What You Should Know About Condo DCA Inspections

The Bureau of Housing Inspection administers the New Jersey Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law (N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq.) and are responsible for dwellings, including condos, townhomes and multiple-family dwelling of 3 or more units. This bureau makes sure all properties operate within the State of New Jersey guidelines, are properly maintained and do not pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of their residents, nor the community in general. Effective communication between your management company, board and homeowners is essential in ensuring this process runs smoothly. Most conflicts arise when homeowners are ill informed and are not on site to allow access to DCA Inspectors.

Fortunately, inspections are only required every 5 years. It is important that the inspectors have access to a minimum of 70% of the buildings/units to conduct their inspection properly. These inspections are designed to check for life safety equipment and set up. The following are examples of what is looked for/checked.

• Each unit, or floor of a unit, must have working smoke detectors. Detectors are usually required inside and outside of every bedroom, the living room and the den. They need to be hard-wired, that is connected to the electric circuit in the unit and have a battery backup.
Preparation: Check to see if your smoke detectors are working prior to the inspection by using the TEST BUTTON. The detector should go off for a short period of time.

• Each unit must have working carbon monoxide detectors. Locations are typically by gas appliances such as your stove, hot water heater, HVAC, etc.
Preparation: Check to see by using the TEST BUTTON. The detector should go off for a short period of time.

• Each unit must have a front entry door that closes & latches on its own.
Preparation: Check by holding the front door to your unit open all the way & letting it go.

• Units should not be loaded with furniture, boxes, or other items that would block or impede egress from the unit into the common halls.

• Illegal extension cords and improperly vented hot water heaters seem to be another issue of late.

The property management company usually receives violation reports within 60-90 days of the inspection. The report will be distributed to all owners. If you have a violation or violations, you will be given 30-60 days to correct and a re-inspect date will be issued. If violations are not corrected, fines may be issued by the State of New Jersey.

Associations must be on top of things in order to maintain their standings within their individual municipalities. The best preparation to ensure a building/s value, is to enlist a qualified property manager/management company whom routinely checks the safety and improvements of the property.