[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Holland 7-15-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Construction Code Official of the Township is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter and he shall serve in such capacity without any additional salary.
The Mayor and Committee, as an agency of the Township or its designee, are authorized to administer this chapter, and the words "administrative authority" as used in this chapter shall refer to the Mayor and Council of the Township of Holland.
For the purpose of this chapter, the Construction Code Official may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist therein which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of occupants or users of such building, the occupants or users of neighboring buildings or other residents or visitors of the Township. 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 or uncleanliness; noncompliance with New Jersey State Housing Code.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Construction Code Official by a public authority as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 or by at least five residents of the Township, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Construction Code Official (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, he 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 shall be held before the Construction Code Official at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of 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 time and place fixed in the complaint. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Construction Code Official.
If after notice and hearing, as provided above, the Construction Code Official determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, 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:
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the building to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or to have the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
If the building is in such 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 the building within the time specified in the order, the owner shall remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
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 Construction Code Official may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed; and the Construction Code Official 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."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Construction Code Official, with the permission of the Township Committee and in accordance with proper municipal practices, 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.
If the building is removed or demolished by the Construction Code Official, with the permission of the Township Committee, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of removal or demolition thereof, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, 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 Municipal Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by certified mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Construction Code Official, 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, provided that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the Township to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise. 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 of the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
The following costs shall become a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred:
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witness fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the Township; and
The cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements or of 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.
Complaints or orders issued by the Construction Code Official pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by certified mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and cannot be ascertained by the Construction Code Official in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Construction Code Official makes an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of the complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing it once in a newspaper having circulation in the Township. A copy of the complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order and copy shall be recorded or lodged for record with the Hunterdon County recording officer.
The Construction Code Official is authorized and empowered 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, in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Township in order to determine which dwellings are unfit for human habitation.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination, provided that entry is made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession and is consistent with law.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
The owner of any building located within the limits of the Township who desires to demolish it pursuant to an order issued under this chapter shall first obtain a permit for that purpose from the Construction Code Official and pay a fee as provided for in Chapter 83, Fees, for each building or structure to be demolished. The fee shall be paid prior to the issuance of any such permit.