[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Shamong 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Consistent with § 3 of P.L. 2008, c. 86 (N.J.S.A. 46:10B-38), a state-chartered bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or any credit union, any person required to be licensed under the provisions of the New Jersey Residential Mortgage Lending Act (N.J.S.A. 17:11C-51 et seq.), and any entity acting on behalf of the creditor named in the debt obligation, including but not limited to servicers.
- VACANT AND ABANDONED
- Consistent with § 1 of P.L. 2010, c. 70 (N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73), residential real estate for which a notice of violation has been issued pursuant to § 137-4 of this chapter and Subsection b of § 1 of P.L. 2014, c. 35. Residential property shall further be deemed "vacant and abandoned" where a mortgaged property is not occupied by a mortgagor or tenant and at least two of the following conditions exist:
- A. Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
- B. The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property;
- C. Disconnected gas, electric, or water utility services to the property;
- D. The accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
- E. The accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property;
- F. The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
- G. The absence of furnishings and personal items;
- H. Statements of neighbors, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
- I. Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and unrepaired;
- J. Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked;
- K. A risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public, or any adjoining or adjacent property owners, exists due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct, or the physical destruction or deterioration of the property;
- L. An uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing, or similar code during the preceding year, or an order by municipal authorities declaring the property to be unfit for occupancy and to remain vacant and unoccupied;
- M. The mortgagee or other authorized party has secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing;
- N. A written statement issued by any mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property; and
- O. Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s.
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township shall be immediately responsible for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property, after the property becomes vacant and abandoned as defined in this chapter.
Effective January 1, 2016, the creditor/owner of any vacant property as defined herein shall, within 30 calendar days after the building becomes vacant property or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant property, whichever is later; or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice from the municipality, file a registration statement for such vacant property with the Township Code Enforcement Officer on forms provided by the Township for such purposes. Any failure to provide notice by the municipality shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the property.
Each property having a separate block and lot number as designated in official records of the municipality shall be registered separately.
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firm's individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration except for the initial registration which shall be valid through December 31 of the year in which it was filed. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains vacant property, and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in § 137-3 of this chapter for each vacant property registered.
The annual renewal shall be completed by January 1 each year. The initial registration fee shall be pro-rated for registration statements received less than 10 months prior to that date.
The owner shall notify the Clerk within 30 calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Clerk for such purpose.
The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the Township against the owner or owners of the building.
Where a creditor is located out of state, the creditor shall be responsible for appointing an in-state representative or agent to act on the creditor's behalf for the purpose of satisfying all requirements of Subsection A of this section. Notice of said representative or agent shall be provided to the Township Clerk in a manner that is consistent with Subsection a of § 17 of P.L. 2008, c. 127 (the Save New Jersey Homes Act of 2008, N.J.S.A. 46:10B-36 et seq.), and shall further include the full name and contact information of the in-state representative or agent.
The initial registration fee for each building shall be $500. The fee for the first renewal is $1,500, and the fee for the second renewal is $3,000. The fee for any subsequent renewal beyond the second renewal is $5,000.
Any public officer designated by the Township or authorized municipal official responsible for the administration of any property maintenance or public nuisance code shall be authorized to issue a notice to a creditor that has filed a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township, if the public officer determines that the creditor has violated this chapter by failing to provide for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property. Where a creditor is an out-of-state creditor, the notice shall be issued to the representative or agent that has been identified by the creditor pursuant to § 137-2 of this chapter and the Save New Jersey Homes Act of 2008, N.J.S.A. 46:10B-36 et seq.
The notice referenced in Subsection A of this section shall require the creditor to correct the violation(s) within 30 days of receipt of the notice, or within 10 days of receipt of the notice if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety.
A creditor subject to this chapter that is found by the Municipal Court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to correct a care, maintenance, security, or upkeep violation cited in a notice issued pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation. Any fines imposed pursuant to this subsection shall commence 31 days following the creditor's receipt of the notice, except where the violation is deemed to present an imminent risk to the public health and safety, in which case any fines shall commence 11 days following receipt of the notice.
An out-of-state creditor subject to this chapter that is found by the Municipal Court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation. Any fines imposed on an out-of-state creditor for the failure to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall commence on the day after the ten-day period set forth in Paragraph (1) of Subsection a of § 17 of P.L. 2008, c. 127 (N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51), for providing notice to the Municipal Clerk that a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage has been served.
No less than 20% of any money collected by the Township pursuant to this section shall be utilized by the Township for municipal code enforcement purposes.