Township of Denville, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Denville by Ord. No. 8/60 (Ch. 11, Sec. 11-7, of the 1978 Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Council has adopted a resolution finding that there exists in the Township a building or buildings which are unfit for human habitation, or occupancy, or use due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such building or part thereof, unsafe, or unsanitary, or dangerous, or detrimental to the health or safety, or otherwise, inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Township.
As used in this section:
BUILDING
Any building or structure, or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and shall include any appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
OWNER
The holder of the title in fee simple.
PARTIES IN INTEREST
All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
PUBLIC AUTHORITY
Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Township, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the Township.
The Construction Official is hereby designated to exercise the powers prescribed in this section.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III)]
Whenever a petition is filed with the Construction Official by a public authority, or by at least five residents of the Township charging that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Construction Official (on his motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, the Construction Official shall if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Construction Official (or his designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint.
The owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint. The rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Construction Official.
If after such notice and hearing the Construction Official determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, he shall state, in writing, his finding of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order:
A. 
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the building to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order or at the option of the owner to vacate or have the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
B. 
If the building is in such a condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near the premises, and the owner fails to repair, alter or improve the building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter or improve, or at the option of the owner to vacate and close the building, the Construction Official may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. The Construction Official may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any building so closed a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use; the use or occupancy of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Construction Official may cause such building to be removed or demolished, or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
A. 
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witnesses fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this section determined in favor of the Township; and
B. 
The cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, if any, or the amount of the balance thereof remaining after deduction of the sum, if any, realized from the sale of materials derived from such building or from any contract for removal or demolition thereof, shall be a lien in favor of the Township against the real property with respect to which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Construction Official, he shall sell the materials of such buildings. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits, or if the sum total of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the Tax Assessor and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the superior court by the Construction Official all in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5.
The Construction Official may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use upon finding that conditions exist in such building that are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of the building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the Township. Such conditions may include the following (without limiting the generality of the foregoing): defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair, structural defects or uncleanliness.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III)]
Complaints or orders issued by the Construction Official pursuant hereto shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons are unknown and same cannot be ascertained by the Construction Official in the exercise of reasonable diligence and the Construction Official shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once in a newspaper printed and published in the Township or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the Township. A copy of the complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of the complaint or order shall be recorded or lodged for recording in the office of the County Clerk.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III)]
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the Construction Official under this section may, within 30 days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the Construction Official from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief.
The Construction Official is hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this section, including the following powers in addition to others herein granted:
A. 
To investigate the building conditions within the Township in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use.
B. 
To administer oaths, affirmation, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
C. 
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations; provided, that the entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
D. 
To appoint and fix the duties of such agent or agents as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
E. 
To delegate any of his functions or powers under this section to such agent or agents as he may designate.