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Illegal Apartment Hotline

Commissioner Frank Gargiulo
Illegal Apartment Hotline

Hotline Number: 201.392.0308

I want you to know what the Township is doing to fight one of the greatest threats to our quality of life in North Bergen - the growing number of illegal apartments.

Not only do illegal apartments drain financial resources, overcrowd schools, and add to parking problems, they also frequently pose health and safety hazards to tenants. For example, illegal basement apartments were found in two of three 27th Street buildings that were destroyed in a recent fire. Many landlords are out of town investors who have little concern for our community or these tenants.

This letter is to inform you how the Township is tackling this problem.

In May, Township Commissioners and I passed a new ordinance to hold landlords accountable for all illegal apartments by imposing stiff fines and penalties.

Initially, we focused on building code violations in basement and attic apartments. We soon discovered that "cubicles" were a large percentage of the most dangerous illegal apartments. We then created strict new requirements for light, ventilation, ceiling height, and other health and safety codes, in the new ordinance.

The regulations allow local housing, building and fire-prevention inspectors to haul non-compliant property owners before a judge to face severe penalties of up to $500 a day and/or 30 days in jail. All rented rooms now require a certificate of occupancy to confirm compliance with state housing provisions including building, plumbing and electrical permits.

We have already issued 130 summonses and collected over $50,000 in fines, and our efforts will continue until we eliminate illegal apartments in North Bergen.

You can help us win this battle for our neighborhoods by reporting possible violations. To do so, please call 201.392.0308. You can also send a letter to:

Township Building Department
4233 Kennedy Blvd.
North Bergen, NJ 07047

Your confidentiality will be respected and you will not be required to appear in court.

Sincerely,
Mayor Nicholas J. Sacco