Township of Pennsauken, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Pennsauken 3-13-1978 by Ord. No. 78-3 as Ch. 112 of the 1977 Code; amended in its entirety 12-30-2002 by Ord. No. 02-32. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 111.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 133.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 162.
Housing standards — See Ch. 184.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 243.
Solid waste — See Ch. 269.
Public health nuisances — See Ch. 327.
Sanitary standards — See Ch. 333.
Weeds — See Ch. 349.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Township of Pennsauken charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use or whenever it appears to the public officer (on his or her own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the public officer shall, if a preliminary investigation discloses the basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in the building a complaint, stating the charges in that respect, containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the public officer, fixed not less than seven days or more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint; that the owner and parties in interest shall be given a 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 the court shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
If, after such notice and hearing, the public officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the officer shall state in writing his or her 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:
A. 
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of said building be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order by the option of the owner to vacate or have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
B. 
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 as specified in 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 public officer may cause such building 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 the main 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."
A. 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the public officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract further removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
B. 
Any building or buildings, or parts thereof, which have been damaged to such an extent that nothing remains but the walls, or parts of the walls and other supports, shall, regardless of the safety and sturdiness of those remaining walls or parts thereof, be deemed inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Township and the Township may exercise its police powers to repair, demolish, or cause the repairing or demolishing of the building or buildings, or parts thereof, pursuant to the procedures set forth in this chapter.
A. 
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 Township; and such costs of such repairs, alterations or improvement 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 the 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.
B. 
If the building is removed or demolished by the public officer, he or she shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, 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 the sum total of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amounts so due shall be fixed with the Municipal Tax Assessor or the 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 exceed 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 in 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 of judgment of such Court.
C. 
Any owner or party in interest may, within 30 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 a municipal lien certificate.
D. 
Any action taken using revenues derived from the local property tax shall be taken only after advertisement for, and receipt of, bids therefor, pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.), unless the action is necessary to prevent imminent danger to life, limb or property.
If an actual and immediate danger to life is posed by the threat of collapse of any fire-damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the public officer may, after taking such measures as may be necessary to make such building temporarily safe, seek a judgment in summary proceedings for the demolition thereof.
Nothing in this chapter 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 and abatement by summary proceedings, or otherwise, nor is anything in this chapter intended to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or Construction Official under the State Uniform Construction Code, P.L. 1975, c. 217 (N.J.S.A. 52:27d-119 et seq.) or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.[1]
[1]
See Ch. 133, Construction Codes, Uniform.
[Added 5-10-2006 by Ord. No. 06-09[1]]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSE
Includes all dwellings constructed for the single-family use and embraces all structures within such use, as well as a two-family detached dwelling (a duplex). "Single-family house" shall include those defined in § 141-73 of the Development Regulations of Pennsauken Township and include a dwelling, whether a rowhouse, single-family detached, single-family semidetached and townhouse (where held under independent ownership).
B. 
Inspections required.
(1) 
It shall be the obligation of the personnel of the Construction Official's office, together with the Administrative Officer, Building Department, of that office, to maintain ongoing and continuing inspections with respect to single-family residential properties within the Township of Pennsauken for certain violations of the Property Maintenance Code.[2] Upon inspection of such properties, without entering same, said personnel shall cite, where appropriate, such lands and premises for violations of said code. Such violations shall be recorded on a standardized inspection sheet prepared by the Building Department.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 243, Art. I, Property Maintenance Code.
(2) 
Inspections; fees.
[Amended 1-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2010:34]
(a) 
It is hereby determined that a housing code inspection of the interior and exterior of a property shall be required prior to the sale and/or resale of one- and/or two-family dwellings within the boundaries of the Township of Pennsauken. These inspections shall be to determine if work requiring a permit has been completed without prior approvals, an illegal change from a single-family to a two-family dwelling has taken place, unsafe plumbing and/or electrical systems exist, unsafe means of egress exist, or other visible unsafe conditions are present on the property. Further, any repairs and/or permits deemed necessary by an officer of the Building Department shall be completed within 30 days unless prior approvals from an officer have been given.
(b) 
A fee of $100 shall be paid to the Office of the Building Department upon receipt of a request for a housing code inspection. Such fees shall be paid to the Building Department for the initial and one reinspection. Any additional inspection or a reinspection call for 13 days or less from the date of settlement shall follow the fee schedule as listed below:
[1] 
Two or more weeks prior to settlement, the fee shall be $25.
[2] 
Between seven and 13 days prior to settlement, the fee shall be $50.
[3] 
Between three and six days prior to settlement, the fee shall be $75.
[4] 
Two days or less prior to settlement, the fee shall be $100.
C. 
If any violations are detected, as provided for in Subsection B above, then the Administrative Officer, Building Department, shall notify the property owner of such violations. Such notice shall be in writing and specify the violations detected and recorded. The owner or occupant shall be provided with a period of time from the date of the notice to either correct the deficiencies, said corrections to be in compliance with the standards of the Property Maintenance Code as adopted by ordinance by the Township of Pennsauken.
D. 
Any owner or occupant of property who violates this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 1,250 or 45 days' incarceration, or both.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also renumbered former § 114-8, Designation of enforcing official, as § 114-9, which follows.
[Added 3-27-2013 by Ord. No. 2013:03[1]]
Insurance companies are prohibited from paying any claim to a claimant in excess of $2,500 for fire damages on any real property located within the Township of Pennsauken until such time as anticipated demolition cost or all taxes and assessments and all other municipal liens or charges due and payable, appearing on a official certificate of search; or all taxes and assessments and other municipal liens or charges due and payable, appearing on the official certificate of search, shall have been paid either by the owner of such real property or by the insurance company pursuant to the provision of N.J.S.A. 17:36-10.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former § 114-9 as § 114-13.
[Added 3-27-2013 by Ord. No. 2013:03]
The Township Tax Collector shall issue an official certificate of search for municipal liens in accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:5-12 when requested by an insured person or insurance companies certifying any and all amounts due and payable or paid in accordance with N.J.S.A. 17:36-8.
[Added 3-27-2013 by Ord. No. 2013:03]
The provisions of N.J.S.A. 17:36-9 through 17:36-13 are hereby adopted and are intended to be included in this article adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Pennsauken, County of Camden.
[Added 3-27-2013 by Ord. No. 2013:03]
A copy of this article shall be filed by the Township Clerk to the Commissioner of Insurance and the New Jersey State Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 325, Trenton, New Jersey 08625, for inclusion in the New Jersey register in accordance with the statute.
For purposes of this chapter, the public official shall be the Construction Official.