Brick Township council members on Tuesday night voted unanimously in favor of introducing a new ordinance that will require landlords who rent to tenants who go on to commit crimes to post monetary bonds that can be forfeited.
“Absentee landlords” are a problem in Brick, Mayor John Ducey said. “Not screening tenants creates a problem for those living around those rentals.”
The ordinance, which must be voted on a second time after a public hearing before it can be formally enacted, 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 would be between $500 and $5,000 and could be forfeited if additional “substantiated complaints” are generated by tenants.
The ordinance was the work of council members and Township Attorney Kevin Starkey. Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero was the most vocal supporter of the ordinance, saying after its introduction that it would be the first of several measures the governing body was planning on taking to reduce crime in neighborhoods where there are high numbers of rental units.
The proposal is similar to an ordinance on the books in Belmar, which is widely credited with eliminating “animal house” style rentals there and transitioning the town to a year-round community.
Ducey said landlords – who often have no ties the Brick besides an investment in a rental property – need to be held responsible for the affect their tenants have on the community.
“We don’t want people to buy a place just to rent it out, get a check and walk away,” Ducey said. “This ordinance will hold those irresponsible landlords financially responsible for those tenants who break the law.”
The ordinance will be up for a public hearing and second vote at the March 17 council meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. in the municipal complex on Chambers Bridge Road.