WOODBRIDGE – An ongoing, township-wide code enforcement inspection program uncovered an illegal rooming house in a residential neighborhood in Iselin capable of housing 15 or more tenants, Mayor John E. McCormac announced Monday. Inspectors issued a summonses and will forward the complaint to the township attorney to determine if there are any possible criminal or civil violations, the mayor said.
The Housing & Inspection Department responded to a complaint alleging that the owners of the property, located at 22 Willow Avenue, Iselin, were advertising the residence online as “Hostle Living, Shared Accommodations and Apartment Rentals…the only professionally-managed desi hostel facility in New Jersey.”
Township inspectors determined that the property was owned by Jogesh and Ruchika Verma and that the “rooms” were available for rent for $25 per day; $140 per week; or $550 per month, authorities said. At the time of the inspection, there were at least seven renters occupying the residence, according to officials.
The inspection of the property, zoned as a two-family residence, uncovered eight rooms serving as bedrooms; at least 15 single beds and mattresses on the floor; three illegal kitchens; inoperable smoke detectors; and numerous health violations, including mold, trash and debris, and related safety violations, officials said. The property owners were issued multiple violation notices and are required to correct the illegal conditions and submit to re-inspection within five days. Additionally, the township will file appropriate legal actions to close the property and relocate, at landlord expense, the illegally-housed tenants, officials said.
“Illegal and overcrowded housing, property maintenance and trash and debris violations are a priority for township inspectors assigned to the Code Enforcement Task Force,” said McCormac. “Recent inspections uncovered violations that include overcrowded and potentially illegal rooming/boarding houses and multi-family dwellings, accumulated trash and debris that severely impact the health and welfare of the neighborhood, potentially dangerous building code violations and residential properties being used for commercial purposes among the more significant violations.”
McCormac noted that 2,926 Notices of Violation were issued to property-owners for operating illegal boarding homes and/or multi-family dwellings, non-conforming basement and attic apartments, maintaining overcrowded conditions in a single-family residence, trash and debris, and related property violations for the first six months of 2009 compared to 2,785 violations for the first six months of 2008.
Township residents can report property and housing violations and other “Quality of Life” violations that negatively impact neighborhoods to the Bureau of Housing at 732-634-4500 x6009. All complaints will be investigated and all information will remain confidential.
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