Multi-Family Property Owner? Make Sure You Do This!

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If you’re a multi-family property owner, you might not be aware of all your obligations.  It doesn’t matter if your building has just three or four units. New Jersey state law requires you abide by a registration process.

An assortment of housing options exist in Elizabeth and many of the surrounding communities. As a prospective landlord, your goal may be for rental income to exceed your required mortgage payments.   However, you also want to ensure you are in legal compliance.

NJSA 55:13A-1 and the sections that follow are referred to as New Jersey’s “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law.” The definitions contained in NJSA 55:13A-3 provide some critical information, some of which may surprise you.

For starters, every landlord should understand what constitutes a dwelling unit. It doesn’t matter if you are offering a room, rooms, a suite, or apartment. Any of these housing offerings counts as a “unit of dwelling space.” Additionally, it’s irrelevant if any of dwelling units are occupied, unoccupied, furnished, or unfurnished.  The tally includes the total number of potential dwelling spaces.

Why are numbers so significant?  When it comes to determining whether a landlord needs to register with the state, the magic number is three.  “Multiple dwellings are any building or structure of one or more stories…in which three or more units of dwelling space are occupied, or are intended to be occupied by three or more persons who live independently of each other.”

Truth be told, many landlords need more familiarity with the law.  For example,  do you own a multi-family home?  The state requires you to register three or four family houses with the Department of Community Affairs. Otherwise, you can find yourself in defiance of the law and facing initial fines of $200 that can renew every thirty days.

Multi-Family Property Owners: Registration Process

According to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, owners of multiple dwellings that can potentially house at least three families must register with the state. One application must be submitted for each building and can be obtained from the Bureau of Housing Inspection. The state charges a nominal $10 fee used in processing the application.

However, there’s more to the registration process that you need to know before you file. For example, if you are a landlord who owns a multi-family property in Linden, you will need to supply the name and address of someone who lives or has in office in Union County.  This identifies the individual or business entity used for process service of any legal proceedings.  An experienced real estate attorney can guide you through filing and provide you with assistance if your office or residence isn’t in the same county as your multiple dwelling.

The purpose of registering your property is so that the Bureau of Housing can conduct inspections of your unit.  All things considered, your tenants or prospective tenants should be confident that they are living in a safe environment.  The municipality serves citations for property issues. This happens with issues regarding improper maintenance, subjecting others to potential harm.

What happens if you are charged with a violation pertaining to your building?  As it stands, you will have up to 60 days to correct any issues. The property will be subject to re-inspection. The state conducts regular inspections every five years.

Contact Us

Are you the owner of a multi-family property?  The Law Offices of Lawrence Centanni can assist you with the registration process and any other questions you have as a landlord. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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