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Rent Leveling Board

Introduction

The Fair Lawn Rent Leveling Board was created by the Mayor and Council and constituted under and regulated by N.J.S.A. 2A:42-74, et seq., N.J.S.A. 40:48-2 and 40:69A-30, Borough Code Chapter 177, Sections 177-1 to 177-20, the Open Public Meeting Act N.J.S.A.10:4-6, et seq. and the Senior Citizens and Disabled Tenants Protected Tenancy regulations of N.J.A.C. 5:24-1, et seq.

The Board consists of the following seven members: two landlord representatives; two tenant representatives and three homeowner representatives. Additionally, three alternate members are appointed, one for each representative group.

The Meeting dates can be viewed through the online calendar.

Members:

  • Michael Aversa, (Landlord Representative)
  • Michael O'Dea (Landlord Representative)
  • Arlene Glassman, (Tenant Representative)
  • Amy Sprechman DeBellis (Tenant Representative)
  • Saul Rochman (Homeowner Representative)                
  • Mark Singer (Homeowner Representative)
  • Robert Waxman (Homeowner Representative)

Alternate Members:

  • Anthony Lauro (Alternate Landlord Representative)
  • Sharon Metzger (Alternate Homeowner Representative)
  • Marshall Chandler (Alternate Tenant Representative)

Other Members:

  • Steven Cohen, Esq. (Rent Leveling Board Attorney)
  • Marianne Pettineo (Secretary to Board)
                           

The Board is scheduled to meet on the following dates in 2017, providing there is business to be conducted: February 21, April 25, June 20, September 19 and November 14. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and are held in either Room 201 or 215 of  Borough Hall. The minimum number of Board members who must be present to conduct the business of the Fair Lawn Rent Leveling Board is a majority of (4) four of the whole Board, (7) seven.

The Rent Leveling Board has a specific agenda for each meeting which primarily consists of applications pending before the Board. The public may attend any meeting. There is a portion of the meeting at which public comments and questions may be presented to the Board, excluding, however, comments on hearing and adjudication of cases continued from prior hearings or of current cases.

General Information

All residential dwellings, other than owner-occupied two family houses, are under rent control. Housing units newly constructed and rented for the first time are exempted and the initial rent may be determined by the landlord. All subsequent rents are subject to the provisions of the Rent Leveling Ordinance.

A tenant may institute a proceeding by completing and filing an approved complaint with the Secretary of the Rent Leveling Board. A landlord may make application to the Board for an additional rental increase based upon pertinent sections of the ordinance. Vacancy Decontrol Application or Hardship Application Link can be obtained by selecting this link. Forms can also be obtained in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Borough Hall, Room 206. Tenants and landlords are advised to obtain the Rent Control Ordinance Link and Rent Leveling Board By-Laws Link by selecting these links. These documents can also be viewed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday or on the Borough’s website at www.fairlawn.org. Upon the filing of a complaint by a tenant or an application by a landlord, the matter is set down for a hearing before the Rent Leveling Board and the parties are notified of the date for the hearing at which their presence is required.

Rent Increases

At the expiration of every 12 month period, following the first letting, whether or not the landlord has ever presented the tenant with a lease, the maximum rent that a landlord may request or receive as a rent increase shall be 4% of the current rent or the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, as established by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics for the New York, New York - northeastern New Jersey area.

On vacancy of a housing unit, a landlord may request a new rental of 10% of the maximum rent last charged for said housing unit. Said increase may only be charged once in any 12 month period no matter how often the housing unit becomes vacant. Where a tenant moves from one apartment to another within the same complex, the landlord may charge the increase of rent permitted on vacancy both to the apartment vacated by the moving tenant and to the apartment to be occupied by the tenant.

Computation of Consumer Price Index -


Percentage of Allowable Annual Increases for Lease Renewals: For the purpose of arriving at the correct percentage of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for an annual increase when that percentage is less than 4%, the computation formula shall be based upon the CPI for all items for the NY-Northern NJ-Long Island, NY-NJ-CT area as published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C., and shall be calculated 120 days prior to each anniversary renewal for each tenant. This information is available monthly (generally released by the Dept. of Labor after the 18th day of the month), by either calling (212) 337-2404, Fax-On-Demand (212) 337-2412, Internet World Wide Web Home Page http://stats.bls.gov/ro2/cpinynj.htm or contact the office of the Rent Leveling Board at (201)794-5344.

Rents Relating to Vacancy/Occupancy Decontrol -

Capital Improvement(s) for Vacant Dwellings: A landlord may obtain an increased rent for a vacant dwelling, bringing it up to market value, upon approval of application to the Rent Leveling Board, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The value of the dwelling shall be determined by the Borough Assessor upon certification.
  2. The landlord shall spend an amount equal to at least 15% of the value of the dwelling for capital improvements to that dwelling. Capital improvements shall include but not be limited to new construction relating to the dwelling, new bath fixtures, kitchen cabinets, kitchen fixtures, air-conditioning installation, heating system installation, electrical re-wiring, electrical outlets, replacement of doors, windows or other fixtures. Generally, a capital improvement shall be an expenditure that adds to the value or useful life of the dwelling and is not allowed as an expense deduction by the landlord.

Listing of Rents:

All landlords of controlled dwelling units shall file with the Rent Leveling Board by January 31st in each year a list of rents charged by building and apartment number. In addition, this list of rents shall be updated by July 31st in each year to reflect any change in the list of rents for the period between January 31st and July 31st. Rent for a tenant’s garage shall be reflected separately on the list.

All landlords of controlled dwelling units shall advise any new tenant as to the amount of rent paid for the apartment by the immediately preceding tenant. Such notice shall be accomplished by providing the new tenant, prior to the execution of the new lease or agreement to rent, with a written certification signed by the landlord or his agent setting forth the amount of rent paid by the immediately preceding tenant. All leases shall state in a conspicuous manner what the rent for the apartment covered by the lease had been for the immediately preceding tenant.

Contact Information

Email: mayor@fairlawn.org
Marianne Pettineo - Board Secretary
Phone: (201) 794-5344