City of Bordentown, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Bordentown 9-26-1994 by Ord. No. 1994-4.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Change in ownership or occupancy of buildings — See Ch. 124.
Firesafety — See Ch. 162.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 166.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 216.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Ch. 130, Buildings, Unsafe, adopted 9-28-1987 by Ord. No. 1987-18.
The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this chapter, shall have the following respective meanings, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
BUILDING
Any building or structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
GOVERNING BODY
The Board of Commissioners of the City of Bordentown.
HOUSING OFFICIAL AND/OR BURLINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
That officer of the City of Bordentown who is the public authority in charge of building inspections pursuant to Chapters 124, 130 and 216 in accord with the State Housing Code and Property Maintenance Code.
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5]
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5]
The Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department, as defined in this chapter, is hereby designated to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter. The Board of Commissioners shall act as the investigating and reviewing agency and the public officer relative to the provisions of this chapter and the State Housing Code, as more specifically explained herein.
A. 
Standard. Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the New Jersey State Housing Code, as approved by the State Department of Health and filed in the Secretary of State's office, is hereby accepted, adopted, incorporated and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in this municipality are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. A copy of the New Jersey State Housing Code is annexed to this chapter, and three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the City Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
B. 
Inspections; access to buildings. The Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the City of Bordentown in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants and dwellings and of the general public. For purposes of making such inspections, the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department 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 and rooming unit, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department 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 provision of this chapter.
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5]
C. 
Issuance of violations. Whenever the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall:
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5]
(1) 
Be put in writing.
(2) 
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued.
(3) 
Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires.
(4) 
Be served upon the owner or his agent, or the occupant, as the case may require; provided that such notice shall be deemed properly served upon such owner or agent, or upon such occupant, if a copy thereof is served upon him personally; or if a copy thereof is sent by registered mail to his last known address; or if a copy thereof is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice; or if he is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state. Such notice may contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will affect the compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. For the purposes of this subsection, if the record owner of the property cannot be located after a good faith attempt, the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department may serve the first mortgage holder of the property or other party or lending institution having a substantial interest in the property.
D. 
Municipal Court hearing. In the event that the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department finds that a situation exists which requires action, or in the event that any person to whom an order requiring action be taken relative to a property or properties fails to respond to that order, in addition to the penalties provided for in Subsection G of this section, the City, through its Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department, shall have the power to effectuate such repairs, maintenance or other actions ordered and seek restitution through a Municipal Court enforcement hearing and/or file a lien pursuant to § 130-4D of this chapter for the amount of costs required in undertaking such repair, maintenance or other directed action.
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5; 9-24-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-11]
E. 
Housing Official's and/or Burlington County Health Department's rule making authority. The Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department is hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as he may deem reasonably necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter, nor in anyway alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which he may adopt in his office and in the office of the Clerk of the City of Bordentown.
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5]
F. 
Applicability. No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.
G. 
Penalties. Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate an order issued under this section shall, pursuant to Subsection D of this section, upon conviction, be punished for each conviction by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 90 days, or by both fine and imprisonment, and each violation and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense. Violations of any order issued pursuant to this chapter shall be cognizable and heard in the Municipal Court of Bordentown City, based upon a summons issued by the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department.
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5; 9-24-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-11]
A. 
Complaint and notice of hearing. Whenever a petition is filed with the Board of Commissioners by the Housing Official and/or Burlington County Health Department or by at least five residents of the City of Bordentown, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Board of Commissioners, on its own motion, that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Board of Commissioners shall, if its preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest to such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Board of Commissioners, or its designated agent, at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after serving the complaint. 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. The rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Board of Commissioners.
[Amended 7-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-5]
B. 
Order to repair or demolish building. If, after such notice and hearing, the Board of Commissioners determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, it shall state in writing its 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:
(1) 
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 said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
(2) 
Stating 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 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.
C. 
Failure of owner to comply.
(1) 
If the owner or mortgage holder fails to comply with an order to maintain, correct a violation, repair, alter or improve a property or to vacate and close a building, the Board of Commissioners may cause such property to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. The Board of Commissioners 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."
(2) 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Board of Commissioners 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.
D. 
Lien by municipality.
(1) 
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 municipality and such cost of any 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 Board of Commissioners, it shall sell the 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 Municipal 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 Board of Commissioners, 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.
(2) 
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 cost set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
E. 
Demolition of unsafe buildings. If an actual or immediate danger to life is posed by the threatened collapse of any fire-damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the Board of Commissioners 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 City of Bordentown to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or 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 Act, P.L. 1975, c. 217 (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.) or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.
The Board of Commissioners may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if it finds that 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 City of Bordentown. 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; or any violation of the State Uniform Construction Code Act or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder or any violation of any other statute or ordinance pertaining to standards for the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.
Complaints or orders issued by the Board of Commissioners 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 Board of Commissioners in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Board of Commissioners 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 in a newspaper printed and published in the municipality or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the municipality in which the buildings are located. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. 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 building is located.
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by a public officer under this chapter may, within 30 days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the public officer from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief.
The Board of Commissioners 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 others granted herein:
A. 
To investigate the building conditions in the municipality in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
B. 
To administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
C. 
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 person in possession.
D. 
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as the Board of Commissioners deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
E. 
To delegate any of the Board of Commissioners' functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as the Board may designate.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of any department of the City of Bordentown to enforce any provision of its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof. The powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law or ordinance.