NEW JERSEY STATUTE REQUIRES EMERGENCY CONTACT AND TENANT ASSISTANCE INFORMATION IN LEASES, IN COMMON AREAS, AND ONLINE
On November 8, 2021, Governor Murphy signed S. 1148/A. 1211 (2021). The bill is short, but consequential. All New Jersey landlords—both big and small—will be affected by this new statute, which requires the publication of certain information online, in leases, and in common areas of apartment buildings.
The statute, which is effective as of February 1, 2022, creates a new section of the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law. This new section will require, among other things, that all management companies post certain information on their websites and in common areas of their buildings. Specifically, management companies need to post: (1) emergency contact instructions, and (2) social services contact instructions.
Emergency contact instructions must include the name, address, and telephone number of a representative, owner, or managing agent, who can be contacted at any time in the event of an emergency affecting the building or individual apartments. This contact should be someone who can assist in emergencies including the failure of any essential service. It should be someone who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the building, repairs to the building, and any expenditures in connection with said repairs. This emergency contact information must be kept updated at all times. This information will need to be posted in both English and Spanish.
Management companies will also have to post instructions on how to access and use the comprehensive social services information toll-free hotline (informally known as “New Jersey 2-1-1”). As with the emergency contact instructions, this information will need to be posted in both English and Spanish. New Jersey 2-1-1 has posters available online, in both English and Spanish, which landlords can use as a basis for the information they make available on their website and/or in common areas. In fact, landlords may wish to just use these posters instead of drafting their own versions.
Smaller landlords who may not have websites will need to set up a website so this information can be posted. The law does not require that the website be of a certain quality, and as there are a variety of free web-hosting services are available, this requirement should ideally not be costly. As mentioned, this information will also need to be posted in at least one conspicuous area in the building where the information is likely to be viewed by tenants. This requirement will likely be best accomplished by the placing a poster in the common area of the building. As previously indicated, for the social services contact instructions, landlords may wish to simply display the posters made available by New Jersey 2-1-1.
In addition to posting this information online and in common areas, Landlords will also have to update their lease agreements. While new lease agreements do not need to have the emergency contact instructions outlined earlier, they will need to contain the web address of the management company’s website (i.e., the place where the emergency contact instructions can be found). The lease agreements will also have to contain the same New Jersey 2-1-1 information. As before, all this information—both the web address and the New Jersey 2-1-1 information—must be printed in both English and Spanish. This new lease information must be in boldface type and conspicuous within the lease itself.
As this new law requires that landlords update their lease agreements, post information online, and post information in person, landlords are encouraged to review their websites and leases to ensure they are in compliance. If you need assistance in updating your leases or reviewing the notices you plan on posting online or in-person, our attorneys at Griffin Alexander, P.C., are here to assist. We are well-versed in the new requirements of this law, and can help ensure that you are acting in compliance.
The information in this Client Alert is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular circumstances. Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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