City of Rahway, NJ
Union County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Rahway as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 151.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 209.
Housing and property maintenance — See Ch. 257.
Public health nuisances — See Ch. 291.
[Adopted 9-14-2015 by Ord. No. O-22-15[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. I, Registration and Maintenance, adopted 8-11-2014 by Ord. No. O-31-14.
It is the intent of this chapter to protect and preserve the public health, safety and welfare and security and quiet enjoyment of residents and neighborhoods by:
A. 
Requiring all property owners, including lenders, trustees and service companies to properly maintain vacant and/or foreclosing properties; and
B. 
Regulating the maintenance of vacant and/or foreclosing properties in order to prevent blighted and unsecured properties.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. When consistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural include the singular and words in the singular include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
CITY
The City of Rahway.
CREDITOR
The creditor having a right of foreclosure, including but not limited to the holder of a mortgage on a property, and any agent, servant or employee of the creditor, a loan servicing company, or any successor in interest and/or assignee of the creditor's rights, interests or obligations under the document granting foreclosure rights.
DAYS
Consecutive calendar days.
FORECLOSING
The process by which property, placed as security for a real estate loan, is prepared for sale to satisfy the debt if the borrower defaults.
NONRESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Any commercial, industrial and mixed-use real estate, or portion thereof, located in the City of Rahway, including improvements thereon.
A. 
Any common nuisance known as common law or inequity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the City.
B. 
Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building, on the premises of a building or upon an unoccupied lot. This includes, but is not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators, motor vehicles, boats, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, which may prove a hazard for inquisitive minors.
C. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
D. 
Insufficient ventilation or illumination in violation of this Code.
E. 
Inadequate or unsanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of this Code.
F. 
Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of this Code.
G. 
Fire hazards.
OWNER
Any person who, alone or jointly with several others, shall have legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or who shall have charge, care or control of any property unit as owner or agent of the owner as lessee, executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate or as a foreclosing mortgagee or mortgagee in possession, regardless of how that possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or assigning any part of any property or property unit shall be deemed to be co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
PROPERTY
Any real estate, including residential, commercial, industrial and mixed use, or portion thereof, located in the City of Rahway, including any improvements thereon.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Any property that contains one or more dwelling units used, intended or designed to be occupied for living purposes.
SECURITY
Measures taken to ensure that the property is inaccessible to unauthorized persons.
VACANT
With regard to any property, that no portion of the property is legally occupied. A property shall not be deemed "vacant," for purposes of this chapter:
A. 
Where there is a building on the property containing multiple residential units, if any of the residential units are legally occupied;
B. 
Where the legal occupant has temporarily left the property for vacation or other purposes for a period not exceeding 180 days, possessing both the intent to return and the legal right to return, such as a residential property owner or tenant who resides in another municipality or state for a portion of the year; or
C. 
Where the building is under construction with current valid construction permits, and work is being performed on the property on a regular basis. A mixed-use property is considered vacant if the commercial use is not legally occupied even though one or more residential units may be legally occupied.
A. 
All owners of vacant residential property must register such vacant properties with the Rahway City Clerk within 10 days of such property becoming vacant. The registration must be renewed annually as set forth below for as long as the property remains vacant.
B. 
All owners of vacant nonresidential property must register such vacant properties with the Rahway City Clerk within 30 days of such property becoming vacant. The registration must be renewed annually as set forth below for as long as the property remains vacant.
C. 
Owners of vacant properties shall designate an individual or property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property. The individual or property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property shall have an office located in New Jersey within 25 miles of the property.
D. 
The registration required by this section must contain the following information:
(1) 
The owner's name, telephone number, and mailing address. The mailing address may not be a P.O. box.
(2) 
The street address and tax map designation (lot and block) of the property,
(3) 
Whether the property is residential, nonresidential, commercial, or mixed use.
(4) 
The name, telephone number, e-mail address, and mailing address of an individual or property management company located in the State of New Jersey which is responsible for the security and maintenance of the property. The mailing address may not be a P.O. box.
(5) 
Certification that the property was inspected as required by this chapter.
(6) 
Proof of utility (gas, electric, water) connections or disconnections.
(7) 
Proof of insurance meeting the requirements of § 395-7C of this chapter.
E. 
The owner shall have a continuing duty to notify the City of any changes to the information contained in the registration.
F. 
The Rahway City Clerk may promulgate forms on which the information in the registration must be provided.
G. 
The owner must notify the Rahway City Clerk if, at any time subsequent to registration as a vacant property, the property is no longer vacant, and provide proof that the property is no longer vacant.
A. 
The initial registration fee for vacant residential property shall be $500 and must accompany the registration form. The initial registration shall be valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which the property is registered. Renewals for subsequent calendar years shall run from January 1 to December 31, and payment of the renewal registration fee shall be due by January 15 of the relevant year. The fee for the first annual renewal shall be $1,000; the fee for the second annual renewal shall be $3,000; and the fee for the third and subsequent renewals shall be $5,000. Registration fees and renewal fees will not be prorated or refunded.
B. 
No fee shall be charged at the time the owner registers vacant nonresidential property with the City. If a tenant is not secured for the registered vacant nonresidential property within six months of the date of registration of the vacant nonresidential property, an initial registration fee of $500 shall be charged to the owner. The initial registration shall be valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which the property is registered. Renewals for subsequent calendar years shall run from January 1 to December 31, and payment of the renewal registration fee shall be due by January 15 of the relevant year. The fee for the first annual renewal shall be $1,000; the fee for the second annual renewal shall be $3,000; and the fee for the third and subsequent renewals shall be $5,000. Registration fees and renewal fees will not be prorated or refunded.
C. 
No governmental agency shall be required to pay the annual or renewal registration fee.
A. 
A creditor serving a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage on property in this City, including but not limited to residential property, shall, within 10 days of serving the summons and complaint, file a registration with the Rahway City Clerk. The registration must be renewed as set forth below until title to the property has been transferred to a new owner or the foreclosure action is dismissed. A creditor who takes title to a vacant property shall then be required to register as an owner of such vacant property, and to renew such registration for as long as the property remains vacant.
B. 
If the property is vacant or the creditor is located outside the State of New Jersey, the creditor must designate an individual or property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property. The individual or property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property shall have an office in New Jersey located within 25 miles of the property.
C. 
The registration shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The creditor's name, telephone number, e-mail address and mailing address. The mailing address may not be a P.O. box.
(2) 
The street address and Tax Map designation (lot and block) of the property for which foreclosure has been sought.
(3) 
Whether the property is residential, nonresidential, commercial or mixed use.
(4) 
The name, telephone number, e-mail address and mailing address of a designated representative of the creditor who is located in the State of New Jersey and is responsible for receiving complaints of property maintenance and code violations for that property. The mailing address may not be a P.O. box.
(5) 
If the property is vacant, the name, telephone number, and mailing address of an individual or property management company located in the State of New Jersey which is responsible for the care, maintenance, security and upkeep of the property. The mailing address may not be a P.O. box.
(6) 
If the property is vacant, certification that the property was inspected as required by this chapter.
(7) 
If the property is vacant, proof of utility (gas, electric, water) connections or disconnections.
(8) 
If the property is vacant, proof of insurance meeting the requirements of § 395-7C of this chapter.
D. 
The creditor shall have a continuing duty to notify the City of any changes to the information contained in the registration.
E. 
The Rahway City Clerk may promulgate forms on which the information in the registration must be provided.
F. 
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.c.(1), an out-of-state creditor's failure to appoint an in-state representative or agent for residential properties is subject to fines set forth in § 395-10B of this chapter.
G. 
Once the foreclosure action has terminated, either through dismissal, or transfer of title, the creditor must provide proof of such termination, sale, transfer or occupancy to the enforcement authority within 30 days of sale, exchange or transfer.
A. 
The initial registration fee shall be $500 and must accompany the registration form. The initial registration shall be valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which the property is registered. Renewals for subsequent calendar years shall run from January 1 to December 31, and payment of the renewal registration fee shall be due by January 15 of the relevant year. The fee for the first annual renewal shall be $1,000; the fee for the second annual renewal shall be $3,000; and the fee for the third and subsequent renewals shall be $5,000. Registration fees and renewal fees will not be prorated or refunded.
B. 
No governmental agency shall be required to pay the annual or renewal registration fee.
A. 
Properties subject to the requirements of this chapter must be maintained in accordance with all the applicable federal, state and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations. The owner, creditor, local individual or local property management company, as appropriate, must inspect the property twice a month for the duration of the vacancy or foreclosure as appropriate.
B. 
In addition to, and not in lieu of meeting all other applicable federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations:
(1) 
Properties subject to the requirements of this chapter shall be kept free of accumulated snow and ice, weeds, dry brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, unregistered vehicles, any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, notices (except those required by law), and discarded personal items including but not limited to furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items giving the appearance that the property is vacant.
(2) 
Properties subject to the requirements of this chapter shall be maintained free of graffiti, tagging, or similar markings. In the event that any graffiti, tagging, or similar markings are placed on the property, it/they shall either be removed or painted over with an exterior-grade paint matching the color of the portion of the structure where the graffiti, tagging, or similar marking was placed.
(3) 
Front yards, rear yards, and side yards of properties subject to the requirements of this chapter shall be landscaped and maintained to neighborhood standards. Landscaping and maintenance shall include, but is not limited to, care of grass, mulch, decorative rock, artificial turf/sod specifically designed for residential or commercial installation, or other ground cover, bushes, shrubs, hedges, trees, or similar plantings, removal or repair of gravel, broken concrete, asphalt, decomposed granite, plastic sheeting, mulch, indoor-outdoor carpet or any similar material, in addition to regular watering, irrigation, cutting, pruning and mowing of required vegetation and removal of all trimmings.
(4) 
Any pool, spa, or other standing body of water shall either be kept in working order so the water remains clear and free of growth, pollutants, and debris, and does not become a harborage for vermin or insects; or drained and kept dry. In either case, properties with pools or spas must comply with the security fencing requirements of the City.
C. 
The owner of any vacant property shall acquire and maintain liability insurance covering injury or damage to any person or any property in not less than $300,000 for residential buildings, and $1,000,000 for nonresidential buildings or property.
D. 
The property owner shall be responsible for property maintenance. However, if the owner of a property vacates or abandons any property on which a foreclosure proceeding has been initiated or if a property is or becomes vacant at the time of or at any point subsequent to the creditor's filing the summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage against the subject property, but prior to vesting of title in the creditor or any other third party, and the property is found to be a nuisance or in violation of any applicable state or local code, the enforcement authority shall notify the creditor, which shall have the responsibility to abate the nuisance or correct the violation in the same manner and to the same extent as the title owner of the property, to such standard or specification as may be required by state law or City ordinance. The enforcement authority shall include a description of the conditions that gave rise to the violation with the notice of violation and shall provide a period of 30 (or 10 days if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety) from the creditor's receipt of the notice for the creditor to remedy the violation. The issuance of a notice of violation pursuant to this section shall constitute proof that a property is vacant and abandoned for the purposes of N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73. If the creditor fails to remedy the violation within that time period, the City may impose the penalties allowed for the violation of municipal ordinances, pursuant to § 395-10 of this chapter, against the creditor to the same extent as they could be imposed against the owner of the property.
E. 
Adherence to this chapter does not relieve the owner or creditor of obligations set forth in any other statute, regulation, ordinance, or other source of authority or obligation.
The enforcement authority shall have the authority to inspect the properties subject to this chapter for compliance and to issue summonses for any violations.
Enforcement authority shall be vested in the Rahway Department of Administration (Mayor and/or Business Administrator), the Rahway Department of Building, Planning and Economic Development, and the Rahway Department of Health and Senior Services, and their respective officials and inspectors. The Rahway Police Department and Department of Public Works shall also have enforcement authority with respect to this chapter. The Mayor and/or Business Administrator may also designate, when necessary, enforcement duties to other City departments.
A. 
Violation of any of the terms of this chapter (except for those violations which pertain to out-of-state creditors set forth in § 395-10B and 395-10C) shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor greater than $2,000 per occurrence in addition to any registration fee or renewal fee that may be due and owing. Each subsequent occurrence shall result in an increased penalty.
B. 
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.c.(1), an out-of-state creditor's failure to appoint an in-state representative or agent for residential properties within 10 days of the service of the foreclosure summons and complaint shall be subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation.
C. 
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.c.(2), an out-of-state creditor's failure to correct a care, maintenance, security or upkeep violation on a residential property within 30 days of service of the notice of violation (or 10 days if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety) shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation.
Nothing contained herein shall prevent the City from taking action to abate a nuisance or correct a violation where the owner or creditor, as applicable, has failed to abate the nuisance or correct the violation on a vacant property or a property in foreclosure after notice and the opportunity to abate or correct. In such situations, the City may impose a lien against the property for costs to correct the violation or abate the nuisance. Such lien shall hereafter form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon said lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as such taxes to be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as such taxes.
No governmental entity shall be required to register under this chapter. However, nothing contained herein shall be construed as granting exemption to the governmental entity from property maintenance or other obligations imposed by any other statute, regulation, or ordinance.
Upon the effective date of this chapter, the owner of any currently vacant property and a creditor pursuing a pending foreclosure shall have 30 days within which to comply with the provisions of this chapter.