Search Site

What to do if a certificate of occupancy has been incorrectly issued?

Town rescinds certificate of occupancy for former motel

On January 5, 2023, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case Department of Community Affairs, etc v. Kenneth D. Roberts, etc. In this case, Defendant Kenneth D. Roberts appeals from the final decision of the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs to suspend his license under the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law (“HMDL”).

​Mr. Roberts was a code enforcement and zoning office for the Borough of Seaside Heights. Mr. Roberts held a license under the HMDL from the Department’s Bureau of Housing Inspection. He issued a Certificate of Occupancy (“CO”)to a three-story fifty-unit motel located in Seaside Heights that was previously a Travel Inn. Seaside Heights exercised its eminent domain powers to take the hotel and used the hotel to house its seasonal summer employees.

Prior to issuing the CO, Mr. Roberts testified at a Planning Board meeting that the third floor of the Travel Inn suffered from water infiltration and mold issues and it was “unsanitary, unsightly, and unsafe.” He further testified that the safety of the building was questionable. In February 2016, the motel was inspected by the Division of Fire Safety, where it was issued multiple violations of the Uniform Fire Code (“UFC”) due to its deficiencies and “life safety issues”. Despite the foregoing, Mr. Roberts issued a CO in 2016 for Seaside Heights to house summer employees. Mr. Robert’s license was revoked from the Bureau for issuing a CO when the building violated the UFC and knowing the building was not safe. Mr. Robert’s argued that this decision was arbitrary and capricious because he did not violate any of the ten circumstances authorizing the Department’s suspension or revocation of a license under the HMDL regulations.

​The Appellate Division upheld the Commissioner’s decision to suspend Mr. Robert’s HMDL license. The Appellate Division found that Roberts issued the CO for the Travel Inn without inquiring whether the structure complied with the UFC or other applicable laws, therefore Mr. Robert’s license was suspended for jeopardizing the health and safety of the hotel’s occupants. Although Mr. Robert’s did not specifically violate one of the ten enumerated violations under the HDML, in issuing the CO, he needed to ascertain whether the motel complied with all laws, which he failed to do.

Our Attorneys

In The Media

  • On the Run: Runner/lawyer DeBord out to protect the environment she loves

    Bucks County Herald, January 4, 2024

    When Brittany DeBord runs along the Delaware River canal towpath or on the trails of Tyler State Park, she doesn’t just appreciate the natural beauty of the...

    Read More
  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form