[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Manalapan 10-27-1993 by Ord. No. 93-30 as Ch. 123, Art. II, of the 1993 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following respective meanings unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Any building or structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances.
- Any enclosure, either movable or stationary, other than in transit, or any building or structure or part thereof used and occupied for human habitation or designed for or laid out for or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances thereto.
- The holder or holders of title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the municipality, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the municipality.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer authorized by this section to exercise the powers herein prescribed.
- SANITARY FACILITIES
- Includes potable water at sufficient pressure and quantity for each dwelling unit from a public supply approved by the State Department of Health or a private supply approved by the public officer or other enforcing official, and also includes plumbing fixtures, consisting of a kitchen sink, bathtub or shower, lavatory and flush toilet connected to the potable water supply, and further includes all facilities for the discharge of all household liquid wastes into a public sewage system approved by the State Department of Health or into a private sewage system approved by the public officer or other enforcing official.
The Mayor and Township Committee shall, by resolution, appoint a public officer as enforcing official, who may be the Health Officer or Code Enforcement Officer or his representative, for a term of one year, from January 1 to December 31 of each year, to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter and to act under the law and the provisions of this chapter.
Any building or dwelling within the Township may be determined and declared to be unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if the public officer finds that conditions exist in the dwelling or building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of the building or dwelling, the occupants of the neighboring buildings or dwellings or other residents of the Township, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair, structural defects; uncleanliness; or failure to conform to other laws of the State of New Jersey or ordinances of the Township regulating the safety and sanitation of buildings, and, in addition thereto, the public officer in making his determination shall take into consideration the following additional standards:
Water closet or bathroom requirements. The water closet or bathroom used with any dwelling shall have a window not less than one foot wide and not less than 2.25 square feet in area.
Protection against hazards of fire. Any dwelling shall have at least two doors in the exterior walls for entering and leaving said dwelling; if the doors are in the same room, they must be on opposite walls, or, if not on opposite walls, the doors must be at least 10 feet apart. The doors must be at least two feet wide and five feet high.
General health protection. Other laws of the State of New Jersey regulating the safety and sanitation of buildings, structures or dwellings or ordinances of the Township regulating the safety and sanitation of buildings, structures or dwellings.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 or by at least five residents of the Township charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as defined in Chapter 128, Housing Standards, Article I, Housing Code, or whenever it appears to the public officer on his own motion that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, he shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of, and parties in interest in, such dwelling a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the public officer at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint; that the owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, or otherwise, and give testimony at the time and place fixed in the complaints; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
If after notice and hearing, as provided above, the public officer determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, as defined in Chapter 128, Housing Standards, Article I, Housing Code, he shall state, in writing, his findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order requiring:
That the repair, alteration or improvement of the building to be made by the owner, within a reasonable time, which shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or to have the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
If the building is in such a condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near the premises, and the owner fails to repair, alter or improve the building within the time specified in the order, that the owner shall remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
That if the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or improve or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building, the public officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed; and that the public officer may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any building so closed, a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, that the public officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement and receipt of bids therefor.
That the amount of:
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this section shall be determined in favor of the Township.
The cost of repairs, alterations or improvements or vacating and closing or removal or demolition, if any, or the amounts of the balance thereof remaining after deduction of the sum, if any, realized from the sale of materials derived from such building or from any contract for removal or demolition thereof shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred.
If the building is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of removal or demolition thereof the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits, or if the sum total of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the Municipal Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens, and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by certified mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the public officer, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such court and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of the court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such court; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the Township to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise. Any owner or party in interest may, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
Complaints or orders issued by the public officer pursuant to this section shall be served upon persons, either personally or by certified mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown, and the same cannot be ascertained by the public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of the complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper having circulation in the Township. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order, and a copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the Monmouth County recording officer.
The public officer is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this section, including the following, in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Township in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
No person shall occupy as owner or occupant, or rent to another for occupancy, any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code established herein as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.