Town of Newton, NJ
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Newton 6-8-1970 as Sec. 11-2 of the Revised General Ordinances; amended in its entirety 9-16-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-22. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unfit buildings — See Ch. 70.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 85.
Fire Code — See Ch. 115, Art. I.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 213.

§ 144-1 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Housing Code of the Town of Newton."

§ 144-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety, welfare and morals of the people of the Town by enacting a housing code which establishes minimum housing standards; determines the respective responsibilities of owners, operators and occupants of dwellings and rooming houses now in existence or that may hereafter be constructed or established; and provides for the enforcement of provisions pertaining to such standards and penalties for the violation of those provisions.

§ 144-3 Adoption of New Jersey State Housing Code.

Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1 et seq., the New Jersey State Housing Code, as approved by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and adopted as N.J.A.C. 5:28-1.1 et seq., is hereby accepted and adopted by reference as a standard to be used in determining whether dwellings in the Town of Newton are safe, sanitary, and fit for human habitation, occupancy and/or use.

§ 144-4 Public record.

Three copies of the New Jersey State Housing Code are on file at the office of the Town Clerk for use and examination by the public.

§ 144-5 Enforcing authority and Public Officer.

The administrative authority for the provisions of this chapter shall be the Town Manager or his/her designee. The Public Officer, responsible for enforcement depending on the nature of the enforcement item, shall be the Town's Construction Official, for construction-related items; Code Enforcement Director, for property maintenance items; or the Town's Health Officer, for health-related items, including the public health practice standards referenced in N.J.S.A. 8:52-3.2 and 8:52-14.1, including any statutes or codes referred therein, which is currently the Sussex County Department of Health and Environmental Services, or such other individual or entity designated by the Town Manager or his/her designee shall be responsible.

§ 144-6 Standards.

This chapter contains the standards to guide the Public Officer in determining the fitness of any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises (collectively referred to as "dwelling" in this chapter) for human habitation, use or occupancy.

§ 144-7 Rules and regulations.

The Town Council may make written rules and regulations which interpret the provisions of this chapter or for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. However, such rules and regulations shall not be inconsistent with nor alter, amend or supersede any provision of this chapter. Violations of such rules and regulations shall be subject to the same penalties as other violations of this chapter.

§ 144-8 Occupancy prohibited.

No person shall occupy as owner-occupant, or rent or otherwise allow anyone to occupy any building, dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein, which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code, adopted hereby as the standard to be used in determining if a building, dwelling or dwelling unit is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.

§ 144-9 Enforcement.

A. 
The Public Officer, with the assistance, as necessary, of any other department, including, but not limited to, the Uniform Construction Code Department and Department of Code Enforcement, may offer technical assistance to the Public Officer with enforcing the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
The Public Officer is authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of buildings, dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises (collectively defined as "dwelling" for purposes of this section) located within the Town, in order that the Public Officer may perform his/her duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public. For the purpose of making inspections, upon providing at least 24 hours' advanced written notice, except in the case of an emergency, in which case no advance notice is required, the Public Officer is authorized to enter, examine and survey all dwellings, and the person in charge shall give the Public Officer access to the dwelling for the purposes of inspection, examination and survey. Upon advance notice of at least 24 hours, except in the case of an emergency, in which case advance notice is not required, the occupant of a dwelling shall give the owner or his/her agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling at reasonable times for the purpose of making repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Whenever the Public Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the Public Officer shall give notice of the alleged violation to the person or persons responsible as hereinafter provided. The notice shall be in writing, include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued, allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires, and be served upon the owner or their agent or the occupant, as the case may require, provided that the notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon the owner or agent or upon the occupant if a copy thereof is served upon him or her personally; if a copy thereof is sent by registered mail to his or her last known address; if a copy is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice; or if he or she is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state. The notice may contain an outline of the remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with rules and regulations adopted.
D. 
Every notice served by the Public Officer pursuant to Subsection C of this section shall contain a statement in bold type which states as follows: "Any person aggrieved by any provision contained within the notice may, within 10 calendar days from the date of service, appeal to the Town Manager or his/her designee by filing a notice of appeal with the Town Clerk."
E. 
Any notice served pursuant to this chapter shall automatically become an order if written petition of appeal is not filed in the office of the Clerk within 10 calendar days after the notice is served as hereinabove provided.
F. 
The Public Officer is authorized, subject to approval of the Town Manager or his/her designee, to make and adopt written rules and regulations as they may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, provided that rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter nor in any way alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The Public Officer shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which they may adopt in their office and in the offices of the Town Clerk, Board of Health and Town Manager and have the rules and regulations published once in the official newspaper of the Town.

§ 144-10 Appeals.

A. 
Appeals to the Town Manager.
(1) 
Any person aggrieved by any notice or order which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provisions of this chapter or any rule or regulation may request and be granted a hearing on the matter before the Town Manager or his/her designee, provided that the person files in the office of the Town Clerk a written petition requesting the hearing, setting forth a brief statement of the grounds, within 10 calendar days after the day the notice or order was served or within 10 calendar days from the date that the action complained of occurred and pays a fee as set forth in § 100-21F to help defray the costs of the appeal.
(2) 
Upon receipt of the petition and fee, the Town Manager or his/her designee shall set a time and place for the hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof.
(3) 
At the hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and show why the notice, order or other action complained of should be modified or reversed. The hearing shall be scheduled not later than 30 calendar days after the day on which the petition was filed, provided that, upon application of the petitioner or upon the Town Manager's (or designee) own motion, the hearing date may be postponed beyond the thirty-day period.
(4) 
At the time and place set for the hearing, the petitioner may present evidence or testimony in their behalf as may be deemed necessary and desirable. The proceedings at the hearing, including the findings and decision of the Town Manager or designee, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record. The records shall include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter.
(5) 
Upon completion of the hearing, the Town Manager or his/her designee, within 30 calendar days, shall make his/her findings of fact and conclusions of law. Copies of the decision shall be filed with the Town Clerk and mailed to the appellant.
B. 
Appeals to the Town Council.
(1) 
In the event the petitioner desires to appeal the decision of the Town Manager, or his/her designee, the petitioner may request a hearing before the Town Council, provided that the petitioner files a written petition with the Town Clerk within 10 calendar days from the date that the Town Manager's decision was served on the petitioner. The petitioner must also pay the appeal fee, as set forth in § 100-21F, with his/her appeal petition.
(2) 
Upon receipt of the petition and fee, the Town Council designee shall set a time and place for the hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. Such hearing shall be open to the public, in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
(3) 
At the hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and show why the Town Manager's decision should be modified or reversed. The hearing shall be scheduled not later than 30 calendar days after the day on which the petition was filed, provided that, upon application of the petitioner or upon the Town Council's own motion, the hearing date may be postponed beyond the thirty-day period.
(4) 
At the time and place set for the hearing, the petitioner may present evidence or testimony in their behalf as may be deemed necessary and desirable. The proceedings at the hearing, including the findings and decision of the Town Council shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record. The records shall include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter.
(5) 
Upon completion of the hearing, the Town Council shall, within 30 calendar days, make its decision. Copies of the decision shall be filed with the Town Clerk and mailed to the petitioner. In the event the petitioner seeks to challenge the decision of the Town Council, the petitioner may file an appeal with a court of competent jurisdiction within the time provided for in the New Jersey Court Rules.

§ 144-11 Issuance of inspection and status reports.

A. 
Application for inspection. Whenever any owner, occupant, prospective purchaser, mortgagee or prospective occupant shall apply to the public officer for an inspection in order to ascertain if any provision of this chapter has been violated, the public officer shall, upon receipt of a fee as set forth in § 100-21, cause an inspection to be made of the premises and issue an informational certificate or report to the applicant, indicating therein any violations of this chapter on the premises. The applicant for inspection shall state in writing his full name, residence and the reason and basis for which the inspection is requested. The public officer may deny the application for failure to comply with this requirement.
B. 
Application for status report.
(1) 
Where in lieu of an inspection an owner, lessee, occupant, prospective purchaser, mortgagee or prospective occupant requests a status report as to whether or not there are any known violations presently on the premises, upon payment of a fee as set forth in § 100-21, a copy of any notice or order or any violation then pending shall be sent to the applicant.
(2) 
No inspection report or status report issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be construed as providing a defense against any violation of this chapter or any other ordinance of the Town which may be discovered thereafter, whether or not the condition or violation existed at the time of any such inspection or status report. The inspection or status report is provided as a convenience to the public and shall not constitute a limitation on the full enforcement of this chapter. The inspection or status report shall include only such matters as are embraced in this chapter.

§ 144-12 Violations and penalties.

Any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty.