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Landlords and local officials in Freehold Borough, New Jersey, have come to an agreement regarding a controversial rental licensing ordinance which prompted a lawsuit by landlords.

According to a news report, the Borough has passed an amended version of the ordinance and made other concessions reducing the burden on local landlords.

The Borough’s rental ordinance was first filed in 2003, and later amended in 2009 and 2010.The Freehold Landlord Association of New Jersey was formed in the fall of 2009.

According to the FLANJ, its goal was to generate a more constructive dialogue between city officials and local landlords to address the concerns of local residents without overburdening rental property owners.

Frustration over the council’s decision to pass a stricter rental licensing and inspection law over landlords’ objections prompted the FLANJ to file a lawsuit in 2010 to overturn the ordinance.

In the compromise, the Borough has agreed to reduce the fee for mandatory inspections. According to the report, landlords will now pay $200 per year per building. The previous fee was $300. The fee is no longer tied to the number of violations, as previously legislated.

Where the previous ordinance allowed random inspections, the compromise provides for 30 days notice, giving landlords with existing tenants a fairer opportunity to comply. Also, the inspections will take place less frequently–once every three years, unless their is a legitimate complaint.

Landlords no longer will have the burden of providing multiple drawings of floor plans every year. Now, a floor plan is only required at registration, and if there is a change in the interior layout, according to the report.

A spokesperson for the FLANJ says the reduction in fees more closely reflects the actual costs the town will incur in running the inspection program.

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