[Adopted 11-25-1975 by Ord. No. 33-75 (Ch. 185, Art. I, of the 1990 Code)]
This article shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code for Multiple Dwellings of the Township of Mount Olive" and may be referred to in this article in the short form as the "Property Maintenance Code" or as "this code."
It is hereby found and declared that there exist in the Township of Mount Olive structures which are or may become substandard with respect to structural integrity, equipment or maintenance or further that such substandard conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance of exterior premises, infestation, lack of essential heating, plumbing, storage or refrigeration equipment, lack of maintenance or upkeep of essential facilities and utilities, existence of fire hazards, inadequate provisions for light and air, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding, constitute a menace to the health, safety, welfare and reasonable comfort of the citizens and inhabitants of the Township of Mount Olive. It is further found and declared that, by reason of lack of maintenance and ensuing progressive deterioration, certain properties have the further effect of creating blighting conditions and initiating slums and that, if the same are not curtailed and removed, the aforesaid conditions will grow and spread and will necessitate, in time, the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate the same and that, by reason of timely regulations and restrictions as herein contained, the growth of slums and blight may be prevented and the neighborhood and property values thereby maintained, the desirability and amenities of dwellings and neighborhoods enhanced and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
The purpose of this code is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance, condition and occupancy of multifamily residential premises; to establish minimum standards governing utilities, facilities and other physical components and conditions essential to make the aforesaid facilities fit for human habitation, occupancy and use; to fix certain responsibilities and duties upon owners and operators and to fix distinct and separate responsibilities and duties upon occupants; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of multifamily residential premises; to fix penalties for the violations of this code; to provide for the right of access across adjoining premises to permit repairs; and to provide for the repair, demolition or vacation of premises unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use. This code is hereby declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest, and it is intended that this code be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes stated herein.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the terms used in the portions of the Regulations for Construction and Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwelling adopted by virtue of § 302-22 of this article shall have the meanings ascribed to them by Subchapter 2, Chapter 10, Title 5 of the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. 5:10-2.1 et seq.). A copy of Subchapter 2 aforesaid is annexed to this article, and at least three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the Township Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
Where terms are not defined as herein provided, they shall have ascribed to them their ordinarily accepted meanings or such meanings as the context herein may imply.
[Amended 3-1-1990 by Ord. No. B-5-90]
Every residential and nonresidential structure and the premises on which it is situated in the Township, used or intended to be used for dwelling, commercial, business or industrial occupancy, except those buildings defined within § 302-28 as multifamily dwellings, shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such structure has been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the structure or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities prior to the effective date of this code. This code establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy in use of all structures and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of the structure, equipment or facility contained therein, except as provided in § 302-6. Where there is mixed occupancy, residential or nonresidential, the use therein shall be nevertheless regulated by and subject to the provisions of this code. All such buildings which qualify as multifamily dwellings shall be regulated pursuant to Chapter 430 of the Code of the Township of Mount Olive.
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than set forth in any other statute, ordinance, code or regulation of the Township or the State of New Jersey, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than any other ordinances of the Township or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or law shall prevail, except as provided in § 302-21.
Nothing in this code shall be deemed to abolish or impair existing remedies of the municipality or its officers or agencies relating to the removal or demolition of any structures which are deemed to be dangerous, unsafe or unsanitary or to the maintenance of any structures not subject to the provisions of this code.
The Health Administrator of the Township is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers described in this code. The Health Administrator may designate subordinates or other Township officials to assist in the exercise of the powers and responsibilities set forth in this code.
The Health Administrator or his designee shall be supplied with official identification and shall exhibit such identification when entering any structure or other part of the premises subject to this code. Inspectors shall conduct themselves so as to avoid intentional embarrassment or inconvenience to the occupants. They shall explain the purpose of their visit to the occupants.
The inspection of premises and the issuing of orders in connection therewith under the provisions of this code shall be the exclusive responsibility of the Board of Health. Whenever, in the opinion of the enforcement officer, it is necessary or desirable to have inspections of any condition by any other department, he shall arrange for this to be done in such a manner that the owners or occupants of buildings shall not be subject to visits by numerous inspectors nor to multiple or conflicting orders. No order for the correction of any violation under this code shall be issued without the approval of the enforcement officer, and it shall be the responsibility of that official, before issuing any such order, to determine that it has the concurrence of any other department or official of the government concerned with any matter involved on the case in question.
Except as may otherwise be provided by statute, local law or ordinance, no officer, agent or employee of the municipality charged with the enforcement of this code shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this code. No person who institutes or assists in the prosecution of a criminal proceeding under this code shall be liable to damages hereunder, unless acting with actual malice and without reasonable grounds for believing that the person accused or prosecuted was guilty of an unlawful act or omission. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the municipality as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this code shall be defended by the legal representatives of the municipality until the final determination of the proceedings therein.
The enforcement officer is authorized to make or cause to be made inspections to determine the conditions of all structures and premises in order to safeguard the safety and welfare of the public under the provisions of this code. The enforcement officer is authorized to enter any structure or premises at any reasonable time for the purpose of performing his duties under this code. The owner, operator or occupant of every structure or premises or the person in charge thereof shall give the enforcement officer free access thereto and to all parts thereof for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey.
Where any public officer or duly appointed inspector is refused entry or access or is otherwise impeded or prevented from conducting an inspection pursuant to this article by the owner, operator or occupant of any premises, such public officer may, upon affidavit, apply to the Judge of the Municipal Court of the Township of Mount Olive for a search warrant. If the Judge of the Municipal Court is satisfied as to the matter set forth in said affidavit, and if he finds that probable cause for issuance of the search warrant exists, he shall authorize the issuance of a search warrant permitting access to and inspection of the particularly described building or all the buildings in a particularly described area.
Probable cause permitting the issuance of the aforesaid search warrant may include but is not limited to the following:
Every occupant of a structure shall give the owner or operator thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such structure or its premises, at reasonable times, for the purpose of making such inspections, maintenance, repairs or alterations as are necessary to comply with the provisions of this code; subject, however, to the requirement that the occupant shall receive reasonable advance notice from the owner or operator or his agent or employee of the intent to make such inspections, maintenance, repairs or alterations as are necessary to comply with the provisions of this code.
[Amended 9-25-1990 by Ord. No. 40-90]
Structures shall be condemned as dangerous structures or unsafe for human habitation, as provided in § 302-33.
Any owner or person who is aggrieved by the ruling or decision of the Health Administrator directing or ordering an alteration, correction or elimination of a violation of this code shall be entitled to a hearing upon a review of such order or direction by the Board of Health of the Township of Mount Olive. Applications for a hearing must be submitted, in writing, to the Board of Health within five business days after receipt of such an order from the Health Administrator. At the conclusion of such a hearing, the Board of Health shall affirm or modify the order of the Health Administrator or set aside the order if a violation is found not to exist, or it may increase the time specified by the order for the correction of the violation determined to exist. All appeals shall be heard within 15 days after receipt of the application for a hearing.
In making its determination on appeal under this section, the Board of Health shall give due consideration to such factors as:
The seriousness of any cited violation in terms of real or potential hazards to the health or safety of tenants.
The age and general condition of the subject structure.
The ease or difficulty and the prevailing cost of measures necessary to achieve full conformity with the code.
The continuing objective of full conformity with code provisions by all subject buildings in the Township, giving due consideration to the equities of individual cases, particularly where older structures were built or altered to conform to the preexisting regulations.
The determinations of the Board shall be by resolution, which shall set forth the reasons for the decision and the terms of compliance applicable thereto. The resolution shall be filed with the Health Administrator, who shall retain the same on file as part of the permanent public records of the Township of Mount Olive.
Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the owner or person who is aggrieved by a decision or either the Health Administrator or the Board of Health from appealing directly to the Superior Court of New Jersey pursuant to the authority of and for the remedies set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.8 under any other statutory authority.
Notice of violation shall be served upon the owner of record or any designated agent of the owner under § 302-24 of this article, provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner if a copy thereof is delivered to him personally or, if not found, by leaving a copy thereof at his usual place of abode, with a person of suitable age and discretion, who shall be informed of the contents thereof, or by sending a copy thereof by certified mail to his last known address or, if the letter with the copy is returned showing it has not been delivered to him, by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by the notice.
In the event that the violation of this article constitutes an emergency condition, the notice provided herein to the owner or his designated agent under § 302-24 hereof may be by telephone notification; provided, however, that a confirming letter, setting forth the written notice required hereunder, is sent within 24 hours of said telephone notice to the owner or his designated agent, by regular mail. For purposes of this article, an emergency condition shall exist when there is a termination of essential services, such as heat, electricity, water and sewerage facilities, of such severity so as to constitute an immediate threat to the health or safety of the tenants or the community.
Whenever the Health Officer determines that there has been or is a violation or that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been or is a violation of any provision of this code, he shall give notice of such violation or alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor. Such notice shall:
Be in writing.
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identifications.
Specify the violation which exists and the remedial action required and whether the violation constitutes an emergency condition.
Specify a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days, in which the violation or violations shall be abated, corrected or eliminated; provided, however, that said thirty-day period may be extended for an additional 30 days by the Health Officer for good cause.
State the penalty for violation of this article.
In case any violation order is not promptly complied with, the Health Officer may issue a summons under this article (§ 302-20) or request the Township Attorney or attorney for the Board of Health to institute an appropriate action or proceeding at law or in equity against the person responsible for the violation, ordering him to:
Restrain, correct or remove the violation.
Restrain or correct the erection, installation or alteration of such structure.
Require the removal of work in violation.
Prevent the occupancy or use of the structure or part thereof erected, constructed, installed or altered in violation of or not in compliance with the provisions of this code or in violation of a plan or specification under which an approval, permit or certificate was issued.
[Amended 9-25-1990 by Ord. No. 40-90]
Any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by one or more of the following: by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days; or by a fine not exceeding $1,000; or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.
This code shall not affect violations of any other statutes, ordinances, codes or regulations of the Township or State of New Jersey existing prior to the effective date hereof, and any such violation shall be governed and shall continue to be punishable to the full extent of the law under the provisions of those ordinances, codes or regulations in effect at the time the violation was committed, and the violation of any other ordinance, code or regulation shall not affect the continuing obligation of all owners, lessors and lessees to comply with the provisions of the code, including the procedural and penalty provisions hereof.
Pursuant to provisions of Chapter 21 of the Laws of 1946 (N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1), certain portions of the Regulations for Construction and Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, as promulgated by the authority of N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq. (New Jersey Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Act), are hereby adopted and established as providing the standards and fixing the responsibility for maintenance of structures and lots subject to the provisions of this code. The portions of said regulations so adopted and established are as set forth in Subchapter 19, Chapter 10, Title 5 of the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. 5:10-19.1 et seq.) and such other portions of Title 5 as are incorporated by specific reference in Subchapter 19 aforesaid. A copy of the relevant portions of the Regulations for Construction and Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings is annexed to this article and at least three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the Township Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
In the event that the owner of a building or structure shall violate any of the provisions of this article or shall fail to abate a condition harmful to the health and safety of the occupants of the building or structure and the general public in the Township of Mount Olive after notice and opportunity to do so and/or after other proceedings under this article, the Health Administrator may, with the approval of the governing body, bring an action in the Superior Court for the appointment of a receiver of the rents and income of such real property and expend the same for the purpose of abating said conditions. Said rents and income so collected by said receiver shall also be available for the payment of such costs and expenses of the receivership, as may be adjudged by the court, and for the payment to the Township of Mount Olive of any fines or penalties which may have been imposed on the owner for violation of this article and which have not been paid.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 46:8-26 et seq., adopted on June 15, 1974, every landlord shall post at a conspicuous place on the premises and file with the Township Health Administrator the names and addresses of the record owner of the premises, the registered agent, corporate officers, managing agent and the individual employed who provides regular maintenance service. The landlord shall also post and supply the name, address and telephone number of the representative of the owner who may be reached at any time in the event of an emergency and who has the authority to make emergency decisions. In the event that the principal office of the owner is not located within Morris County, the landlord shall post, supply and designate the name and address of an individual within Morris County who will be the landlord's agent for service.