[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Oaklyn 4-3-1967 by Ord. No. 2-67. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Building Inspector of the Borough of Oaklyn be and he is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, and he shall serve in such capacity without any additional salary.
For the purpose of this chapter, the Building Inspector may determine that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation if he finds that conditions exist in or on such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwelling, to neighboring dwellings or structures or the occupants thereof or to other residents of the Borough of Oaklyn. Such conditions may include the following (without limiting the generality of the foregoing): defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair; structural defects or uncleanliness. The word "dwelling" as used in this chapter shall mean any building, structure or part thereof located in the Borough of Oaklyn.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Building Inspector by a public authority, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the Borough of Oaklyn charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined or whenever it appears to the Building Inspector, on his own motion, that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, 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 Building Inspector or his designated agent at a place therein fixed not less than 10 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 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 Building Inspector.
The Building Inspector is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the Borough of Oaklyn 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 Building 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 or rooming unit or the person in charge thereof shall give the Building 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.
If after such notice and hearing the Building Inspector determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, he shall serve, in writing, his findings of fact 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.
That, 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, the owner shall remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said 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 Building Inspector may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed; that the Building 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."
That, if the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Building 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.
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 chapter determined in favor of the Borough and such cost 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 Building 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 Borough 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 Building Inspector, 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 Borough 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 9-13-1977 by Ord. No. 13-77]
Any person who shall remove, deface, mutilate or destroy any notice, certificate, placard or other official order, judgment or writing posted on any of said premises in accordance with this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both.
Complaints or orders issued by the Building 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 Building Inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the said Building Inspector 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 a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper which complies with the requirements of state and local laws for the publishing of legal advertising for the Borough of Oaklyn.
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.
The Building Inspector 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 chapter, including the following in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Borough of Oaklyn in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation.
To administer oaths and affirmations, and to examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making an 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 purposes of this chapter.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the power of the Borough or any officer or department to enforce any provisions of its charter or of its ordinances 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 upon the Borough by any other law or ordinance.
By the adopting of this chapter, the Borough Council of the Borough of Oaklyn does not invalidate in part or in whole any other ordinance of the Borough of Oaklyn, and all other ordinances shall remain in full force and effect.