[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Fort Lee as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-11-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-12]
A creditor serving a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage on residential property within the Borough shall, within 10 days of serving the summons and complaint, notify the Borough Clerk that a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage has been filed against the subject property and provide the name and contact information for the representative of the creditor who is responsible for receiving complaints of property maintenance and code violations pursuant to Paragraph (1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51.
An out-of-state creditor that serves a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Borough must include the full name and contact information of an in-state representative or agent who shall be responsible for the care, maintenance, security and upkeep of the exterior of the property if it becomes vacant and abandoned pursuant to Paragraph (1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51.
In the event a property being foreclosed on is an affordable unit pursuant to the Fair Housing Act (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-301 et seq.), the creditor shall provide notice to the Borough Clerk within 10 days of service of a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on the mortgage, advising the property is subject to the Fair Housing Act, include the street address, lot and block number of the property, and the full name and contact information of an individual located within the state who is authorized to accept service on behalf of the creditor pursuant to Paragraph (1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Public Laws of 2014, Chapter 35, a creditor filing a summons and complaint to foreclose a lien on a residential property that is vacant and abandoned, whether the filing of the summons and complaint is made prior to or after the determination that the property is vacant and abandoned, shall be responsible for the care, maintenance, security and upkeep of the exterior of the residential property. This obligation applies whether the determination that the property is vacant and abandoned is made by the public officer, as defined in Chapter 311, pursuant to the provisions of this article, Chapter 311 of this Code, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73, or otherwise.
If the public officer, or other authorized Borough official, determines that a creditor obligated to care, maintain, secure and keep up a vacant and abandoned property has failed to do so in violation of the provisions of this article or Chapter 311 of this Code, the public officer or other authorized Borough official shall issue a notice of violation to the creditor that has filed a summons and complaint to foreclose on the property in question. The notice shall require the person or entity to correct the violation within 30 days of receipt of the notice. If the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety, then remedial action must be completed within 10 days of receipt of notice. The issuance of this notice shall constitute (prima facie) evidence that a property is vacant and abandoned for purposes of N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73.
An out-of-state creditor found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have violated Paragraph (1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 shall be subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation, commencing on the day after the ten-day period set forth in Paragraph (1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 and § 313-1 of this Code with respect to notifying the Borough Clerk that an action to foreclose on the property has been filed.
Except as set forth in § 311-4 and herein, any person, firm, corporation or entity violating any provision of this article, Chapter 311, or Chapter 312 of this Code shall, upon conviction, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, § 1-17 of this Code. A creditor required to care, maintain, secure and keep up a property under this chapter, cited in a notice issued pursuant to § 313-3, shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation.
The Borough shall have the same recourse against any creditor as it would against the title owner of the property if the Borough, as a matter of public necessity or safety, unilaterally decides to expend public funds in order to abate a nuisance or correct a violation on a property in situations in which the creditor was given notice, but failed to abate the nuisance or correct the violation pursuant to N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 or pursuant to any other statutory or common law authority.
Notice of violations of property maintenance, building or other property codes for any property declared vacant and abandoned pursuant to this article shall be given to a foreclosing creditor pursuant to the procedures of § 313-3 of this Code as required by P.L. 2014, c. 35.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.
All sections hereof arising from or citing a specific statutory reference shall be deemed as automatically adopting any amendment to such statute(s) as may be consistent with the Borough's purposes in enacting this article.
If any provision or portion of a provision of this article is held to be unconstitutional, preempted by federal or state law, or otherwise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions of the article shall not be invalidated. All prior ordinances or parts of ordinances which are inconsistent with any provisions of this ordinance are hereby repealed as to the extent of such inconsistencies.
This article shall take effect following adoption and publication in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey.
Nothing contained in this article shall be interpreted to waive, limit or interfere with any other or additional rights the Borough or private individual may have or acquire, with regard to the condemnation, remediation, injunctive relief, damages and fees, from other regulations, statutes, common law or ordinances concerning remedial or enforcement actions against properties (their owners, occupiers and interest holders) which are abandoned, vacant, a public nuisance or constitute some threat or impediment to the public's interest, health or safety.