Town of Secaucus, NJ
Hudson County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus 9-27-94 as Ord. No. 94-32. Further amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended by Resolution 9-27-94]
CONSTRUCTION OFFICIAL OR INSPECTION OFFICIAL
The person or persons appointed by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus to perform the functions or duties set forth in this chapter.
DWELLING UNIT
Any dwelling unit or residential unit in a building or structure or complex of five or more units, irrespective of ownership, including, but not limited to, apartment complexes and garden apartments, presently used or used hereafter for habitation by persons, regardless of whether the unit is to be occupied by an owner, tenant or occupied for any other basis. Condominiums and cooperative housing units are not a "dwelling unit" for the purposes of this chapter.
[Amended 10-22-96 by Ord. No. 96-32]
PERSON
Includes individuals, corporations, companies, associations, societies, firms, partnerships, groups of persons or any representative, servant or employee of the aforementioned, or any combination thereof.
It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a procedure for the inspection of certain dwelling units within the Town of Secaucus to insure that such units are suitable for occupancy in that the same does not have any health, building, or other violations; and provide for the procedure and criteria for the issuance of certificates of habitability for such dwelling units whereby no such dwelling unit may be occupied until certificates of habitability have been issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
Certificates of habitability shall hereafter be required prior to occupancy of all dwelling units, as defined herein, within the Town of Secaucus before a change in occupancy of any such dwelling unit may be effected.
B. 
No person shall sell, rent, lease, suffer, or allow any person to occupy or use any dwelling unit unless such person shall have first obtained from the Construction Official or Inspection Official a certificate of habitability for that dwelling unit certifying that the dwelling unit is fit for human occupancy and is fit for its intended use; and, that such unit does not have any violations of health, construction, fire, safety or other property maintenance or other violations affecting its fitness for occupancy.
C. 
No person, including the renter or the person inhabiting the dwelling unit, may consent to waiving the issuance of a certificate of habitability or waiving the compliance with any provision of this chapter; it shall be deemed a violation of this chapter for the person renting or occupying a dwelling unit to knowingly occupy a rental unit without the proper certificate of habitability being issued.
D. 
Realtors and real estate agents shall obtain a copy of the certificate of habitability from the owner of a dwelling unit prior to effecting a change in ownership. No realtor or real estate agent shall knowingly allow a dwelling unit to be occupied in the absence of compliance with this chapter.
A. 
This chapter shall have no applicability to dwelling units presently occupied until a change in occupancy occurs; thereafter, dwelling units shall be subject to this chapter upon each change in occupancy.
B. 
No certificate of habitability shall be issued unless the condition of the dwelling unit complies with all the statutes and codes of the State of New Jersey, the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, the ordinances of the Town of Secaucus now in existence and hereinafter enacted pertaining to building, plumbing, electrical, health, safety, fire, flood protection and building standards.
C. 
In the event that there is a conflict in the provisions of the Code of the Town of Secaucus and the codes, rules, regulations or statutes of the State of New Jersey, the higher standards for the protection of health, safety and welfare shall prevail.
The Construction Official or Inspection Official or their designee, as approved by the Mayor and Council, shall be the person(s) who has the duty to enforce this chapter.
A. 
Upon filing of application by the owner of a dwelling unit for a certificate of habitability, the Construction Official or Inspection Official shall, within three working days from the receipt of such application and payment of the proper fee, inspect such dwelling unit to determine whether such dwelling unit is suitable for habitation and its intended purpose, meeting all the criteria herein. If such dwelling unit is so suitable, a certificate of habitability shall, within two working days of such inspection, be issued. If such dwelling unit does not meet the standards required by the applicable laws, statutes, codes, or criteria set forth herein, a certificate of habitability shall be denied; the deficiencies respecting the dwelling unit and the corrective action required to be taken to allow a certificate of habitability to be issued, shall, within two working days of such inspection, be set forth in writing to the property owner.
B. 
The Construction Official or Inspection Officer shall have such powers as may be necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following enumerated powers: to inspect the dwelling units in order to determine that such dwelling units are fit for human habitation, and meet the requirements set forth in this chapter; and to enter into lands, premises and dwelling units at reasonable times for the purpose of making such inspections incidental to the duties set forth in this chapter. To delegate, with the approval of the Mayor and Council, any of his/her functions and powers, as may be necessary to carry out the responsibilities required.
A. 
If upon completion of an inspection of a dwelling unit by the Construction Officer or Inspection Officer it is determined that such unit is satisfactory or appropriate to be occupied because it does not violate any requirement set forth herein, a certificate of habitability shall be issued within two days of such inspection. If occupancy to a dwelling unit to which a certificate of habitability has been issued is not occupied within six months of the date of the inspection, such certificate of habitability shall expire; a new inspection shall be required prior to any occupancy of such dwelling unit.
B. 
Violation of any New Jersey statute, code, rules, and regulations or the criteria set forth or referred to herein shall be grounds for denial of a certificate of habitability. No occupancy of a dwelling unit shall commence until a certificate of habitability is issued.
C. 
If the Construction Official or Inspection Official inspects a dwelling unit and determines that a violation(s) of the dwelling unit exists which prohibits the issuance of a certificate of habitability pursuant to this chapter, but, in the opinion of the Construction Official or Inspection Official, such violation(s) do not affect the health or safety of the proposed renters, the Construction Official or Inspection Official may issue a temporary/conditional certificate of habitability allowing the occupancy of the dwelling unit provided that the owner of the property signs a statement acknowledging his/her obligation to take necessary remedial action to correct the violation(s) with the understanding that the remedial action to correct the violation(s) take place within two business days.
The following items would be considered substantial violations and would preclude the issuance of a temporary/conditional certificate of habitability:
(1) 
Defects in a vital facility such as broken toilets, lack of hot or cold running water, lack of heat, lack of light, lack of ventilation, or broken windows.
(2) 
Defects that present the hazard of fire, accidents or other calamities, dilapidation, disrepair, structural integrity, or uncleanliness so as to assist or cause the spread of disease or harbor insects, rodents, or other vermin.
(3) 
Defects which would constitute a threat to health, safety or welfare, or whose repair would be a major inconvenience to the tenant after reoccupancy.
If upon reinspection of the corrective action to correct or remedy the violation(s) corrective action has not been taken within said time, the Construction Official or Inspection Official shall issue a summons to the property owner for violation(s) of this chapter. Such temporary/conditional certificate of habitability shall expire no later than 10 calendar days from the date of its issue, said expiration date shall be at the discretion of the Construction Official or Inspection Official. It shall be deemed a violation of this chapter to have the remedial action required in the temporary/conditional certificate of habitability not be performed within the time stated above. Upon expiration of the temporary/conditional certificate of habitability or at the request for a reinspection by the owner of a dwelling unit, the Construction Official or Inspection Official shall make such reinspection in the manner provided herein with payments of the costs stated in this chapter.
A. 
In addition to all other standards to which the inspections are reviewed to determine suitable habitability, the criteria for determining the habitability of a dwelling unit shall include such criteria set forth on forms promulgated and recommended by the Construction Code Official and approved by the Mayor and Council, which may be amended from time to time; it is the intent of these forms to act as a checklist to accomplish the purpose and intent of this chapter to determine that the dwelling units are suitable for habitation and its intended purpose.
B. 
Dwelling units shall be vacant, that is unoccupied, with no personal belongings therein, when inspected or reinspected, as the case may be, except if the Construction Official or Inspection Official believe that the inspection or reinspection may be conducted while the unit is not vacant.
[Amended by Resolution 9-27-94]
A. 
Application for a certificate of habitability shall be filed with the Construction Official and accompanied by a fee of $50. Such fee shall be paid by the owner of the dwelling unit.
[Amended 3-23-10 by Ord. No. 2010-11]
B. 
Should a certificate of habitability be denied, pursuant to this chapter, an owner may submit a new application upon correction of the violation or violations, and request a reinspection on a form provided by the Construction Official and shall submit a reinspection fee of $15 with such application. The Construction Official or Inspection Official shall reinspect the dwelling unit within three working days of receipt of such application and reinspection fee. Should this first reinspection disclose that the violation or violations have not been corrected or there are new violations that exist, no certificate of habitability shall be issued. Each additional reinspection shall be made upon written application of the owner and the submission of a reinspection fee of $100 per reinspection. This procedure shall be followed until all violations have been corrected, at which time a certificate of habitability shall be issued. All reinspection fees shall be paid by the owner of the dwelling unit.
Any property owner seeking to appeal a decision or denial of a certificate of habitability respecting a certificate of habitability to a dwelling unit owned by such person may do so by filing a written notice appealing such decision to the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus. The Mayor and Council shall schedule a hearing within 10 days with respect to the decision or denial and issue its decision within seven days subject hearing. The Mayor and Council may affirm or reverse the said decision or denial of the certificate of habitability or require a new inspection to be made in accordance with the terms and provisions that the Mayor and Council may announce.
A. 
The inspections required hereunder shall be in addition to all other state, local and other inspections required by law.
B. 
Nothing herein shall relieve the property owner from complying with all other state, local, or other laws including, but not limited to New Jersey "Truth In Renting" Act. If at the time of submitting an application or reapplication for inspection or reinspection, as the case may be, and the dwelling unit has been rented, the property owner shall provide a copy of an acknowledgement or receipt that the renter has received a copy of the New Jersey "Truth in Renting" Act. Owners of dwelling units shall provide copies of information that may, from time to time, be required from the Town of Secaucus.
C. 
Should any provision herein be in conflict with any state and local laws, the higher, more stringent regulations shall take precedence.
This chapter shall not be applicable to:
A. 
New construction for which inspection and a certificate of habitability is required pursuant to the Uniform Construction Code;
B. 
Hotels and motels who are licensed by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and are generally occupied by guests or persons for less than 30 successive days.
Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for a term of not to exceed 90 days, or by both. The continuation of such violation for each successive day shall constitute a separate offense, and the person or persons allowing or permitting the continuation of the violation may be punished as provided above for each separate offense.