Rental Overcrowding

From the News Transcript:

Crowded conditions draw look in Freehold

Hitting landlords with higher fines and providing public education for landlords and tenants are ways the Freehold Borough Rental Property Advisory Committee hopes to address the issue of residential overcrowding.

Instances of residential overcrowding have increased over the last 10 years as the borough has seen an influx of immigrants, but not a corresponding increase in the housing stock.

According to Newman, between 90 and 95 percent of the landlords in the borough are people who do not live in the community.

Newman, an attorney, said residential overcrowding can lead to problems that include improper entrances and exits from attics and basements, overuse of kitchens, mold, leaks, electrical hazards, sanitation, risk of germs and fire. He said the code enforcement office receives between 10 and 20 calls per month related to residential overcrowding. He said about 50 percent of the calls end up with a summons being issued.

Newman said it might also be possible to report the names of landlords who violate tenancy limits to the IRS and to the state Division of Taxation; the theory being that if they are permitting illegal occupancy, they may also be underreporting their income.

He noted that Morristown officials have been forwarding the identity of owners of overcrowded properties to mortgage companies, since overcrowding is a violation of the mortgage.

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