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May 6, 2011

Re:    A-3835 & S-2795, Inspection of multiple dwellings under State Housing Code

Dear Mayor:

A-3835 and S-2795, will amend the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law” regarding the enforcement of multiple dwellings (those with 3 or more units.)    This would result in these inspections being conducted solely by the State, unless a municipality opts to conduct such inspections pursuant to a contract with the State.  The bill would also prohibit the ability of municipalities to mandate registration requirements for landlords and property owners with three or more rental units. 

S-2795, co-sponsored by Senators Van Drew and Oroho, is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee for next Thursday, May 12.    We would urge municipalities impacted by this legislation to reach out the committee members and their State Senators and ask them to oppose this legislation.  Contact information for the committee is available at: http://www.njslom.org/senate-cuafc.html

The Assembly companion, A-3835, sponsored by Assemblymen Kevin Ryan and Joseph Cryan, and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey is assigned to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

The Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Act requires inspection of multi-family dwellings periodically.  Those inspections are done by the State, unless the municipality exercises the right to do so with properly licensed inspectors.  Advocates for this initiative believe the legislation will eliminate unnecessary red tape, reduce cost burdens on municipalities and housing providers and clarify and expand municipal authority over one and two unit rentals.   

The League Legislative committee recently reviewed the legislation and voted to oppose the legislation as drafted, identifying a number of concerns.   Specifically, the League is concerned with the ability of the State to enforce the provisions of this legislation. The League is also concerned as to the unintended impacts on public safety and local ordinances.     The bill will effectively eliminate a municipal option, an option exercised to compliment the State inspections and promote public safety.       The concern is by removing this municipal option some inspections may not be conducted as needed, particularly if the State’s capacity to conduct these inspections is impaired.  Lastly, the League is concerned about the financial and administrative impact on municipalities.  

The League is conducting a survey to assess the financial impact of the legislation, which is online at: http://www.njslom.org/surveys/A-3835-S-2795.pdf  or http://www.njslom.org/surveys/A-3835-S-2795.doc  Please forward this survey to the appropriate person(s) and ask that they return to the League by Monday, May 16.  In the meanwhile, we would suggest reviewing the legislation, which is online at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S3000/2795_I1.HTM

For more on this bill, please contact Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or at (609) 695-3481 x120
Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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