[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westwood as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 113.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 118.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 129.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 166.
Land use and development — See Ch. 195.
Noise — See Ch. 221.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 260.
[Adopted 5-19-2009 by Ord. No. 09-09]
The above recitals are incorporated herein as if fully set forth.
Editor's Note: Said recitals read as follows:
WHEREAS, the Governing Body of the Borough of Westwood finds that the general public, health, safety and welfare is preserved and sustained by the provision of safe, clean and habitable housing and with reasonable regulations designed and enforced to encourage the nuisance-free and peaceable enjoyment of residents collectively within Westwood; and
WHEREAS, the Borough of Westwood recognizes that a need for an organized registration and inspection program of all residential rental dwelling units within the Borough of Westwood is necessary and appropriate to ensure that rental property is maintained to enhance the public health and safety of tenants and their neighbors; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED as follows:
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings. Terms not defined herein shall be given their ordinary meanings unless defined by New Jersey statutes.
- DWELLING UNIT
- One room, or a suite of two or more rooms, or a single-family detached residence designed for or used by one family or household unit for living and sleeping purposes.
- A group of individuals, not necessarily related by blood, marriage, adoption, or guardianship, living together in a dwelling unit like a family as a single housekeeping unit with common access to and common use of all living and eating areas and all areas and facilities for the preparation and serving of food within the dwelling unit. (Any person residing on the premises not a member of a household shall be counted as residing in an additional dwelling unit.)
- INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE
- The International Property Maintenance Code adopted by ordinance for use by the Borough of Westwood.
- LANDLORD AND TENANT REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE
- A document issued by the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer certifying that a particular dwelling unit has been registered and is in compliance with this article.
- The individual or individuals, natural or corporate, in possession of lawful title to property in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary. The ownership records of the County of Bergen Clerk's Office used for property tax purposes shall be conclusive evidence of the ownership of property regulated pursuant to this article.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The Borough of Westwood employee(s) designated by the Governing Body to enforce the provisions of this article.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL DWELLING UNIT
- A dwelling unit in which persons comprising a family or household and living together as such are permitted to reside in return for financial or other consideration; a dwelling unit which is rented.
Owner residential rental registration. Unless exempted hereby, every owner of a building containing a residential rental dwelling unit within the Borough of Westwood shall file an application on a landlord and tenant registration form. A landlord and tenant registration certificate and a zoning compliance certificate are required for said unit, prior to the occupancy of said unit and for each residential rental dwelling unit in the building, from the Borough of Westwood prior to leasing, subleasing, renting or allowing the occupancy of such residential rental dwelling unit, whether or not for consideration. In the case of multiple owners of any such dwelling, it shall be sufficient for any one of the owners to have obtained a certificate for a unit.
The landlord and tenant registration form and fees and inspections shall be in addition to any other Borough requirements and shall be in writing and on a form provided by the Borough of Westwood's Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer or his/her designee. Such form shall specifically require the following minimum information:
The name, address and phone number of the property owner and the lessee and, if the owner is not a natural person, the name, address and phone number of a designated agent for the owner;
The name, address and phone number of any person authorized to make or order to be made repairs or services for the property if in violation of Borough or state codes, if the person is different than the owner;
The street address and apartment number of the rental property and the lot and block;
The number, types and approximate size and location of dwelling units within the rental property;
The name of all tenants over the age of 18;
The number of children 18 years of age and younger in each dwelling unit;
A copy of the lease/rental agreement showing term dates;
The most recent zoning compliance certificate; and
Such other information as the Zoning and Code Enforcement or Housing Officer, or his/her designee, may reasonably request on a standard form to be furnished.
Owner residential rental registration fee. There shall be a fee for the initial registration of any residential rental dwelling unit in the amount of $100. The Zoning Officer is empowered to waive this registration fee where a valid continuing certificate of occupancy has been issued and continues in effect.
Change in tenancy during the year. Whenever there is a change in tenancy of a registered residential rental dwelling unit, the owner must register the proposed change on forms to be provided by the Borough and be reinspected prior to occupancy. The fee for the change in tenancy shall be $50.
Upon receipt of an application for an initial registration or change to initial registration, the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer, within 10 business days, shall perform an inspection of the property to determine whether such property complies with the provisions of applicable rules, codes and statutes, including the International Property Maintenance Code and Chapter 195, Land Use and Development, of the Code of the Borough of Westwood. The Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer shall, within five days of the inspection, issue the landlord and tenant registration certificate if the property complies. No landlord and tenant registration certificate shall be issued if the premises and building fail to comply in a material manner with the provisions of the applicable rules, codes and statutes.
The Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect the exterior and interior of each unit for which a landlord and tenant registration certificate has been issued or requested or upon amendment of same and will coordinate such inspection, whenever possible, with the Fire Code Officer or other official.
In an owner-occupied dwelling, the owner-occupied portion shall not be subject to inspection.
Whenever necessary to make an inspection to enforce any of the provisions of this article, or whenever the Zoning and Code Enforcement or Housing Officer, or his/her authorized representative, has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in any residential rental dwelling units any condition or violation which makes such residential rental dwelling units or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the Zoning and Code Enforcement or Housing Officer, or his/her authorized representative, may enter such dwelling building or premises at all reasonable times to inspect the same or to perform any duty imposed by this article, provided that such entry is pursuant to the law.
No person shall rent or suffer to be occupied an unregistered residential rental dwelling unit in a building which such person owns or otherwise controls. The owner of any residential rental dwelling unit bears the burden of proof in certifying that such premises is lawfully authorized to be utilized and operated as a residential rental dwelling unit.
No person shall charge, demand, receive or accept any rent or other payment for use or occupancy of any residential premises within the Borough of Westwood which are used or occupied in violation of Chapter 195, Land Use and Development, of the Code of the Borough of Westwood. Each such charge, demand, receipt or acceptance of rent or other payment in violation hereof shall constitute a separate offense.
Any landlord and tenant registration certificate may be revoked or suspended at any time during the life of said certificate for cause, including, but not limited to, the following:
Violation of the provisions of this article or any other ordinance or law pertaining to the use of the property;
Failure to pay any fee herein provided for;
Failure to permit lawful inspections;
Failure to correct violations in the time period prescribed; and
Violations committed or permitted by the registered owner and/or the owner's designated agent of any rules, codes, statutes and ordinances relating to, pertaining to, or governing the premises, including the International Property Maintenance Code.,
Where a violation has been identified as being committed by a tenant, and the landlord is actively pursuing eviction of said tenant, the landlord shall be entitled to successive sixty-day grace periods until the eviction proceedings are concluded.
A suspended landlord and tenant registration shall be reinstated when the circumstances leading to the suspension have been remedied, and a reinstatement fee of $200 has been paid.
Whenever the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer determines that any residential rental dwelling fails to meet any requirements set forth in the applicable rules, standards, statutes or ordinances, including the International Property Maintenance Code, the Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer, or other appropriate official, may, in their discretion, suspend or revoke the certificate or issue a correction notice setting forth the violations and ordering the occupant, owner and/or owner's designated agent to correct such violations.
Failure to correct violations within the time period stated in the correction order shall be a violation of law and this article. If the correction order relates to actions or omissions of the occupant, and the occupant fails to make the necessary correction, the landlord may be required to remedy the condition by whatever means necessary.
The violation of any provision of this article shall be deemed a municipal offense. Any person violating the provisions of this article shall be fined as per Borough regulations and/or as allowed by state statute. Each separate day of violation constitutes a separate and punishable offense.
Nothing in this article shall prevent the Borough of Westwood from taking action under any applicable rule, standard, statute, or ordinance for violations thereof to seek either injunctive relief or criminal prosecution for such violations as therein provided. Nothing contained in this article shall prevent the Borough of Westwood from seeking injunctive relief against a property owner or designated agent who fails to comply with the terms and conditions of this article on registration and licensing, including an order prohibiting the occupancy of such rental units until violations of this article have been remedied by the property owner or designated agent.
[Adopted 5-19-2009 by Ord. No. 09-10]
The Borough of Westwood hereby implements the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1g in full and as if set forth at length herein.
Whenever a tenant receives a notice of eviction that results from zoning or code enforcement activity for an illegal occupancy, said tenant shall be considered a displaced person and shall be entitled to relocation assistance in an amount equal to six times the monthly rental paid by the displaced person. The owner and/or landlord of the structure shall be liable for the payment of relocation assistance pursuant to this section.
The Borough of Westwood may, but shall not be required to, pay relocation assistance to any displaced person as described above who has not received payment from the owner and/or landlord of the structure at the time of eviction from a revolving Relocation Assistance Fund established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1a. All relocation assistance costs incurred by the Borough pursuant to this section shall be repaid by the owner and/or landlord of the structure to the Borough in the same manner as relocation costs are billed and collected under N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1 and 20:4-4.2. The repayments shall be deposited into the Borough's revolving Relocation Assistance Fund.
In addition to requiring the owner and/or landlord of the structure to pay the relocation assistance costs referred to above, the owner and/or landlord, upon conviction of unlawfully renting a dwelling unit, shall pay an additional fine, beyond any other fines provided, up to an amount equal to six times the monthly rental paid by the displaced person.
Penalties for second and subsequent violations.
In addition to the penalties described above, the Borough of Westwood, after affording the owner and/or landlord an opportunity on the matter, may impose upon the owner and/or landlord, for a second or subsequent violation of an illegal occupancy, a fine equal to the annual tuition cost of any resident of the illegally occupied unit attending a public school. This fine shall be recovered in a civil action by a summary dispossession proceeding in the name of the Borough, pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999 (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10 et seq.). The Municipal Court and the Superior Court shall have jurisdiction of proceedings for the enforcement of the penalty provided by this subsection. The tuition cost shall be determined in the manner prescribed for nonresident peoples pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-19, and the payment of the fine shall be remitted to the appropriate school district after subtracting the fees and costs of collection.
For purposes of this subsection, the owner and/or landlord of a structure shall exclude mortgagees in possession of the structure through foreclosure.
For purposes of this subsection, a second and subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy shall be limited to those violations that are new and are a result of a distinct and separate zoning or code enforcement activity and shall not include continuing violations during the period required for summary dispossession proceedings if the owner has initiated eviction proceedings in a court of proper jurisdiction.