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Township of West Deptford, NJ
Gloucester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of West Deptford 5-7-1981 by Ord. No. 81-9[1] amended in its entirety 3-1-1990 by Ord. No. 90-3. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 128, Rent Control in Mobile Home Parks, adopted 8-23-1979 by Ord. No. 79-19 as Section 4:4 of the General Ordinances. Section 4:4-19 of Ord. No. 81-9 provided that". . .rental increases and surcharges authorized by the Board under Ord. No. 79-19 shall continue until their normal expiration date or until modified by actions of the Board taken in accordance with this ordinance."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANNUAL INCOME
The legal monthly, weekly or other periodic rent for all rental units within the landlord's rental complex or parks as of the date an application is filed with the Board, computed on an annual basis together with any other income earned from the operation of the complex, or park related to and having a rational relationship to the rental operation. Where a rental unit is occupied in whole or in part rent-free, the full rental value should be considered the legal rent and computed into the "annual income."
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
ANNUAL OPERATING EXPENSES
All real estate taxes and operating costs reasonable and necessary to the operation and maintenance of the park or building, or complex, but excluding depreciation for which there has been previous compensation through tax savings or other such means.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
AVAILABLE FOR RENT TO TENANTS
Fit for habitation as defined by state or local housing inspection codes or the law as promulgated by the Legislature and courts of the State of New Jersey and offered for rent.
BASE RENT
The rent approved by the Board for an operational year for similar dwelling units within the mobile home park. For the first operational year and all subsequent determinations of "base rent," this rent shall be the average for all similar dwelling units within the mobile home park after deducting from the same the taxes, water, sewer and pad fee charges. Any increases in said taxes, water, sewer and pad fee charges since the previous year shall be added to the newly calculated "base rent." The "base rent" shall be determined by a consideration by the Board of rents charged within the mobile home park less the aforementioned taxes, water, sewer and pad fee charges for the prior year and at the time the housing space was vacated with respect to tenant occupied spaces that were not occupied in the prior year. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the landlord may request that the Board establish "base rents" in amounts different than those which would otherwise be established as heretofore provided. Such request may be granted upon such conditions as the Board may deem necessary both to protect tenants residing in the Township of West Deptford and also to promote stabilization and leveling of rents within the mobile home park.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
BOARD
The Multiple Dwellings Regulation Board of the Township of West Deptford.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
That improvement, addition or contribution which materially adds to the value or utility of the property or appreciably prolongs its useful life, as opposed to a repair which maintains the property in an ordinarily efficient operating condition. "Capital improvements" are improvements that benefit the rentable housing space in the affected dwelling and area as defined by the United States Internal Revenue Service.
COMMON AREA
In the case of mobile home complexes, shall mean internal streets, sidewalks and clubhouses, and may relate to the individual lots rented by the tenants to the extent that the landlord has contracted pursuant to the leasing arrangement to maintain said grounds.
COMPLEX
Includes all rental spaces advertised as available for rent to tenants under the same management and trading under the same name.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
The Consumer Price Index (all items for all urban consumers) for the Philadelphia area, published periodically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor.
DWELLING
The term "dwelling" shall include rental spaces for manufactured housing and mobile home parks and complexes.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
HOUSING SPACE
An area or mobile home pad designed and constructed as a functional unit, including that portion rented or offered for rent for living and dwelling purposes to one individual or family unit, together with all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities or improvements connected with the use and occupancy of such portion of the property.
INVESTMENT
Includes the amount of the original cash or equivalent consideration paid upon acquisition, which shall not include the principal amount of any mortgage or mortgages, together with such other additional capital contributed after date of acquisition.
LANDLORD
An owner, sublessor, assignee or other person receiving or entitled to receive rent, or any agent of a person receiving or entitled to receive rent, including a receiver in bankruptcy acting in the capacity of "landlord".
MOBILE HOME SPACE
Includes that portion of a mobile home park rented or offered for rent for the purpose of parking or positioning manufactured housing, mobile homes for living and dwelling purposes to one or more tenants or family units, together with all the privileges, services, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy of such portion of the property. "Mobile home spaces" which are newly constructed and rented for the first time are exempted, and the initial rent may be determined by the owner. All subsequent rents will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
MULTIPLE DWELLING
A structure or mobile home or mobile home lots or spaces in a mobile home park and any land appurtenant thereto in which four or more units or mobile home lots are occupied or are intended to be occupied by four or more persons who live independently of each other. The term "dwelling," whenever used within the body of this chapter, shall be construed to mean "multiple dwelling."
NET OPERATING INCOME
The amount by which annual income exceeds annual operating expenses.
REASONABLE RENTAL
Includes a showing of the age, character, locality, appurtenant amenities and state of repair of the complex or mobile home space, as well as comparable rentals for similar properties located within the township and adjacent areas.
RENT
The amount of consideration, including any bonus, benefit or gratuity demanded or received by virtue of any agreement between the parties whereby upon the payment of a sum certain by the tenant, the landlord allows to him the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the use and occupation of the housing space for that time period. If the parties agree that rent is to be paid upon some interval other than one month, then that shall be construed as an alternative method of payment, and the monthly rent shall be calculated by apportioning the rent so as to determine the sum for the term of one month.
RENTAL UNIT
The same as "housing space."
A. 
Mailing, certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant at the address of the tenant's unit rented from the landlord or to such other address which the tenant may request such notices be mailed; or
B. 
Personal delivery to the tenant, certified to by affidavit of the person accomplishing the personal delivery or by acknowledgment of service executed by the person served, which affidavit or acknowledgment of service must be retained by the person causing service and filed with the Board upon request. Proper "service" of notice as contemplated within this chapter shall be a prerequisite to the implementation of any rental increase hereunder. Wherever more than one person shall rent any one unit, "service" upon one tenant shall be sufficient as "service" upon all such tenants.
SERVICES
The provision of light, potable water, electricity, maintenance, painting, air conditioning, storm windows, screens, roads and streets, sewer/septic systems, superintendent service and any other benefit, privilege or facility connected with the use or occupancy of any dwelling or housing space.
SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE
That the housing space and dwelling are free from all heat, hot water and all health, safety and fire hazards, as well as 90% qualitatively free of all other violations of the West Deptford Property Maintenance Code[1] and other applicable ordinances of the Township of West Deptford.
TENANT
A person or persons or family unit renting housing space from a landlord.
TENANT'S OCCUPIED SPACE
The gross square footage of the lot rented by the tenant.
VACATED
A multiple dwelling unit which either is no longer the subject of a leasing arrangement, written or oral, or where all tenants of the multiple-dwelling unit have no intention to return thereto before the expiration of the leasing arrangement.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 127, Property Maintenance.
A. 
Establishment. There is hereby established in the Township of West Deptford a Multiple Dwellings Regulation Board (hereinafter referred to as the "Board"), which shall consist of five members, all of whom shall be appointed by the Township Council and shall serve without compensation.
B. 
Membership. The membership of the Board shall consist of members as follows:
(1) 
The three Class I members, who must show, in order to qualify, that they are residents of the Township of West Deptford and are neither a tenant nor an owner of a mobile home park.
(2) 
There shall be allowed two Class II members who must show, in order to qualify, that he or she is a tenant of a mobile home park in the Township of West Deptford.
(3) 
There shall be allowed two Class III members. Class III members must show, in order to qualify, that they are registered owners of a mobile home park in the Township of West Deptford under the landlord/tenant law and/or an agent of the owner/landlord.
C. 
Terms; alternates.
(1) 
Terms. The term of office of the members first appointed shall be as follows: Class II and III members and one Class I member shall be appointed for terms of one year; the remaining Class I appointments shall be appointed for two-year terms.
(2) 
Alternates. The Board shall also consist of three alternate members: one Class I, one Class II, and one Class III, chosen under the same qualifications and terms as set forth above.
D. 
Vacancies. Vacancies occurring in membership in the Board shall be filled by the Township Council for the unexpired term only in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
E. 
Organization. There shall be Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Secretary of the Board, elected by the members of the Board from its membership.
F. 
Quorum. A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the full membership of the Board.
G. 
Replacements. In the event that any member or alternate member becomes disqualified or resigns, then the Township Committee shall appoint a replacement for only the remainder of that person's term.
H. 
Removal. A member or alternate of the Board shall be subject to removal by the Township Committee for good cause upon written charges and after public hearing except that the failure to attend three consecutive regular members of the Board without good reason shall constitute a good cause for dismissal, without the necessity for a hearing.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
I. 
Exception to appointment requirements. In the event that the Township Committee is unable to secure the services of individuals in accordance with the categories listed above, then the Township Committee may make appointments to the Board without regard for such categories.
J. 
Voting.
(1) 
Each regular member can fully participate in all meetings of the Board, and each shall have one vote when present.
(2) 
Each alternate member can fully participate in all meetings of the Board but shall only have a vote if the member of their class is absent or disqualified.
(3) 
A member or alternate may vote on matters already in progress upon certification in writing that he or she has reviewed all prior proceedings in the matter and is familiar therewith.
(4) 
If a quorum is present, all decisions or actions taken by a majority vote of those voting shall be valid.
(5) 
Any member or alternate permitted to vote shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any decision involving any property in which he or she has or has had any direct security, ownership, management, leasehold or other interest of whatever nature. However, that member may participate in Board discussions if that member has personal knowledge pertaining to the issues that are presented to the Board for a vote.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
K. 
Meetings.
(1) 
The Board shall meet at least once a month at a time to be set by the Board, unless there shall be no business before the Board.
(2) 
Special meetings may be called by the Chairman or a majority of members (not alternates) upon at least 72 hours' notice to all members and alternates in writing.
(3) 
All meetings and caucuses shall be open to the public and subject to the provisions of P.L. 1975, c. 231, the "Sunshine Law."[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
L. 
Budget and personnel.
(1) 
There shall be appropriated in each annual budget of the Township of West Deptford such sum as may be determined by the Township Committee to be necessary for the purpose of administering this chapter. Requests of the Board for appropriations shall be specific and submitted to the Township Administrator.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(2) 
The following personnel can be appointed by the Township Committee in order to help the Board in its duties:
(a) 
An attorney.
(b) 
A financial consultant.
(c) 
A recording Secretary.
(3) 
The salaries and terms of the above personnel shall be determined by the Township Committee. Additional personnel may be assigned to the Board by the Township Administrator.
M. 
Jurisdiction; powers; duties.
(1) 
The Board is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all the power necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:
(a) 
To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(b) 
To issue and promulgate such written procedural rules and regulations which are deemed necessary to improve the efficiency of the administration of this chapter and to implement its purposes, which rules and regulations shall have the force of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the Board in exercise of its discretion.
(c) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate applications not otherwise resolved between the landlord and tenant pertaining to roll-back of rent due to diminution of services, deterioration of housing space or failure to perform ordinary repairs, replacements and maintenance; and excessive rental increases, all in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(d) 
To hold hearings and adjudicate petitions from landlords for rent increases as herein provided.
(e) 
To hold hearings and make adjudications to determine all other issues permitted to be determined or necessary to be determined under the terms of this chapter.
(f) 
To hold hearings and/or adjudicate applications from landlords for rent increases as herein provided, as well as to consider agreements between the landlord and tenants for increased rents as is more fully set forth in § 128-7F of this chapter.
(g) 
To enforce the provisions of this chapter and to initiate proceedings in the Municipal Court for willful violations thereof.
(h) 
To investigate all matters which are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(i) 
To issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and records in connection with hearings and investigations held pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(j) 
To determine whether a landlord whom the Board has determined has overcharged a tenant in a particular case has made restitution of the amount overcharged to the tenant.
(k) 
To enforce, upon behalf of the Township, the provisions of the Tenants' Property Tax Rebate Act (N.J.S.A. 54:4-6.2 et seq.), and any amendments or regulations thereto, against a landlord or owner of qualified real rental property, to require said landlord or owner to provide a property tax rebate to the tenants thereof as provided in said Act. The authority granted by this provision shall not be limited to "multiple dwellings" as that term is defined in Section 128-1 of this chapter, but rather is applicable to all "qualified real rental property" within the meaning of the Tenant's Property Tax Rebate Act. The Authority granted by this provision shall be in accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:4-6.12, whereby the municipality may issue process, with jurisdiction in municipal court.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(l) 
To require said landlord or owner to pass on to said tenants any reduction in utility fees and/or operating expenses as a result of the Township's providing services not previously provided.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(2) 
The Chairman shall take testimony and shall afford both landlord and tenants a reasonable opportunity to be heard before the Board shall render any determination.
(3) 
The Board shall prescribe and provide all forms for filing an application or petitions under the terms of this chapter.
N. 
Applications, hearings and decisions.
(1) 
The Board shall hold hearings and make determinations upon any application properly brought before the Board under the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(2) 
The parties, if natural persons, may appear pro se or may be represented by any attorney of their choosing. Corporations and partnerships shall be represented by a New Jersey attorney.
(3) 
The parties of the Board may call such witnesses as they deem appropriate. All testimony shall be given under oath.
(4) 
The Board shall have the power to compel the production of witnesses and documents pursuant to law and under the power given by this chapter.
(5) 
The Rent Review Board shall hold hearings and make determinations upon any applications properly brought before the Board under the provisions of this chapter. No increased rents may be charged pursuant to an application until after a Board makes its determination at a public meeting, and then only in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey governing landlord-tenant relations.
(6) 
The Board shall not be obligated to hear matters that have previously been resolved by the Board and shall not be obligated to hear matters not brought before the Board in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(7) 
All applications for increased rents shall be submitted to the Administrator along with all application fees. No applications shall be accepted until all pad fees, taxes and water and sewer charges are current, including any applicable interest charge. There shall be a penalty assessed in the amount of 8% for a late payment of all outstanding pad fees.
(8) 
Application received. Upon receipt of an application for an increase in rent under this section, the recording secretary of the Board or the Board itself will cause, through its financial consultant, a preliminary review to indicate whether the application is complete and meets with the requirements of this chapter. Within 21 days of the submission of the application, the Township Administrator shall notify the applicant whether the application is complete and proper or improper. If improper, the Township Administrator shall return the application to the applicant with specific instructions as to what corrections need to be made for the application to be complete and proper and scheduled for a hearing.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(9) 
Every application under this section shall include the following:
(a) 
A written explanation of the increase request.
(b) 
A copy of the notice to be forwarded to the tenants notifying them of the request for an increase and of the hearing.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(c) 
A certified rent roll indicating thereon all actual and allowable rents, as well as the rental sought in the application for the tenant occupied space.
(d) 
A detailed description of each category of tenant occupied space or areas available for rent to tenants in the complex or mobile home park including all amenities and square footage.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(e) 
A statement setting forth what the applicant believes to be the reasonable rental of the units for which the increase is sought.
(10) 
Hearing date. Within 30 days of submission of an application, unless the same has been returned as improper or incomplete, the recording secretary shall establish a hearing date and notify the applicant of the same. Such hearing shall be no later than 75 days from the date of submission of the application.
(11) 
At least 14 days prior to the date scheduled for the hearing, the applicant must cause proper service to be effected upon all tenants in housing spaces intended to be affected by rental increase applied for. After effecting the same, the applicant must notify the Board that such service has been made. The notice being served upon the tenants must include the date of the hearing, the proposed monthly increase to each tenant and that the support documents for the proposed increased application are available for review in the applicant's office in West Deptford and at the Municipal Building. The notice must also state that the landlord has applied for a rent increase, that the tenancy established at the outset of the leasehold is hereby terminated and that a new tenancy may be created by the parties at an increased rental, if approved by the Board. If the Board is not provided with these required evidences showing that they were served upon tenants within the required time, the application shall be incomplete. At the same time, the landlord shall provide the tenants with copies of the application, if the landlord has not already done so.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(12) 
As part of the application for an increase pursuant to § 128-7C,D or E of this chapter, the landlord shall file with the Board the following books and records, all certified to be true and correct by the applicant or, if the applicant utilizes the services of an accountant to prepare the following books and records, the applicant's accountant: profit and loss statements; balance sheets; statement of retained earnings; and statement of changes in financial position. The Board shall make the books and records available for inspection by the tenants of the affected dwellings and/or their duly authorized representatives. No application shall be deemed complete until these books and records are filed with the Board.
(13) 
An application by the landlord, except an application under subsections 128-7A, B or F of this chapter, shall include a certification from the Township of West Deptford Code Enforcement Officer showing that the property is in substantial compliance with the Township of West Deptford Property Maintenance Code.[2] No application shall be heard until the Certification is filed with the Board.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 127, Property Maintenance.
(14) 
Notwithstanding what is otherwise set forth in this chapter, nothing herein contained shall limit the authority of the Board to determine the accuracy of all calculations submitted by the landlord, or otherwise determine the reasonableness or conscionability of all applications for increases under any provisions of this chapter.
(15) 
Each landlord petition for a rent increase pursuant to this chapter shall be accompanied by a fee as set forth in Chapter 11 for filing and costs of Rent Control Board hearings, which is not refundable.
[Amended 3-10-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-01]
(16) 
Each landlord petition for a rent increase pursuant to this chapter shall be accompanied by a consulting escrow fee as set forth in Chapter 11. This consulting escrow fee shall be utilized to pay for the services of a financial consultant who shall review the landlord's submission, determine its acceptability as to form and shall then prepare a detailed accounting and financial review and/or a real estate appraiser, who shall review the property for value determination and prepare a report for consideration of the Board and the attorney. Any amount of the escrow fee in excess of that required for consulting services for that application shall be refunded to the landlord. Additional escrow fees as requested shall be posted and required. The Board shall be permitted to retain additional experts that it deems necessary, and any attorneys fees associated with the preparation of resolutions and other documents specifically related to the rent increase application shall be chargeable against the professional escrow account.
(17) 
All presentations shall be subject to cross-examination by the parties as well as such inquiring, including, but not limited to direct and cross-examination by the Board.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(18) 
The burden of proof shall be on the moving party.
(19) 
Accurate minutes of all meetings and decisions on rent increase applications shall be kept by the recording secretary and filed with the Township Clerk.
(20) 
Verbatim recordings shall be taken of all meetings on rent increase applications. Whenever verbatim recordings shall be taken of meetings of the Board, the same shall be supplied on request and in accordance with a fee schedule specified by township ordinance. Any applicant and/or party appealing a decision of the Multiple Dwelling Regulation Board shall be responsible for providing all necessary transcripts to the Township Committee and its professionals and all parties.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(21) 
Said Board shall give both the landlord and tenant reasonable opportunity to be heard before making any determination and shall base its determination on the reasonable, credible evidence before it, although the strict rules of evidence shall not apply. The Board may postpone or continue hearings in the event said Board determines during the course of the hearing that it needs additional information in order to make a decision.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(22) 
Each decision of the Board shall be issued in the form of a resolution, clearly indicating the amounts granted, the effective dates and the reasons for the Board's decision.
(23) 
Notification of any decision of the Board shall be made within 15 days of the date of the decision. Said notification shall be given by the Township Administrator.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(24) 
Notification shall be sent to the following:
(a) 
The moving party.
(b) 
The president of the tenant's association of any affected housing space, if any.
(c) 
The landlord of any affected housing space.
(d) 
All attorneys of record.
(e) 
All who request the same on record.
(25) 
Notification shall be posted in the Municipal Building in the township in the place normally provided for such notice.
(26) 
Appeals. Both a landlord and tenant may appeal, in writing, the findings of the Board of the Township Committee within 15 days from the date of said final determination and request a hearing thereon by the Township Committee, on the record of the proceedings before the Board, to be held within 90 days of such appeal. The Township Committee shall have a right to approve, deny or modify said decision. Its decision shall be by resolution. A transcript of the appeal shall be made at the expense of the appellant.
(27) 
The hearings shall be open to the public and members of the public will be afforded an opportunity to be heard prior to the Board making any determinations upon any application.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(28) 
Applications must be deemed to be complete in order for the Board to hear the application. Applications will not be deemed complete until the applicant complies with all provisions of this chapter and until all application and escrow fees are paid in full.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(29) 
The landlord must also submit to the Board a sworn statement that the maintenance and security standards for the mobile home park as set forth in Section 128-3 have been complied with. The Board may require the submission of any other information, including more detailed and security standards and expenditures, which it deems necessary or proper for its deliberation.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(30) 
A property owner cannot submit an application or expenses whereby more than one housing space is mentioned therein for a rental increase or capital improvement surcharge. A property owner will not be permitted to subsidize a housing space which yields inadequate returns out of profits derived from other housing spaces concealed by averaging it together with another housing space.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(31) 
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(a) 
As part of a landlord's application for a rent increase, a landlord shall submit to the Board a schedule of all miscellaneous fees which are being charged to the tenants of its complex. This Miscellaneous Fee Schedule shall include: (a) the nature or type of the miscellaneous fee; (b) the amount charged for each fee; (c) the method by which the landlord has arrived at the charge; and (d) any other information, including expenses incurred, which the landlord intends to present to the Board to justify the reasonableness of its charges.
(b) 
The landlord will have the burden to show that the expenses are permitted by law and within reason. The Board, at the time of the hearing of the landlord's application for a rent increase, shall consider the miscellaneous fee to be charged and, whether or not the landlord showed that they are permitted by law and are within reason and shall approve, disapprove or modify said charges. All future increases for miscellaneous fees as originally set by the Board are prohibited unless first approved by the Board, upon application by the landlord after notice to the tenants in accordance with the same notice requirements as provided for the application for rent increase.
(c) 
For the purpose of this chapter, miscellaneous fees shall be any consideration, including cash, property, services, or otherwise, given by a tenant to a landlord in addition to the actual rent paid for the right to occupy a dwelling unit, for any amenity service or property provided by or offered by the landlord in connection with such times as pool fees, pet fees, short-term fees, guest fees, late charges, restoration fees, bad check charges, as well as variations of any of the above.
(32) 
The Board may grant less than the increase requested after considering various factors, including but not limited to, the reasonable rental value of the rental spaces, the effect upon rent stabilization and the landlord's maintenance of standards in the complex as set forth in Section 128-3.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(33) 
In determining the value of real property, the Board may consider evidence using various means of computation such as depreciation, replacement costs, market value based on sales of comparable properties or any soundly conceived method which the parties may suggest, such as assessed valuation or original cost depreciated.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(34) 
It shall be within the Board's discretion, after considering all relevant factors, to grant an increase in rent retroactive to the date of the landlord filing the application.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
The intent of this section is to have the landlords maintain their facilities at all times, and to upgrade their facilities for the betterment of the community.
A. 
The landlord shall maintain the same standards of service, maintenance, furniture, furnishings, recreational facilities, common areas and landscaping as he was required to do by law or by the terms of the tenancy at the date the tenancy was entered into. The landlord shall, also, maintain all rental units within the complex or mobile home park in accordance with the B.O.C.A. Property Maintenance Code, applicable West Deptford Township ordinances and any applicable laws of the State of New Jersey. Fraudulent inducement, if any, by the landlord which resulted in the entering into the tenancy by the tenant shall be considered by the Board in its determinations.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
B. 
No rent increase shall be granted or allowed by the Board if the applicant does not supply a certification from the Township of West Deptford Code Enforcement Officer showing that the property is in substantial compliance with the West Deptford Property Maintenance Code[1], unless a purpose of rent increase requested would be to place the property in question into substantial compliance with said code. If a rent increase for such purpose is granted by the Board, the landlord shall initiate and consummate all necessary arrangements for the work within such time as is set by the Board at the time the increase is granted. The Board, at the time of the granting of the rent increase, shall specify a reasonable time limit for completion of the work required to effect substantial compliance with the code. If the owner fails to initiate and consummate the necessary arrangements or complete the work within the time limit established by the Board, the rent increase previously granted by the Board shall be refunded or credited to the tenant in an amount equal to the reduction in value of the rent as a result of the failure to do the work. The Board shall make the finding of said reduction in value. For good cause shown, the Board may grant reasonable extension of time to the landlord for completion of the work.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 127, Property Maintenance.
C. 
During the term of this chapter, an applicant must pay and keep current all real estate taxes and municipal pad fees and costs due to the Township of West Deptford prior to being entitled to relief in accordance with any provision of this chapter or for continued relief in accordance with any decision rendered by the Board pursuant to this chapter.
D. 
Notwithstanding whether or not the request for increase is to bring the property into substantial compliance with the Uniform Construction Code, nothing set forth herein shall prevent the Board from granting a rent increase and making the rent increase contingent upon the applicant bringing the property into compliance with the West Deptford Property Maintenance Code.[2] If the property is not brought into compliance pursuant to the Board's direction, the Board may order a refund or credit against future rents in the amount of the increase granted.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 127, Property Maintenance.
E. 
Pursuant to the landlord's duty to maintain the standards at the mobile home parks, as provided by this chapter, the Board, or any member of the Board, as its discretion, is authorized to inspect the exterior and common areas of any park area, as well as the interior of individual dwelling spaces upon the invitation and with the permission of the tenant or tenants residing therein.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
A. 
Restrictions on rental increases. Establishment of rental charges for multiple dwelling units between the landlord and the tenant to whom the provisions of this chapter are applicable shall hereafter be determined by the provisions of this chapter. No landlord shall request or receive an increase in the rental charge of any multiple dwelling unit except as permitted by this chapter. Any rental increase in excess of that authorized by the provisions of this chapter shall be void.
B. 
Applications for rent increases under any or all sections of this chapter must be initiated at the same time during any one twelve-month period. The Board shall not grant more than one rental increase to any applicant during any twelve-month period.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any landlord to charge a tenant for the use of a washing machine, refrigerator, cooking stove, air conditioner or any other privileges or amenities, when and wherever such appliances were previously permitted and allowed by the landlord without extra charge either by lease, use or custom. The use of such appliances, privileges or amenities shall be considered as included in the rent. Any extra charge in such a situation shall be considered as an unauthorized increase in rent and shall be unlawful unless upon good cause, it is approved by the Rent Review Board.
D. 
Exemptions. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all rentals of housing space within the Township of West Deptford, except that housing space being rented for the first time shall not be restricted in the initial rent charged. Any subsequent rental increase, however, shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
E. 
Pursuant to the landlord's duty to maintain the standards at the mobile home parks, as provided by this chapter, the Board, or any member of the Board, as its discretion, is authorized to inspect the exterior and common areas of any park area, as well as the interior of individual dwelling spaces upon the invitation and with the permission of the tenant or tenants residing therein.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
An intentional violation of any provision of this chapter, including but not limited to the willful filing with the Board of any material misstatement of fact, shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $500. Each day that a violation occurs shall be considered a separate offense. Violations affecting more than one leasehold shall be considered separate offenses.
Any provision of a lease or other agreement whereby any provision of this chapter is waived shall be deemed against public policy and shall be void. For an application to be considered complete, the landlord must accompany his application with a lease not violating the laws of the State of New Jersey and a notice of increase form to be distributed to tenants conforming to the laws regarding proper termination. The landlord shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of the lease.
Establishment of rent increases between a landlord and a tenant to whom this chapter is applicable shall hereafter be determined by the following provisions of this chapter. No landlord may request or receive of the tenants any increase in rental income or additional charges except as provided by these following provisions and until such time as the landlord shall have obtained approval in writing from the Board, as hereinafter established, for said increase.
A. 
Standard increase. An annual increase of up to an amount equal to the then current base rent times the Consumer Price Index multiplier for the Philadelphia S.M.S.A. for non-urban wage earners may be granted by the Board as an increase over the base rent. In no event may a landlord petition for an increase in rent in excess of 5% of the base rent. No increase shall be permitted unless the landlord has provided the Board with a copy of a proper written lease; a filing fee shall be as set forth in Chapter 11 with a copy of a proper termination notice; proof of service of a copy of the application for increase to the tenants at least 14 days prior to the date for the hearing on the application; and a sworn statement from the landlord that the maintenance and security standards for the complex has not been reduced during the preceding 12 months. A landlord shall submit a certified rent roll, indicating thereon all actual and allowable rents, the square footage for each housing space and the requested rent increase by apartments. Certified financial statements must also be submitted. The Board may require additional information if it finds the same necessary. If the Board is provided with these items of evidence within the required time and the Board finds the landlord to have been diligent in maintaining the standards of the housing spaces and common areas, there will be granted an increase pursuant to the landlord's application under this section. The Board may grant less than the increase requested or no increase at all after considering the application under this section. The Board may grant less than the increase requested or no increase at all after considering the application if there is a finding of fact that the landlord is being less than diligent and has not maintained the maintenance and security standards in the mobile home park or upon a finding of fact regarding market conditions, the Consumer Price Index at the time of the application and/or the economy.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14; 3-10-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-01]
B. 
Tax surcharge.
(1) 
A landlord shall make the application for tax surcharge upon a tenant because of an increase in real property taxes in accordance with subsection 128-2N of this chapter. The tax surcharge shall not exceed that amount calculated by the following method:
(a) 
When the application contained a trailer park, the tax surcharge per pad or lot, if any shall be calculated by multiplying the total tax surcharge permissible in accordance with this section times the ratio of the total square feet of the trailer park, and then dividing that proportionate figure of the total tax surcharge by the number of lots or pads in that group size.
(b) 
A group size of pads or lots shall consist of the same square foot size pads or lots.
(2) 
Any landlord imposing a tax surcharge shall file with the Rent Review Board a schedule obtained from the Township Administrator's office indicating the calculation involved in computing the tax surcharge. Upon filing said schedule, the landlord shall notify each tenant by certified mail or personal service of the monthly surcharge to be paid by said tenant and of the calculation and the information contained in the aforesaid schedule. The applicant shall submit to the Board the total number of groups or pads or lots in the mobile home park, total number of pads or lots in each group and include all specifications of the calculations with the filing and notice of application. The notice required herein may be contained in the same notice referred to in subsection 128-2N(11) of this chapter advising the tenants of the date the application will be considered by the Board.
[Amended 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
(3) 
Any tax surcharge imposed by a landlord shall be payable by each tenant in 12 equal monthly installments.
(4) 
The Rent Review Board shall process, hear and determine any disputes regarding a tax surcharge in accordance with subsection 128-2N of this chapter.
(5) 
In the event of a tax appeal, the portion of a tenant tax surcharge not being paid by the landlord to the municipality will be held by the landlord in an interest-bearing account. In the event that the appeal is successful and the tax reduces, the tenant shall receive 75% of the money held in escrow, together with 75% of the accrued interest after deducting all reasonable expenses (not otherwise reimbursed) in prosecuting said appeal. The expenses incurred by the landlord shall include but are not limited to the payment of filing fees, appraisal reports, expert witness fees and attorneys fees. Payment to the tenant shall be made in the form of a credit against the monthly rent or a check made payable to the tenant. The balance shall belong to the landlord.
(6) 
In the event of a reduction in real property taxes, a tenant shall be entitled to a tax rebate. The landlord shall compute the rebate to which the tenant is entitled by the same formulas used in this section for computing a tax surcharge. Payment to the tenant shall be made in the form of a credit against monthly rent or a check made payable to the tenant.
(7) 
In the case of any tenant who has moved, the landlord shall make a diligent effort to forward the refund to such tenant, and if the landlord is not successful in effecting such a refund, then and in that event the landlord shall pay or apply such refund on a pro rata basis to or for the benefit of those remaining tenant(s) who occupied the dwelling and housing space during the time period of which the taxes and/or assessment were the subject matter of the successful appeal.
C. 
Rate of return.
(1) 
An application should include the following:
(a) 
A calculation of the return on historic costs for the most recent twelve-month period, said period ending no earlier than 60 days from the date of petition, and also for the entire period since purchase of the housing space by the current owners.
(b) 
A calculation of the projected return on historic costs for the next twelve-month period.
(c) 
The investment basis, including a schedule of the original investment, and the additional investments and decreases in investment by the present owners.
(d) 
A schedule of the receivables from or payable to the owners.
(e) 
Disclosure of any affiliation with another company, including a summary of intercompany transactions during the periods under consideration [prior and projected 12 months].
(f) 
The estimated income tax savings that is expected to result to the parent company of a complex or to the owners if the company is operating as a partnership or a tax option corporation (Subchapter X corporation), as a result of the complex entity generating a net operating loss for tax purposes that would be available to the parent company or to the owners.
(g) 
A schedule of rates of return on other investments having comparable risks.
(h) 
A demonstration that repairs and maintenance costs were reasonable and necessary to maintain the premises in good condition but not to cause over-maintenance of the premises.
(i) 
A demonstration that real estate taxes should be limited to amounts actually paid, including sums placed in escrow for appeal. Also, a history of the tax appeals for the past 36 months should be provided.
(2) 
The Board shall make a finding as to the rate of return the landlord is currently receiving, as well as the rate of return to which he is properly entitled. In determining the rate of return to which the landlord shall be entitled, the Board shall consider the following in addition to other evidence which may be produced by the parties and considered relevant by the Board:
(a) 
The rate of return on other returns having comparable risks to the landlord.
(b) 
Favorable tax consequences.
(c) 
Efficiency of the landlord and the management of the rental property.
(3) 
The Board shall make a finding as to the landlord's net operating income. In making such a finding, the Board may give consideration to the following factors, including any others submitted by the parties and considered relevant by the Board.
(a) 
All or a portion of the income from related operations conducted by the landlord, including but not limited to appliance sales, insurance sales, swim club fees, parking fees, etc., provided that the Board finds a sufficient nexus between the related operation and the rental operation.
(b) 
The requirements of the tenant in maintaining the mobile home as well as the effect that property maintenance by the tenant may have on the value of the landlord's property.
(c) 
The income derived by the landlord from services provided to the tenant in maintaining the mobile home.
(d) 
Uniqueness of mobile homes, mobile home lots or spaces as compared to garden apartments or other multiple dwelling housing space, including the difficulty of relocation of mobile homes.
D. 
Capital improvements surcharge; applications for increase based on capital improvements. Eligible capital improvements shall be those made during the prior 12 months, ending no earlier than 60 days from the date of petition, for major additional facilities or services not heretofore provided for the affected dwelling. A schedule of the improvement (or service) costs, the date of the expenditure, the average costs, including debt service of the improvement (calculated by dividing the cost of the improvement by the total number of units or space available for rent to tenants or occupied by the same), the estimated number of years useful life of the cost and the estimated residual value at the end of the estimated useful life shall accompany the application. In any event, no increase granted by authority of this subsection shall exceed 10% of the tenant's present rental, unless said increase or capital improvement is mandated by law.
E. 
Hardship.
(1) 
A landlord who finds that present rental income and additional charges from the housing space on which he seeks relief hereunder are insufficient to cover the cost of payments on a first mortgage and any subsequent mortgages directly used to improve and upgrade the housing space and/or payments for maintenance and/or all operating costs may appeal to the Board for a hardship increase in rental income. Following a hearing, the Board may grant the landlord a hardship rent increase to meet these needs after considering the proofs presented by the landlord, the condition of housing space and degree of hardship to the landlord.
(2) 
The burden of proof in regard to value computation, the reasonableness of expenses, reasonable rental, inadequacy of rate of return and all items pertaining thereto is on the applicant. Where a majority of the Board decides that it is unable to make proper determination from the facts as presented, the Board may direct its financial consultant to make an independent examination of all relevant documents, and he shall then present his findings to the Board prior to its deciding on the application.
F. 
Increase by agreement.
(1) 
The landlord and the tenants may effectuate rent increases by agreement. The agreement must be in writing and signed by the landlord and signed by the tenants representing 75% plus one of the rental units affected by the rent increase. The written agreement must contain the following information: the old rent; the new rent; the effective date of the new rent; the amount of increase; and any other terms and conditions of the agreement.
(2) 
Landlords seeking a rent increase pursuant to this section shall be obligated to file an application with the Board pursuant to § 128-2N of this chapter, along with a copy of the proposed agreement.
(3) 
No increase pursuant to this section may take effect until the Board makes a final determination concerning the agreement at a public meeting. Upon receipt of the application including said agreement, the Board Secretary shall schedule a date for the Board to consider the agreement. Once the date has been set, the landlord must notify all of the tenants whose rental units are to be affected by the rental increase of the date of the meeting, and at the same time provide the tenants with a copy of the proposed agreement. Said notification must be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service. The notice required herein may be contained in the same notice referred to in § 128-2N(11) of this chapter advising the tenants of the date the application will be considered by the Board.
(4) 
At the time the Board meets to consider the proposed agreement, the Board shall take testimony concerning the proposed agreement. The decision of whether or not to approve the proposed agreement shall remain solely with the Board, who shall also have the authority to modify the agreement as it deems necessary.
(5) 
The requirements of § 128-4B of this chapter shall remain applicable to an increase pursuant to this section.
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
A. 
Any landlord or owner must provide a property tax rebate to the tenants thereof as provided in N.J.S.A. 54:4-b2, et seq. for each year he/she receives a property tax reduction for any reason. Said rebate shall be computed as follows:
The property tax reduction for residential rental property shall be divided by the total rentable square feet contained within all mobile home spaces on such property to determine the annual property tax rebate or credit per square foot for every residential unit in the entire property. The square footage of each unit shall be multiplied by such property tax rebate or credit per square foot to determine the annual amount of property tax rebate or credit for each residential unit. However where one or more residential rental units, spaces or equivalent are occupied by the property owner or his employees, the tax credit or rebate for the residential rental units on such property shall be computed by first reducing the property tax reduction by the proportion that the number of units occupied by the property owner or his employees bears to the total number of residential units on the property.
B. 
Any landlord or owner shall provide utility and/or operating expense rebate to the tenants if said landlord or owner experiences a reduction and/or rebate in utility fees and/or operating expenses. If said landlord or owner receives a rebate or reduction in operating expenses as a result of the Township of West Deptford providing services not previously provided, then same shall be provided to the tenants. Said rebate shall be computed by dividing the total reduction and/or rebate of said fees by the total number of rental units in the complex or mobile home park.
Any rental income or additional charge or increase in excess of that authorized by the Board and the provisions of this chapter shall be void.
This chapter shall be known as the "Rent Stabilization Ordinance of the Township of West Deptford."
[Added 10-5-1995 by Ord. No. 95-14]
This chapter shall take effect immediately after final passage and publication in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey.