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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 11, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division on Civil Rights
- J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo , Director

 

Lee Moore
609-292-4791

 
 

Attorney General, Division on Civil Rights Announce Online Filing Option for Landlords; Multiple Dwelling Renters Must Annually Detail Race, Ethnicity of Tenants, Applicants

 

TRENTON – Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Division on Civil Rights Director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo announced today that multiple-dwelling landlords in New Jersey can now submit on-line their State-mandated annual reports detailing the racial and ethnic composition of housing applicants and leaseholders.

According to Harvey, the owners of New Jersey apartment buildings containing 25 or more housing units must file updated demographic data bringing them into compliance with the State Multiple Dwelling Reporting Rule (MDRR) by Jan. 31, 2005 or face the possibility of late-filing penalties. Data included in an annual MDRR report must cover the period from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of the previous year. As of January 1, landlords were able to file their MDRR reports online.

“These MDRR reports are important because they give us a snapshot of the rental activity taking place at multiple dwelling apartment buildings and complexes throughout the State,” the Attorney General said. “The reports help us to ensure that landlords are opening their buildings to all citizens regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or disability, and they help us to identify situations in which discriminatory practices may be taking place.”

Director Vespa-Papaleo said the creation of a “paperless” filing system will make it easier for landlords to comply with the law.

“By enabling online filing of MDRR reports, the Division has made complying with the mandatory reporting requirement simple, cheap and efficient for apartment owners and landlords,” said Vespa-Papaleo. “At the same time, we are making better use of available technology to gather information that will help us discern potential patterns of housing discrimination and launch investigations when necessary.”

In addition to demographic information on housing units, the MDRR reports also include information on the amount of access apartment owners provide to persons with disabilities.

The Division already makes MDRR annual report forms available for downloading on its Web site: www.NJCivilRights.org.

Vespa-Papaleo explained that landlords who fail to meet their obligation under the Multiple Dwelling Reporting Rule are subject to fines of up to $10,000 for a first offense, up to $25,000 for a second offense, and up to $50,000 for a third offense.

The Division on Civil Rights is responsible for enforcement of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the Family Leave Act. Specifically, the Division investigates allegations of discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodation and credit. The Division has six offices located in Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, Camden, Atlantic City and Paterson.

For information about filing MDRR reports online or other services offered by the Division on Civil Rights, go to the Division’s Web site, or call 609-292-4605, TTY 609-292-1785.

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