Township of Teaneck, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADMINISTRATIVE MONITORING OFFICER (AMO)
The Township Manager or a designee designated by the Township Manager to render decisions relating to complaints from either owner or tenants arising from the Rent Control Ordinance as allowed per Secs. 29C-4 and 29C-5 of this chapter.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
Includes amounts paid or incurred to add to the value or to substantially extend the useful life of the landlord's property, but shall exclude amounts paid for incidental repairs and maintenance which are currently deductible generally following the guidelines set forth in Section 263 of the Internal Revenue Service Code, or as said code is amended.
CHAPTER
Ordinance Chapter 29C of the Township of Teaneck.
CONDOMINIUM
The form of ownership of real property under a master deed providing for ownership by one or more owners of units of improvements, together with an undivided interest in common elements appurtenant to each of such units.
COOPERATIVE
A housing corporation or association which entitles the holder of a share or ownership interest thereof to possess and occupy for dwelling purposes a house, apartment or other structure owned or leased by said corporation or association.
DWELLING UNIT
One or more rooms providing living facilities designed or used for one household.
FAIR RENTAL
The rent applicable to each dwelling unit as reflected on the rent rolls on file with the Township as of June 1, 2004. In the event there is a dwelling unit that for any reason has no rent filed on the rent rolls or has not filed a rent roll as of June 1, 2004, then in such event the fair rental for such unit as of June 1, 2004, shall be the actual rent paid as of June 1, 2004, and which shall be deemed as if on file as of June 1, 2004.
MANDATED CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
An improvement decreed by the governing body or any other governmental agency.
MULTIPLE DWELLINGS
Includes a building containing three or more dwelling units. This definition specifically includes buildings containing three or more dwelling units which are cooperatives or condominiums. In a cooperative or condominium, the word "building" shall include all structures in a complex of buildings, the common areas of which are owned by the same cooperative or condominium association.
[Amended by Ord. No. 4199, 9-28-2010]
NET OPERATING EXPENSES (NOE)
Includes the following items: real property tax, insurance, heating fuel, other utilities, payroll, scavenger service, repairs and maintenance [not to exceed 10% of total gross income (TGI)], reserve for replacements (not to exceed 2 1/2% of TGI) and management and other administrative expenses (not to exceed 6% of TGI).
RENT ROLLS
The statement referred to as Exhibit 29C-12(a)[1] as well as a statement showing the amount of rental charged for each dwelling unit.
[1]
Editor's Note: Exhibit 29C-12(a) is included as an attachment to this chapter.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1; Ord. No. 4175, 1-26-2010, § 2]
(a) 
No owner or landlord shall increase the rental of any dwelling unit or garage space more than once in any twelve-month period.
(1) 
The fair rental, as defined in this chapter, may be increased only after said rental has been in effect for a period of 12 consecutive months, vacancy decontrol per § 29C-8 excepted, commencing from the date the same was established, except the rair rental may not be computed earlier than June 1, 2004.
(b) 
The fair rental, as defined above, may be increased by a maximum percentage equal to the percentage increase in the latest available consumer price index for the New York-Northern New Jersey Metropolitan Area, for the twelve-month period preceding the date of the notice of the proposed rental increase, and, as so increased, shall be deemed to be the fair rental for the purpose of computing the permitted increase for the next succeeding twelve-month period.
[Amended by Ord. No. 4199, 9-28-2010; Ord. No. 4209, 1-11-2011; Ord. No. 4278, 10-30-2012; Ord. No. 39-2014, 11-21-2014; Ord. No. 44-2014, 12-17-2014]
(c) 
The fair rental shall be applied to each dwelling unit rather than to the tenant thereof.
(d) 
Except as specifically provided in § 29C-4, the limitation on rent increase provided in this section shall apply to all multiple dwellings, including rental dwelling units within condominiums or cooperatives.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1]
(a) 
Every dwelling unit subject to this act and the tenants thereof shall receive a written lease for a minimum period of one year. A lease for longer than a one-year period may provide for the annual increment permitted by this chapter as well as for recompense as authorized for capital improvements and/or economic hardship, as provided in Secs. 29C-6 and 29C-7.
(b) 
Every lease shall clearly set forth the rent in effect on June 1, 2004, as reflected on the filed rent rolls, and the date and amount of the rental and any increase thereto for the past 12 months, but in no event prior to June 1, 2004.
(c) 
Every new lease shall have attached to it a notice and a copy of the Rent Leveling Ordinance entitled "Notice to Teaneck Tenants," the form of which is attached hereto as Exhibit 29C-3(c).[1] As proof of delivery to the tenant, the landlord shall obtain the tenant's signature on a copy of the notice. In the event a tenant refuses to sign said notice, the landlord shall serve the notice and copy of this chapter on the tenant at the dwelling unit by certified mail, return receipt requested, within 30 days of the commencement date of the lease. Additionally, the notice and a copy of this chapter (the Rent Leveling Ordinance) shall be posted at all times in a conspicuous place in the common areas of the building in which there are dwelling units subject to this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Exhibit 29C-3(c) is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(d) 
The landlord or owner shall only be entitled to the rental and hardship increases provided for in this chapter, provided the landlord or owner is in compliance with this § 29C-3.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
(a) 
New construction of multiple dwellings which contain dwelling units for which a certificate of occupancy is issued after May 31, 1973, shall be exempt from this chapter.
(b) 
The conversion of an existing multiple dwelling into one containing more or fewer dwelling units, vacancy decontrol per § 29C-8 excepted, shall not be considered to represent new construction. In such case, the determination of fair rental must be approved by the AMO upon application by the owner or landlord, and said approval shall be based upon similar fair rentals being charged for similar dwelling units in the general vicinity where the dwelling units in question exist. The landlord shall have the burden of proof in establishing fair rental.
(c) 
If no more than two dwelling units in a cooperative or condominium building or complex of buildings are owned by the same person, those dwelling units shall be exempt from this chapter. As used herein, "the same person" shall include a trust, partnership or corporation in which the same person is a trust beneficiary, partner or stockholder of 10% or more of the income or corpus share of the trust, partnership or corporate stock, voting or nonvoting.
(d) 
Dwelling units subject to § 29C-8, Vacancy decontrol, of this chapter.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
The Administrative Monitoring Officer (AMO) shall, in addition to such other powers and duties heretofore granted to and impressed upon the AMO by this chapter (29C), have the following powers and shall perform the following functions and duties:
(a) 
General authority.
(1) 
Authority: make adjudications and rulings on any complaints or applications which may be filed with the AMO by tenants as to an individual tenant's dwelling unit or by landlords. Such complaints and applications shall be limited to:
a. 
Noncompliance by landlords in the calculation of fair rental.
b. 
The charging of capital improvements by landlords.
c. 
Economic hardship applications by landlords.
(2) 
Additional authority.
a. 
Obtain, keep and maintain all available records, data and information necessary to the enforcement, construction, and application of this chapter.
b. 
Exercise all powers necessary and appropriate, to the maximum extent permitted by law, to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter.
(b) 
Application procedure.
(1) 
An application shall be commenced by the filing with the AMO an original and four copies of an application with all supporting documents, together with the fee required by ordinance. All applications and supporting documents shall be filed under oath or affirmation. In addition, an applicant shall file an affidavit with a copy of a proof of mailing (certified mail, return receipt requested) certifying that all affected parties have been served.
(2) 
Simultaneously with the filing the applicant shall serve a copy of the application along with all supporting documents:
a. 
In case of a landlord's application, on all tenants affected by the application; and
b. 
In the case of a tenant's application, on any landlord affected by the application.
(3) 
Any tenant affected by an application who receives notice of any application or any landlord affected by an application who receives notice of any application shall have 10 business days from either the earlier of (i) the receipt of said notice or (ii) the attempted delivery date of said notice to file with the AMO any documents it deems applicable in support of or in opposition to any filed application.
(4) 
All notices must be served by United States Postal Service certified mail, return receipt requested.
(5) 
All fees as established by ordinances shall be paid simultaneously with the filling of an application.
(6) 
Unless directed by the AMO, all applications shall be decided upon on the papers and documents submitted. At the sole and absolute discretion of the AMO a hearing may be held to supplement the written record. If the AMO decides to conduct said hearing, the parties will be advised by written notice as to the date and time of said hearing. At the hearing (if any) all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.
(7) 
Although formal rules of evidence are not enforced by the AMO, every fact necessary to establish the applicant's right to the relief sought shall be based upon the consideration of facts which are in the record, unless they be such as to which the AMO is entitled to take judicial notice. The AMO may limit or exclude, whether written or oral, irrelevant, immaterial or redundant evidence.
(8) 
The AMO may take judicial notice of the provisions of any ordinance of the Township, any statute of the State of New Jersey or of the United States, and any officially reported judicial decision.
(9) 
It is the applicant's responsibility to supply competent and credible evidence to justify granting of the application and this burden of proof remains upon the applicant at all times. The applicant must establish, to the AMO's satisfaction, that he or she is, pursuant to this chapter's provisions, entitled to the relief being sought.
(10) 
An applicant may, at any time before a decision by the AMO, voluntarily withdraw his or her application, in which case the action shall be dismissed with prejudice.
(11) 
If a hearing is called for by the AMO and at the time set for the hearing on any application, if neither the applicant nor any one on the applicant's behalf appears, and no adjournment has been previously requested, and granted, the action may be dismissed with prejudice. An applicant may, if an individual entity, appear in person or by an attorney. All other applicants shall appear only through a New Jersey licensed attorney.
(12) 
The AMO shall render a decision on an application as soon as possible.
(13) 
The AMO shall render a written decision. The AMO shall publish notice of its decision once in the official newspaper of the Township and shall mail copies of its decision to the applicant and any affected parties.
(14) 
The AMO shall not entertain an action based upon or presenting a question which is moot or hypothetical, nor shall the AMO render any decision in such an action.
(15) 
The AMO shall not render any advisory opinion to any entity or person or persons.
(16) 
The AMO shall not review the legality of any rental increase or other charge or any other matter, or make a determination thereon, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter which was charged or had occurred at any time more than six months prior to the filing of an application pursuant to § 29C-5(b)(1) before the AMO regarding said matter. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, the AMO may hear matters for the legality of any rental increase, charge or other matter for the period of June 1, 2004, through November 1, 2005, on the condition an application is filed with the AMO by February 1, 2006.
(17) 
The AMO may call upon the Township Attorney or the Township Attorney's designee for legal advice and opinions. If said legal services are rendered by the Township Attorney or his designee, such attorney may bill the Township for services rendered to the AMO upon proper voucher.
(18) 
The AMO shall have the following additional powers that are reasonably necessary to carry out its duties and functions under this chapter:
a. 
To enforce the provisions of this chapter and, at the sole discretion, to initiate proceedings in the municipal court for willful violations thereof.
b. 
In its discretion, to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses (if ordered by the AMO) and the production of books and records in connection with hearings (if ordered by the AMO) and applications held pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
c. 
In the case of a reduction of services in any building, the AMO at its sole discretion is empowered, upon provable application by a tenant, to rescind the latest allowable increase from the date services were first reduced until their restoration.
(19) 
Except for those matters expressly provided for in this chapter, the AMO shall have no jurisdiction to consider matters which are governed by state statutes regulating possession of apartments, including but not limited to matters which are the subject of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-51 through 2A:18-61.59. The purpose of this section's prior sentence is to avoid conflict with state laws. If an ambiguity arises with respect to such conflict, state law shall prevail and the AMO has no jurisdiction. In addition, the AMO has no jurisdiction to consider matters for causes of action which arise more than 12 months prior to the filing of an application with the AMO and in no event for which causes of action which came into existence prior to June 1, 2004. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein for causes of action that may arise between June 1, 2004, and November 1, 2005, the AMO shall have jurisdiction to hear such causes of action, provided an application is filed prior to February 1, 2006.
(20) 
The actions of the AMO shall be deemed to be final. Appeals therefrom shall be to the courts.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
(a) 
An owner or landlord may make application to the Administrative Monitoring Officer for a capital improvement recovery beyond the rental increase permitted herein on the following grounds: to recover 50% of the cost of a mandated capital improvement, as herein defined. A similar application may be made in the case of unmandated capital improvements which are not repairs or replacements, but the latter will require the approval of 51% of the tenants in the building involved, each dwelling unit being deemed to have one vote. In the event the improvement affects but a portion of the apartments, the approval of 51% of these tenants shall be required.
(b) 
Exempted from these fifty-one-percent-tenant-approval requirements are the following capital improvements:
(1) 
Wiring that substantially increases electrical capacity.
(2) 
New insulation that substantially improves energy efficiency.
(3) 
Storm windows and doors that are not replacements of existing storm windows and doors.
These three items will be considered in the same manner as mandated capital improvements.
(c) 
Amortization shall be for a period of not less than three years. As to an application for recovery of the cost of unmandated capital improvements, it is the responsibility of the owner or landlord to obtain and present an appropriate document signed by the required 51% of the tenants.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
(a) 
An owner or landlord may make application to the Administrative Monitoring Officer for an economic hardship recovery where the owner or landlord can prove economic hardship relating to the building if the net operating expenses exceed 55.9% of total gross income (TGI) in the case of buildings built prior to December 31, 1945, or 51.3% of TGI in the case of post-December 31, 1945 buildings.
(b) 
As to applications under both Secs. 29C-6 and 29C-7, there shall be an application for a building complex. In support of an application to the Administrative Monitoring Officer, the owner or landlord shall make available to the Administrative Monitoring Officer and to the affected tenants all books and records applicable to the operation of the building complex involved. The percentage figures set forth in § 29C-7(a) above shall be considered to be a threshold figure to serve as a guideline to the Administrative Monitoring Officer to determine whether it shall accept the case for adjudication. As part of the application, such figures, supported by proof, may be shown as one of the criteria in considering hardship. In all cases, the owner or landlord shall submit a rent roll which lists the rents for each apartment for the previous two years but in no case prior to June 1, 2004. The AMO shall not entertain any applications under Secs. 29C-6 and 29C-7 for capital improvements recovery and/or economic hardship which arose prior to June 1, 2004.
(c) 
As a part of the application the applicant shall be required to prove or demonstrate the following:
(1) 
That reasonable attempts have been made by the applicant to alleviate the source of the hardship.
(2) 
That accounting practices pertaining to items of expense are normal and consistent with the guidelines set forth in Section 263 of the Internal Revenue Service Code, or as said code is amended.
(3) 
That the applicant has furnished to the Administrative Monitoring Officer, together with the application, a detailed operating statement for the most recent two-year periods or, if the applicant has owned the building for less than two years, for the period of time that applicant has owned the building.
(d) 
The Administrative Monitoring Officer may establish such other criteria as it may deem generally appropriate or warranted by an individual case. All evidence in support of an application shall be in writing and shall be submitted with the application. A copy thereof shall be made available to each tenant affected by the request. The tenant shall have 30 days in which to file answering material with the Administrative Monitoring Officer and the landlord. Either side may request oral argument, but this shall be within the sole discretion and within limitations set by the Administrative Monitoring Officer.
(e) 
Any increase granted shall be effective on a date established in the discretion of the Administrative Monitoring Officer subject to the statutes of the State of New Jersey.
(f) 
Increased costs which are solely the result of a conversion to a condominium or cooperative form of ownership, including but not limited to any increase in financing or carrying costs, and which do not add services or amenities not previously provided shall not be used as a basis for an economic hardship recovery.
(g) 
Any application for hardship must be filed within six months from the end of the hardship year, but in no event shall a hardship year end earlier than June 1, 2004.
[Amended by Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006; Ord. No. 4199, 9-28-2010; Ord. No. 4209, 1-11-2011]
(a) 
The purpose of this section is to provide a method for achieving vacancy decontrol.
(b) 
When a dwelling unit becomes vacant, the landlord may, upon submission of a sworn affidavit filed either by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the AMO stating that the following conditions have been satisfied: (1) the rent paid by the departing tenant was not in excess of the fair rental as set forth in this chapter; (2) the lease to the new tenant complies in all respects with the provisions of § 29C-3 of this chapter; (3) the landlord has complied in all respects with the registration requirements of § 29C-12 of this chapter; and (4) the new tenant is aware and has been informed that the fair rental being charged to such new tenant is not in excess of the fair rental as set forth in this chapter and that said new tenant has voluntarily signed a statement to such effect, such statement having been attached to the affidavit submitted to the AMO; increase the rental of such unit to an amount agreed upon by the landlord and the new tenant; provided, however, that the new amount shall not exceed 15% of the allowable rent for said unit prior to its last vacancy. Further, no more than one increase of rent per unit, based on vacancy decontrol, shall be allowable in any twenty-four-month period. The new rent shall constitute the new fair rental for such dwelling unit. No increase of rental permitted hereunder shall be effective unless and until the aforesaid affidavit has been submitted by the landlord and the landlord has personally served or mailed a copy of such affidavit to the new tenant by certified mail, return receipt requested. No rent may be increased until the AMO has received the affidavit as required by this chapter. No increase pursuant to this section shall be retroactive.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
(a) 
Provisions of this chapter shall be enforceable by a civil action in the Municipal Court upon complaint duly made, after a decision is rendered by the Administrative Monitoring Officer. Civil penalties shall be in accordance with the Township Code, except that a first violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a civil fine of not more than $500 for each unit in violation. Subsequent violations shall be punishable by a civil fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500. Each dwelling unit shall be deemed to involve a separate violation.
(b) 
In addition to, but not in lieu of, any penalties as set forth in this chapter or otherwise, in the event that a landlord has collected any rent or other consideration for a housing accommodation in excess of the fair rental authorized by this chapter, the landlord shall be liable to the tenant for a civil penalty equal to three times the amount of such excess and, in addition, the reasonable costs of the proceeding to collect the overcharge and the reasonable attorney's fees of the tenant in such proceeding. A proceeding to collect an overcharge may be maintained in the Municipal Court or other court of competent jurisdiction.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
A landlord or owner shall only be entitled to the rental and hardship increases provided herein if the premises are maintained in accordance with the Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Teaneck, with no decrease of services. A landlord or owner shall be deemed not in compliance with the Property Maintenance Code if the dwelling unit in question or the building in which there are dwelling units has a conviction in Municipal Court for violation of the Property Maintenance Code in the 12 months immediately prior to the fair rental increase or hardship waiver requested. In the event the Municipal Court determines there is a violation of the Property Maintenance Code then in addition to any other remedies provided for in this chapter, the landlord shall post said convictions for a period of 45 days from the date of conviction in the same place as the chapter is posted in accordance with § 29C-3(c). The landlord or owner shall be responsible for the cost of maintaining the property in accordance with the Property Maintenance Code and may not transfer the cost of such maintenance or any part thereof to the tenant, unless tenant's obligations were so defined in the original rent registration filed by May 31, 1973, for the dwelling unit. The burden of proof shall be on the party seeking to prove the content of the May 31, 1973, registration. Nothing herein contained shall be so construed to remove those obligations imposed upon occupants by the Property Maintenance Code.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
The owner or landlord and tenant may agree in writing to waive or settle any disputes they may have concerning the provisions of this chapter, provided they may not waive or render a settlement which affects the fair rental being charged to any dwelling unit as provided for in this chapter.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1.]
(a) 
Every owner of a multiple dwelling shall be required to file with the Township Clerk (and to furnish a copy to the Administrative Monitoring Officer) a statement showing the amount of rentals charged for each rental unit as of June 1, 2004, and as of June 1 in each succeeding year referred to in this chapter as rent rolls. Such statement shall be filed by July 1 in each year, except that the initial rental statement shall be filed within 30 days of the effective date of the adoption of this chapter or any amendment to this chapter. Each statement shall remain on file with the Township Clerk as a matter of public record in accordance with state-mandated retention policies. The annual statement shall be filed on the approved form attached hereto as Exhibit 29C-12(a),[1] and all information shall be completed. In the event an owner fails to file the completed rent statement within 15 days of receiving written notice sent by the Clerk via certified mail, return receipt requested, notifying the owner of its failure to file, the owner shall be prohibited from increasing any dwelling unit rental for a period of 12 months and to continue to be prohibited from increasing any dwelling unit rental until the proper rent rolls are on file.
[1]
Editor's Note: Exhibit 29C-12(a) is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(b) 
In those instances where the tenant of a rental dwelling unit in a condominium or cooperative falls in the category described in § 29C-4 of this chapter, the owner of the dwelling unit must similarly file a statement showing the rental charged for that dwelling unit.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; amended by Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1; Ord. No. 4023, 7-25-2007, § 2; Ord. No. 4095, 9-9-2008, § 2; Ord. No. 4151, 10-6-2009, § 2; Ord. No. 4199, 9-28-2010; Ord. No. 4209, 1-11-2011; Ord. No. 4278; 10-30-2012; Ord. No. 39-2014, 10-21-2014; Ord. No. 44-2014, 12-17-2014]
This chapter shall continue in full force and effect unless or until repealed, amended or modified by ordinance.
[Ord. No. 3904, 9-20-2005, § 1; Ord. No. 3967, 10-3-2006, § 1]
(a) 
The following Township ordinances may be helpful to persons concerned with rental or housing matters in the Township:
(1) 
Ordinance No. 1931, pertaining to the Senior Citizen and Disabled Protected Tenancy Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.22 et seq.).
(2) 
Ordinance No. 3104, pertaining to the withholding of certain residential units from the residential housing market.
(b) 
The foregoing list is for convenience only and is not to be considered comprehensive or exclusive.