Bill Text: NJ S2909 | 2014-2015 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Amends "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law"; makes corrections and modifies notice provisions.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2015-05-14 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee [S2909 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2014-S2909-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2909

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 14, 2015

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Amends "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law"; makes corrections and modifies notice provisions.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning administration of the law governing hotels and multiple dwellings and amending P.L.1967, c.76.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 6 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-6) is amended to read as follows:

     6.    The commissioner is hereby granted and shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers herein granted, all the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.), including but not limited to, the power:

     (a)   To provide owners or groups of owners with such advisory consultation and educational services as will assist said owners or groups of owners to discharge their responsibilities under P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.), and to suggest to said owners or groups of owners methods and procedures by which they may develop and implement health and safety programs;

     (b)   To enter and inspect, without prior notice, any hotel or multiple dwelling as provided by P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.), and to make such investigation as is reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.);

     (c)   To administer and enforce the provisions of existing law, and any amendments and supplements thereto, and any rules or regulations promulgated thereunder, concerning the regulation of multiple dwellings, also commonly known as tenements, and hotels;

     (d)   To issue [subpenas] subpoenas to any person subject to P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.) which shall compel attendance at any hearing as a witness and shall compel production of such reports, documents, books or papers, in any part of the State before the commissioner or a member of the department designated by the commissioner, as the commissioner may deem necessary to implement the purposes of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).  In any case where a person neglects or refuses to obey the command of such [subpena] subpoena, the commissioner may apply ex parte to the Superior Court for an order compelling a person to testify or to produce files, books, papers, documents or other objects in accordance with the [subpena] subpoena issued by the commissioner and, in addition, said person shall be subject to a penalty of [$100,000.00] $100 for each instance in which the person does not comply with the [subpena] subpoena issued by the commissioner, said penalty to be recovered pursuant to section 18 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-18);

     (e)   To issue and promulgate, in accordance with the
"Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.),
such rules and regulations as the commissioner may deem necessary to implement the purposes of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.), which rules and regulations shall have the force and effect of law until revised, repealed or amended from time to time by the commissioner in the exercise of the commissioner's discretion; [provided, that any such rules and regulations shall be filed with the Office of Administrative Law;]

     (f)   To enforce and administer the provisions of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.), enter complaints against any person violating the provisions thereof, and to prosecute or cause to be prosecuted violations of the provisions thereof in administrative hearings and civil actions in State or local courts;

     (g)   To assess penalties and to compromise and settle any claim for a penalty for any violation of the provisions of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.) in such amount in the discretion of the commissioner as may appear appropriate and equitable under all of the circumstances of said violation in any of the actions or proceedings mentioned in subsection (f) of this section;

     (h)   To institute an in rem action against the property upon which a violation exists in cases where the owner, after diligent effort, cannot be served;

     (i)    To institute a quasi in rem action against the owner by attachment of the property upon which a violation exists, followed by service by publication, in cases where the owner, after diligent effort, cannot be served;

     (j)    To hold and exercise all the rights and remedies available to a judgment creditor where a judgment lien arises as a result of a penalty action or an administrative proceeding taken pursuant to enforcement of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.); and

     (k)   To adopt, amend and repeal rules concerning the qualifications and licensing of persons employed by local agencies and municipalities to enforce this amendatory and supplementary act and fees to cover the cost of any licensing program.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.253, s.55)

 

     2.    Section 8 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-8) is amended to read as follows:

     8.    (a)  [Prior to the adoption, amendment, or repeal of] The commissioner shall adopt, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), any rules and regulations [pursuant to this act,] the commissioner [shall :

     (1)   Transmit copies of the proposed regulations to the board for its review  and recommendations.  Within 30 days of the receipt of copies of said proposed  regulations, the board shall provide the commissioner with such written  recommendations thereon as it may have;

     (2)   Publish in the New Jersey Register a general notice of intention to promulgate regulations, which notice shall include (1) a reference to the authority under which the regulations are proposed;  (2) a statement of the purpose of the proposed regulations;  (3) either the terms or substance of the proposed regulations or a description of the subjects and issues involved; (4)  a statement that a copy of the proposed regulations may be obtained by any  person upon written request to the bureau;  and (5) a statement of the date,  time and place for a public hearing on the proposed regulations, which date  shall not be less than 20 days nor more than 30 days after the publication of  the notice of intention to promulgate proposed regulations, and not less than  50 days after transmittal by the commissioner of copies of said proposed regulations to the board] deems necessary to implement the purposes of the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).

     (b)   (Deleted by amendment.)

     (c)   The commissioner shall hold a public hearing on a proposed rule or regulation and shall provide notice of, and shall conduct the hearing in accordance with, the provisions of section 4 of P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-4).  Any person appearing at said public hearing shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard, either through the submission of written data, views, or arguments or the oral presentation of the same.  [Upon the expiration of the 30 days next succeeding the date of said public hearing, the commissioner shall issue and promulgate the regulations required to be issued and promulgated by section 7 of this act, either as originally proposed or as amended or revised  by the commissioner subsequent to said public hearings, which regulations shall be effective on such date as may be provided therein.]

(cf: P.L.1970, c.138, s.4)

 

     3.    Section 19 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-19) is amended to read as follows:

     19.  (a)  No person shall

     (1)   Obstruct, hinder, delay or interfere with, by force or otherwise, the commissioner in the exercise of any power or the discharge of any function or duty under the provisions of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.); or

     (2)   Prepare, utter or render any false statement, report, document, plans or specifications permitted or required to be prepared, uttered or rendered under the provisions of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.); or

     (3)   Render ineffective or inoperative any protective equipment installed, or intended to be installed, in any hotel or multiple dwelling; or

     (4)   Refuse or fail to comply with any lawful ruling, action, order or notice of the commissioner; or

     (5)   Violate, or cause to be violated, any of the provisions of  P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.).

     (b)   Any person who violates, or causes to be violated, any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be liable to a penalty of not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00 for each violation, and a penalty of not less than $500.00 nor more than $5,000.00 for each continuing violation.  Penalties imposed for violations relating to child-protection window guards pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1995, c.120 (C.55:13A-7.12 et seq.) shall be no less than $100 for each window or incident.  Whenever a violator is convicted of knowingly continuing to violate a provision of P.L.1995, c.120 (C.55:13A-7.12 et seq.) relating to child-protection window guards after the imposition of a penalty of $5,000 pursuant to this section, the violator shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  Where any violation of subsection (a) of this section is of a continuing nature, each day during which such continuing violation remains unabated after the date fixed by the commissioner in any order or notice for the correction or termination of such continuing violation, shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct violation, except during the time an appeal from said order may be taken or is pending.  The commissioner, in the exercise of his administrative authority pursuant to this act, may levy and collect penalties in the amounts set forth in this section.  Where the administrative penalty order has not been satisfied within 30 days of its issuance the penalty may be [sued for, and recovered by and in the name of the commissioner in a civil action by a summary proceeding] collected under ["The Penalty] the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.) [in the] .  The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999" in connection with this section.

     (c)   Any person shall be deemed to have violated, or to have caused to be violated, any provision of subsection (a) of this section whenever any officer, agent or employee thereof, under the control of and with the knowledge of said person shall have violated or caused to be violated any of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

     (d)   The commissioner may cancel and revoke any permit, approval or certificate required or permitted to be granted or issued to any person pursuant to the provisions of this act if the commissioner shall find that any such person has violated, or caused to be violated, any of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

     (e)   Any penalties collected pursuant to this section levied as the result of a violation of subsection (w) of section 7 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-7) and which occurred pursuant to inspection for lead-based paint hazards shall be deposited in the Lead Hazard Control Assistance fund established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.2003, c.311 (C.52:27D-437.4).  Penalties levied as the result of multiple violations shall be allocated to the Lead Hazard Control Assistance fund in such proportion as the commissioner shall prescribe.

(cf: P.L.2006, c.55, s.6)

 

     4.    Section 20 of P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-20) is amended to read as follows:

     20.  (a) Notices, orders, rules, and decisions required or permitted to be issued and served pursuant to [this act] the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-1 et seq.), shall be served as follows:

     (1)[.]  On the owner:

     (i)    By mailing same by certified or ordinary mail [, return receipt requested,] to the person designated as owner or agent on the certificate of registration or in  the municipal tax records or in the records of the [Secretary of State.] Department of the Treasury, or

     (ii)   [If the above certified mailing is returned, the original letter shall be remailed to the last known address by common mail] By service upon the owner, or upon a person authorized to accept service on behalf of the owner in a civil matter, in accordance with the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.

     (2)   [.]  On the occupant:

     (i)    By mailing same by certified or ordinary mail [, return receipt requested,] to said occupant, or

     (ii)   [If the above certified mailing is returned the original letter shall be remailed to the last known address by common mail] By leaving same at the dwelling unit of the occupant with a competent member of the household of the age of 14 or over, or

     (iii)  By service upon the occupant in accordance with the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.

     (b)   [Rules, Decisions and Orders required or permitted to be issued and served pursuant to this act shall be served as follows:

     (1)   On the owner:

     (i)    By mailing same by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the  person designated as owner or agent on the certificate or registration or in  the municipal tax records or in the records of the Secretary of State.

     (ii)   By serving same on the Secretary of State, who shall be deemed the  owner's agent for service of process, provided however, that reasonable efforts  have first been made to serve the owner or his agent by certified mail and that  a copy of such notice is posted in a conspicuous location on the premises.    "Conspicuous location"  shall include the walls of the front vestibule or in  any common foyer or hallway immediately inside the main front entrance.

     (2)   On the occupant:

     (i)    By mailing same by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the occupant at the premises, or

     (ii)   By leaving same at the dwelling unit of the occupant with a person of the age of 14.]  (Deleted by amendment, P.L.    , c.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

     (c)   The date of service shall be considered the date of personal service, the date of actual receipt, or the date of the third day after mailing, unless it is returned as undeliverable, whichever occurs [later] first.

(cf: P.L.1970, c.138, s.12)

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would make various technical changes and corrections to the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law" (HMDL). 

     Many years ago, the penalty for a person's failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the Commissioner of Community Affairs pursuant to the HMDL was inadvertently increased from $100 to $100,000 per incident.  Section 1 of the bill would correct that error by reinstating the $100 penalty provision.

     Section 2 of the bill provides that the commissioner would follow the general rule-adoption procedures set forth in the "Administrative Procedure Act" (APA) rather than following a process specific to the HMDL and inconsistent with that followed by other State entities.  The bill would retain a provision contained in current law which requires the commissioner to hold a public hearing on each rule proposal.  While many State agencies choose to hold public hearings on rule proposals, the APA requires an agency to conduct a public hearing on a proposed rule only if requested by legislative committee or a governmental agency, or if there is sufficient public interest and a timely request.  The APA sets forth requirements for a public hearing, including the requirement for at least 15 days notice of the hearing.

     Section 3 of the bill provides that if the commissioner issues an administrative penalty order under the HMDL, and the penalty amount is not paid within 30 days, the penalty may be collected under the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999."  The bill also provides that an action to collect a penalty under the HMDL may be brought in municipal court or the Superior Court.  Although the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999" allows these actions to be brought in municipal court, if otherwise authorized by statute, the HMDL currently specifies that penalty enforcement actions be brought in Superior Court.

     Section 4 of the bill would allow notices, orders, rules, and decisions required or permitted to be issued and served pursuant to the HMDL to be served by ordinary mail, as well as by certified mail or other methods allowed for service of process in civil matters under the Rules of Court.  Under current law, all notices and orders must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested and, if the certified mail is refused or unclaimed, a copy of the notice or order must be posted at the property.  This requirement of current law imposes an unnecessary and excessive cost on the State.  This proposed amendment would save time and money without depriving property owners of their right to due process.  This section also specifies that the date of service will be considered as being the date of personal service, the date of actual receipt, or the date of the third day after mailing, unless it is returned as undeliverable, whichever occurs first.

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