Reynolds-Jackson to Introduce Legislation to Combat Abandoned, Neglected Housing in New Jersey

(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson announced on Wednesday her plan to introduce legislation in the fall that would help municipalities combat abandoned or neglected properties in their communities by expanding liability to include certain entities.

“Trenton and many other cities have the exact same problem with residential properties left unkempt, neglected or abandoned and their landlords are either inaccessible or hiding behind a limited liability corporation,” said Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “Urban communities such as Trenton and Newark have too many LLC’s listed as owners of vacant and abandoned properties. And in many cases, information on these controlling entities including a registered agent is unavailable.”

“This legislation promotes transparency among all stake holders in the property and allows municipalities to hold them liable for any misuse or neglect of their property.”
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora believes this bill can help Trenton rid neighborhoods of unsightly, abandoned housing throughout the city.

“This bill is critical to giving municipalities, and specifically our urban centers, the tools they need to combat negligent property owners,” said Mayor Gusciora. “These landlords constantly hide behind a corporate shell to avoid maintaining their land.”

The bill would specifically provide that in addition to retaining the ability to hold a commercial entity itself liable for housing code charges, building code charges, health code charges and charges issued under the current state “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,” a court may also hold members of a limited liability company, the managers of a managed limited liability company, and the directors and officers of a corporation, jointly and severally liable for certain charges.

“Municipalities must have the ability to hold individuals and/or commercial entities liable when acting as residential landlords,” continued Reynolds-Jackson. “All information on the owners and parties responsible for the care of a property should be made available to towns. A name and address of a registered agent for the LLC would be required just as we do for other property owners.”

Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson will sponsor the Assembly companion of Senate bill 1151 in September upon the legislature’s return.