NEW JERSEY – Senator Steve Oroho’s legislation to crack down on absentee owners of rooming and boarding houses cleared the Senate Thursday.
“Affected residents regretfully know all too well how absentee landlords can disrupt a neighborhood’s quality of life,” Oroho (R-24) said. “Communities deserve decency and cooperation from operators of any shared housing complexes. This measure will empower our towns with the proper enforcement tools against bad actors while helping to curb disruptive behavior.”
Oroho’s bipartisan legislation, S-426, would add rooming houses and boarding houses to the State’s “Animal House” Law. This would allow municipalities to hold owners of those properties responsible for the disorderly conduct of their tenants. Enacted in 1993, the law initially applied only to Jersey Shore communities, and allowed municipalities to require landlords to post bonds against disorderly behavior.
“This measure will help preserve the integrity of neighborhoods and put absentee landlords on notice to take care of their properties or face the legal consequences,” Oroho said.
Oroho’s measure was introduced in consultation with the local governance of Newton, Sussex County, who has had continual problems with one boarding home in particular. Neighbors constantly complain about the boarding house creating an unsafe atmosphere and a blight on the community, and local law enforcement resources have been overly extended due to countless calls to the boarding home residence on a continual basis. As boarding homes are licensed by the State Department of Community Affairs, Newton officials have looked to the State for assistance as they cannot legally address the problems on a local level that they are encountering.
The identical Assembly version, A-3179, is sponsored by Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space (both R-24).