[1999 Code § 8.32.010]
This section is enacted pursuant to the following New Jersey Statutes: N.J.S.A. 40:48-2; 40:48-2.13; 40:48-2.14; 40:48-1, Subsection 15; 40:48-2.3 to 40:48-2.12; 40:48-2.12(a) to 40:48-2.12(g); 40:69A-30; and/or N.J.S.A. 2A:42-74 to 2A:42-78 and the general police powers.
[1999 Code § 8.32.020]
There is adopted a Property Maintenance Code reading as set out in this section.
This section shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Edison" and may be referred to in this section in the short form as "this section."
[1999 Code § 8.32.030]
It is found, determined and declared that there exist in the Township structures used for residential and nonresidential use which are or may become in the future substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance. It is further found that conditions of the above-described property, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance and appearance of the exterior of premises, infestation, lack of essential heating, plumbing, storage of refrigeration equipment, lack of maintenance or upkeep of essential utilities and facilities, existence of fire hazards, inadequate provisions for light and air, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding, constitute a menace to the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comfort of the citizens and inhabitants of the Township. The Edison Township Council further finds and declares that, by reason of lack of maintenance and the existence of progressive deterioration, certain properties have the further effect and/or the further potential effect of creating blighted conditions that, if the same are not curtailed and removed, the aforesaid conditions will grow and spread and will necessitate in time the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate the same and that, by reason of timely regulation and restrictions as herein contained, the growth of depressed areas, slums and blight may be prevented. It is further found that such prevention will maintain neighborhood and property values, as well as the desirability and amenities of residential and nonresidential uses; and it is further found that such prevention will protect and foster the public health, safety and welfare.
[1999 Code § 8.32.040]
The purpose of this section is to protect the public health, safety, morals and welfare of citizens and inhabitants of the Township by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance, condition and occupancy of residential and nonresidential premises; to establish minimum standards governing utilities, facilities and other physical components and conditions essential to make the aforesaid facilities fit for human habitation, occupancy and use; to fix certain responsibilities and duties upon owners and operators and distinct and separate responsibilities and duties upon occupants; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of residential and nonresidential premises; to fix penalties for the violations of this section; and to provide for the repair, demolition or vacation of premises unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
[1999 Code § 8.32.050; Ord. No. O.1913-2015]
All definitions of the BOCA Basic Building Code are included.
The following terms, wherever used herein or referred to in this section, shall have the respected meanings assigned to them, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context; as used in this section:
- ABANDONED VEHICLE
- Means any vehicle, including a trailer, which is without a currently valid license plate and is in either a rusted, wrecked, discarded, dismantled, partially dismantled, inoperative or an abandoned condition.
- COMMERCIAL PREMISES
- Means a building or buildings or any part thereof and the lot or tract of land upon which the building or buildings are situated, where commercial activity of any kind takes place. Commercial activity shall include but is not limited to gasoline service stations; stores for retail sales; liquor stores, taverns and inns; restaurants, including but not limited to drive-in restaurants, snack bars, hot dog, hamburger or ice cream stands; professional activities, including but not limited to medical, dental, legal, architectural and accounting; personal services, including but not limited to real estate, insurance, barbershops and hairdressers; repair shops of all kinds; and amusements, including but not limited to movies, skating rinks and bowling alleys; whether part of a shopping area or not. Commercial activity shall not include sale of agricultural products produced on the premises.
- Means the condition of a building or structure or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- DWELLING UNIT
- Means a room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Means any premises or any part thereof of any building or structure or any part thereof which may be lawfully viewed by the public or any member thereof.
- EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
- Means open space on the premises outside of any building located thereon.
- Means the control and elimination of insects, rodents and vermin.
- Means putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and/or consumption of food. (See also refuse and rubbish.)
- HABITABLE ROOMS
- Means rooms used or designed for use by one (1) or more persons for living or sleeping or cooking and eating, but not including bathrooms, water closet compartments, home laundries, serving and storage pantries, corridors, foyers, vestibules, cellars, heater rooms, boiler rooms or utility rooms. Other rooms or spaces that are not used frequently or for an extended period of time or have less than fifty (50) square feet of interior floor area shall not be considered as habitable rooms.
- Means any condition, man-made or natural, which affords a breeding place or hiding place for rodents, insects or other pests.
- Means the presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises which constitute a health hazard either to the occupants of the premises and/or to surrounding properties and/or residents.
- MIXED OCCUPANCY
- Means any building containing one (1) or more dwelling units or rooming units and also having a portion thereof devoted to nondwelling uses or as a motel.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING
- Means any building or structure and any land appurtenant thereto, and any portion thereof, in which three (3) or more units of dwelling space are occupied or intended to be occupied by three (3) or more persons living independently of each other, provided that motels, hotels and boardinghouses are excluded from this definition.
- 1. Any public nuisance recognized in common law or in equity jurisprudence or as provided by the Statutes of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Township;
- 2. Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building, on the exterior of premises or upon an unoccupied lot. Attractive nuisances include but are not limited to: abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, abandoned swimming pools, abandoned ice boxes and/or refrigerators, motor vehicles, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation such as poison ivy, oak or sumac which may prove hazardous for inquisitive minors;
- 3. Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist;
- 4. Overcrowding of a room with occupants in violation of the State Fire Code;
- 5. Inadequate or unsanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of this section;
- 6. Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of this section;
- 7. Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings;
- 8. Fire hazards, which shall include but not be limited to the maintenance and/or storage of combustible materials, the maintenance and/or storage of flammable chemicals and/or the maintenance of an uncontrolled open fire;
- 9. Insufficient ventilation or illumination in violation of this section;
- 10. Failure to maintain sight triangles as required by subsection 37-4.13.
- Means any person having actual possession of the premises or any part thereof.
- Means any person who has charge, care or control of a dwelling or premises or any part thereof, whether with or without the knowledge and consent of the owner.
- Means any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or who shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling unit as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or assigning any part of any dwelling or dwelling unit shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- Means all individuals, associations and corporations who have interest of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- Includes all manner of corporations and commercial entities as well as individuals.
- Means a lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Means any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Township of Edison, County of Middlesex or State of New Jersey, relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the Municipality.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- See subsection 15-1.15.
- Means all putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste (except body waste), including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned automobiles and solid market and industrial wastes. (See also garbage and rubbish.)
- Means nonputrescible solid waste consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery and similar materials. (See also garbage and refuse.)
- SHOPPING CENTER
- Means one (1) or more buildings or parts thereof designed or existing as a unit, occupied or to be occupied by one (1) or more businesses for the conduct of retail sales, with parking space.
[1999 Code § 8.32.060]
Scope and Application. All commercial premises, shopping centers and multifamily dwellings and any buildings situated thereon in the Township shall comply with the provisions of this section, whether or not such buildings shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this section. This section establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such buildings and premises and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of such buildings or premises contained therein. Where there is a mixed occupancy with commercial and other uses on the same premises, all such uses shall be nevertheless regulated by and subject to the provisions of this section.
Owner Liability. Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities prescribed in this section, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
[1999 Code § 8.32.070]
In any case where the provisions of this section impose a higher standard than set forth in any other ordinance of the Township or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail; but if the provisions of this section impose a lower standard than any other ordinance of the Township or of the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or laws shall prevail.
[1999 Code § 8.32.080]
No license or permit or other certification of compliance with this section shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other local ordinance applicable to any structure or premises or use of such structure or premises, nor shall any provision herein relieve any owner, operator, tenant or occupant from complying with any such other provision or any official of the Township from enforcing any such other provision.
[1999 Code § 8.32.090; Ord. No. O.1913-2015; Ord. No. O.1979-2017]
The exterior of the lands and/or premises, and all structures located on the lands and/or premises, shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the lands and/or premises, and shall be free of unsanitary conditions. Any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner, occupant and/or operator in accordance with the notice provisions set forth below, and in accordance with the provisions of this subsection. It shall be the duty of the owner, occupant and/or operator to keep the lands and/or premises free of hazards, which include but are not limited to the following:
Brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash, refuse and debris;
Dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard and/or a potential hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions;
Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which, by reason of location above ground level, constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof;
Ground surface hazards or unsanitary conditions, holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, icy conditions, uncleared snow, excretions of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the lands and/or premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the lands and/or premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repairs, walks and steps replaced and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions with reasonable dispatch upon their discovery;
[Ord. No. O.1979-2017]
Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulations of stormwater;
Sources of infestation;
Foundation walls shall be kept structurally sound, free from defects and damage and capable of bearing imposed loads safely;
Chimneys and all flue and vent attachments thereto shall be maintained, structurally sound, free from defects and so maintained as to capably perform at all times the functions for which they were designed. Chimneys, flues, gas vents or other draft-producing equipment shall provide sufficient draft to develop the rated output of the connected equipment, shall be structurally safe, durable and smoketight and capable of withstanding the action of flue gases;
Exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes shall be provided with banisters or railings properly designed and maintained to minimize the hazard of falling; and the same shall be kept structurally sound, in good repair and free from defects. This subsection does not apply to single-family dwellings having steps with four (4) or fewer risers, or a total height less than forty-eight (48) inches above ground level;
Vegetative overgrowth and other impediments that obstruct the maintenance of sight triangles and that constitute a hazard to vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic.
The owner, occupant and/or operator of such lands and/or premises is required to remove, or cause to be removed, from such lands and/or premises, any and all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the lands and/or premises, as well as any unsanitary conditions, within ten (10) days after receipt by such owner, occupant and/or operator, of written notice from the Division of Health.
Notice to the owner, occupant and/or operator to cause the removal of the conditions referred to in the preceding paragraph, shall be given by the Division of Health, and may be served upon any such owner, occupant and/or operator either personally or by certified mail, and, if by the latter method, the ten (10) day period within which such removal shall be accomplished shall be deemed to have commenced to run from the date of the return receipt of such certified mail, obtained by the postal authority for the delivery of such certified notice. Every such notice shall, in addition to requiring the removal within then ten (10) day period aforesaid, warn the owner, occupant and/or operator of the lands and/or premises to which such notice refers, that failure to accomplish such removal within the time stated therein will result in further action by the Division of Health, including (i) prosecution of any continuing violation in a court of competition jurisdiction in accordance with the requirements of the Township Code, including this Chapter, and (ii) removal, by or under the direction of the Division of Health, and the cost of such removal shall be charged to the owner, occupant and/or operator of such lands and/or premises, and shall be payable to the Township within thirty (30) days after the date of submission of the associated removal charges. An accurate record of the cost of such removal to the Township shall be determined by the Health Officer, who shall certify the cost thereof to the Governing Body.
Unless such charges are paid within the thirty (30) day period, the Governing Body shall proceed to examine the certificate of removal costs as determined by the Health Officer, against the lands and/or premises the amount to examined and charged shall forthwith become a lien upon such lands and/or premises, and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands and/or premises, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes, including without limit pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.14.
In the case of repeat violations, the Division of Health may take action to abate subsequent violations without providing additional written notice, upon confirmation of continued ownership or occupancy of the lands and/or premises by the initial individual(s) served.
[1999 Code § 8.32.100]
The exterior of the premises, the exterior of structures and the condition of accessory structures shall be maintained so that the appearance of the premises and structures shall not constitute a blighting factor for adjoining property owners. Such maintenance shall include the following:
In a residential zone, there shall not be stored or used at a location visible from the sidewalk, street or other public areas equipment and materials and/or vehicles relating to commercial or industrial uses unless permitted under the zoning ordinance of the Township.
Premises with landscaping and lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and from becoming overgrown and unsightly where exposed to public view and where the same constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining property.
Reconstructed walls and sidings of nonresidential structures shall be of standard quality and appearance commensurate with the character of the properties in the same block and on both sides of the street on which the premises front such that the materials used will not be of a kind that, by their appearance under prevailing appraisal practices and standards, would depreciate the values of the neighboring and adjoining premises as aforesaid.
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair. The same shall be maintained free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or block, excessive peeling paint or other conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance, to the end that the property itself may be preserved safely, fire hazards eliminated and adjoining properties protected from blighting influences.
[1999 Code § 8.32.110]
Outside building walls shall not have any holes, loose boards or any broken, cracked or damaged finish which admits rain, cold air, dampness, rodents, insects and/or vermin.
Every building shall be so maintained as to be weathertight and watertight. All exposed surfaces thereof subject to deterioration shall be protected against weathering by a protective coating appropriate for the particular material involved, as needed.
Basements, cellar and crawl spaces shall be free of moisture resulting from seepage, and cross ventilation shall be required where necessary to prevent accumulation of moisture and dampness, shall be paved with stone or concrete not less than four (4) inches thick and shall be maintained at all times in a condition so as to be smooth, clean, free from cracks, breaks and/or other hazards. This subsection does not apply to single-family dwellings.
All parts of the premises shall be maintained so as to prevent infestation.
All parts of the dwelling shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, free of nuisance and free from health, safety and fire hazards.
Every roof, roof gutter, flashing, rainwater conductor and roof cornice shall be weathertight and raintight and shall be kept in good repair.
[1999 Code § 8.32.120]
The owner or operator shall have the duty and responsibility of removing garbage whenever a janitor is required for the premises in accordance with the provisions of paragraph c. below.
All accumulations of trash and debris shall be removed daily from collection areas and trash chutes if a trash compactor is not provided or if the existing trash compactor is out of order. In a dwelling containing four (4) or more dwelling units, storage areas or storage bins of fireproof construction and containing fireproof walls and partitions of at least two (2) hours' rating shall be provided.
In every dwelling containing three (3) or more dwelling units or rooming units, or combinations thereof, the owner shall provide or designate a superintendent, janitor, caretaker or housekeeper who shall at all times maintain the premises in compliance with this section and keep the premises free from filthy garbage, refuse and rubbish and who shall be responsible for the daily collection of garbage and other refuse from the occupants on a regular schedule. Such person shall be regularly available on the premises to perform the foregoing duties and, in complexes of fifty (50) or more units, shall reside on the premises. In the event that the superintendent, janitor, caretaker or housekeeper does not reside on the premises, the owner or operator shall make his or her name, address and telephone number known to all tenants and shall register same with the public officer and shall also make available and known to all tenants and the public officer the name of an alternate individual who shall be responsible at all times during the absence of the superintendent, janitor, caretaker or housekeeper to comply with the provisions of this section. Actions of the superintendent, janitor, caretaker or housekeeper or alternative individual referred to in this section, even in disobedience of instructions received from the owner or operator, shall not relieve the owner or operator from the duties and responsibilities imposed by this section. It shall be the obligation of the owner or operator to register the name, address and telephone number of the owner and operator with the public officer.
Exterior parking areas, pedestrian walkways or other portions of the premises subject to regular and recurrent use by occupants at night shall be illuminated continually from one-half (1/2) hour before sunset to one-half (1/2) hour after sunrise unless the lighting is connected to a dusk-to-dawn photoelectric control device to enable safe passage of persons of normal vision.
All interior walls, ceilings and other exposed surfaces in units of dwelling space shall be kept smooth, clean, free of flaking, loose or peeling paint, plaster or paper and capable of being maintained free of visible foreign matter, vermin and in a sanitary condition. If and where necessary to accomplish the foregoing or any part thereof, by reason of surface material, such interior surfaces shall be spackled, painted, papered, or otherwise provided with a protective coating as needed but not more frequently than once every three (3) years. Responsibility for the cost of such painting, papering, surface preparation or other protective coating shall be as set forth in the lease to the premises. Where the lease makes no provision for the cost, it shall be presumed to be the responsibility of the landlord. It shall also be the responsibility of the landlord when required to correct conditions under this section other than normal wear and tear.
[1999 Code § 8.32.130]
No person, owner, occupant and/or tenant of a residential property in the Township shall rake, blow, push and/or drag leaves from his or her property onto the public streets of the Township except that a person may deposit leaves into the gutter or street immediately in front of his or her property during periods announced by the Township for pick-up or collection thereof.
[1999 Code § 8.32.140]
No owner, occupant and/or tenant of residential properties in the township shall place, put or stack branches, trees or parts of trees in the paved right-of-way. Branches, trees and/or parts of trees may be placed immediately adjacent to the curb of the premises in question so as not to block the sidewalk extending not further than three (3) feet from the curb. Such placement may occur not sooner than one (1) day prior to the scheduled pickup of branches, trees and/or parts of trees after having scheduled such pickup with the Division of Sanitation of the Township.
[1999 Code § 8.32.150]
The Township Business Administrator is designated to serve as the public officer hereunder, and all inspections, regulations, enforcement and hearings on violations of the provisions of this section, unless expressly stated to the contrary, shall be under his or her direction and supervision. He or she may appoint or designate such other local public officers or employees to perform duties as may be necessary to the enforcement of this section, including the making of inspections and the holding of hearings.
[1999 Code § 8.32.160]
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five (5) residents of the Municipality charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or whenever it appears to the public officer, on his or her own motion, that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use or that the continuing of any condition constitutes a nuisance within the meaning of this section or is harmful to the health and safety of the occupants of the building and the general public of the Township, the public officer 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 public officer or his or her designated agent at a place therein fixed not less than seven (7) days and no more than thirty (30) days after the service of the complaint. The complaint shall state that the owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and shall state further that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
[1999 Code § 8.32.170]
If after such notice and hearing the public officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he or she shall state in writing his or her findings 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 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 or, 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.
[1999 Code § 8.32.180]
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by a public officer under this section may, within thirty (30) days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the public officer from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief. The court may proceed in the action in a summary manner or otherwise. The remedy herein provided shall be exclusive, and no person affected by an order of the public officer shall be entitled to recover any damages for action taken pursuant thereto, or because of noncompliance by any person with any order of the public officer.
[1999 Code § 8.32.190]
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 public officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed. In such event, the public officer 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 or 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 public officer 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.
[1999 Code § 8.32.200]
The amount of the cost of the filing of legal papers, fees of expert witnesses, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this section determined in favor of the Municipality as well as the cost of the repairs, alterations or improvements or the vacation, enclosing 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 the materials derived from such building or from any contracts for removal or demolition thereof shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. The public officer shall certificate the costs thereof to the Governing Body, which shall examine the certificate and, if found correct, shall direct the Tax Assessor to charge such cost against the subject lands. The amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes. If the building is removed or demolished by the public officer, he or she shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any demolition of the building. If there are no such credits or if the total sum of the costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the Municipal Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens, and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail, return receipt requested. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the public officer. Such sum shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by the court and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of the court to persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such court. Any owner or party in interest may, within thirty (30) days from the date of filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
If an actual and immediate danger to life is posted by the threatened collapse of any fire-damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the public officer may, after taking such measures as may be necessary to make such building temporarily safe, seek a judgment in summary proceedings for the demolition thereof.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the Municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise, nor is anything in this section intended to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or Construction Official under the State Uniform Construction Code Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq., or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.
[1999 Code § 8.32.210]
Complaints or orders issued by the public officer pursuant to this section shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested, at the address listed in the most recent tax duplicate on file in the offices of the Assessor of the Township, but if the whereabouts of such person is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the public officer, then, upon the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, 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 circulated in the Township. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the County Recording Officer of the County of Middlesex.
[1999 Code § 8.32.220]
The public officer shall 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:
To investigate the building conditions in the Municipality in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use;
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence;
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entry shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession, and provided that any entrance without the permission of the occupant shall be consistent with the laws and Constitution of the State of New Jersey and of the United States;
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he or she deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this section;
To delegate any of his or her functions and powers under this section to such officers and agents as he or she may designate.
[1999 Code § 8.32.230]
The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health and safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of such municipality. 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; deterioration; disrepair; structural defects; and uncleanliness.
[1999 Code § 8.32.240]
The Township Council may, by resolution, order that a nuisance be abated, a defect corrected or the premises put in condition so as to comply with the requirements of any Township ordinance or State law applicable thereto, at the cost of the owner or lessor, and expend municipal funds for such purpose and charge the same against the premises in the amount thereof as found by the Township Council to be reasonable and just, and it shall be a lien against the premises and collectible as provided in this section.
[1999 Code § 8.32.250]
Whenever the public officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, he or she may, without notice or hearing, issue an order requiring that such action be taken as he or she determines necessary, applying the statutes and provisions of this section to meet the emergency, and such order shall be effective immediately, and any person to whom such order is directed shall be obliged to comply immediately. Any such person may petition to the public officer for a hearing on such order, which hearing shall be conducted not later than five (5) days after receipt of the petition. The provisions of this section to charge the cost and make them assessable as taxes shall apply to such emergencies.
In the event that an emergency exists which requires immediate action by the Township's Department of Public Works to protect the public health or safety, the following costs and fees shall be charged to the affected property owner or owners for such emergency work, and which costs and fees shall be a lien against the subject property and collectible as provided in this section:
During working hours: at thirty ($30.00) dollars per hour per person.
After working hours: at forty-five ($45.00) dollars per hour per person.
Holidays and Sundays: at sixty ($60.00) dollars per hour per person.
Materials and equipment used to be charged based upon costs incurred by the Township.
[1999 Code § 8.32.260]
Any violation of any ordinance other than this section discovered in the enforcement of this section shall be reported to the public officer, who shall refer the alleged violation to the official or agency responsible for the enforcement of such ordinances.
[1999 Code § 8.32.270]
The public officer shall have the power to withhold strict enforcement of this section upon written application therefor by an owner or party in interest after making a determination that:
Any variation or modification of structure use approved by the public officer will not in any material way alter the standards of this section and cannot detrimentally affect the health or safety of the occupants of the premises or the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or owners of adjacent premises or of the neighborhood; or
Strict enforcement would constitute an undue and unnecessary hardship on the owner, operator or occupant because it would compel expenditures on the premises which would be substantially disproportionate to any benefit to the health, safety or welfare that might be derived therefrom; and
The owner, operator or occupant is without any practical or feasible means to comply with the strict provisions of this section.
[1999 Code § 8.32.280]
The public officer may, with the approval of the Township Council certified to by resolution, bring an action to be appointed receiver ex officio of the rents and income of such property for the purpose of collecting the rents and income from such property and expending the same for the purpose of abating the conditions against which this section is directed. The procedure and other legal steps shall be governed by the provisions of applicable State Statutes.
[1999 Code § 8.32.290]
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) or by imprisonment in the County jail for a period of not to exceed ninety (90) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and each violation of any of the provisions of this section and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
[1999 Code § 8.144.010]
The presence upon lands lying within the corporate limits of the Township of brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash and debris is decreed to be detrimental to public health, safety and the general welfare and likely to present a fire hazard.
[1999 Code § 8.144.020]
The owner or tenant of lands lying within the corporate limits of the Township is required to remove or cause to be removed from such lands any brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash and debris within ten (10) days after receipt by such owner or tenant of written notice from the Division of Health.
[1999 Code § 8.144.030; Ord. No. O.1879-2014]
Notice to the owner or tenant to cause the removal of the substances referred to in the preceding regulation shall be given by the Division of Health and may be served upon any such owner or tenant either personally or by certified mail, and, if the latter method, the ten-day period within which such removal shall be accomplished shall be deemed to have commenced to run from the date of the return receipt of such certified mail obtained by the postal authority for the delivery of such certified notice. Every such notice shall, in addition to requiring the removal aforesaid, warn the owner or tenant of the lands to which such notice refers that failure to accomplish such removal within the time stated therein will result in removal by or under the direction of the Division of Health and the cost of such removal shall be charged to the owner or tenant of such lands and shall be payable to the Township within thirty (30) days after the date of submission of the charges. Unless such charges are paid within the 30-day period, the costs aforesaid shall become a lien upon the lands and be collected as provided by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.14.
In the case of repeat violations, the Division of Health may take action to abate subsequent violations without providing additional notice, upon confirmation of continued ownership or occupancy by the initial individual(s) served.
[1999 Code § 8.144.040]
Whenever the owner or the tenant of such lands within the Township, receiving the notice provided for by the preceding regulation to remove from such lands any of the substances hereinbefore mentioned, shall fail and neglect, within the time prescribed in the notice, to effect removal of such substances, such removal shall be accomplished by or under the direction of the Division of Health. An accurate record of the cost of such removal to the Township shall be determined by the Health Officer, who shall certify the cost thereof to the Governing Body, which shall examine the certificate against the lands; the amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be, assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. 2024-2018]
The following terms, wherever used herein or referred to in this section, shall have the respected meanings assigned to them, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context; as used in this section:
- Shall mean a State chartered bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or credit union, any person or entity required to be licensed under the provisions of the "New Jersey Residential Mortgage Act," P.L. 2009, c. 53 (C. 17:11C-51 et seq.), any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions of C. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Sec. 17, as amended from time to time) and any entity acting on behalf of the creditor named in the debt obligation including, but not limited to, servicers.
- EXTERIOR OF PREMISES
- Shall mean those portions of a structure which are exposed to public view or are visible from adjoining or adjacent lots, including all outside surfaces and appurtenances thereto, and the open land space of any premises outside of any building or structure erected thereon, including vacant lots.
- Shall mean:
- a. Any public or private condition that would constitute a nuisance according to the statutes, laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey, its governmental agencies or the ordinances of the Township.
- b. Any physical condition existing in or on the exterior of any premises which is potentially dangerous, detrimental or hazardous to the life, health or safety of persons on, near or passing within the proximity of the premises where the condition exists.
- Shall mean any person, persons or entity not the owner, but including any agent of the owner, who has charge, possession, custody, care or control of a dwelling or premises or a part thereof.
- Shall mean any person, persons or entity who shall have legal or equitable title in any form whatsoever to any premises or part thereof, including any fiduciary, trustee, receiver, guardian or mortgagee in possession. Any lessee, sublessee or assignee of a lessee of any part of any premises shall be deemed an "owner" with respect to that portion of the premises sublet, leased or assigned.
- Shall mean a lot, plot or parcel of land, right-of-way or multiples thereof, including the building or structures thereon.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- Shall mean the individual designated by the Township, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 55:19-80.
- REFUSE or RUBBISH
- Shall mean all discarded, useless, unusable, unused or worthless solid waste matter or materials, combustible or noncombustible, including but not limited to garbage, trash, ashes, paper, paper goods and products, wrappings, cans, bottles, containers, yard clippings, garden waste, debris, junk, glass, boxes, crockery, wood, plastic, rubber, leather, furniture, household goods, appliances, bedding, scrap lumber, scrap metal, construction material, inoperable machinery or parts thereof, garden or farming implements and supplies, dead or rotting vegetation, tires and abandoned, inoperative or unusable automobiles and vehicles and solid commercial or industrial waste. Anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding, a compost pile free of discarded foodstuffs shall not be deemed to be "refuse" or "rubbish."
- UNREGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLE
- Shall mean a motor vehicle without a valid and current State inspection sticker.
- VACANT PROPERTY
- Shall mean any building used or to be used as a residence which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction operations or residential occupancy has ceased, and which is in such condition that it cannot legally be reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation; provided however, that any property that contains all building systems in working order and is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental, shall not be deemed vacant. Residential properties that meet the aforementioned criteria and are subject to a summons and complaint in an action for foreclosure shall be deemed vacant property in accordance with P.L. 2014, c. 35. Property deemed to be "abandoned property" in accordance with the meaning of such term in the Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Act, N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et seq., shall also be deemed to be vacant property for purposes of this section.
- VACANT AND ABANDONED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- shall mean a residential property which is not occupied and at least two of the following conditions exist:
- a. Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
- b. The accumulation of the 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 material on the property;
- e. The accumulation of junk, liter, trash or debris on the property;
- f. The absence of window treatment such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
- g. The absences of furnishings and personal items;
- h. Statements of neighbors, association management, delivery person or government employee indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
- i. Window or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple 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 the municipal building, housing, or similar code during 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 a mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property;
- o. Any responsible indicia of abandonment.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
The Public Officer is directed to identify abandoned property for the purpose of creating an "abandoned property list" throughout the Township. Each item of abandoned property so identified shall include the tax block and lot number, the name and address of the owner of record, if known, the street address of the lot and the basis for a determination that the property is abandoned.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
Sixty (60) days after the effective date of this section or thirty (30) days after a building or lot becomes abandoned as defined within this section, the owner shall file a registration statement for each such abandoned property with the Public Officer, on forms provided by the Public Officer for such purposes. The registration shall remain valid for one (1) year. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building or lot continues to be abandoned as defined herein and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed within this section.
The owner shall notify the Public Officer within thirty (30) days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Public Officer 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 of Edison against the owner or owners of the property.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
The owner of abandoned and vacant properties shall provide the following information to the Public Officer on the registration form or form(s) prescribed by the Public Officer:
Name, address, email address and contact telephone number of the owner; the owner's address must include a street address; a post office box is not acceptable;
Name, address, email address and contact telephone number of any local agent(s) or representative for the building or lot;
Name, address, email address and contact telephone number of the person assigned to the property for the security and maintenance of the building or lot;
Common address and Tax Assessor's block and lot designation of the building or lot;
The date on which the building became abandoned;
Proof of utility (gas, electric, water) connections or disconnections; and
Any other information reasonably required by the Township to ensure the safety of all persons and to prevent neglect.
Any government entity that owns abandoned property will be exempt from the provisions of this subsection. For purposes of this section, the holder of a Federal Housing Administration ("FHA") mortgage, United States Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") mortgage, or any other federally insured mortgage shall not be considered a government entity and shall not be exempt from the provisions of this section. The owner of any property that is acquired by the owner through the foreclosure of a FHA mortgage, HUD mortgage or any other federally insured mortgage shall also not be exempt from the provisions of this section.
By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this subsection, the owner consents to receive any and all notices of code violations concerning the registered abandoned property and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the registered abandoned property by service of the notice of process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purposes of this section until the owner notifies the Township of a change of an authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
The owner is required to update the form within thirty (30) days of a change of any information contained within the form.
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 of Edison against the owner or owners of the abandoned property.
The Public Officer may identify abandoned properties through his/her routine inspection process as well as through notification by residents, or other community groups that a property may be eligible for inclusion on the registry. Notice will be served upon, or sent by mail, to the owner and will be deemed received by the owner, upon personal delivery; or five (5) days after service by first class mail.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
Every creditor filing an action to foreclose on a mortgage of any residential property within the Township shall, within ten (10) days thereof, notify the Township Clerk for the Township in writing by mail of said filing. (See N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51). The notice shall also 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.
The notice shall also contain the name and contact information of the representative of the creditor who is responsible for receiving complaints of property maintenance and code violations. In the event the creditor that has served a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property is located out-of-State, the notice shall also contain 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.
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a vacant and abandoned property, or a creditor who has previously filed a summons and complaint to foreclose on a residential property which subsequently becomes vacant and abandoned, shall within thirty (30) calendar days after the building becomes vacant and abandoned or within thirty (30) calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant and abandoned property, whichever is earlier; or within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of notice from the Township, and annually thereafter, file a registration statement for such vacant and abandoned property with the Public Officer consistent with subsection 15-3.4a, of this section, for such purposes. Any failure to receive notice from the Township shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the vacant and abandoned property.
Each vacant and abandoned property having a separate block and lot number as designated in the official tax maps of the Township shall be registered separately.
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of a person twenty-one (21) years or older, designated by the creditor as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding on behalf of such creditor in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code.
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 abandoned and vacant property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the abandoned and vacant property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four (24) hour per day, seven (7) day per week basis. The two (2) entities may be the same or different persons. Both entities shown on the statement must maintain offices in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey.
The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration except for the initial registration which shall be valid through December 31st of the year in which it was filed. The creditor shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains vacant and abandoned and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in subsection 15-3.8 for each vacant and abandoned property registered.
The annual renewal shall be completed by January 1st each year. The initial registration fee shall be pro-rated for registration statements received less than ten (10) months prior to that date.
The creditor shall notify the Municipal Clerk within thirty (30) calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Municipal Clerk for such purpose.
The registration statements shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement processing or court proceeding instituted by the Township against the creditor.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
After filing a registration statement or a renewal of a registration statement and upon reasonable notice, the owner and/or creditor of any abandoned property shall provide access to the Township to conduct an exterior and interior inspection of the building to determine compliance with the Municipal Code, during the period covered by the initial registration or any subsequent renewal.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
The owner and/or creditor of any abandoned property, shall immediately upon possession or the filing of a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township be immediately responsible for the care, maintenance, security and upkeep of the exterior of the property, after the property becomes vacant and abandoned and shall:
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Code of the Township of Edison and as per the specifications established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") for securing abandoned and/or vacant properties.
Post a sign affixed to the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner, owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process (if designated pursuant to this section) and a New Jersey resident responsible for day-to-day supervision and management of the property, if such person is different from the owner or authorized agent. The sign shall be of a size and placed in such a location so as to be visible from the nearest public street or sidewalk, whichever is nearer, but shall be no smaller than 8" x 10" and shall state "WARNING: THIS BUILDING IS SECURED PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 15 OF THE TOWNSHIP OF EDISON CODE. ANYONE ENTERING THIS BUILDING WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST."
Secure the building from unauthorized entry and maintain the sign until the building is again legally occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the property is complete.
Ensure that all bushes and trees are trimmed and that they do not interfere with neighboring properties.
Ensure that grass does not exceed eight (8) inches in height and that all grass clippings are removed from the lot when the grass is cut.
Lots must be clear of all garbage, litter and debris. Abandoned properties must be clear of all vehicles: cars, boats, campers, etc.
All sidewalks bordering abandoned properties must be maintained and be cleared of snow, ice, tripping hazards, obstructions, garbage, litter and debris.
The owner and/or creditor shall perform regular weekly inspections of the abandoned property to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section.
The owner and/or creditor shall maintain a property insurance policy for each registered property. Buildings with fewer than four (4) residential units are required to be insured at a minimum of $300,000.00. All other properties must be insured at a minimum of $1,000,000.00.
If the owner and/or creditor of the abandoned property fails to comply with all provisions of this section, the Township shall take the necessary steps to bring the property into compliance with this section. All costs incurred by the Township in connection with its efforts to bring the property into compliance shall be forwarded to the Tax Collector for inclusion as a municipal lien on the property.
[Ord. No. O.1943-2016; Ord. No. O.2024-2018]
The initial registration fee for each abandoned property shall be one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars. The fee for a second year renewal shall be two thousand ($2,000.00) dollars, and three thousand ($3,000.00) dollars for each subsequent year thereafter. The registration shall remain valid for one (1) year from the date of registration except for the initial registration which shall be valid through December 31st of the year in which it was filed. The owner and/or creditor shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains vacant and abandoned and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in paragraph b. of this subsection for each vacant and abandoned property registered. The annual renewal shall be completed by January 1st each year. The initial registration fee shall be pro-rated for registration statements received less than ten (10) months prior to that date.
Any owner who is not in full compliance with this section or who otherwise violates any provision of this section or of the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall be subject to a fine of not less than five hundred ($500.00) dollars and not more than two-thousand five hundred ($2,500.00) dollars. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this section shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
For purposes of this section, failure to file a registration statement in time, failure to provide correct information on the registration statement, and/or failure to comply with any other provisions of this section shall be deemed to be a violation hereunder.
The Public Officer shall be authorized to issue a notice to an owner and/or 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 owner and/or creditor has failed to provide for the care, maintenance, security, and/or upkeep of a vacant property.
Where an owner and/or creditor is an out-of-State owner and/or creditor, the notice shall be issued to the representative or agent that has been identified by the owner and/or creditor pursuant to subsection 15-3.3a-b of this section.
The notice referenced in paragraph d. of this subsection shall require the owner and/or creditor to correct the violation within twenty (20) days of receipt of the notice, or within five (5) days of receipt of the notice if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety.
The issuance of notice pursuant to paragraph d. of this subsection shall constitute proof that a residential property is vacant and abandoned for the purposes of this section.
An entity designated as a redeveloper pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1, et seq., may apply for a registration fee exemption if all approved plans for the property comply with Township regulations, and development has been delayed as a result project financing applications.