Articles Tagged with IPMC

On September 9, 2019, changes to Union City Municipal Code §329-32 “Security Funds” became effective. These changes expand the power of the City to require landlords (of buildings with four units or more) to make repairs or improvements to a property with “security funds.” The “security funds” are mandatory transfers of money from a landlord to Union City ostensibly to abate “emergency conditions.” Landlords in Union City, NJ should be aware of the “emergency conditions” which trigger the “security funds” requirement. Today’s requirements are far more expansive than prior law.

329-33 “Depositing of Funds” of the Union City Municipal Code allows the City to require that a landlord deposit money (the amount is based on building size) with the City for the “repair, maintenance, supply or replacement” of “items” “necessary to correct, eliminate or alleviate an emergency condition.” Before September 9, 2019, “emergency conditions” were limited to:

(a) lack of adequate ventilation or light;

Municipal housing code citations can be a nightmare for NJ landlords. A prior post explained how some tenants intentionally or neglectfully damage their apartment and sic the city on the landlord. These housing code citations can be used by the tenant to form the basis of habitability or “Marini” withholding. Even worse, housing code citations carry onerous municipal fines. In light of the dual damage of landlord-tenant habitability withholding and municipal fines, NJ landlords should be aware of the technical requirements of the International Property Maintenance Code (“IMPC”). Housing code violations should be appealed when the notice requirements are not strictly followed by the city. Most importantly, the Notice should identify which party is responsible for “repair” vs. “maintenance.”
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New Jersey landlords face a complicated regulatory jungle. In addition to the stringent requirements of the Anti-Eviction Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:81-61.1 et. seq.), Landlords must also comply with the NJ Department of Community Affairs and local housing code enforcement. In Northern New Jersey, many cities (Jersey City, West New York etc.) adopted the International Property Maintenance Code and rely on housing/building code departments to enforce it. Like most laws, the International Property Maintenance Code (the “IPMC”) was designed with the best intentions. In practice, the IPMC can be abused by tenants trying to create a reason to withhold rent. Professional landlords should have a familiarity with the IPMC to avoid being dragged into a municipal quagmire by a tenant.
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