Acting Governor Sheila Oliver has signed into law S1150, creating a flexible inspection schedule under the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for multiple dwelling inspections under Title 40.
Historically, the DCA has required inspections at a minimum of once every five years. The length of time between inspections raised concerns over what additional violations could take place over the period before the next inspection, as well as the potential lack of action to address noted issues. To provide a solution, S1150 was introduced by sponsors Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz and Sen. Brian Stack.
Rental properties, co-ops and condominium inspections are all affected by the new law, with inspections will be scheduled on a seven, five or two year schedule depending on the number of inspection violations and abatements. The frequency of inspections will be adjusted based on those numbers, allowing the DCA to ensure adequate conditions without placing an undue burden on those dwellings who consistently pass inspection standards.
Under this tiered systems, inspections will take place as follows:
- Every seven years where no violations are found or all violations are abated before the first reinspection
- Every five years in dwellings where all violations are abated by the second or third reinspection
- Every two years in dwellings where all violations are not abated by the third reinspection
Under previously established New Jersey rules, the DCA Commissioner may also establish standards for self-inspection by condominium associations for buildings that are no taller than 3 stories, built after 1976, and certified by the local enforcement agency to be in compliance with the Uniform Fire Code. To receive this self-inspection status, the units must be 80% occupied.
The new law also requires each multiple dwellings occupied by three or more persons living independently of each other to file a certificate of registration, along with a fee to be determined by the DCA Commissioner. Once the certificate of registration is obtained, it must be posted prominently in a conspicuous place on the premises.
This registration must be filed annually, with property owners being required to certify the accuracy of the information in the certificates. Should the information change, an amended registration certificate must be filed within 20 days after any change in the information previously provided registration. The content of this formal registration form hasn’t been determined yet, as it needs to be authored by the DCA Commissioner.
The registration rule also requires each multiple dwelling to appoint an agent for the purpose of notice process. Most likely, the agent assigned will be the management company of each particular multiple dwelling community. Certain violations of this law can result in a $200 penalty for each violation.
With the passing of S1150, the DCA will be able to more adequately monitor dwellings and ensure timely resolutions to inspection issues.