[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough of Rutherford Council 3-19-1957 by Ord. No. 1717. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The terms and provisions of c. 112, P. L. 1942, being an act entitled "An Act Authorizing Municipalities to Adopt Ordinances Relating to the Repair, Closing and Demolition of Buildings Unfit for Human Habitation or Occupancy or Use; and Providing for the Remedies and Procedure in Connection with Action Taken Under Such Ordinances," as amended by c. 197, P.L. 1956, are hereby made applicable to buildings within the Borough of Rutherford which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
Editor's Note: For current provisions, see N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.
The Building Inspector of the Borough of Rutherford is hereby designated and appointed as the public officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the aforementioned Building Inspector by a public authority, as defined in the aforesaid statute, or by at least five residents of the Borough of Rutherford, charging that any building, as defined in the aforesaid statute is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use or whenever it appears to the said Building Inspector (on his own motion) that any such building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the said Building Inspector 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, as defined in the aforesaid statute, in such building, a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the said 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 said owners 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; that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the said Building Inspector.
If, after such notice and hearing, the said Building Inspector determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the said owner thereof and parties in interest an order:
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of 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 have the said building vacated and closed within the time 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, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order or 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 said Building Inspector may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed, and the Building Inspector may cause to be posted, at 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 Building Inspector may cause such building to be removed or demolished.
The amount of such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, vacating or closing, or removal or demolition shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. 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 of the detailed statement shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the building is removed or demolished by the Building Inspector, he shall sell the materials of such building and shall credit the proceeds of such sale against the cost of removal or demolition, and any 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 of Rutherford 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.
The said Building Inspector may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds 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 of the Borough of Rutherford; 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; and uncleanliness.
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 the Building Inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the 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 each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the Borough of Rutherford or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulated in the Borough of Rutherford in which the buildings are located. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the building is located.
The Building Inspector 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 others herein granted.
To investigate the building conditions in the Borough of Rutherford in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
To administer oaths, 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.
With the approval of the Mayor and Council, to appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
With the approval of the Mayor and Council, to delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to impair in any way the power of the Borough of Rutherford to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise, or to repeal, modify or amend any ordinance of the Borough of Rutherford in relation thereto. The powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other ordinance of the Borough of Rutherford or any law of the State of New Jersey.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.
This chapter shall take effect after publication in the manner provided by law.