[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Riverton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-13-2013 by Ord. No. 3-2013]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- 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 provisions of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Section 17) or any other entity determined by the Borough of Riverton to have authority to act with respect to the property.
- VACANT AND ABANDONED PROPERTY
- Any building used or to be used as a residence or business which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction or business operations or residential occupancy has ceased, and which is in such condition that it cannot legally be reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation and at least two of the following conditions exist:.
- A. Overgrown or neglected vegetation, including but not limited to brush, weeds, dead or dying trees;
- B. Infestation of insects, vermin, rats or other pests;
- C. The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property;
- D. Disconnected gas, electric or water utility services to the property;
- E. The accumulation of hazardous, noxious or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
- F. The accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property;
- G. The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
- H. The absence of furnishings and personal items;
- I. The absence of furnishings and personal items;
- J. Statements by neighbors, delivery persons or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
- K. Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off, or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and unrepaired;
- L. Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged or continuously unlocked;
- M. A risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public or any adjoining or adjacent property owners that exists due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct or the physical destruction or deterioration of the property;
- N. An uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing or similar code during the preceding year, or an order by municipal authorities declaring the property to be unfit for occupancy and to remain vacant and unoccupied;
- O. The mortgagee or other authorized party has secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing;
- P. A written statement issued by an mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property; or
- Q. Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.
Effective April 1, 2013, the owner of any vacant property as defined herein shall within 60 days after the building becomes vacant property 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 Riverton Borough Clerk on forms provided by the Borough Clerk for such purposes. The registration shall remain valid until the end of the calendar year. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually, no later than January 31, as long as the building remains vacant property and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in § 97-4 for each vacant property registered.
Any owner of any building that meets the definition of vacant property prior to April 1, 2013, shall file a registration statement for that property on or before April 30, 2013. The registration statement shall include the information required under § 97-3, as well as any additional information that the Borough Clerk may reasonably require.
The owner shall notify the Borough Clerk within 30 days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Borough Clerk for such purpose.
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 Code Enforcement Official to conduct an exterior and interior inspection of the building to determine compliance with the Borough 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 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 notices 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 of the person responsible for maintaining and security of the property, if different.
An owner who is a natural person and who meet the requirements of this article as to location of residence or office may designate him 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 owners notifies the Borough Clerk 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 initial registration fee for each building shall be $250. The fee for the first renewal is $500. The fee for any subsequent renewal is $750.
The owner of any building that has become vacant and abandoned property, and any person maintaining, operating or collecting rent for any such building that has become vacant shall, within 30 days thereof:
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry as provided in the applicable provisions of the Borough Code, or as set forth in rules and regulations supplementing those codes;
Post a sign affixed to the inside of the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner, the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process (if designated pursuant to § 97-3), 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 of 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 15 inches by 17 inches; and
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.
The owner of any vacant building shall acquire and otherwise maintain liability insurance by procuring a vacancy policy in an amount of not less than $300,000 for buildings designed primarily for use as residential units and not less than $1,000,000 for any other building, including but not limited to buildings designed for manufacturing, industrial, storage or commercial uses, covering any damage to any person or any property caused by any physical condition of or in the building.
The owner shall attach evidence of the insurance to the owner's registration statement. Any registration statement submitted that does not include such evidence shall not be deemed to be a valid registration.
The Borough Mayor and Council 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 be subject to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000 for each offense. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this article shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
For purposes of this article, failure to file a registration statement in time, failure to provide correct information on the registration statement, failure to comply with the provisions of § 97-5, or such other matters as may be established by the rules and regulations of the Borough Council shall be deemed to be violation of this article.
Nothing in this article is intended to 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 Riverton and/or the Uniform Construction Code. Further, any action taken under any such Code provision other than the demolition of a structure shall not relieve an owner from its obligations under this article.