[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hanover: Art. I, 12-28-1943; Art. II, 4-10-1958 as Ord. No. 4-58. Sections 94-2 and 94-22A amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
No building, wall or structure which is or may become dangerous to life or health or which might tend to extend a conflagration shall be allowed to remain on any land in the Township of Hanover, and every such building, wall or structure shall be removed or destroyed by the owner or owners of the land and premises affected thereby and upon which said building, wall or structure may be located.
This article is passed by authority and in pursuance of N.J.S.A. 40:48-1, its amendments and supplements. If any such building, wall or structure mentioned in § 94-1 hereof is not so removed by the owner or owners of the land and premises upon which said building, wall or structure may be, the Township of Hanover may proceed with such removal and destruction or cause the same to be proceeded with, pursuant to the authority of and in the manner and by giving such notices as may be prescribed by said statute. In the event that such removal or destruction of said building, wall or structure shall have been undertaken and completed by the Township Committee of the Township of Hanover, a true statement, under oath, of the cost thereof shall be made, filed, examined, confirmed and recorded, as provided by said statute, and the cost of such removal or destruction shall be assessed as a municipal lien against said land and premises and shall be payable and collected in the same manner as other municipal liens are payable and collected.
It is hereby made the duty of the Building Inspector to report to the governing body any building, wall or structure situated in the Township of Hanover which is or may become dangerous to life or health or which might tend to extend a conflagration. The governing body may act on said report and give notice to the owner or owners of its intention to determine the condition of the building, wall or structure and whether the same should be removed or destroyed in accordance with said statute. In the event that the governing body does so determine that said building, wall or structure should be removed or destroyed, it shall cause notice, in the form and served as prescribed in said statute, to be given to the owner or owners of the land affected thereby of its determination and that, unless such building, wall or structure is removed or destroyed by the owner or owners within 30 days after the service of said notice, as prescribed by the statute, the Township Committee of the Township of Hanover will proceed with such removal or destruction of such building, wall or other structure or cause the same to be proceeded with, pursuant to the authority of said statute and this article.
[Adopted 4-10-1958 by Ord. No. 4-58]
The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this article, shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes hereof 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 belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- The Director of Rehabilitation appointed hereinafter, who shall be charged with the enforcement of this article.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Township Committee of the Township of Hanover.
- The holder or holders of the 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 official who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Township of Hanover relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the Township of Hanover.
Whenever it shall be found that there exists in the Township of Hanover buildings which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use due to dilapidation; disrepair; structural defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities; or lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such buildings unsafe or unsanitary and dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents, upon the filing of a petition by a public authority; or by at least five residents of the Township of Hanover, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or if it shall appear to the Director (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, said Director shall make a preliminary investigation or cause such preliminary investigation to be made concerning the basis for such charges.
Buildings shall be considered unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, within the meaning of § 94-5 hereof, when one or more of the following conditions are found to exist:
Condition of structure. The condition of the structure is such as to make it unsafe or unsanitary through the presence of serious safety hazards resulting from the need for major repairs to the roof, walls, ceilings, floors, or stairs or through the presence of serious health hazards resulting from continuous dampness or exposure brought about by neglect or dilapidation.
Water supply. Lack of potable running water within each dwelling or lack of hot-water facilities available to each dwelling.
Sewerage system. No connection between plumbing fixtures and an adequate sewage disposal system.
Toilet facilities. No flush toilet fit for use in each building.
Bath facilities. No bathtub or shower fit for use in each dwelling.
Kitchen facilities. Lack of permanent, safe and reasonably efficient kitchen facilities within each dwelling unit, including a sink with running water and provisions for a cooking stove.
Lighting facilities. Building inadequately wired for electricity.
Heating facilities. Heating facilities inadequate or unsafe.
Light and ventilation. Living room, bedroom or kitchen with no windows or with windows opening on an airshaft, or toilet or bathroom without adequate ventilation.
If a preliminary investigation shall disclose to said Director a basis for the charges filed, he shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect. Said complaint shall also contain a notice that a hearing will be held before him, at a place therein fixed, not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint.
The owner and parties in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear, in person, by counsel or otherwise, and give testimony at the time and place fixed in the complaint.
The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Director.
The Director may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants or such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the Township of Hanover; such conditions may include, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair; structural defects; uncleanliness; and the conditions set forth in §§ 94-5 and 94-6 of this chapter.
When, after such notice and hearing, the Director determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, 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 the parties in interest an order requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of said building to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which shall in no event exceed 90 days from the order, which time shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or have said 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 said building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish said building within a reasonable time, to be specified in said order.
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 Director may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. The Director shall 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 occupancy of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Director may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement and after receipt of bids therefor.
The amount of the cost of such repairs, alterations or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, when done by the Director, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Director, he shall sell the materials of such building and shall credit the proceeds of such as against the cost of the removal or demolition, and any balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, by the Director, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court and shall be disbursed by such Court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or decree of such Court; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise.
Complaints or orders issued by the Director, pursuant to this article, shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but, if the whereabouts of such persons are unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the Director in the exercise of reasonable diligence and the Director shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the Township of Hanover. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the County Clerk of Morris County.
Any person affected by an order issued by the Director may petition the Chancery Division, Superior Court, for relief in accordance with P.L. 1942, c. 112, N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.
The remedies herein provided shall be exclusive remedies, and no person affected by an order of the Director shall be entitled to recover any damage for action taken pursuant to any order of the Director or because of noncompliance by such person with any order of the Director.
In addition to the powers herein granted to the Director, he shall also have the following powers:
To investigate the building conditions in the Township of Hanover in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use.
To administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of the Court or of any department to enforce any provisions of its charter or its ordinances or regulations, or to prevent or punish violations thereof, and the powers conferred by this article shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law or ordinance.
For the enforcement of the provisions of this article, the office of Rehabilitation Director is hereby created, and appointment to the office shall be by the Township Committee of the Township of Hanover for such term or terms and with such compensation as they may fix.
Every building which shall have been damaged by fire or other cause so as to be dangerous by reason of the bad condition of walls, floors, construction or otherwise shall be held to be unsafe, and the Director, besides proceeding as hereinabove provided, shall also fix a notice of the dangerous character of the structure to a conspicuous place on the exterior of the building.
Any person convicted of a violation of any of the provisions hereof by unlawfully removing any notice affixed to any building or by refusing to vacate any building, structure or premises, or part thereof, when lawfully ordered to vacate the same shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not to exceed 90 days, or both, at the discretion of the Judge before whom such conviction is had.
The imposition of the fine or imprisonment for a violation of this article shall not be construed as in any manner affecting the enforcement of the other provisions hereof.