[Adopted 12-4-2013 by Ord. No. 1353]
This article governs the maintenance of vacant properties in the Borough of Lindenwold, amending registration requirements and amending registration fees for owners of vacant properties.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes the title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to a vacant property, any foreclosing entity subject to the provision of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, § 17) or any other entity determined by the Borough of Lindenwold to have authority to act with respect to the property.
- VACANT PROPERTY
- Any building used, or to be used, which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction operation or occupancy has ceased; provided, however, that any property that contains all building systems in working order, is fully compliant with property maintenance codes and is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental shall not be deemed vacant. Property determined to be "abandoned property" in accordance with the meaning of such term in the Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Act, N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq., shall also be deemed to be vacant property for the purposes of this article.
Effective January 1, 2014, the owner of any vacant property as defined herein shall, within 60 days after the building becomes vacant or within 30 days after assuming ownership of the vacant property, whichever is later, file a registration statement for each such vacant property with the Construction Official or his designee on forms provided by the Construction Official or his designee for such purposes. The registration shall remain valid for one year, from January 1 until December 31 of the following year. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains vacant property and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in this article for each vacant property registered.
Any owner of any building that meets the definition of vacant property prior to January 1, 2014, shall file a registration statement for that property on or before January 31, 2014. The registration statement shall include the information required under this article, as well as any additional information that the Construction Official or his designee may reasonably require.
The owner shall notify the Construction Official or his designee within 30 days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Construction Official or his designee for such purposes.
The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the Borough against the owner or owners of the building.
After filing a registration statement or a renewal of a registration statement, the owner of any vacant property shall provide access to the Borough to conduct an exterior and interior inspection of the building to determine compliance with the municipal code, following reasonable notice, during the period covered by the initial registration or any subsequent renewal.
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, e-mail address and telephone number of a natural person 21 years of age or older designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving notice of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding on behalf of such owner or owners in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code. This person must maintain an office in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey. The statement shall also include the name, street address, e-mail address and telephone number of the person responsible for maintaining and securing the property, if different.
An owner who is a natural person and who meets the requirements of this article as to location of residence or office may designate himself or herself as agent.
By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this section the owner consents to receive any and all notices of code violations concerning the registered vacant property and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the registered building by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purposes of this section until the owner notifies the Construction Official or his designee of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement. The designation of an authorized agent in no way releases the owner from any requirement of this article.
The registration fee for each building shall be as prescribed in Chapter 150, Fees, Article I, Fee Schedule, § 150-49.
The owner of any building that has become vacant property, and any person maintaining, operating or collecting rent for any such building that has become vacant, shall, within 30 days:
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry as provided in the applicable provisions of the Code of the Borough of Lindenwold.
Post a sign affixed to the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner, the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process, and the person responsible for day-to-day supervision and management of the building, if such person is different from the owner holding title or authorized agent. The sign shall be a size and placed in such a location so as to be legible from the nearest public street or sidewalk, whichever is nearer, but shall be no smaller than 18 inches by 24 inches.
Secure the building from unauthorized entry and maintain the sign until the building is again legally occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the building is complete.
Post the property with "No Trespassing" signs of a nature sufficient to give notice to any person entering upon the property that it is against the law to enter the property without permission of the owner.
The Construction Official or his designee may issue rules and regulations for the administration of the provisions of this article.
Any owner who is not in full compliance with this article or who otherwise violates any provision of this article or of the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to the penalties as set forth in Chapter 1, § 1-1, of this Code. Fines assessed under this article shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
[Amended 11-5-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-01]
For purposes of this section, failure to file a registration statement in time, failure to provide correct information on the registration statement, failure to comply with the provisions of this article, or such other matters as may be established by the rules and regulations of the Construction Official or his designee shall be deemed to be violations of this article.
If the municipality expends public funds in order to abate a nuisance or correct a violation of the Property Maintenance Code on a residential property in situations in which the creditor was given notice pursuant to this article, but failed to abate the nuisance or correct the violations as directed, the municipality shall have the same recourse against the creditor as it would have against the title owner of the property. Additionally, the municipality may assess a lien against a property subject to this article, for any failure to comply with this article, to include imposition of a lien for any unpaid fees or late charges assessed pursuant to this article. The municipality may also assess a lien against the subject property for the moneys expended by the municipality. The lien may be enforced and collected in the same manner as real estate taxes are enforced and collected, with interest to accrue at the same rate on all such liens as real estate taxes.
[Added 3-22-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-03]
Nothing in this article is intended nor shall be read to conflict or prevent the Borough from taking action against buildings found to be unfit for human habitation or unsafe structures as provided in applicable provisions of the Code of the Borough of Lindenwold. Further, any action taken under any such code provision other than the demolition of a structure shall relieve an owner from its obligations under this article.
This article shall take effect January 1, 2014.