19B — March 27 - April 9, 2015 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


New Jersey Apartment Association www.njaa.com

NJAA Policy Update as Legislature Begins Work on FY 2016 Budget The apartment industry in New Jersey provides housing to more than one million residents, provides more than 44,000 well-paying jobs, contributes $5.7 billion to the state economy, and pays more than $1 billion in local property taxes. Governor Christie outlined his $33.8 billion State budget proposal for FY 2016 in his annual Budget Address. The budget anticipates revenue growth of 3.8 % over FY 2015 levels, which includes a 5 % growth in Gross Income Tax revenues, 3.5 % Sales and Use Tax revenues, and 2.2 % growth in Corporate Business Tax revenues. The governor’s budget contains $1.1 billion for property taxpayer relief programs, continues level funding of the State’s Rental Assistance Program (S-RAP) at $42 million, and continues appropriation’s for key housing programs. The Legislature has already begun budget hearings. Legislative leaders have already begun calling for a “millionaire’s tax” as a way to generate revenue to help fund part of the pension shortfall. A budget bill must be enacted by July 1, 2015, in order to avoid a government shutdown. Below is a list of bills currently moving through the Legislature that the NJAA is actively lobbying on. Lease Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence The Assembly passed A-3372, sponsored by Assemblywoman Huttle (D-Bergen). The bill would establish new legal protections for victims of domestic violence. The bill: (1) establishes that a person who terminates a lease under the Safe Housing Act, which provides domestic violence victims the right to early lease termination, cannot be denied housing based on that lawful lease termination, (2) establishes that a tenant’s right to early lease termination is not reciprocal, i.e. a landlord cannot terminate a lease based on the tenant’s status as a victim of domestic violence, and (3) removes the requirement that copies of a restraining order used to document the request for early lease termination be certified copies. NJAA has been working with Assembly and Senate sponsors on amendments to accomplish the sponsors’ intent more effectively and to avoid this law becoming a new source of costly civil litigation. Adoption of 2015 Building Codes The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is working on updating New Jersey’s Uniform Construction Code (UCC) to utilize the latest building codes. The DCA is going through the process to adopt the 2015 family of codes. These codes were developed primarily by the International Codes Council through an open public governmental consensus process, and later adjusted for New Jersey by the DCA with input from several advisory committees. These codes are widely adopted across the United States and reflect the most advanced building science construction methods and practices available. The public comment period has closed, and the DCA must respond to public comments prior to adopting the new codes. New Jersey is currently using the 2009 family of codes. Looking Forward Multifamily rental housing is a vital source of safe, affordable housing for New Jersey’s residents. It takes a constant effort from the NJAA membership and staff to educate lawmakers and policymakers about the impact legislation and regulations have on our industry. NJAA will continue to advocate on behalf of the multifamily industry for sound policies that ensure both the viability and the affordability of rental housing in this state. Nicholas Kikis

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