[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury 9-10-1968 by Ord. No. 260 (Ch. 49 of the 1973 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Brush, grass, weeds and debris — See Ch. 77.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 88.
Zoning and land development — See Ch. 94.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 118.
Nuisances — See Ch. 163.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 183.
Sewer connections — See Ch. 193.
Snow and ice removal — See Ch. 202.
Solid waste — See Ch. 210
Swimming pools — See Ch. 226.
Vehicles, abandoned — See Ch. 250.
Sewage disposal systems, individual — See Ch. 272.
The President of the Board of Health, the Construction Code Official and the Sanitary Inspector of the Borough of Shrewsbury be and they are hereby designated as the Property Maintenance Committee (hereinafter referred to as the "Committee") to exercise the powers prescribed by the within chapter, and they shall serve in such capacity without any additional salary.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 3, Administration of Government, Article XVI, Property Maintenance Committee.
For the purpose of the within chapter, the Committee may determine that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation if it finds that conditions exist in such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwellings, the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents of the Borough of Shrewsbury. 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; failure to comply with the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code or the certificate of occupancy.
Any building or buildings, or parts thereof, which have been damaged to such an extent that nothing remains but the walls, or parts of the walls and other supports, shall, regardless of the safety and sturdiness of those remaining walls or parts thereof, be deemed inimical to the welfare of the residents of the municipality wherein it is located, and the municipality may exercise its police powers to repair, demolish, or cause the repairing or demolishing of the building or buildings, or parts thereof, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq., and the procedures set forth therein.
Any building or buildings, or parts thereof, which have come into a state of disrepair through neglect, lack of maintenance or use, fire, accident or other calamities, or through any other act rendering the building or buildings, or parts thereof, in a state of disrepair, to the extent that the building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, shall be deemed inimical to the welfare of the residents of the municipality wherein it is located, and a public officer appointed pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq. may exercise his powers to repair, demolish, or cause the repairing or demolition of the building or buildings, or parts thereof, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5b.
Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 21, P.L. 1946 (N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1), the "New Jersey State Housing Code" as approved by the Departments of Health and Conservation and Economic Development and filed in the Secretary of State's office is hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use. A copy of the New Jersey State Housing Code is annexed to this chapter and three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the Municipal Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Mayor and Council by a public authority as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the municipality, charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, or whenever it appears to the Committee (on its own motion) that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, it shall, if its preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such dwelling a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Committee at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint; that 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 time and place fixed in the complaints; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Committee.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Committee determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, it shall state in writing its 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 said 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 to have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and, 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 said building within the time specified in the order, that the owner remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
That, 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 Committee may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed; that the Committee 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 occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
That, if the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Committee shall recommend to the Mayor and Council the removal or demolition of the building and shall thereafter proceed under the direction of the Mayor and Council for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement, where required by law, for and receipt of bids therefor, to be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder.
That the amount of the cost of filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the municipality, and such 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 municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Committee, it 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 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 Municipal Tax Assessor and a copy thereof shall be forthwith mailed 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 Committee, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of the Court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such Court; provided, however, that 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. Any owner or party in interest may, within 30 days from the date of the 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 posed 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 act 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.
Complaints or orders issued by the Committee pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the Committee in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the said Committee 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 each week for two successive weeks in one of the newspapers officially designated by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order, and a copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded with the County Recording Officer of the County of Monmouth.
The Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Borough of Shrewsbury in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To make lawful entry upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
Any action taken using revenues derived from the local property tax shall be taken only after advertisement for, and receipt of, bids therefor, pursuant to the provisions of the "Local Public Contracts Law" (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.), unless the action is necessary to prevent imminent danger to life, limb or property.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the power of the municipality or any officer or department to enforce any provisions of its charter or its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof, and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the municipality by any other law or ordinance.