Years ago, the State of NJ had a Landlord-Tenant division within one of its many departments, but ultimately dissolved that division, leaving the topic of rent control up to the individual municipalities. Back in 2002, Hamilton Township abolished rent control within the township. If you visit the township's website, www.hamiltonnj.com, go to "Departments", then go to "Clerk", you will see a selection for "Ordinances Online". Information on the township's Rent Leveling Commision may be found in § 5-145 through § 5-172 of the Code.
For those who had tenancy prior to 2002, rent control in Hamilton Township applies to:
- Apartment houses with four or more apartment units in one building. Duplexes and condominiums do not qualify.
- Applies to tenants who had tenancy prior to September 1, 2002 in the same apartment complex or home. If tenant took tenancy after September 1, 2002, rent control no longer is applicable to tenant since rent control was abolished in August of 2002.
For tenants who had tenancy prior to September 1, 2002, their rent may only be raised a certain percentage each year, and they must meet the following criteria to qualify:
- They must reside in a building with four or more residential units in that building, owner occupied included.
- Duplexes, condominiums and townhouses do not qualify.
If tenant meets these requirements, the percentage they may be increased each year is called the "Rent Control Consumer Price Index (CPI)". The amount that the rent can be raised is determined by the Current CPI (Consumer Price Index) figures. Figures are taken from a nationwide federal average. The definition of the Consumer Price Index is as follows: it is the measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services (U.S.) Department of Labor). Landlords must use the current figure provided at the time of sending their notices, not the projected figures for when the rent increase actually becomes effective. This figure is calculated every year by the Secretary of the Rent Leveling Commission.
Current CPI Figures
September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023.
If landlord supplies heat to the tenants: 7.9%
If tenant pays own heat the permitted increase in rent is 60% of the 7.9%, which equals 4.7% (REMINDER: rent control applied to tenants who had tenancy prior to September 1, 2002 in the same apartment complex or home. If tenant took tenancy after the September , 2002 date, rent control no longer is applicable to tenant). (Further information can be found in the Hamilton Township Code of Ordinances, Article V. Boards, Commissions, Committees and Agencies; Division 16. Rent Leveling Commission; Section 2-741 through 2-768.
With the exception of building inspection issues and landlord registration, the Township does not get involved in landlord/tenant issues or disputes. For other tenant/landlord affairs information, residents may contact the NJ Department of Community Affairs, Division of Codes and Standards, Landlord / Tenant Division by calling 609-292-7899 or by mail at:
NJ Department of Community Affairs
Division of Codes and Standards, Landlord/Tenant Division
P.O. Box 805
Trenton NJ 08625
If a resident wishes to obtain a copy of the "Truth in Renting" brochure that is published by the State of New Jersey, they must submit their request in writing. Formal complaints must be filed with the Mercer County Superior Court - Special Civil Part, which can be reached at 609-571-4483.
If a tenant feels that their rent increase is "excessive", they must notify their landlord in writing, stating "I feel the increase is unfair, excessive and not warranted. I do not intend to pay this increase, I do feel I can afford ___ per month". If a resolution cannot be reached amicably between landlord and tenant, the landlord may file a complaint in Mercer County Superior Court. The tenant must be sure to appear, because if they do not, an Eviction Notice can be issued within 3 days. To contact Mercer County Superior Court-Special Civil Part, call 609-571-4483.
Below is a link to the LSNJLAW website, which is provided by Legal Services of New Jersey. This page offers information on Landlord-Tenant topics. Additionally, if you scroll down, on the right-hand side, you will see a link to a free publication called "Tenants' Rights in New Jersey".
In addition to this website, the New Jersey Courts website, offers a self-help section and a section dedicated to "Landlord Tenant Services and Resources". www.njcourts.gov
If you ultimately need to seek the services of a private attorney, and you're not sure how to proceed, the Mercer County Bar Association offers a Lawyer Referral Service. Information and instructions may be found on their website, www.mercerbar.com, under the “Find A Lawyer” selection at the top right of their page.