Town of Dover, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORTY: Adopted by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dover 4-12-2116 by Ord. No. 06-2016.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Property maintenance — See Ch. 285.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 286, Property, Vacant and Foreclosed, adopted 11-25-2014 by Ord. No. 25-2014.
A. 
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 (i) requiring all real property owners, including banks, financial institutions, credit unions, lenders, trustees and service companies to properly maintain vacant and/or foreclosing properties, and (ii) regulating the maintenance of vacant and/or foreclosing real properties in order to prevent blighted and unsecured residences.
B. 
In addition to any other remedies in law or equity not set forth herein, enforcement authority shall be vested in the Code Enforcement Department. The Police Department and Department of Public Works shall also have enforcement authority with respect to this chapter. The Town Administrator may also designate, when necessary, additional enforcement duties for other Town departments or a contracted third-party administrator.
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.
CHIEF CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Chief Code Enforcement Officer of the Code Enforcement Department and/or his or her designee(s).
DAYS
Consecutive calendar days.
ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY
The Code Enforcement Department and any other department designated as such by the Town Administrator.
FORECLOSING
The legal process by which a mortgagee, or other lien holder, terminates a property owner's equitable right of redemption to obtain legal and equitable title to the real property pledged as security for a debt or the real property subject to the lien. This definition shall include, but is not limited to, public notice of default, a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, sale to the mortgagee or lien holder, certificate of title and all other processes, activities and actions, by whatever name, associated with the described process. The process is not concluded until the property obtained by the mortgagee, lien holder, or their designee, by certificate of title, or any other means, is sold to a nonrelated bona fide purchaser in an arm's length transaction to satisfy the debt or lien.
INITIATION OF THE FORECLOSURE PROCESS
Any of the following actions taken by a mortgagee against the borrower or mortgagee of a property:
A. 
Taking possession of the property;
B. 
Delivering a mortgagee's notice of intention to foreclose to the borrower;
C. 
Commencing a foreclosure action or filing a lis pendens in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
MORTGAGEE
The bank, financial institution, lending institution, credit union and/or creditor, including, but not limited to, service companies, lenders in a mortgage agreement and any agent, servant or employee of the mortgagee, or any successor in interest and/or assignee of the mortgagee's rights, interests or obligations under the mortgage agreement.
PROPERTY
Any real estate, residential property, or portion thereof, located in the Town of Dover, including buildings or structures situated on the property. For the purposes of this section only, property does not include property owned or subject to the control of the Town or any of its governmental bodies or agencies including, but not limited to, property owned or controlled by the Housing Authority of the Town of Dover.
SECURING
Taking measures that assist in making the property inaccessible to unauthorized persons.
TOWN
The Town of Dover.
VACANT
Any property not currently legally occupied and not properly maintained or secured.
A. 
Any mortgagee who holds a mortgage on real property located within the Town 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 Department, or its designee, on forms or other manner as directed, 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. 
Registration pursuant to this section shall contain the name, direct mailing address, a direct contact name, telephone number, and e-mail address for the mortgagee, and the servicer, and the name and twenty-four-hour contact phone number of the local property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property.
C. 
Mortgagees who have existing registrable property on the effective date of this chapter have 30 calendar days from the effective date to register the property with the Code Enforcement Department, or its designee, on forms or other manner as directed, and indicate whether the property is vacant or occupied. A separate registration is required for each property, whether it is vacant or occupied.
D. 
If the mortgage on a registrable property is sold or transferred, the new mortgagee is subject to all the terms of this chapter and within five days of the transfer register the property and pay a registration fee in accordance with this chapter. Any previous unpaid annual registration fees are the responsibility of the new mortgagee or trustee and are due and payable with their initial registration.
E. 
If the mortgagee owner of a foreclosed real property sells or transfers the property to a non-arm's length related person or entity, the transferee, is subject to all the terms of this chapter and within five days of the transfer register the property and pay a registration fee in accordance with this chapter. Any previous unpaid annual registration fees are the responsibility of the new registrable property owner and are due and payable with their initial registration.
F. 
As long as the property is registrable it shall be inspected by the mortgagee, or designee, monthly. If an inspection shows a change in the property's occupancy status the mortgagee shall, within 10 days of that inspection, update the occupancy status of the property registration.
G. 
A nonrefundable annual registration fee established by resolution shall accompany each registration pursuant to this section.
H. 
All registration fees must be paid directly from the mortgagee, trustee, servicer, or owner. Third-party registration fees are not allowed without the consent of the Town and/or its authorized designee.
I. 
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 are registrable.
J. 
Until the mortgage or lien on the property in question is satisfied, or legally discharged, the desire to no longer pursue foreclosure, the filing of a dismissal of lis pendens and/or summary of final judgment and/or certificate of title, voluntary or otherwise, does not exempt any mortgagee holding the defaulted mortgage, from all the requirements of this chapter as long as the borrower is in default.
K. 
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.
L. 
Failure of the mortgagee to properly register or to modify the registration form from time to time to reflect a change of circumstances as required by this chapter is a violation of the chapter and shall be subject to enforcement and any resulting monetary penalties.
M. 
Pursuant to any administrative or judicial finding and determination that any property is in violation of this chapter, the Town 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.
N. 
All property registrations are valid for one year from the date of registration. A registration fee for the first year shall be $500, second year shall be $750, third year shall be $1,250, fourth year shall be $2,500 and the fifth and all subsequent years shall be $5,000. Said fees must accompany the registration form.
O. 
Once the property is no longer vacant or is sold or otherwise transferred, the owner must provide proof of sale, transfer or occupancy to the enforcement authority within 30 days of sale, transfer or occupancy.
A. 
Properties subject to the requirements of this chapter must be maintained in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations. The owner, local individual or local property management company must inspect the property twice a month for the duration of the vacancy.
B. 
The property must contain a posting with the name and twenty-four-hour contact phone number of the local individual or property management company responsible for the maintenance. This sign must be posted on the front of the property so it is clearly visible from the street.
C. 
Adherence to this section does not relieve the owner of any applicable obligations set forth in the Code of the Town of Dover, covenant conditions and restrictions, and/or homeowners' association rules and regulations.
The enforcement authority shall have the authority and the duty to inspect properties subject to this chapter for compliance and to issue summonses for any violations.
A. 
Failure to initially register with the enforcement authority is punishable by a fine of $1,000.
B. 
If applicable, failure to properly identify the name of the individual or property management company is punishable by a fine of $1,000.
C. 
Failure to maintain the property or respond to the notice as set forth in Subsection A of § 286-3 hereinabove is punishable by a fine up to $1,000, plus costs associated with the cleanup, to include, but not be limited to tipping fees and overtime for use of personnel and equipment, for the first offense and any subsequent offense may be punishable pursuant to the General Penalty Provision of this Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 1, General Provisions, § 1-15.
D. 
Nothing contained herein shall prevent the Department of Public Works, in a case of an unregistered or delinquent registered owner, from cleaning up the property on an as-needed basis and imposing a lien against the property for costs associated for cleanup as set forth in Subsection C of this section.
E. 
Any fine(s) or cost(s) associated with cleaning up the property that remains uncollected or unpaid shall, by resolution of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, become a lien upon the property, which 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 taxes to be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.14.
Upon the effective date as set forth in Section 10 herein below, any existing vacant or foreclosing properties shall have 30 days to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with the provisions of this ordinance be and the same are hereby repealed.
If any portion or clause of this chapter is declared invalid for any reason whatsoever, same shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other part or portion of this chapter.
The chapter shall take effect in accordance with law.