NEW JERSEY – Absentee landlords of trouble-plagued rooming and board houses would be held accountable under legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho and advanced Monday by the Senate.
The bipartisan measure, S-648, would revise the definition of “landlord” to include rooming and boarding house owners and operators with regard to ordinances holding landlords to certain standards of responsibility.
“Nuisance properties disrupt the peace and quiet of too many communities in New Jersey. This measure would empower towns with the proper enforcement tools to go after bad actors while helping reduce disruptive and threatening behavior,” said Oroho (R-24).
“Communities and residents deserve cooperation and common decency from any operator of shared housing complexes. Unfortunately, many people who reside near problematic homes know all too well how absentee landlords can upset the quality of life in a neighborhood,” Oroho said.
Enacted in 1993, the State’s “Animal House Law” grants a municipality the authority to adopt an ordinance holding landlords responsible for the disorderly conduct of their tenants.
“This bill will help preserve the integrity of neighborhoods,” Oroho said. “Absentee landlords will be put on notice. They will face legal consequences if they fail to control and tend to their properties.”
Oroho’s legislation was introduced in consultation with the local governance of Newton, Sussex County, where there have been frequent issues with one particular boarding house. Neighbors complain the residence is a blight on the community, and local law enforcement resources have been overly extended due to countless calls to the facility.
Boarding homes are licensed by the State Department of Community Affairs, and Newton officials, who cannot legally address the problems on the local level, have looked to the State for help.
In the previous legislative session, the measure passed the Senate in June 2021.