[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Runnemede 2-3-1953 by Ord. No. 112 (Ch. 55 of the 1970 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Police Department — See Ch. 50.
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 95.
Building Code — See Ch. 99.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 120.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 170.
House wreckers, automobile junkyards and junk shops — See Ch. 220.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 281.
Public health nuisances — See Ch. 418
Any dwelling which now exists or which hereafter may exist which is unfit for human habitation due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such dwelling unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Borough of Runnemede shall be repaired, closed or demolished in accordance with the provisions herein provided.
The Director of Public Safety of the Borough of Runnemede, New Jersey, be and he is hereby designated as the public officer to exercise the power prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Borough of Runnemede, charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, or whenever it appears to the public officer (on his own motion) that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, the public officer 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 public officer (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 place and time fixed in the complaint; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
If, after such notice and hearing, the public officer determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, 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:
If the repair, alteration or improvement of the said dwelling can be made at a cost not to exceed 25% of the value of the dwelling, which value shall be determined by the Board of Assessors of the Borough of Runnemede, requiring the owner, to the extent and within the time specified in the order, to repair, alter or improve the said dwelling to render it fit for human habitation, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the dwelling as a human habitation; or
If the repair, alteration or improvement of the said dwelling cannot be made at a cost not to exceed 25% of the value of the dwelling, which value shall be determined by the Board of Assessors of the Borough of Runnemede, requiring the owner, within the time specified in the order, to remove or demolish said dwelling.
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 dwelling, the public officer may cause such dwelling 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 any dwelling so closed, a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation; the use or occupation of this building for human habitation is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the dwelling, the public officer may cause such dwelling to be removed or demolished.
The amount of such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the dwelling is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of such dwelling and shall credit the proceeds of such sale against the cost of the removal or demolition, and any balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey by the public officer, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court, and shall be disbursed by such Court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or decree 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 Runnemede to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise.
The said public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation if he finds that conditions exist in such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwelling or the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents of the Borough of Runnemede; without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such conditions may include the following: defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidations; disrepair; structural defects; uncleanliness.
Any complaint or complaints, order or orders issued by the said public officer pursuant to the provisions of 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 public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, and 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 circulated in the Borough of Runnemede. 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 or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the Clerk of the Borough of Runnemede.
The said public officer 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 the other powers herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Borough of Runnemede in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation;
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;
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter. The officer, agent and employee to whom the powers and functions of the public officer have been delegated are hereby authorized to exercise the powers contained in § 146-6A, B and C;
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
The Borough of Runnemede shall as soon as possible after the adoption of this chapter prepare an estimate of the annual expenses or costs to provide the equipment, personnel and supplies necessary for periodic examinations and investigations of the dwellings in the said Borough for the purpose of determining the fitness of such dwellings for human habitation, and for the enforcement and administration of the provisions of this chapter, and the Borough of Runnemede is authorized to make such appropriations from its revenues as it may deem necessary for this purpose, and may accept and apply grants or donations to assist it in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of any department of the Borough of Runnemede to enforce any provisions of its charter or 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 by any other ordinance of the Borough of Runnemede.
The following terms whenever used or referred to in this chapter shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes of this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Any building or structure or part thereof used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Runnemede charged with governing the municipality.
- The holder of the title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Borough of Runnemede or State of New Jersey relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning dwellings in the Borough of Runnemede.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer or officers who are authorized by this chapter to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.