[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Riverdale 9-18-1995 by Ord. No. 9-95. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building or structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any appurtenances belonging to or usually enjoyed therewith.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- The Zoning Officer and Building Inspector of the Borough of Riverdale.
- 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.
- RESIDENTIAL DWELLING
- Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping quarters by human occupants.
A building shall be deemed unfit for human habitation if conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents. 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; uncleanliness; failure to comply with the requirements of the building code or the certificate of occupancy.
The enforcement official shall have the authority to exercise all powers authorized in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq. and all powers necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of that Act.
The enforcement official shall investigate the habitability of any building within the Borough whenever he deems it necessary to do so or whenever a petition is filed by at least five residents of the Borough charging that the building is unfit for human habitation.
If the enforcement official's preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, a complaint shall be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such building stating the charges and containing the notice that a hearing will be held.
The enforcement official shall hold a hearing on the complaint not more than 30 days or less than 10 days after service. The owner and party in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise and give testimony. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
Findings and orders. If, after notice and hearing, the enforcement official finds that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation, the enforcement official shall issue findings of facts in support of such determination and shall cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order stating:
Repairs, alterations or improvements of said building shall 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 have said building vacated and closed within the times 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 as specified in said order of removal.
Failure to comply with order of the enforcement official.
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 enforcement official 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 enforcement official, with the consent of the Borough Council, 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.
Demolition or correction of defects by Borough; recovery of costs. Where demolition, correction of a defect in the premises or work necessary to place the premises in a proper condition so as to conform to ordinances of the Borough or applicable laws of the State of New Jersey requires expending Borough moneys, the enforcement official shall present a report of work proposed to be done to accomplish the foregoing to the Borough Council with an estimate of cost along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken by notices served upon the occupants, owners, operators or other agents, as the case may be. The Borough Council may thereupon, by resolution, authorize the demolition, correction of the defect or work necessary to place the premises in proper condition and in compliance with this code. The enforcement official or the Superintendent of Public Works, depending upon the volume of the work to be performed, may thereafter proceed to have the work performed in accordance with the resolution, at Borough expense, not to exceed the amount specified in the resolution and shall, upon completion thereof, submit a report of the moneys expended and costs to the Borough Council. After review of the report, the Borough Council may approve the expense and costs, whereupon the same shall become a lien against the premises, collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving the expenses and costs shall be certified by the Borough Clerk, whereupon the same shall be filed with the Tax Collector of the Borough, who shall be responsible for the collection, and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner. The above remedy shall not be the exclusive remedy available to the Borough, and the Borough may take other action that it deems appropriate.
Any person affected by any order issued by the enforcement official shall be given an opportunity to be heard by the Borough Council, provided that a written request for a hearing is made to the Borough Clerk, and shall specify in detail the reasons why the person affected believes the order of the enforcement official was not justified. The Borough Council may affirm, modify or revoke the order.
Whenever the enforcement official finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, the official may, without notice of 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 but, upon petition to the Borough Council, the owner 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 Borough Council shall continue such order in effect or modify it.
The enforcement official may, upon receipt of a petition to determine fitness in accordance with § 81-4A, apply to the Municipal Judge of the Borough of Riverdale for a search warrant.
The enforcement official may apply to the Municipal Judge of the Borough of Riverdale for a search warrant to gain access to any structure where he has probable cause to believe that a violation of this chapter is occurring or where such inspections are required as part of a routine inspection survey.