Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vote set on Lakewood rental unit inspections

A proposal to require annual inspections of the township's 10,000 rental units has stirred up a mix of praise, opposition and confusion as officials prepare for a vote on the issue Thursday.

The ordinance is designed to curb lease flip-flopping and improve living conditions, according to township officials. The inspections department, when investigating several hundred overcrowded units this past year, found that an overwhelming majority had no certificates of occupancy, according to inspections department director Ed Mack. That along with chronically poor upkeep has put rentals at the root of "almost every problem in town," from crime to property value depreciation to hurting Lakewood's overall reputation, Mack said.

"It's very rare to find an owner-occupied house in such bad shape," he said.

But opponents see the ordinance as unfairly broad. Some of the heaviest objections came from Orthodox Jewish leaders, who lobbied the Township Committee to table the decision until more public input is presented. Many of the town's landlords are Orthodox.

Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, a member of the township's council of Jewish leaders — the Vaad — said the measure was too harsh in demanding blanket inspections that could result in tenants living in constant fear of the smallest infractions. He used, as an example, crayon markings on walls by children that would only need to be covered up when preparing for a new family moving in, not every year.

"Once this becomes an annual thing, they're going to spend a lot of time on nonsense," Weisberg said. "First there's the cost, borne by either the low-income families or the municipal government, neither one of which is acceptable."

Mack said the cost of the overhaul — to include hiring three more inspectors and another clerical person — would come from the landlords, who would be charged $50 per unit each year for the inspections.

The new regulation also carries a penalty for violators of up to a $2,000 fine and, on the second offense, 30 days in jail.


time to revive the recall election!!!


What about the units that have certificate of occupancy (CO's) is the Lakewood township prepared to penalize the tenants or is this just another approach to drive investors out of Lakewood after the property tax increase.

Lakewood Love it or Leave it !


Hmmmm. How can we spin this story in the comments to bash Chabad? Oh I know, the certificate-of-occupancy laws were enacted by the legislature and the courts enforce those laws. Now of course the legislative houses and the courthouses often have menorahs in front of them placed by Chabad . . .


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