What is the legal definition of 'occupancy' in the context of a tenant renting space?
Occupancy of residential rental premises is governed by zoning codes of the local area. I am unable to find a definition for occupancy in the zoning code for Gloucester Township. Often, when a term isn't defined, it is given it's commonly understood meaning. “Occupancy” is often defined as the use or possession, or the right to the use or possession, of any room or rooms in a hotel, lodging house or motel designed and normally used for sleeping and living purposes, or the right to the use or possession of the furnishings or the services and accommodations accompanying the use and possession of such room or rooms, regardless of whether such use and possession is as a lessee, tenant, guest or licensee. Occupancy typically occurs when a tenant is given keys to the premises. I suggest contacting the local zoninig board for clarification.
The following ordinances are from the Washington Township zoning code:
§ 179-68 Certificate of occupancy; when required.
A. Certificates of occupancy shall be required for human habitation of all existing dwelling units in the Township of Washington before a change in occupancy of any unit may be effected.
B. Certificates of occupancy shall be required for human habitation on all rental property in the Township of Washington before a change of occupancy of any unit may be effected. In addition thereto, the owner of each rental unit is required to have said rental unit inspected on a yearly basis by the Housing Inspector of the Township of Washington. Failure of the inspection shall result in a loss of the certificate of occupancy for said unit.
§ 185-17 Occupant standards.
A. Occupants. Only those occupants whose names are on file with the Township Clerk as provided in this chapter may reside in the licensed premises. It shall be unlawful for any other person to reside in said premises, and this provision may be enforced against the landlord, tenant or other person residing in said premises.
B. Nuisance prohibited. No rental facility shall be conducted in a manner which shall result in any unreasonable disturbance or disruption to the surrounding properties and property owners or of the public in general, such that it shall constitute a nuisance as defined in the ordinance of the Township of Washington.
C. Compliance with other laws. The maintenance of all rental facilities and the conduct engaged in upon the premises by occupants and their guests shall at all times be in full compliance with all applicable ordinances and regulations of the Township of Washington and with all applicable state and federal laws.
D. Penalties. Any landlord, tenant or other person violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to the penalty provisions of § 185-19 of this chapter.