[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Hoboken 3-1-1961 by Ord. No. 161. 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 outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually employed therewith.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Council or the Mayor and Council of the City of Hoboken.
- 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.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the City of Hoboken, County of Hudson or State of New Jersey, relating to health, fire, building regulations or other activities concerning buildings in the City of Hoboken.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The Building Inspector of the City of Hoboken.
The Building Inspector of the City of Hoboken is hereby designated to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Building Inspector by a public authority or by at least five residents of the City of Hoboken charging that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to such Building Inspector (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the 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 in such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before such Building Inspector at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days or more than 30 days after the service of the complaint.
The owner and parties in interest may file an answer to said complaint and appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint; and the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts of the State of New Jersey shall not be controlling in the hearing before such Building Inspector.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Building Inspector determines that the building 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 said building can be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the value of the building, requiring the owner, to the extent and within the time specified in the order, to repair, alter or improve said building to render it fit for human habitation or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building as a human habitation.
The repair, alteration or improvement of said building cannot be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the value of the building, requiring the owner, within the time specified in the order, to remove or demolish said building.
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 Building Inspector may cause said building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed; and if such building is ordered closed, the said Building Inspector shall cause to be posted, on the main entrance of such 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."
Complaints or orders issued by the Building Inspector pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon the owner and all persons in interest as defined by this chapter, either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of any such person are unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the Building Inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and said 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 City of Hoboken or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the County of Hudson and circulating in the City of Hoboken. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected thereby, and a copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded in the office of the Register of Hudson County.
The Building Inspector may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation, if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of said building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the City of Hoboken; 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; dilapidation; disrepair; structural defects, uncleanliness.
Said Building Inspector is hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purpose and provisions of this chapter, including the following powers, in addition to the other powers herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the City of Hoboken in order to determine which buildings 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.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Building Inspector shall certify such failure and refusal of the owner aforesaid to the Council of the City of Hoboken and shall, at the same time, furnish to such Council his estimate of the cost of removing or demolishing such building, and the Council shall then proceed to make such appropriation from its revenues as it may deem necessary for such purpose and award the contract for the removal or demolition of such building after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor as provided by law.
The City of Hoboken may recover the cost thereof from said owner by an action at law, which action shall be in addition to any other remedy provided for by this chapter and shall not in anywise affect or make void any lien upon the real estate provided for by this chapter nor prevent the imposition of any penalty imposed for the violation of this chapter or any other ordinance of the City of Hoboken.
The amount of the cost of filing legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, searches and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter, and such cost of 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 same, if any, realized from the sale of materials derived from such building or from any contract for removal or demolition thereof, shall be a lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Building Inspector, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of removal or demolition thereof 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 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 Collector of Revenue of the City of Hoboken, and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such cost, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Building Inspector or by the Director of Revenue and Finance of the Mayor and Council of the City of Hoboken and 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. Any owner or party in interest may, within 60 days from the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in summary manner in the Superior Court to contest the reasonableness of the amount or accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate as provided by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5.
[Amended 11-4-1987 by Ord. No. V-140]
The owner of any building who shall violate this chapter by failing or refusing to comply with any order issued by the Building Inspector pursuant to §§ 80-5 and 80-6 of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both, in the discretion of the Judge, and each day such violation is continued shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 11-4-1987 by Ord. No. V-140]
The occupant of the building who shall violate this chapter by failing or refusing to comply with any order of the Building Inspector to vacate such building, or who shall continue in possession and occupancy thereof after the use and occupancy thereof shall have been prohibited as provided by § 80-6 of this chapter, shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, and every day such failure to comply with such order shall continue or such occupant shall continue in possession and occupancy of such building, after the use and occupation thereof shall have been prohibited as herein provided, shall constitute a separate offense.
The powers conferred by this chapter upon the Building Inspector shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon him by any other ordinance of the City of Hoboken, and nothing herein shall be considered to abrogate or impair the powers and duties of any other officer or department of the government of the City of Hoboken to enforce any of the provisions of any ordinance or regulation of the City of Hoboken, or of the Board of Health of such city, relating to the construction, erection, alteration, maintenance and repair of buildings in the City of Hoboken.