[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Borough of Longport 1-3-1946. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 75.
The Borough of Longport hereby declares and finds that there exists in the municipality dwellings which are unfit for human habitation due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such dwellings unsafe or insanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of such municipality; and the Borough of Longport desires to exercise the powers set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq. in reference to the same.
The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this chapter, shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes of this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Any building or structure or part thereof used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Board of Commissioners of the Borough of Longport, charged with governing the municipality.
- The holder of the title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a dwelling and any who are in possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Borough of Longport, County of Atlantic or State of New Jersey relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning dwellings in the Borough of Longport.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer or officers who are authorized by this chapter to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
The Director having charge of the Building Inspector and the Building Department is hereby designated as the public officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Borough of Longport, charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, or whenever it appears to the public officer on his own motion that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, the public officer 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 or his designated agent at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said 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 place and time fixed in the complaint, 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 such notice and hearing, the public officer determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, 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:
If the repair, alteration or improvement of the said dwelling can be made at a cost not to exceed 10% of the value of the dwelling, which value shall be determined by the Tax Assessor of the Borough of Longport, requiring the owner, to the extent and within the time specified in the order, to repair, alter or improve said dwelling to render it fit for human habitation, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the dwelling as a human habitation; or
If the repair, alteration or improvement of said dwelling cannot be made at a cost not to exceed 10% of the value of the dwelling, which value shall be determined by the Tax Assessor of the Borough of Longport, requiring the owner, within the time specified in the order to repair, remove or demolish said dwelling.
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 dwelling, the public officer may cause such dwelling to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed. The public officer may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any dwelling so closed a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation; the use or occupation of this building for human habitation is prohibited and unlawful." It shall be unlawful for any person to own, have, keep, maintain or live in any building on which there has been posted a placard as herein provided for, or to remove or cause the removal of any such posted placard.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the dwelling, the public officer may cause such dwelling to be removed or demolished.
The amount of such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the dwelling is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of such dwelling and shall credit the proceeds of such sale against the cost of the removal or demolition including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site; and any 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 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 Borough of Longport to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise.
The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation if he finds that conditions exist in such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwelling or the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents of the Borough of Longport. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such conditions may include the following defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair; structural defects; uncleanliness.
It shall be unlawful for any person to have, keep or maintain a dwelling that is unfit for human habitation or which is dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of said dwelling or the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents or people of or in the Borough of Longport as specified in this section.
Any complaint or complaints, order or orders issued by said public officer pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered 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, the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect and then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once in a newspaper printed and published in the Borough of Longport, or if no newspaper is printed and published in the Borough of Longport, then in a newspaper printed and published in the County of Atlantic and circulating in the Borough of Longport. 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 Clerk of the County of Atlantic.
The public officer is hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following powers in addition to the other powers herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Borough of Longport in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation.
To administer oath, 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.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter. The officer, agent or employee to whom the powers and functions of the public officer have been delegated is hereby authorized to exercise the powers contained in Subsections A, B and C.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under the chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
Any repair, alteration, improvement, removal or demolition as above provided may be performed by the municipality through its proper officials or employees, or the municipality may contract with any person to render such service on behalf of the municipality, under its control and direction and pursuant to specifications showing in detail the service to be rendered and to rules and regulations adopted by the governing body for the same and upon ample security for proper performance being given to the municipality. The procedure to be followed in adopting any such contract shall be in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-5. The municipality may recover the cost thereof from the owner by action at law, which action shall be in addition to any other remedy provided for by this chapter and shall not make void any lien upon real estate provided for by this chapter nor prevent the imposition of any penalty imposed for violation of this chapter or any ordinance of this municipality.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of any department of the Borough of Longport to enforce any provisions of its charter or other statute or its ordinance or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof; and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other ordinance of the Borough of Longport.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter declared to be unlawful shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for each offense by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment for any term not exceeding 90 days in the county jail or in any place provided by the municipality for the detention of prisoners, or both. The Judge of the Municipal Court shall have power to impose any fine or term of imprisonment not exceeding the maximum fixed in this chapter.
In default of the payment of any fine imposed hereunder, any person convicted of any violation may, in the discretion of the Judge, be imprisoned in the county jail or place of detention provided by the municipality for any term not exceeding 90 days.