[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the Borough of Hawthorne 3-7-2007 by Ord. No. 1893-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for relocation assistance to certain eligible persons who are displaced due to illegal occupancy, fire or other emergency and to create a revolving fund for the making of such assistance.
Any tenant who receives a notice of eviction pursuant to Section 3 of P.L. 1974, c. 49 (N.J.S.A. 2A: 18-61.2) that results from zoning or code enforcement activity for an illegal occupancy, as set forth in Paragraph (3) of Subsection g of Section 2 of P.L. 1974, c. 49 (N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1), 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-landlord of the structure shall be liable for the payment of relocation assistance pursuant to this section.
The municipality may pay relocation assistance to any displaced person who has not received the required payment from the owner-landlord of the structure at the time of eviction pursuant to § 382-2 of this chapter from a revolving relocation assistance fund established pursuant to Section 2 of P.L. 1987, c. 98 (N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1a). All relocation assistance costs incurred by a municipality pursuant to this section shall be repaid by the owner-landlord of the structure to the municipality in the same manner as relocation costs are billed and collected under Section 1 of P.L. 1983, c. 536 (N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.1) and Section 1 of PL. 1984, c. 30 (N.J.S.A. 20:4-4.2). These repayments shall be deposited into the municipality's revolving relocation assistance fund.
Any person requesting payment of relocation assistance from the municipality through the revolving relocation assistance fund shall make such request to the Housing Officer or Construction Official. No payment may be made absent recommendation from the Housing Officer or Construction Official and approval of the Administrator. In the absence of the Administrator, payment may be authorized by the Mayor or the Chief Financial Officer and is subject to verification by the Chief Financial Officer that funds are available for such purpose.
In addition to requiring reimbursement from the owner-landlord of the structure for relocation assistance paid to a displaced tenant, the owner-landlord may be fined for zoning or housing code violation for an illegal occupancy, up to an amount equal to six times the monthly rental paid by the displaced person, to be paid to the municipality by the owner-landlord of the structure.
In addition to the penalty prescribed in the foregoing section, the Borough, after affording the owner-landlord an opportunity for a hearing on the matter, may impose upon the owner-landlord, for a second or subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy, a fine equal to the annual tuition cost of any resident of the illegally occupied unit attending a public school, which fine shall be recovered in a civil action by a summary proceeding in the name of the municipality pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L. 1999. c. 274 (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 section. The tuition cost shall be determined in the manner prescribed for nonresident pupils pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-19, and the payment of the fine shall be remitted to the appropriate school district.
For the purposes of this section, the owner-landlord of a structure shall not include mortgagees in possession of a structure through foreclosure. For the purposes of this section, a "second or subsequent violation for an illegal occupancy" shall be limited to those violations that are new and are a result of distinct and separate zoning or code enforcement activities, and shall not include any continuing violations for which citations are issued by a zoning or code enforcement agent during the time period required for summary dispossession proceedings to conclude if the owner has initiated eviction proceedings in a court of proper jurisdiction.
The Borough shall create a revolving relocation assistance fund to be funded in such amount as may be determined by the Borough for the purposes set forth herein.
Any owner or landlord who has received a notice that an additional fine for zoning or housing code violation shall be entitled to a hearing before the Construction Code Official or the Housing Officer, depending upon which is the applicable fining officer, within 10 days after receipt of notice that a fine is intended to be imposed.