A Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy inspection is required for all rental units whenever there is a change of occupancy or owner. A Landlord Registration form is also required by NJSA 46:8-27 for all rental properties. Failure to register and obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for rental properties leaves landlords "unprotected" by NJ Statutes concerning Landlord / Tenant disputes and is in violation of township requirements. Any disagreements involving unregistered rental properties may pose a considerable legal challenge and liability to property owners.
Under Cherry Hill Township Ordinance 15-75, there is a fine of up to $500 for each day that a dwelling is occupied without a Certificate of Occupancy.
The cost of an inspection is $65, due at the time of application. In order to receive an inspection, an application and the $65 fee must be either delivered in person or mailed to the Department of Community Development, located on the second floor of Town Hall, 820 Mercer Street
An inspection will then be scheduled by the Department of Community Development. If a unit passes inspection, a CO will be issued. If the unit fails, the landlord must make the needed repairs, then fill out an application for a re-inspection and submit an additional $65 fee. Again, no rental units can be occupied by a tenant unless and until there is a valid Certificate of Occupancy issued for that unit.
Items Checked During an Inspection
The following items are typical for what an inspector will check for during an inspection. There may be other items not listed which may fail a unit inspection.
- 1. Exterior of Property
- 1.1 Exterior grounds clean of trash, debris, high grass and leaves. Derelict vehicles must be removed from premises.
- 1.2 Outside of house clean, trim, and neat (not peeling, chipping or worn). Exterior walls free from holes and breaks.
- 1.3 Roof, chimney, siding, gutters and downspouts all intact and clean with no missing pieces or obstructions.
- 1.4 Handrails are required where there are 4 or more risers, over 30 inches in height, and for all stairs used for egress.
- 1.5 Decks and handrails secured and free from loose or rotten boards.
- 1.6 Patios, balconies and walkways secured and in satisfactory condition (no loose or broken concrete or railings).
2. Interior of Property
- 2.1 Rental Unit maintained in good repair, structurally sound and in sanitary condition.
- 2.2 All rooms painted, free of peeling or chipping. All surfaces, including basements, clear of mold and mildew.
- 2.3 All interior stairs and railings maintained in sound condition and good repair.
- 2.4 All floors and floor coverings free of any tripping hazards and weak sub floors (no raised edges, open seams or tears).
- 2.5 Every bathroom must have a window or a working ventilation fan exhausted to the exterior.
- 2.6 Closets have doors, poles and shelves secured. Sliding closet doors have door guides secured to the floor.
- 2.7 The unit must be free from infestation by rodents, vermin and/or insects of any kind.
- 3.1 There shall be at least one window in every bedroom and living room.
- 3.2 Every operable window shall be easily opened and capable of being held in position by window hardware.
- 3.3 Window locking devices in proper working order. No loose or missing glass or glazing or chipping or peeling paint.
- 3.4 All operable windows must have screens that are free from tears and holes.
- 4.1 Doors providing access to a rental unit shall be equipped with a doorknob and a single cylinder deadbolt lock with an exterior key lock only. Interior portion of the deadbolt must be a lever, not keyed. A sliding bolt shall not be considered an aceptable deadbolt.
- 4.2 Sliding patio doors shall open and close easily, have a working lock and an operating screen free from tears and holes.
- 4.3 All doors must be free from holes and otherwise in sound condition.
- 4.4 All bedrooms and bathrooms must have a privacy door with an operable latch and privacy lock.
- 4.5 All doors must fit reasonably well within the frame and are capable of being opened and closed by being properly and securely attached to jambs, headers or tracks. Doors must open and close freely and latch properly within the frame.
5. Appliances and Utilities
- 5.1 The cooking range must be clean and operable with all control knobs and handles. Gas stove burners must light by pilot jets without the use of incendiary devices (Matches, lighter, etc.).
- 5.2 The refrigerator must be clean and in working condition. There shall be adequate space for the preparation and storage of food.
- 5.3 The electric must be operable and in working order and all electrical switches and outlets operating properly. The unit may not have electrical hazards of any kind(non-testing or non-functional Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), missing or broken cover plates or fixtures, exposed wiring, etc.). Outlets near water sources including all outlets in bathrooms, laundry rooms with sinks, exterior outlets and all outlets within 6 feet of the outside rim of the kitchen sink must be GFCI protected.
- 5.4 The gas must be operable and in working order. Furnaces and hot water heaters must be properly vented and sealed.
- 5.5 Plumbing fixtures shall be in working order and provide adequate water pressure with hot and cold running water in the kitchen and bathroom(s). There must be a shower or bathtub that is in working order properly caulked with no mildew or mold.
- 5.6 Toilet must operate properly and be in sound condition connected to a public sewer or approved private sewage disposal system.
- 5.7 The water supply shall be free from contamination with no leaks in any faucet, pipe or under any sink.
- 5.8 The heating system shall be safe and sufficient to provide heat from October 1st to May 15th. All heat outlets must be permanent and secured to the wall. The heating unit must be properly installed and vented and otherwise in good working order.
6. Fire & Carbon Monoxide Safety
- 6.1 Smoke Detectors(hard-wired or battery operated) must be properly installed and in working order an the following locations:
- On each story within the dwelling unit, including basements but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics.
- In each room that may be used for sleeping purposes on the wall or ceiling at least 6 inches away from the ceiling/wall junction.
- 6.2 Carbon Monoxide detectors (hard-wired or battery) must be properly installed and in working order located within 10 feet of each room that may be used for sleping purposes.
- 6.3 A Fire Extinguisher is required in single-family dwellings and duplexes. It shall be 2A:10B:C, less than 10 lbs., rated for residential use and hung in a visible location within 10 feet of the kitchen area, on higher than 5 feet above the floor.
- 6.4 All one- and two-family homes built before January 1, 1977, shall be required to install 10 year battery sealed smoke alarms.