Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho to hold accountable the absentee owners of trouble-plagued rooming and boarding houses cleared the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho to hold accountable the absentee owners of trouble-plagued rooming and boarding houses cleared the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. (©iStock)
“Communities and residents deserve cooperation and common decency from any operator of shared housing complexes,” said Oroho (R-24). “Unfortunately, many people who reside near problematic homes know all too well how absentee landlords can disrupt the quality of life in a neighborhood. This measure would empower towns with the proper enforcement tools to go after bad actors while helping reduce disruptive and threatening behavior.”
The bipartisan bill, S-648, would include rooming houses and boarding houses in 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 bill will help preserve the integrity of neighborhoods,” added Oroho. “Absentee landlords will be put on notice. They will face legal consequences if they control and tend to their properties.”
Oroho’s legislation 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.
In the previous legislative session, the measure passed the Senate in June 2021.
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