Township of Harrison, NJ
Gloucester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Harrison as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 88.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 97.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 119.
Nuisances — See Ch. 146.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 159.
[Adopted 7-6-2015 by Ord. No. 11-2015]
It is the purpose and intent of the Township of Harrison to establish a process to address the increasing amount of abandoned, foreclosed or distressed real property located within the Township, and to identify, regulate, limit and reduce the number of abandoned properties located within the Township. It is the Township of Harrison's further intent to participate in the county-wide registration program established by Gloucester County and administered by Community Champions Corporation as a mechanism to protect neighborhoods from becoming blighted due to the lack of adequate maintenance and security of abandoned and foreclosed properties.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.
ABANDONED REAL PROPERTY
Any real property located in the Township of Harrison, whether vacant or occupied, that is in default on a mortgage, has had a lis pendens filed against it by the lender holding a mortgage on the property, is subject to an ongoing foreclosure action by the lender, is subject to an application for a tax deed or pending tax assessors lien sale, or has been transferred to the lender under a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The designation of a property as "abandoned" shall remain in place until such time as the property is sold or transferred to a new owner, the foreclosure action has been dismissed, and any default on the mortgage has been cured.
ACCESSIBLE PROPERTY/STRUCTURE
A property that is accessible through a compromised/breached gate, fence, wall, etc., or a structure that is unsecured and/or breached in such a way as to allow access to the interior space by unauthorized persons.
APPLICABLE CODES
To include, but not be limited to, the Township of Harrison's Zoning Code, the Township of Harrison's Code of Ordinances ("Township Code"), and the New Jersey Building Code.
BLIGHTED PROPERTY
means:
A. 
Properties that have broken or severely damaged windows, doors, walls, or roofs which create hazardous conditions and encourage trespassing; or
B. 
Properties whose maintenance is not in conformance with the maintenance of other neighboring properties causing a decrease in value of the neighboring properties; or
C. 
Properties cited for a public nuisance pursuant to the Township Code; or
D. 
Properties that endanger the public's health, safety, or welfare because the properties or improvements thereon are dilapidated, deteriorated, or violate minimum health and safety standards or lacks maintenance as required by the Township Codes.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
Any law enforcement officer, building official, zoning inspector, code enforcement officer, fire inspector or building inspector, or other person authorized by the Township of Harrison to enforce the applicable code(s).
OWNER
Any person, legal entity or other party having any ownership interest whether legal or equitable, in real property. This term shall also apply to any person, legal entity or agent responsible for the construction, maintenance or operation of the property involved.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
An owner, agent, local property manager, property maintenance company or similar entity responsible for the maintenance of abandoned real property.
VACANT
Any building or structure that is not legally occupied.
These sections shall be considered cumulative and not superseding or subject to any other law or provision for same, but rather be an additional remedy available to the Township of Harrison above and beyond any other state, county or local provisions for same.
Pursuant to the provisions of § 210-5, the Township of Harrison or its designee shall participate in the county-wide registration program established by Gloucester County and administered by Community Champions Corporation cataloging each abandoned property within the Township of Harrison, containing the information required by this article.
A. 
Any mortgagee who holds a mortgage or equity lien on real property located within the Township of Harrison shall perform an inspection of the property to determine vacancy or occupancy, upon default by the mortgagor. The mortgagee shall, within 10 days of the inspection, register the property with the Code Enforcement Office, or its designee, on forms or website access provided by the Township of Harrison, and indicate whether the property is vacant or occupied. A separate registration is required for each property, whether it is found to be vacant or occupied.
B. 
If the property is occupied but remains in default, it shall be inspected by the mortgagee or his designee monthly until:
(1) 
The mortgagor or other party remedies the default; or
(2) 
It is found to be vacant or shows evidence of vacancy at which time it is deemed abandoned, and the mortgagee shall, within 10 days of that inspection, update the property registration to a vacancy status on forms provided by the Township of Harrison.
C. 
Registration pursuant to this section shall contain the name of the mortgagee and the servicing entity, if any, the direct mailing address of the mortgagee and the servicing entity, a direct contact name and telephone number for both parties, facsimile number and e-mail address for both parties, the folio or tax number, and the name and twenty-four-hour contact telephone number of the property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property.
D. 
A nonrefundable annual registration fee in the amount of $800 per property shall accompany the registration form or website registration. If the registration fee is not paid within 30 days of the date of vacancy or abandonment, or the date of notification from the Township of Harrison or Community Champions Corporation, the registration fee shall increase to $1,000. On each anniversary date of the initial registration, the owner or mortgagee shall submit a renewal registration and fee as follows:
[Amended 7-17-2017 by Ord. No. 23-2017]
(1) 
First annual renewal registration fee: $1,000; and
(2) 
Second and subsequent annual renewal registration fee: $2,000.
E. 
All registration fees must be paid directly from the mortgagee, servicer, trustee, or owner. Third-party registration fees are not allowed without the consent of the municipality and/or its authorized designee.
F. 
This section shall also apply to properties that have been the subject of a foreclosure sale where the title was transferred to the beneficiary of a mortgage involved in the foreclosure and any properties transferred under a deed in lieu of foreclosure/sale.
G. 
Properties subject to this section shall remain under the annual registration requirement, and the inspection, security and maintenance standards of this section as long as they remain vacant or in default.
H. 
Any person or legal entity that has registered a property under this section must report any change of information contained in the registration within 10 days of the change.
I. 
Failure of the mortgagee and/or owner to properly register or to modify the registration form from time to time to reflect a change of circumstances as required by this article is a violation of the chapter and shall be subject to enforcement.
J. 
Pursuant to any administrative or judicial finding and determination that any property is in violation of this article, the Township of Harrison may take the necessary action to ensure compliance with and place a lien on the property for the cost of the work performed to benefit the property and bring it into compliance.
A. 
Properties subject to this article shall be kept free of weeds, overgrown brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, notices, except those required by federal, state or local law discarded personal items including, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that give the appearance that the property is abandoned.
B. 
The property shall be maintained free of graffiti or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior grade paint that matches the color of the exterior structure.
C. 
Front, side, and rear yards, including landscaping, shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable code(s) at the time registration was required.
D. 
Yard maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, grass, ground covers, bushes, shrubs, hedges or similar plantings, decorative rock or bark or artificial turf/sod designed specifically for residential installation. Acceptable maintenance of yards and/or landscape shall not include weeds, gravel, broken concrete, asphalt or similar material.
E. 
Maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, watering, irrigation, cutting and mowing of required ground cover or landscape and removal of all trimmings.
F. 
Pools and spas shall be maintained so the water remains free and clear of pollutants and debris and shall comply with the regulations set forth in the applicable code(s).
G. 
The property shall be maintained free of mold, mildew, algae and/or moss on all exterior structures and buildings.
[Added 7-17-2017 by Ord. No. 23-2017[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsections G and H as Subsections H and I, respectively.
H. 
Failure of the mortgagee and/or owner to properly maintain the property may result in a violation of the applicable Code(s) and issuance of a citation or notice of violation in accordance with this article and Chapter 159 of the Township of Harrison's Code. Pursuant to a finding and determination by the Township's Code Enforcement Officer or a court of competent jurisdiction, the Township of Harrison may take the necessary action to ensure compliance with this section.
I. 
In addition to the above, the property is required to be maintained in accordance with the applicable code(s).
A. 
Properties subject to these sections shall be maintained in a secure manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons.
B. 
A "secure manner" shall include, but not be limited to, the closure and locking of windows, doors, gates and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property or structure. Broken windows, doors, gates and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property or structure must be repaired. Broken windows shall be secured by reglazing of the window. Except in the event of a temporary emergency condition (for example, fire or storm conditions), doors, windows and/or garage doors shall not be boarded and/or covered. If required, all doors, windows and/or garage doors shall be repaired and/or replaced such that they can be properly locked in a secure manner.
[Amended 7-17-2017 by Ord. No. 23-2017]
C. 
If a mortgage on a property is in default, and the property has become vacant or abandoned, a property manager shall be designated by the mortgagee to perform the work necessary to bring the property into compliance with the applicable code(s), and the property manager must perform regular inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of this article, and any other applicable laws.
All abandoned real property is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, the abatement of which pursuant to the police power is hereby declared to be necessary for the health, welfare and safety of the residents of the Township of Harrison.
A. 
Any person who shall violate the provisions of this article shall be cited and fined by one or more of the following: by imprisonment in the county jail or in any place provided by the municipality for the detention of prisoners, for any term not exceeding 90 days; or by a fine not less than $500 or exceeding $1,250; or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.
B. 
Any person who is convicted of violating this article within one year of the date of a previous violation of the same section, and who was fined for the previous violation, shall be sentenced by a court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. The additional fine imposed by the court upon a person for a repeated offense shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine fixed for a violation of this article, but shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation of this article.
Adherence to this article does not relieve any person, legal entity or agent from any other obligations set forth in any applicable code(s), which may apply to the property. Upon sale or transfer of title to the property, the owner shall be responsible for all violations of the applicable code(s).
A. 
If the Enforcement Officer has reason to believe that a property subject to the provisions of this article is posing a serious threat to the public health safety and welfare, the Code Enforcement Officer may temporarily secure the property at the expense of the mortgagee and/or owner, and may bring the violations before a court of competent jurisdiction as soon as possible to address the conditions of the property.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to require the mortgagee and/or owner of record of any property affected by this section, to implement additional maintenance and/or security measures, including, but not limited to, securing any and all doors, windows or other openings, employment of an on-site security guard or other measures as may be reasonably required to help prevent further decline of the property.
C. 
If there is a finding that the condition of the property is posing a serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare, then the Code Enforcement Officer may direct the municipality to abate the violations and charge the mortgagee with the cost of the abatement.
D. 
If the mortgagee does not reimburse the Township of Harrison for the cost of temporarily securing the property, or of any abatement directed by the Code Enforcement Board or special magistrate, within 30 days of the Township sending the mortgagee the invoice, then the Township of Harrison may lien the property with such cost, along with an administrative fee of $800 to recover the administrative personnel services.
Whoever opposes, obstructs or resists any enforcement officer or any person authorized by the Code Enforcement Office in the discharge of duties as provided in this article shall be punishable as provided in the applicable code(s) or a court of competent jurisdiction.
Any enforcement officer or any person authorized by the Township of Harrison to enforce the sections herein shall be immune from prosecution, civil or criminal, for reasonable, good faith entry upon real property while in the discharge of duties imposed by this article.
Should any section, clause, sentence, phrase or provision of this article be declared unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this article.
All prior ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with this article are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistencies.
This article shall take effect immediately upon final passage and publication in accordance with law.
[Adopted 12-7-2015 by Ord. No. 23-2015]
The purpose of this article is to notify property owners, lien holders and otherwise interested parties of properties within the Township of Harrison of the intent of the Township to adopt the Abandoned Property and Rehabilitation Act (N.J.S.A. 55:19-78, et seq.) its provisions, procedures, authority and lawful remedies, empowering the Township and its officials to act under the authority of same. This article preserves all substantive rights and obligations of the Act.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
PUBLIC OFFICER
Any person designated or appointed by the Township Committee to exercise the powers and authority prescribed by this article.
A. 
Except as provided in N.J.S.A. 55:19-83, any property that has not been legally occupied for a period of six months and which meets any one of the following additional criteria may be deemed to be abandoned property upon a determination by the Public Officer as defined in N.J.S.A. 55:19-80, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, that:
(1) 
The property is in need of rehabilitation, in the reasonable judgment of the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, and no rehabilitation has taken place during that same six-month period;
(2) 
Construction was initiated on the property and was discontinued prior to completion, leaving the building unsuitable for occupancy, and no construction has taken place for at least six months as of the date of a determination by the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5;
(3) 
At least one installment of property tax remains unpaid and delinquent on that property as of the date of a determination by the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5; or
(4) 
The property has been determined to be a nuisance by the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 55:19-82 for one or more of the following reasons:
(a) 
The property has been found to be unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3;
(b) 
The condition and vacancy of the property materially increases the risk of fire to the property and adjacent properties;
(c) 
The property is subject to unauthorized entry, leading to potential health and safety hazards; the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to secure the property; or the municipality has secured the property in order to prevent such hazards after the owner has failed to do so;
(d) 
The presence of vermin or the accumulation of debris or uncut vegetation or physical deterioration of the structure or grounds has created potential health and safety hazards, and the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to remove the hazards; or
(e) 
The dilapidated appearance or other condition of the property materially affects the welfare, including the economic welfare, of the residents of the area in close proximity to the property, and the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to remedy the conditions.
B. 
A property which contains both residential and nonresidential space may be considered abandoned pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq. so long as 2/3 or more of the total net square footage of the building was previously legally occupied as residential space and none of the residential space has been legally occupied for at least six months at the time of the determination of abandonment by the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5.
A. 
The Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, shall identify abandoned property within the Township of Harrison for the purpose of establishing an abandoned property list as set forth in N.J.S.A. 55:19-55. The abandoned property list shall include, for each abandoned property identified, the tax block and lot number, the name of the owner of record, if known, and the street address of the lot. The Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, may add properties to the abandoned property list at any time and may delete properties at any time when he or she finds that the property no longer meets the definition of an abandoned property.
B. 
An abandoned property shall not be included on the abandoned property list if rehabilitation is being performed in a timely manner, as evidenced by building permits issued and diligent pursuit of rehabilitation work authorized by those permits. A property on which an entity other than the Township of Harrison has purchased or taken assignment from the Township of a tax sale certificate which has been placed on the abandoned property list may be removed if the owner of the certificate pays all municipal taxes and liens due on the property within 30 days after the property is placed on the list; provided, however, that if the owner of the certificate fails to initiate foreclosure proceedings within six months after the property was first placed on the list, the property shall be restored to the abandoned property list in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 55:19-103.
C. 
The Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, shall establish the abandoned property list and any additions or deletions thereto by authorizing the publication of the list in the official newspaper of the Township of Harrison, which publication shall constitute public notice, and, within 10 days after publication, shall send a notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular mail, to the owner of record of every property included on the list. The published and mailed notices shall identify property determined to be abandoned, setting forth the owner of record, if known, the tax lot and block number, and the street address. The Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, in consultation with the Tax Collector, shall also send out a notice, by regular mail, to any mortgagee, servicing organization, or property tax processing organization that receives a duplicate copy of the tax bill pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-64d. When the owner of record is not known for a particular property and cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence by the Tax Collector, notice shall not be mailed but instead shall be posted on the property in the manner as provided in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.7. The mailed notice shall indicate the factual basis for the finding of the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, that the property is abandoned property, as that term is defined herein and in N.J.S.A. 55:19-54, and shall specify the information relied upon in making such finding. In all cases, a copy of the mailed or posted notice shall also be filed by the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, in the office of the Gloucester County Clerk. This filing shall have the same force and effect as a formal notice under N.J.S.A. 2A:15-6. The notice shall be captioned with the name of the Township of Harrison as "plaintiff" and the name of the property owner as "defendant," as though an action had been commenced by the Township against the owner.
D. 
An owner or lienholder may challenge the inclusion of his property on the abandoned property list by appealing that determination to the Township Committee within 30 days of the owner's receipt of the certified notice or 40 days from the date upon which the notice was sent. An owner whose identity was not known to the Public Officer, or such other public officer designated or appointed by the Township Committee pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5, shall have 40 days from the date upon which notice was published or posted, whichever is later, to challenge the inclusion of a property on the abandoned property list. For good cause shown, the Township Committee shall accept a late filing of an appeal. Within 30 days of receipt of a request for an appeal of the findings contained in the notice, the Township Committee shall schedule a hearing for redetermination of the matter. Any property included on the list shall be presumed to be abandoned property unless the owner, through the submission of an affidavit or certification asserting that the property is not an abandoned property, can demonstrate that the property was erroneously included on the list. The affidavit or certification shall be accompanied by supporting documentation, such as, but not limited to, photographs, repair invoices, bills and construction contracts. The sole ground for appeal shall be that the property in question is not abandoned property as that term is defined herein and in N.J.S.A. 55:19-54. The Township Committee shall decide any timely filed appeal within 10 days of the hearing on the appeal and shall promptly, by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular mail, notify the property owner of the decision and the reasons therefor.
E. 
The property owner may challenge an adverse determination of an appeal with the Township Committee pursuant to Subsection D of this § 210-20, by instituting, in accordance with the New Jersey Court Rules, a summary trial proceeding in the Superior Court, Gloucester County. Such action shall be instituted within 20 days of the date of the notice of decision mailed by the Township Committee. The sole ground for appeal and new hearing before the Superior Court shall be that the property in question is not an abandoned property, as that term is defined in N.J.S.A. 55:19-54. The failure to institute an action of appeal on a timely basis shall constitute a jurisdictional bar to challenging the adverse determination, except that, for good cause shown, the court may extend the deadline for instituting the action.
F. 
The Township shall promptly remove any property from the abandoned property list that has been determined by the governing body or on appeal not to be abandoned and may, in its discretion, remove properties from said list whenever the governing body deems such removal appropriate under the circumstances.
G. 
The abandoned property list shall become effective, and the Township of Harrison shall have the right to pursue any legal remedy with respect to properties on the list, at any time after at least one property has been placed on the list and following the expiration of the period for appeal with respect to that first property or upon the denial of an appeal brought by the property owner of that first property.
A. 
Any interested party may submit a written request to the Township Committee asserting that any property within the Township of Harrison should be included on the abandoned property list. The written request must specify the street address and block and lot number of the property to be included and the grounds for its inclusion. Within 30 days of receipt of any such request, the Township Committee shall provide a written response to the party, either indicating that the property will be added to the list or, if not, the reasons for not adding the property. For the purposes of this section, the term "interested parties" shall include any resident of the Township of Harrison, any owner or operator of a business within the Township of Harrison or any organization representing the interests of residents, business owners or otherwise engaged in furthering the revitalization and improvement of the neighborhood in which the property is located.
B. 
Any interested party may participate in a redetermination hearing regarding the inclusion of a property on the abandoned property list. Upon written request by any interested party, the Township Committee shall provide that party with at least 20 days' notice of any such hearing. The party shall provide the Township Committee with notice at least 10 days before the hearing of its intention to participate and the nature of the testimony or other information that it proposes to submit at the hearing.
A. 
An owner may request removal of his/her/its property from the abandoned properties list prior to sale of the tax sale certificate by paying all taxes and Township liens due, including interest and penalties, and:
(1) 
By posting cash or a bond equal to the cost of remediating all conditions because of which the property has been determined to be abandoned pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-55 and by posting cash or a bond to cover the cost of any environmental cleanup required on the property, evidenced by a certification by a licensed engineer retained by the owner and reviewed and approved by the Township Committee, stating that the cash or bond adequately covers the cost of the cleanup; or
(2) 
By demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Township Committee that the conditions rendering the property abandoned have been remediated in full; provided, however, that where the Township Committee finds that the owner is actively engaged in remediating the conditions because of which the property was determined to be abandoned, as evidenced by significant rehabilitation activity on the property, the Township Committee may grant an extension of time of not more than 20 days for the owner to complete all work, during which time no further proceedings will be taken against the owner or the property.
B. 
If the owner has posted cash or a bond in order to have a property removed from the abandoned property list and the conditions because of which the property was determined to be abandoned have not been fully remediated within one year of the date of posting the cash or bond, or, in the case of a property which requires a remediation of any known, suspected or threatened release of contaminants, if the owner has failed to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection or an administrative consent order, as the case may be, or if an agreement or order is in effect but the owner has failed to perform the remediation in conformance with the agreement or order, then the cash or bond shall be forfeited to the Township, which shall use the cash or bond and any interest which has accrued thereon for the purpose of demolishing or rehabilitating the property or performing the environmental remediation. Any funds remaining after the property has been demolished, rehabilitated or cleaned up shall be returned to the owner.
A. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.A. 54:5-19, or the provisions of any other law to the contrary, if a property is included on the abandoned property list and the property taxes or other Township liens due on the property are delinquent for six or more quarters as of the date of expiration of the right to appeal the property's inclusion on the list or, if an appeal has been filed, as of the date that all opportunities for appeal of inclusion on the list have been exhausted, then the tax lien on the property may be sold in accordance with the procedures of the Tax Sale Law, N.J.S.A. 54:5-1 et seq., on or after the 90th day following the expiration of that time of appeal or final determination on an appeal.
B. 
The Township of Harrison may, at its option, require that the sale of the tax sale certificate or any subsequent assignment or transfer of a tax sale certificate held by the Township be subject to the express condition that the purchaser or assignee shall be obliged to perform and conclude any rehabilitation or repairs necessary to remove the property from the abandoned property list pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-55 and to post a bond in favor of the Township to guarantee the rehabilitation or repair of the property. The Township Committee may waive a requirement to post a bond imposed by the Township for any purchaser, assignee or transferee of a tax sale certificate that provides documentation acceptable to the Township Committee that the purchaser, assignee or transferee is a qualified rehabilitation entity as defined in N.J.S.A. 55:19-80. The cost of rehabilitation and repairs and the cost of the bond shall be added to the amount required to be paid by the owner for redemption of the property. The purchaser, assignee or transferee of the tax sale certificate who is required to rehabilitate and repair the property shall be required to file the appropriate affidavits with the Tax Collector, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-62, representing the amounts of moneys expended periodically toward the rehabilitation or repair of the property. A purchaser, assignee or transferee shall be entitled to interest on the amounts expended, as set forth in the affidavits, at the delinquent rate of interest for delinquencies in excess of $1,500 in effect for the time period when the amounts were expended, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-67. The tax sale certificate purchaser, assignee or transferee, with the authority of the Township of Harrison, shall be permitted to enter in and upon the property for the purposes of appraising the costs of rehabilitation and repair and to perform all other acts required to guarantee the completion of the rehabilitation or repair of the property. No rehabilitation or repair work shall be commenced, however, until proof of adequate liability insurance and an indemnification agreement, holding the Township of Harrison harmless, has been filed with the Township Clerk.
C. 
If the Township of Harrison acquires the tax sale certificate for a property on the abandoned property list, then, upon 10 days' written notice to the property owner and any mortgagee as of the date of the filing of the notice pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-55, the Township shall be permitted to enter upon the property and remediate any conditions that caused the property to be included on the abandoned property list. No remediation shall be commenced, however, if, within that ten-day period, the owner or mortgagee shall have notified the Township, in writing, that the owner or mortgagee has elected to perform the remediation itself. When the owner or mortgagee elects to perform the remediation itself, it shall be required to post bond in favor of the Township of Harrison in order to ensure performance. The amount and conditions of the bond shall be determined by the Township Committee.
D. 
The cost of remediation incurred by the Township of Harrison, as so certified by the entity incurring the cost upon completion of the remediation, shall constitute a lien upon the property first in time and right to any other lien, whether the other lien was filed prior to or after the filing of any lien by the Township, except for Township taxes, liens and assessments and any lien imposed pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq., together with any interest thereon. The certification of cost shall be filed and recorded as a lien by the entity incurring the cost with the Gloucester County Clerk.
E. 
The clearance, development, redevelopment, or repair of property being maintained as an abandoned property pursuant to this article shall be considered a public purpose and public use, for which the power of eminent domain may be lawfully exercised.
A. 
The Township of Harrison may hold special tax sales with respect to those properties eligible for tax sale pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-19 which are also on the abandoned property list.
B. 
The Township Committee shall establish criteria for eligibility to bid on properties at the sale, which may include, but need not be limited to:
(1) 
Documentation of the bidder's ability to rehabilitate or otherwise reuse the property consistent with Township plans and regulations; commitments by the bidder to rehabilitate or otherwise reuse the property, consistent with Township plans and regulations;
(2) 
Commitments by the bidder to take action to foreclose on the tax lien by a date certain; and
(3) 
Such other criteria as the Township Committee may determine are necessary to ensure that the properties to be sold will be rehabilitated or otherwise reused in a manner consistent with the public interest.
C. 
The Township Committee may establish minimum bid requirements for a special tax sale that are less than the full amount of the taxes, interest and penalties due, to help ensure that the properties will be rehabilitated or otherwise utilized in a manner consistent with the public interest.
D. 
The Township Committee may combine properties in said special tax sale into bid packages and require that bidders place a single bid on each package, rejecting any and all bids on individual properties that are submitted.
E. 
The Township Committee may sell said properties subject to the provision that, if the purchaser fails to carry out any commitment that has been set forth as a condition of sale or misrepresents any material qualification that has been established as a condition of eligibility to bid pursuant thereto, then the properties and any interest thereto acquired by the purchaser shall revert to the Township, and any amount paid by the purchaser at the special tax sale shall be forfeit to the Township.
F. 
In the event that there are two or more qualified bidders for any property or bid package in a special tax sale, the Township may designate the unsuccessful qualified bidder whose bid was closest to the successful bid as an eligible purchaser. In the event that the selected purchaser of that property or bid package fails to meet any of the conditions of sale established by the Township pursuant to this section and his/her/its interest in the property or properties reverts to the Township, the Township may subsequently designate the entity previously designated as an eligible purchaser as the winning bidder for the property or properties and assign the tax sale certificates to that entity on the basis of that entity's bid at the special tax sale, subject to the terms and conditions of the special tax sale.
G. 
The Township of Harrison shall provide notice of a special tax sale pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-26. The notice shall include any special terms of sale established by the Township pursuant to this section. Nothing shall prohibit the Township from holding a special tax sale on the same day as a standard or accelerated tax sale.
A. 
When a person or entity other than the Township of Harrison acquires a tax sale certificate for a property on the abandoned property list at tax sale, the purchaser may institute an action to foreclose the right of redemption at any time after the expiration of just six months following the date of the sale of the tax sale certificate.
B. 
When the Township of Harrison is the purchaser at tax sale of any property on the abandoned property list pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-34, an action to foreclose the right of redemption may be instituted in accordance with the provisions of Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 54:5-77.
C. 
After the foreclosure action is instituted, the right to redeem shall exist and continue to exist until barred by the judgment of the Superior Court; provided, however, that no redemption shall be permitted except where the owner:
(1) 
Posts cash or a bond equal to the cost of remediating the conditions because of which the property was determined to be abandoned pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-56, as determined by the court; or
(2) 
Demonstrates to the court that the conditions because of which the property was determined to be abandoned have been remedied in full.
A. 
If an entity other than the Township of Harrison has purchased or taken assignment from the Township of a tax sale certificate on a property that has not been legally occupied for a period of six months, that property shall not be added to the abandoned property list under the following limited circumstances:
(1) 
The owner of the certificate has continued to pay all Township taxes and liens on the property in the tax year when due; and
(2) 
The owner of the certificate takes action to initiate foreclosure proceedings within six months after the property is eligible for foreclosure pursuant to either Subsection a or Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 54:5-86, as appropriate, and diligently pursues foreclosure proceedings in a timely fashion thereafter.
B. 
A property used on a seasonal basis shall be deemed abandoned only if it meets any two of the additional criteria set forth in N.J.S.A. 55:19-81.
C. 
A determination that a property is abandoned property under the provisions of this article and N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq. shall not constitute a finding that the use of the property has been abandoned for purposes of municipal zoning or land use regulation.
D. 
Upon the request of a purchaser or assignee of a tax sale certificate seeking to bar the right of redemption on an abandoned property pursuant to Subsection b of N.J.S.A. 54:5-86, the Township Committee or the Tax Collector shall, in a timely fashion, provide the requester with a certification that the property fulfills the definition of an "abandoned property" according to the criteria established in N.J.S.A. 55:19-81 and N.J.S.A. 55:19-82.
A. 
A summary action or other action to transfer possession and control of abandoned property in need of rehabilitation to the Township of Harrison may be brought by the Township in the Superior Court, Gloucester County. If the court shall find that the property is abandoned and that the owner or party in interest has failed to submit and initiate a rehabilitation plan, then the court may authorize the Township to take possession and control of the property and to develop its own rehabilitation plan for the property.
B. 
Where the Township has been granted possession and control, the Township may commence and maintain further proceedings for the conservation, protection or disposal of the property, or any part thereof, that are required to rehabilitate the property, recoup the cost and expenses of rehabilitation, and for the sale of the property; provided, however, that the court shall not direct the sale of the property if the owner applies to the court for reinstatement of control and possession of the property as permitted by N.J.S.A. 55:19-92.
C. 
Failure by the owner, mortgage holder or lienholder to submit a plan for rehabilitation to the Township, obtain appropriate construction permits or, in the alternative, submit formal applications for funding the cost of rehabilitation to local, state or federal agencies providing such funding, within the initial six-month period, shall be deemed clear evidence that the owner has failed to take any action to further the rehabilitation of the property.
D. 
An owner may defend against a complaint filed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-84 by submitting a plan for the rehabilitation and reuse of the property which is the subject of the complaint and by posting a bond equal to 125% of the amount determined by the Township Committee or the court to be the projected cost of rehabilitation.
E. 
Any plan submitted by an owner to defend against a complaint shall be submitted within 60 days after the complaint has been filed, unless the court provides the owner with an extension of time for good cause shown. A plan submitted by an owner pursuant to this section shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) 
A detailed financial feasibility analysis, including documentation of the economic feasibility of the proposed reuse, including operating budgets or resale prices, or both, as appropriate;
(2) 
A budget for the rehabilitation of the property, including sources and uses of funds, based on the terms and conditions of realistically available financing, including grants and loans;
(3) 
A timetable for the completion of rehabilitation and reuse of the property, including milestones for performance of major steps leading to and encompassing the rehabilitation and reuse of the property; and
(4) 
Documentation of the qualifications of the individuals and firms that will be engaged to carry out the planning, design, financial packaging, construction, and marketing or rental of the property.
F. 
Where the court approves the rehabilitation plan of the owner or other party in interest, then it may appoint the Township Committee to act as monitor of compliance and progress. If the owner fails to carry out any step in the approved plan, then the Township may apply to the court to have the posted bond forfeited, to transfer possession of the building to the Township to complete the rehabilitation plan, and to grant authorization to use the bond proceeds for the rehabilitation. The owner or other party in interest shall provide bimonthly reports to the Township Committee on its activities and progress toward rehabilitation and reuse of the property.
G. 
If an owner is unsuccessful in defending against a complaint filed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-84, the mortgage holder or lienholder may seek to be designated in possession of the property by submitting a plan and posting a bond meeting the same conditions as set forth in N.J.S.A. 55:19-87. His/her/its plan must be submitted within 60 days following the court's rejection of the owner's plan, unless the court provides the mortgage holder or lienholder with an extension of time for good cause shown. If the court approves any such mortgage holder or lienholder's plan, it shall designate that party to be in possession of the property for purposes of ensuring its rehabilitation.
H. 
The mortgage holder or lienholder, as the case may be, shall provide bimonthly reports to the court and the Township Committee on its activities and progress toward rehabilitation and reuse of the property. If the mortgage holder or lienholder fails to carry out any material step in the approved plan, then the Township Committee shall notify the court, which may order the posted bond forfeit, grant the Township possession of the property, and authorize the Township to use the proceeds of the bond for rehabilitation of the property.
I. 
Any sums incurred or advanced for the purpose of rehabilitating the property by a mortgage holder or lienholder granted possession of a property, including court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, may be added to the unpaid balance due to that mortgage holder or lienholder, with interest calculated at the same rate set forth in the note or security agreement or, in the case of a tax lienholder, at the statutory interest rate for subsequent liens.
J. 
If no mortgage holder or lienholder meets the conditions of N.J.S.A. 55:19-88, then the Township may submit a plan to the court which conforms with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 55:19-87. Such plan shall designate whether the Township or a qualified rehabilitation entity shall undertake the rehabilitation plan in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 55:19-90.
A. 
The Township Committee may designate a qualified rehabilitation entity for the purpose of exercising the Township's rights, where that designation will further the rehabilitation and reuse of the property consistent with Township plans and objectives.
B. 
Regardless of whether the Township exercises its rights directly or the Township Committee designates a qualified rehabilitation entity pursuant to this section, the Township shall maintain, safeguard, and maintain insurance on the property while in possession of such property. Notwithstanding the Township's possession of the property, the owner of the property shall not be relieved of any civil or criminal liability or any duty imposed by reason of acts or omissions of the owner.
C. 
The court may approve the borrowing of funds by the Township to rehabilitate the property and may grant a lien or security interests with priority over all other liens or mortgages other than municipal liens. Prior to granting this lien priority, the court must find as follows:
(1) 
The Township sought to obtain the necessary financing from the senior lienholder, which declined to provide such financing on reasonable terms;
(2) 
The Township sought to obtain a voluntary subordination from the senior lienholder, which refused to provide such subordination; and
(3) 
Lien priority is necessary in order to induce another lender to provide financing on reasonable terms. No lien authorized by the court shall take effect unless recorded with the Clerk of Gloucester County.
D. 
Where the Township has designated a qualified rehabilitation entity to act on its behalf, the qualified rehabilitation entity shall provide bimonthly reports to the Township Committee on its activities and progress toward rehabilitation and reuse of the property. The Township or qualified rehabilitation entity, as the case may be, shall provide such reports to the court as the court determines to be necessary. If the court finds that the Township or its designee has failed to take diligent action toward rehabilitation of the property within one year from the grant of possession, then the court may request that the Township designate another qualified rehabilitation entity to exercise its rights or, if the Township fails to do so, may terminate the order of possession and return possession and control of the property to its owner.
E. 
The Township of Harrison shall file a notice of completion with the court, and shall also serve a copy on the owner and any mortgage holder or lienholder, at such time as the Township has determined that no more than six months remain to the anticipated date on which rehabilitation will be complete. This notice shall include an affidavit of the Township Committee, attesting that the rehabilitation is anticipated to be completed within six months, and a statement setting forth the actions as it plans to undertake consistent with the plan.
A. 
An owner may petition for reinstatement of the owner's control and possession of the property at any time after one year from the court's removal of possession, but no later than 30 days after the Township of Harrison has filed a notice of completion with the court or, in the event the notice of completion is filed within less than one year of the grant of possession, within 30 days after the Township has filed said notice.
B. 
The court may allow additional time for good cause if that additional time does not materially delay completion of the rehabilitation, place undue hardship on the Township or affect any of the terms or conditions under which the Township has applied for or received financing for the rehabilitation of the property.
C. 
If the owner fails to petition for the reinstatement of control and possession of the property within 30 days after the Township has filed a notice of completion or, in any event, within two years after the initial grant of possession, or if the owner fails to meet any conditions that may be set by the court in granting a reinstatement petition, the court may grant the Township title or authorize the Township to sell the property, subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 55:19-96.
A. 
The Township Committee, with the approval of the court, may place a lien on the property to cover any costs of the Township in connection with any proceeding under N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq., incurred prior to the grant by the court of an order of possession, which may include costs incurred to stabilize or secure the property to ensure that it can be rehabilitated in a cost-effective manner. Any such lien shall be considered a Township lien for the purposes of N.J.S.A. 54:5-9, with the rights and status of a Township lien pursuant thereto.
B. 
Where the Township seeks to gain title to the property, it shall purchase the property for fair market value on such terms as the court shall approve and may place the proceeds of sale in escrow with the court.
C. 
The court may authorize the Township of Harrison to sell the building free and clear of liens, claims and encumbrances, in which event all such liens, claims and encumbrances shall be transferred to the proceeds of sale with the same priority as existed prior to resale in accordance with the provisions of this section, except that municipal liens shall be paid at settlement. The proceeds of the purchase of the property shall be distributed as set forth in N.J.S.A. 55:19-97.
D. 
Upon approval by the court, the Township shall sell the property on such terms and at such price as the court shall approve and may place the proceeds of sale in escrow with the court. The court shall order a distribution of the proceeds of sale after paying court costs in the order of priority set forth in N.J.S.A. 55:19-97.
E. 
With the exception of the holding of special tax sales pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-101, the remedies available under N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq. shall be available to the Township with respect to any abandoned property, whether or not the Township has established an abandoned property list and whether or not the property at issue has been included on any such list.