By Loren Rosenberg Lightman, Esq.

A new law amending New Jersey’s Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law changes the schedules for inspections of multiple dwellings throughout the state. While a primary purpose of the law is to allow for flexible inspections for substandard apartment buildings, the law also encompasses multiple dwellings including condominiums and cooperatives. This flexibility is potentially good news for some multiple dwelling owners and perhaps not as positive news for others.

Prior to the amendment, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Bureau of Housing Inspection inspected multiple dwellings in the state every five (5) years. Depending on the findings from the initial inspection, there would either be a follow-up inspection or there would not be another inspection until the next 5-year cycle. Under the new law, there is now a “flexible” inspection process that will potentially lessen the frequency of multiple dwelling inspections. The law goes into effect immediately and is applicable to the next new inspection cycle for each multiple dwelling.

The good news now is that if an inspection turns up no violations or if the violations found are remediated on the first re-inspection, the next inspection will not occur for another seven (7) years. The bad news is that if all violations from the original inspection are not remediated by the third re-inspection, then the next inspection for the multiple dwelling will be in two years instead of five. Violations that are remediated within that schedule will be re-inspected in five years. So while some inspections will be pushed to seven years, others will occur more frequently.

Besides setting the new flexible inspection schedule, owners of multiple dwellings are also required to file annual certifications that the information on their certificates of registration is current and accurate. The annual certification will be accompanied by a reasonable fee that will be set by rule by the DCA Commissioner to cover the associated administrative costs.  The law also allows for service of notices, decisions, and orders to be sent by ordinary mail or by personal service upon the owners or their agents.

The proposed flexible inspection schedule may work to the advantage of many multiple dwelling owners in New Jersey who now have an incentive to address violations quickly in order to push the next inspection cycle out to seven years whenever possible.  With the cooperation of unit owners and residents, community associations have the opportunity to have their inspections completed less often than the current five-year cycle.

To read the new law, please click here.

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