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Bureau of Housing Inspection v. S.M. Tann/Mone Bia Corporation

OAL Dkt. No. CAF 9605-02 (Department of Community Affairs 2004)

MULTIPLE DWELLINGS—The periodic inspection exception under the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law for small buildings having certain defined physical characteristics also requires that the structure(s) in question be owned as a cooperative or condominium.

A property owner challenged a state agency’s determination that the owner’s property was in violation of the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law. The agency claimed that the property was a “multiple dwelling” as defined in the code. The owner pointed out that, under the code, a building section containing not more than four dwelling units, with at least two exterior walls unattached to any adjoining building section, with units separated by fire-resistant walls in compliance with the Uniform Construction Code is not considered a multiple dwelling. It argued that its building did not contain more than four dwelling units, had all four exterior walls unattached, and had all units separated by fire-resistant walls. If so, it was not a multiple dwelling and was exempt from the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law. The Administrative Law Judge disagreed with the owner, noting that, in addition to the requirements listed by the owner, the property had to be held under a condominium or cooperative form of ownership to be exempt. The property owner did not contend or prove that its building was owned as a condominium or cooperative. Therefore, it did not meet the requirements for exemption from the law. The Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs adopted that decision.

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