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Bureau of Housing Inspection v. 39-45 Fourth Street, City of Passaic, New Jersey

OAL Dkt. No. CAF 3939-99, (Bureau of Housing Inspection)

MULTIPLE DWELLINGS—A single structure with eight residential units is a multiple dwelling under the law even if there are separate addresses and separate tax lots for the units.

The Commissioner of the Department Community Affairs upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) determination that an eight unit structure was considered a multiple dwelling and subject to the Multiple Dwelling Law. The property consisted of one physical structure with eight apartment units. When the owner purchased the building, it was registered under the Multiple Dwelling Law. The owner then subdivided the property into four separate tax lots, each with its own street address, and each containing two apartment units. The owner claimed that, since the building was subdivided into four tax lots with separate addresses, it must be treated as four separate two unit buildings under the Multiple Dwelling Law. Because the Law applies only to buildings of three or more dwelling units, the owner’s position would take them from under the Law. The ALJ rejected the owner’s claim, finding that the focus is on the configuration and use of a building and not whether there were four street addresses or four separate tax lots. The owner’s property did not consist of four separate buildings of two apartments each. Each address did not consist of a separate building with its own outer walls. Rather, the property was one structure with contiguous walls that enclosed the space containing all eight apartments. Therefore, for purposes of the Multiple Dwelling Law, it was to be considered a multiple dwelling.

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