[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Laurel 9-5-1972 as Ord. No. 1972-13. Section 89-9 amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 66.
[Amended 11-1-1976 by Ord. No. 1976-10]
The Building Inspector of the Township of Mount Laurel and/ or the Health Inspector of the Burlington County Board of Health be and they are hereby designated as the officers to exercise the powers prescribed by the within chapter, and they shall serve in such capacity without any additional salary.
Pursuant to the provisions of P.L. 1946, c. 21, (N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1), the New Jersey State Housing Code as approved by the Departments of Health and Conservation and Economic Development and filed in the Secretary of State's office is hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in this municipality are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. A copy of the New Jersey State Housing Code is annexed to this chapter and three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the Municipal Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
[Amended 11-14-1976 by Ord. No. 1976-10]
The Inspector is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the Township of Mount Laurel in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public.
For the purpose of making such inspections, the Inspector is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit and rooming unit, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Inspector free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit or its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such 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.
[Amended 11-1-1976 by Ord. No. 1976-10]
Whenever the Inspector 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, he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall be put 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 his agent or upon the occupant, as the case may require; provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent or upon such occupant if a copy thereof is served upon him personally, or if a copy thereof is sent by registered mail to his last known address, or if a copy thereof is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice, or if he is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state. Such notice may contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Inspector, provided that such person shall file in the office of the Inspector a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the day the notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition the Inspector shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the day on which the petition was filed; provided that upon application of the petitioner the Inspector may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such ten-day period if in his judgment the petitioner has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. After such hearing the Inspector shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the Inspector sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice served pursuant to this chapter shall automatically become an order if a written petition for a hearing is not filed in the office of the Inspector within 10 days after such notice is served.
The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Inspector, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Inspector. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Inspector may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of the state.
Whenever the Inspector finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition to the Inspector shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Inspector shall continue such order in effect, or modify it or revoke it.
[Amended 11-1-1976 by Ord. No. 1976-10]
The Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter nor in anywise alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The Inspector shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which he may adopt in his office and in the office of the Clerk of the Township of Mount Laurel.
[Amended 11-1-1976 by Ord. No. 1976-10]
If, after such notice and hearing, the Inspector determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, 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:
The repair, alteration or improvement of the said building to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or to have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
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 said building within the time specified in the order, that the owner remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
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 Inspector may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed. The Inspector 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, the Inspector may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
Costs of proceedings.
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 chapter determined in favor of the municipality, and such costs of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, if any, or the amount 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 Inspector, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the 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 registered mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Inspector and 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 municipality 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.
[Amended 11-1-1976 by Ord. No. 1976-40]
Complaints or orders issued by the Inspector pursuant to 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 said Inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, the said Inspector shall make an affidavit to that effect. The serving of such complaints or orders 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 Mount Laurel. 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 county recording officer of the county in which the dwelling is located.
No person shall occupy as owner-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 hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.
[Amended 10-17-1983 by Ord. No. 1983-31; 10-1-1984 by Ord. No. 1984-33]
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.