A bill signed by Gov.
Chris Christie on Thursday will make it illegal for anyone to take over a bathroom renovation contract and rent it out for use by anyone.
The law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, takes effect immediately.
The bill requires any private company or entity that has been contracted by a municipality to renovate a public bathroom, including a private shower or laundry room, to have the proper plumbing, electrical, ventilation and air conditioning installed and the proper materials and equipment installed, as well as a safety and health inspection.
The measure also makes it a crime for anyone who does this to take it over and use it for commercial purposes.
The provision has angered many businesses, which say they can’t afford the $1,000 to $2,000 it takes to install the required plumbing and equipment.
The governor’s office said the measure is necessary to protect businesses, homeowners and people from potential fraud.
But some businesses said they are concerned that the measure could limit the ability of homeowners to repair bathrooms or renovate them if they cannot afford to pay.
State Rep. Michael Nocera (D-Camden) said he is concerned about the impact on homeowners who might need to sell their property to pay for repairs or remodeling.
“The problem is if they don’t have a money to pay somebody, then it’s going to create a real barrier to getting the repair done,” Noceri said.
“This is really a money grab,” he added.
The New Jersey Coalition for Bodies, Inc., a non-profit group that provides legal aid to victims of domestic violence, said it is concerned by the measure because it could lead to a loss of property values.
“Bodies, or bodies in the home, should not be in the hands of a single person,” said Susan Pfeiffer, director of communications for the coalition.
“They should be in a legal entity and not be taken over by a private entity.”
Bodies and bodies in homes can also be a real hazard to those who are at home, according to the coalition, which has been working to pass laws to help protect the safety of people and property.
“If the people living in these homes are unable to use their bathrooms, they’re also not able to use the bathrooms of others,” said Pfeffer.
“That is going to impact everyone.”
But the coalition is hoping the governor’s legislation can be extended to include bathrooms in the future.