City of Hoboken, NJ
Hudson County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Establishment of rents between landlord and tenant in housing space in dwellings to which this chapter is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the provisions of this chapter. Any rental increase at a time other than at the expiration of a lease or termination of the periodic lease shall be void. Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this chapter shall be void. Determinations under this section shall be made by the Rent Regulation Officer.
[Amended 3-2-2011 by Ord. No. Z-88]
All rents for rental of housing space and services in dwellings to which this act is applicable are hereby controlled at the base rent level received by the landlord as of October 1, 1985, and no rental increases shall be hereinafter demanded, paid or accepted, except as provided in this chapter. Any rent increases imposed after October 1, 1985, to the extent that such increases are in excess of the rent increases allowed under this ordinance, are hereby declared to be null and void, and subject to the limitations and repose period set forth herein, such excess rents shall be refunded or credited to the tenant by the landlord forthwith. All rents may be rounded up or down to the nearest dollar after making the computations. Landlords shall report all increases of rents imposed after October 1, 1985, to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board. Any landlord seeking an increase shall notify the tenant, in writing, at least 30 days prior to the effective date of the increase and explain, in detail, the reason for the increase. Determinations under this section shall be made by the Rent Regulation Officer.
A. 
Disclosure statement.
(1) 
Every landlord subject to the provisions of this chapter shall be required to provide to each tenant a disclosure statement, on Board-approved forms, available through the Rent Regulation office or by download from the City's website. The disclosure statement shall include a detailed description of the tenant's rights under this chapter, including but not limited to the right to request a legal rent calculation to determine the legal base rent; notice that a failure to request a legal rent calculation within two years of service of the disclosure statement will result in a bar of a refund and/or credit of an excess or overpayment of rents; notice that a copy of the landlord's registration statement will be on file with the Rent Regulation office and available to a tenant upon request; and an acknowledgement by the landlord advising the tenant of the Truth-in-Renting Act, N.J.S.A. 46:8-43 et seq., and the statement/booklet prepared therein, which can be obtained from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards, Landlord-Tenant Information Service, P.O. Box 805 Trenton, New Jersey 08625; the disclosure statement is to be signed and dated by the tenant and filed by the landlord with the Rent Regulation Officer. In the absence of a disclosure statement that is signed and dated by the tenant, a landlord may also establish proof of service of the disclosure statement by filing both a copy of the disclosure statement and a receipt indicating that the disclosure statement was delivered and received by the tenant via certified mail.
(2) 
The Rent Regulation Officer shall be authorized to prepare and revise the disclosure statement as needed in an effort to comply with the intention and purpose of this section.
B. 
Two-year statute of limitations. A refund and/or credit of excess rents shall be barred if the tenant's request for a legal rent calculation is not made within two years from service of the disclosure statement upon the tenant. The statute of limitations commences only upon proper service of the disclosure statement in compliance with § 155-4. Nothing in this provision shall bar a tenant from requesting a legal rent calculation, nor prohibit the Rent Regulation Officer or Board from rendering a determination as to whether the rent of the dwelling is in excess of those permitted under this chapter.
C. 
Two-year period of repose. In no instance shall a tenant be allowed to collect rental overcharges for a period in excess of two years as determined by the Rent Leveling Officer or the Board. Nothing in this provision shall bar a tenant from requesting a legal rent calculation, nor prohibit the Rent Regulation Officer or Board from rendering a determination as to whether the rent of the dwelling is in excess of those permitted under this chapter.
D. 
Alternative proofs of rents and vacancies. For the purpose of calculating the earliest date of a verifiable rent and determining the legal rent of the dwelling, including but not limited to the consideration of a vacancy of a dwelling, and in the absence of a filed and timely submitted registration statement and/or the absence of a filed and timely submitted vacancy decontrol certificate, a landlord shall be permitted to submit credible alternative proofs for consideration by the Rent Regulation Officer or the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board to determine the earliest date of a verifiable rent, the legal rent of the dwelling and/or whether vacancies occurred. These alternative proofs may consist of, but are not limited to, leases showing vacancies, and/or statements under oath from reliable sources. In presenting alternative proofs for a vacancy, a certified statement from the landlord should be submitted indicating that the tenant vacated the apartment voluntarily without harassment, duress or unreasonable pressure from the landlord or his agents. The Rent Regulation Officer and/or the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board shall have absolute discretion to determine the reliability of any such alternative proofs. Note: The provisions of this section shall also apply to Article VII, Vacancy Decontrol.
At the expiration of a lease or at the termination of a lease of a periodic tenant, no landlord may request or receive a percentage increase in rent which is greater than 7 1/2% or the percentage difference between the consumer price index three months prior to the expiration or termination of the lease and three months prior to the commencement of the lease term, whichever is less. For a periodic tenant or for a tenant whose lease terms shall be less than one year, said tenant shall not suffer or be caused to pay more than one rent increase in any twelve-month period which exceeds 7 1/2% or the consumer price index percentage differential for the twelve-month period commencing 15 months prior to and ending three months prior to the effective date of the proposed increase, whichever is less. No more than one such cost-of-living rental increase in any one twelve-month period shall be permitted irrespective of the number of different tenants occupying said housing space during said twelve-month period.
[Amended 7-12-2000 by Ord. No. R-449; 9-6-2000 by Ord. No. R-455; 1-22-2014 by Ord. No. Z-276; 8-1-2018 by Ord. No. B-58; 1-16-2019 by Ord. No. B-104]
A. 
For all tax surcharges that were in effect and current prior to the effective date of this chapter, a landlord may continue to collect a tax surcharge from a tenant in the amount heretofore approved for those taxes that are in excess of those assessed for the 1988 tax year. For such properties where a tax surcharge was in effect and current prior to the effective date of this chapter, a landlord may annually reapply for a new tax surcharge once every 12 months to replace the old surcharge. For such properties, if a landlord fails or elects not to annually reapply for a tax surcharge, the tax surcharge shall lapse, and should that landlord seek a new tax surcharge on that property, the landlord must seek a tax surcharge in accordance with Subsection C of this section of the Code. The rental increase permitted for taxes is determined, charged, and treated in the manner set forth in Subsection C, below. A tax surcharge is "current" if the landlord has applied for a tax surcharge or reapplied for a new tax surcharge within the past 12 months.
B. 
If properties with tax surcharges in effect and current prior to the effective date of this chapter are sold or otherwise transferred, the new owner/landlord may continue to collect a tax surcharge from a tenant in the amount heretofore approved for those taxes in the same manner as the prior owner, as set forth and in accordance with Subsection A, above.
C. 
For any application for a tax surcharge after the effective date of this chapter, a landlord may seek a tax surcharge to be charged to a tenant because of an increase in municipal property taxes if said taxes are in excess of those assessed for the year that the landlord acquired the property or for the 1988 tax year, whichever assessment date is later. Any such application for a tax surcharge shall be accompanied by a copy of the deed to the property to establish the year in which the property was acquired by the landlord for the purpose of determining the tax surcharge. The rental increase permitted for taxes is determined by the Rent Regulation Officer pursuant to a formula approved by the Rent Control Board. The rent increase for taxes that each tenant is liable to pay shall be paid in 12 equal monthly payments, 1/12 each month. The surcharge shall not be considered rent for purposes of computing cost-of-living rental increases. Determinations under this section shall be made by the Rent Regulation Officer. If an initial rental decontrol as set forth in § 155-37 occurs, the base year shall be the date of the first paid four quarters in the taxes after the initial rental decontrol.
D. 
Tax surcharges are in effect for 12 months. A landlord with a tax surcharge must reapply for a new tax surcharge every 12 months.
E. 
Notice on standardized form.
(1) 
The landlord shall, upon approval by the Rent Regulation Officer of its tax surcharge application, notify its tenants, by personal service, on standardized forms, setting forth:
(a) 
An explanation of the tax surcharge.
(b) 
The base rent.
(c) 
The tax surcharge, total and apportioned.
(d) 
The effective date.
(2) 
This notice shall be filed with the Rent Regulation Officer.
F. 
Any tax surcharge that has been approved may only be imposed at the commencement of a lease term or upon renewal of a lease term and must be included in the lease/renewal, otherwise it may not be imposed.
(1) 
In no case shall the landlord be permitted to impose a tax surcharge without removal of the previous tax surcharge.
(2) 
Nothing herein requires a landlord to impose a tax surcharge or to impose the full amount of the allowable tax surcharge after having been approved to do so.
(3) 
Rental units must be registered to qualify for a tax surcharge.
[Added 9-3-1986 by Ord. No. V-66]
A. 
The landlord may seek a water and sewerage surcharge from a tenant because of an increase in the municipal water and sewer charges in excess of those assessed for 1996. The rental increase permitted for water and sewer surcharge is determined by the Rent Regulation Officer pursuant to a formula approved by the Rent Control Board. The rent increase for water and sewer that each tenant is liable to pay shall be paid in 12 equal monthly payments, 1/12 each month. The surcharge shall not be considered rent for purposes of computing cost-of-living rental increases. Determinations under this section shall be made by the Rent Regulation Officer.
[Amended 7-12-2000 by Ord. No. R-449; 9-6-2000 by Ord. No. R-455]
B. 
Notice on standardized form.
(1) 
The landlord shall, upon approval by the Officer of its water and sewer surcharge application, notify its tenants, by personal service, on standardized forms, setting forth:
(a) 
Explanation of water and sewer surcharge.
(b) 
Base rent.
(c) 
Water and sewer surcharge (total and apportioned).
(d) 
Effective date.
(2) 
This notice shall be filed with the Officer.
In the event that a tax appeal is taken by the landlord and the landlord is successful in said appeal and the taxes reduced, the tenants shall receive a reduction as applied to their tax portion, after deducting all expenses incurred by the landlord in prosecuting said appeal.
In the case of tenant(s) that have moved, the landlord shall make diligent efforts for three months to forward the refund to said tenant(s). If these efforts do not succeed, the landlord shall apportion said refund to the rents of the remaining tenants. Determinations under this section shall be made by the Rent Regulation Officer.
A. 
Upon notice to its tenants, a landlord may apply to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board for a rental surcharge for capital improvement to the building and/or demised premises. Such application and supporting materials shall set forth the improvement, the cost thereof and its useful life. The landlord shall propose to apportion the cost of the improvement over its useful life among the tenants in the building in accordance with one of the following methods:
(1) 
If the capital improvement benefits certain housing spaces only, then the cost of these improvements shall be surcharged to only these units.
(2) 
If the capital improvement benefits all housing spaces but in varying degrees according to the amount of living area of each housing space, then the cost for the improvements shall be surcharged according to either the number of rooms or the number of square feet in the housing space in proportion to the total rentable area in the dwelling.
(3) 
If the capital improvement is equally beneficial to all housing spaces, regardless of the living area within any housing space, then the cost of the improvements shall be surcharged according to the number of housing spaces within the dwelling.
B. 
Permits as required by law are to be secured from all agencies having control and jurisdiction, for alterations, repairs, replacements, extensions and new buildings. All work must adhere to appropriate code standards and must be inspected by all agencies having control and jurisdiction and their approval obtained. A certificate of occupancy must be secured, if required by law.
C. 
Any applications under the provisions of this Article of the chapter must prove, prior to the application acceptance, that the dwelling is:
(1) 
In compliance with the housing maintenance, building, fire and other applicable City codes.
(2) 
Not subject to a City-held title lien for the nonpayment of real estate taxes, water charges or sewer charges.
Prior to any application under this section, the landlord shall serve upon each tenant, by registered or certified mail or personal service of a notice of application filing setting forth the basis for said application, the amount of rental increase of surcharge applied for with respect to that tenant and the calculations involved. A sample copy of such notice shall be filed with the application of the landlord, together with an affidavit or certification of service of notice of application upon each tenant. Copies of bills and invoices in support of the landlord's application shall be made available to the tenant by the landlord.
The Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board may grant the landlord a rental surcharge under the provisions of this Article. No landlord shall impose upon any tenant a rent surcharge under this Article without first obtaining approval from the Board. In making its determination, the Board must conclude that the improvement in question is a capital improvement as defined under this chapter and that it is reasonable as to its nature and cost. Also, the Board must determine the useful life of the improvement so that the cost of the same is prorated over the length of the entire useful life. The burden of proving the useful life shall be with the landlord, but it is rebuttable. In making this determination, the Board shall consider the nature and the cost of the improvement and the effect that the proration of the surcharge shall have on the existing base rents, it being the intent of this chapter that the base rents shall under no circumstances be increased by an amount greater than 33 1/3% due to a capital improvement surcharge in any one twelve-month period.
[Amended 8-1-2018 by Ord. No. B-58]
Rent surcharges under this article should become effective contemporaneously with the next scheduled change in the base rent whenever practicable, except with regard to a tax surcharge as provided in § 155-6 above.
[Amended 8-7-1985 by Ord. No. V-8]
For the purpose of computing the cost of a capital improvement under this section, only 60% of the cost shall be allowed if it is for the purpose of eliminating violations of housing code provisions, which provisions were enacted subsequent to January 1, 1985.
A. 
The landlord shall, upon approval by the Board of its capital improvement surcharge application, notify its tenants by personal service, on a standardized form, setting forth:
(1) 
An explanation of capital improvement surcharge.
(2) 
The base rent.
(3) 
The surcharge, total and apportioned.
(4) 
The effective date and termination.
(5) 
The total rent.
B. 
This notice shall be filed with the Board and the Officer.
A. 
In the event that a landlord cannot meet his operating expenses or does not make a fair return on his investment, he may appeal to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board for a hardship rental increase. No landlord shall impose upon any tenant an increase in rent under this Article without first obtaining approval with the Board. It shall be within the discretion of the Board to fix the effective date of any approved rental increase to be at any reasonable time as determined by the Board. Prior to any such appeal to the Board, however, the landlord shall serve on each tenant a notice of appeal setting forth in detail the basis for said appeal, and said notice shall be served at least 20 days before hearing thereon. In considering hardship applications, the Rent Control Board shall give due consideration to any and all relevant factors, including but not limited to the following.
(1) 
Level and quality of service rendered by the landlord in maintaining and operating the building.
(2) 
The presence or absence or reasonably efficient and economical management.
(3) 
Whether the landlord made a reasonably prudent investment in purchasing the property and arranging financing on said property. In considering this factor, the Board may consider the purchase price, the fair market value of the property and the existing rentals at the time of the purchase to determine, if the debt servicing expenses are excessive. The Board may also consider the amount of cash invested in the property in relation to said fair market value and purchase price, the interest rate of the mortgage and whether the mortgage instrument was arrived at and executed in an arms-length transaction. It is presumed that a prospective purchaser of real property in Hoboken shall be familiar with the terms of this chapter. It is not the intention of this chapter to permit a hardship rental increase when the landlord has not made a reasonably prudent investment.
(4) 
Whether the operating expenses are reasonably incurred and the income statement is accurate. Operating expenses shall not include depreciation, amortization of debt service or capital expenditures but may include the interest debt service for allowable capital improvement surcharges subject to the Board's approval. Upon the Board's determination that the landlord made a reasonable prudent investment, operating expenses shall include an amount allocable for the average annual payment of mortgage interest when the mortgage arises from the purchase of the property. Said average annual payment of mortgage interest shall be arrived at by taking the total amount of mortgage interest to be paid over the life of the mortgage and dividing it by the number of years under the term of the mortgage. Mortgage interest which arises as a result of a refinancing of the property shall not be considered an operating expense, unless the funds which arise from the refinance are invested in the property in which case the Board may allow an amount allocable to mortgage interest as an operating expense.
B. 
The Board, in considering all of the above factors may grant an increase for hardship.
When services, care or maintenance decline in any dwelling, any tenant may apply to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board for a decrease in rent. Said notice shall be served on landlord setting forth, in detail, the reason for such application. At least 20 days shall elapse before a hearing thereon can be set.
A. 
The Regulation Officer shall make all determinations regarding the eligibility of a newly constructed dwelling for an exemption as defined above.
B. 
The Rent Regulation Officer shall make all determinations regarding the eligibility of a building completely vacant since January 1, 1984, for an exemption as defined above.
C. 
The Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board shall make all determinations regarding the eligibility of a completely vacant and deteriorated building for an exemption as defined above.
In making these determinations, the Board shall proceed as follows:
A. 
Review the registration proposal and supporting documentation within 60 days, or as soon as practicable, of their submission to the Officer. Said proposal must assert that:
(1) 
The building is completely vacant and will have been completely vacant for at least six months prior to the exemption granted under this Article and that said vacancy did not occur through unlawful means attributable to the applicant.
(2) 
The building is in a deteriorated condition and requires major reconstruction.
(3) 
The major reconstruction shall include, by way of example, the repair and improvement of the exterior walls; the reconstruction of the interior walls; all new systems for plumbing, heating and electric: new roof; new windows; sprinkler systems; enunciated panels and electric smoke alarms; all permits and approvals as required by the applicable codes.
B. 
The Board shall, in its initial review, determine that the building is vacant and deteriorated and requires major reconstruction. It is the intention of this chapter that a building that is in good condition shall not be granted an exemption under this Article. If the building complies with the requirements of this Article, the Board shall issue a preliminary approval to the applicants to proceed accordingly.
C. 
Upon completion of the major reconstruction, the applicant shall submit a certificate of major reconstruction, indicating compliance with and performance of the proposal for which was issued a preliminary approval. The applicant shall also submit a certificate of vacancy, indicating that the building is and has been completely vacant for at least six months and that said vacancy did not occur through unlawful means attributable to the applicant.
D. 
Upon a determination that the applicant satisfies the requirements of this Article, the Board shall grant the exemption as the same is defined in § 155-2H.