The Brick Township council is set to introduce a new ordinance putting into place measures to control “irresponsible” rentals in the township.
The proposed ordinance, which appears on the agenda for a council meeting to be held Tuesday night, requires any landlord whose tenants violate either criminal or municipal laws more than twice in a 24 month period to post a bond against future incidents.
The bond, according to the ordinance, would fall between $500 and $5,000. The amount of the bond would be determined by a hearing officer, who the ordinance states would be an attorney appointed by the township. After the ordinance is triggered, a landlord would have an opportunity to plead his or her case before the hearing officer, who would consider evidence presented by both the landlord as well as the municipality, including prior complaints about the residents of a rental property, even if no criminal conviction resulted from those complaints. If a bond is required to be posted by the landlord, the township would keep the bond for a period of two to four years, depending on the determination of the hearing officer.
After the bond is posted, the township would be empowered to initiate legal proceedings to require the forfeiture of the bond from the landlord if additional “substantiated complaints” are generated by tenants. The forfeiture could be partial or whole, or there could be an extension of the bond holding period as an alternative or additional penalty. In the case that a bond is forfeited, a landlord would have the right to recovery those funds from the tenant.
The ordinance would apply to the township as a whole, but is, no doubt, one of the measures that elected officials promised would be undertaken after residents of the Maple Leaf Park condominium complex began speaking out about crime issues last fall. Maple Leaf Park, located off Herbertsville Road, is comprised of more than 300 units, 70 percent of which are rental properties. The development has been plagued by crime issues, and residents who own units there say they are often forced to sell to investors rather than traditional buyers since mortgage lenders will not loan money to buyers due to the percentage of the complex that is rented out.
Council members have said there are similar trouble spots scattered around the town which necessitate action.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the township municipal complex on Chambers Bridge Road.