutes the appeal, he shall notify all tenants who may be affected by the disposition of the appeal.

(2) 

If the tenant(s) institutes the appeal, the tenant(s) shall provide notice to the landlord and the landlord's registered agent.

(3) 

To all parties having an interest in the outcome of the dispute.

B. 

Said notice shall indicate the caption of the matter, the date, time and place of the hearing and a description of the nature of the matter on appeal.

§ 443-25 Services and standards to be maintained.

A. 

During the term of this chapter, the landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing space or dwelling as he provided or was required to do by law or lease at the date the lease was entered into.

B. 

Where services, care or maintenance or when the standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings and equipment in the housing space or dwelling are not substantially maintained as specified above, any tenant may make an application to the Office of Rent Control for a decrease in rent. A copy of said application shall be served upon the landlord and all other tenants, setting forth in detail the reasons for such application.

[Amended 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957]

C. 

Included in "services provided" are utilities and heat.

§ 443-26 Registration and records required.

[Amended 3-9-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3085]
A. 

All owners or landlords shall be required to register all rental dwelling units with the Office of Rent Control annually. The annual registration fee shall be $25 per unit. Landlords that have registered prior to February 21, 1995, shall not be assessed this fee until January 1996. The registration shall include the following: the address of each dwelling unit, the name and usual address of the manager of the premises, the name and usual address of the owner or person who is authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of receiving service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting all notices and demands, the rent charged on each dwelling unit as of the effective date of this chapter, the housing services provided to the occupants or tenants thereof and a list of all vacant units and the date on which said unit or units most recently became vacant. The Rent Control Officer shall provide forms for this purpose.

[Amended 10-14-1999 by Ord. No. MC-3517; 1-24-2002 by Ord. No. MC-3720; 10-14-2008 by Ord. No. MC-4431
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that the yearly renewal date shall be January 31 instead of January 1
]

B. 

A copy of this registration information shall be kept at the Office of Rent Control and shall be open for public inspection and copying.

§ 443-27 Rents not to exceed allowed increases.

Editor's Note: See also § 443-2.

No landlord of a dwelling subject to control and regulation under this chapter shall, after the effective date of this chapter, charge any rents in excess of what he was receiving as of January 1, 1981, except for increases and surcharges authorized by this chapter.

§ 443-28 Rent in rehabilitated and newly constructed housing.

[Amended 9-26-2002 by Ord. No. MC-3785]

For the purpose of providing an incentive for the construction of additional housing space and the improvement of existing housing space, the owner of housing space or a dwelling which is either constructed and rented for the first time after the effective date of this chapter, after such date, shall not be restricted for the first five years from the date of new construction or rehabilitation in the rent he/she charges by any of the provisions of this chapter. This does not preclude he/she from § 443-26, Registration and records required.

§ 443-29 Violations and penalties.

A. 

Unless otherwise provided in the chapter, penalties against persons violating the provisions of this chapter shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of § 1-16A.

[Amended 4-9-1987 by Ord. No. MC-2289; 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112; 10-12-2006 by Ord. No. MC-4234]

B. 

A violation affecting more than one housing space shall be considered a separate violation as to each housing space.

§ 443-30 Construal.

[Amended 12-8-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1994]

This chapter, being necessary for the welfare of the City and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof; provided, however, that nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as establishing standards and codes for multifamily dwellings, as such responsibility is vested solely in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the City of Camden's Division of Inspections.

§ 443-31 Tenant complaint application fee.

[Added 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957; amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112; 9-26-2002 by Ord. No. MC-3785; 10-14-2002 by Ord. No. MC-4431]

There shall be imposed a fee of $15 per housing unit, per applicant, on all tenant complaint applications to the Rent Regulations Officer. At the discretion of the Rent Regulations Officer, said fees may be waived.

§ 443-32 Costs of independent consultant.

[Added 5-26-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1957; amended 5-11-1995 by Ord. No. MC-3112]

In the event that the Officer determines the necessity for hiring an independent consultant, the costs for the independent consultant's services shall be borne by the applicant.