[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Freehold 2-26-2004 by Ord. No. O-04-3. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Rent control — See Ch. 261.
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that residential rental units are properly maintained in accordance with the property maintenance and related codes as well as to protect the property and the health, safety and welfare of Township residents. To this end, this chapter shall be liberally construed to assure the provision of decent and safe units of dwelling space.
Unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning, the following words or phrases when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:
- The individual or individuals designated by the owner as the person(s) authorized by the owner to perform any duty imposed upon the owner by this chapter. The term does not necessarily mean a licensed real estate broker or salesperson of the State of New Jersey as those terms are defined by N.J.S.A. 45:15-3; however, such term may include a licensed real estate broker or salesperson of the State of New Jersey if such person is designated by the owner as the owner's agent.
- APARTMENT COMPLEX
- Two or more buildings, each containing two or more apartments, which are located within close proximity of each other and are owned by the same owner.
- APARTMENT or DWELLING
- Any apartment, bungalow, cooperative cottage or any room or rooms in a rooming/boardinghouse or in any other dwelling unit consisting of one or more rooms occupying all or part of a floor or floors in a building, whether designed with or without housekeeping facilities for dwelling purposes and notwithstanding whether the apartment be designed for residence, for office, or the operation of any industry or business, or for any other type of independent use.
- Any person or group of persons, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust or other entity, who owns, operates, exercises control over or is in charge of a rental facility.
- An individual, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust or other legal entity, or any combination thereof.
- RENTAL FACILITY
- Every building, group of buildings, or a portion thereof which is kept, used, maintained, advertised or held out to be a place where living accommodations are supplied, whether furnished or unfurnished, for pay or other consideration, to one or more individuals and is meant to include apartments and apartment complexes.
- RENTAL UNIT
- A dwelling unit which is available for lease or rental purposes and is meant to include a dwelling unit offered for lease or rental, including but not limited to one-family homes, two-family homes, three-family homes, etc., as well as individual apartments located within apartment complexes.
- ZONING OFFICIAL/LOCAL ENFORCING AGENCY
- The Zoning Official of the Township of Freehold.
Each and every rental unit shall hereafter be registered with the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency on forms which shall be provided for that purpose and which shall be obtained from the office of the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency. The initial registration shall occur within 90 days following the final adoption of this chapter. Such registration shall be renewed and amended within 20 days of each change of ownership or occupancy of any rental unit. No rental unit shall hereafter be rented unless the rental unit is registered in accordance with this chapter. This registration does not mean approval for the use and occupancy. A certificate of occupancy is required for each unit.
Every owner of a rental unit shall file with the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency a registration form for each unit contained within a building or structure which shall include the following information:
The name and address of each record owner or owners of the premises and each record owner or owners of the rental business if not the same persons. In the case of a partnership the names and address of all general partners shall be provided, together with the telephone numbers for each of such individuals indicating where such individuals may be reached both during the day and evening hours. If the record owner is a corporation, the name and address of the registered agent and all corporate officers of said corporation, shall be provided, together with the telephone numbers for each of such individuals indicating where such individuals may be reached both during the day and the evening hours.
If the address of any record owner is not located in Freehold Township, the name and address of a person who resides in Monmouth County who is authorized to accept notices from a tenant or a Township representative and to issue receipts therefor and to accept service of process on behalf of the record owner.
The name and address and telephone numbers of the agent of the premises indicating where such individuals may be reached both during the day and evening hours.
The name and address and telephone numbers, including the dwelling unit number of the superintendent, janitor, custodian or other individual employed by the owner or agent to provide regular maintenance service, if any. For each such individual, a statement as to where such individual may be reached both during the day and evening hours shall be provided.
The name, address and telephone number of an individual representative of the owner or agent may be reached or contacted at any time in the event of any emergency affecting the premises or any unit of dwelling space therein, including such emergencies as the failure of any essential service or system, and who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the building and any repair thereto or expenditure in connection therewith.
The name and address of every holder of a recorded mortgage on the premises.
If fuel oil is used to heat the building and the landlord furnishes the heat in the building, the name and address of the fuel oil dealer servicing the building and the grade of fuel oil used.
As to each rental unit, a specification of the exact number of sleeping rooms contained in the rental unit. In order to satisfy the requirement of this provision, an owner shall submit a floor plan outlining and identifying each room in the unit, including the dimensions and floor location of each room, which shall become part of the application and which shall be attached to the registration form when filed with the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency.
Such other information as may be required by the Township.
The name, age and gender, including children, of every tenant of record as to each rental unit. The information contained in the registration form must set forth information for each rental unit within the rental property and must include all tenants in each rental unit. This information shall be made available to the Board of Education and the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency. This information shall otherwise remain confidential and shall not be available to the public.
All addresses must include the full accurate street address; P.O. box and like information does not satisfy this requirement.
The Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency shall file with the Township Clerk a copy of the registration form, except for the information as to the names of the tenants of record and occupants, which information shall be kept in a confidential file in the office of the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency. The Township Clerk shall index and file the registration forms. In doing so the Township Clerk or designee shall follow the mandates of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28.1 as amended and supplemented so that the filing of the registration form will simultaneously satisfy the registration requirements of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28 to the extent that it applies to the property being registered and will also satisfy the registration requirements of this chapter.
Every person required to file a registration form pursuant to this chapter shall file an amended registration form within 20 days after any change in the information required to be included thereon. No fee shall be required for the filing of an amendment, except where the ownership of the premises has changed.
Rental units shall be inspected by persons or agencies duly authorized by the Township for inspections. Such inspection(s) shall be for the purpose of determining compliance with Chapter 190, Land Use, and to the extent applicable, to determine if the rental facility complies with all laws, including the Property Maintenance Code (Chapter 245, Article II), Uniform Construction Code (Chapter 115), Health Code, Housing Code (Chapter 182) and Fire Code (Chapter 162, Article II).
In the event that the inspection(s) of a rental unit does not result in a satisfactory inspection, the owner or agent shall cause all necessary repairs or corrections to be made within the time prescribed by the applicable code, and if not made within that time period, the owner shall be deemed in violation of this chapter, and every day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct violation subject to the penalty provisions of § 257-16 of this chapter.
All rental facilities, rental units, rooming houses and boardinghouses subject to this chapter are subject to inspections to determine their condition in order to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of such rental facilities, rental units, rooming houses and boardinghouses and of the general public. At the time of such inspections, all rooms in the rental facilities, rental units, rooming houses and boardinghouses shall be available and accessible for such inspections, and the owner, operator and occupant are required to provide the necessary arrangements to facilitate such inspections. Such inspections shall be made between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. with the consent of the occupant, who is of legal age to grant such consent, or with an administrative warrant, unless there is reason to believe that a violation exists of a character which is an immediate threat to health or safety, requiring inspection and abatement without delay or where the time taken to apply for and secure the issuance of a warrant would render ineffective the immediate action necessary to abate the condition. Inspection officers shall make reasonable attempts to obtain consent of the occupant prior to application for an administrative warrant.
Every occupant shall give the owner of the rental facility, rental unit, rooming house and boardinghouse access to any part of such rental facility, rental unit, rooming house and boardinghouse in compliance with any prior arrangements for such action the tenant and owner established including provision of any lease entered into by the parties. Should the parties not have a written lease, prior agreement regarding such course of action or any written lease is silent regarding such measure, then the tenant shall provide access at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs and alteration as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any lawful order issued pursuant thereto.
Within 10 days of receipt of a complaint alleging a reported violation of this chapter, an inspecting officer shall conduct an inspection as hereinbefore provided.
Inspection officers shall be supplied with official identification and shall exhibit such identification when entering any rental facility, rental unit, rooming house and boardinghouse or any part of any premises subject to this chapter. Inspectors shall conduct themselves so as to avoid intentional embarrassment or inconvenience to occupants.
The inspection officer may, upon affidavit, apply to the Judge of the Municipal Court of the Township for a search warrant, setting forth factually the actual conditions and circumstances that provide a reasonable basis for believing that a nuisance or violation of this chapter may exist on the premises, including one or more of the following:
The premises require inspection according to the cycle established by the Township for periodic inspections of premises of the type involved.
Observation of the external condition of the premises and its public areas has resulted in the belief that violations of this chapter exist.
Circumstances such as age of building, type of building, particular use of premises or other factors make systematic inspections of such building necessary in the interest of public health and safety.
If the Judge of the Municipal Court of the Township is satisfied as to the matter set forth in such affidavit, he shall authorize the issuance of a search warrant permitting access to an inspection of that part of the premises on which the nuisance or violation may exist. Warrant for access may be issued by the Judge of the Municipal Court upon affidavit of the inspections officer establishing grounds therefor pursuant to § 257-8.
Where the inspection officer or his agent, in possession of an administrative warrant, is refused entry or access or is otherwise impeded or prevented by the owner, occupant or operator from conducting an inspection of the premises, such person shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to the penalties hereunder.
No person shall hereafter occupy any rental unit, nor shall the owner permit occupancy of any rental unit within the Township of Freehold, unless the rental unit is registered in accordance with this chapter.
At the time of the filing of the registration form the owner or agent of the owner must pay a registration fee as provided in Chapter 150, Fees. If the owner of the property is a senior citizen (age 65 years or older) who resides in a unit of the property and rents out the remaining units and would otherwise qualify under the State of New Jersey property tax deductions under N.J.S.A. 54:4-8.41, there shall be no fee. After the initial registration, there shall be no fee for an amended registration regarding a change of occupancy; the registration fee for a change of ownership is as provided in Chapter 150, Fees.
Every owner shall provide such occupant or tenant occupying a rental unit with a copy of the registration form required by this chapter. This particular provision shall not apply to any hotel, motel, or guest house registered with the State of New Jersey pursuant to the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Act in accordance with N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq.
The maximum number of occupants shall be posted by the owner in each rental unit in a conspicuous area within the rental unit, on a form to be provided by the Township. It shall be unlawful for any person, including the owner, agent or tenant, to allow a greater number of persons than the posted maximum number of occupants to sleep or occupy the rental unit. Any person violating this provision shall be subject to the penalty provisions of § 257-16 of this chapter.
Only those occupants whose names are on file with the Township as required in this chapter may reside in the registered premises. It shall be unlawful for any other person to reside in said premises and any person, including the owner, agent or the tenant allowing a nonregistered party to reside in said premises shall be in violation of this section and shall be subject to the penalty provisions of § 257-16 of this chapter.
Only those occupants whose names are on file with the Zoning Official/Local Enforcing Agency as provided in this chapter may reside in the registered premises. It shall be unlawful for any other person to reside in said premises, and this provision may be enforced against the landlord, tenant, or other person residing in said premises.
No rental facility shall be conducted or maintained in a manner to constitute a nuisance.
The maintenance of all rental facilities and the conduct engaged in upon the premises by occupants and their guests shall at all times be in full compliance with all applicable ordinances and regulations of the Township and with all applicable state and federal laws including, but not limited to, relocation assistance laws.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction in the Municipal Court of the Township of Freehold or such other court having jurisdiction, be liable to penalties provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty. Each day that a violation occurs shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation subject to the penalty provisions of this chapter.
Any person who is convicted of violating this chapter within one year of the date of a previous violation and who was fined for the previous violation shall be sentenced by a court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. The additional fine imposed by the court upon a person for a repeated offense shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine fixed for a violation but shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation.