Borough of Madison, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Madison 12-8-1969 by Ord. No. 25-69 (Art. 35 of the 1970 Revised Ordinances]. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing Authority — See Ch. 24.
Property Maintenance Emergency Committee — See Ch. 36.
Building construction — See Ch. 75.
Unsafe buildings and structures — See Ch. 77.
Fire prevention - See Ch. 101.
Property maintenance - See Ch. 145.
Nuisances — See Ch. 218.
Plumbing — See Ch. 222.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
The Housing Officer of the Borough of Madison is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, and he shall serve in such capacity at such salary as shall be set by the annual Salary Ordinance of the Borough.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: For information pertaining to the Salary Ordinance, see Ch. 42, Salaries and Compensation.
Pursuant to the provision of Chapter 21, P.L. 1946 (N.J.R.S. 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 the standard to be used as a guide to determining whether dwellings in this municipality are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. 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 Borough Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
The Housing Officer is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the Borough of Madison in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections the Housing Officer is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit and rooming unit, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Housing Officer free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof, or his agent or employee, access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit, or its premises, at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
A. 
Whenever a petition is filed with the Housing Officer by a public authority, as defined in N.J.R.S. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the Borough of Madison charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Housing Officer, on his own motion, that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Housing 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:
[Amended 6-14-1976 by Ord. No. 15-76]
(1) 
A hearing will be held before the Housing Officer, or his designated agent, at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint.
(2) 
The owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise, and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint.
(3) 
The rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Housing Officer.
B. 
If, after such notice and hearing, the Housing Officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for habitation or occupancy or use he shall state in writing his 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 owner to repair, or improve the said building 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 said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
C. 
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, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
A. 
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 Housing Officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed. The Housing 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 occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
B. 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Housing 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.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
A. 
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter and by statute 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.
B. 
If the building is removed or demolished by the Housing Officer, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof the proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits or if the sum total of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the Borough Tax Collector and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the total of the credits exceed such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Housing Officer, 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 Borough to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise.
C. 
Any owner or party in interest may, within 60 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.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
Complaints or orders issued by the Housing Officer or his designated agent, pursuant to this chapter, shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but ff the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by said Housing Officer or his designated agent in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the said Housing Officer or his designated agent 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 a newspaper printed and published in the Borough of Madison. 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 or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the dwelling is located.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
Whenever the Housing Officer or his designated agent finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition to the Housing Officer or his designated agent, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Housing Officer or his designated agent shall continue such order in effect, modify it or revoke it.
[Amended 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
The Housing Officer is hereby authorized 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 powers in addition to others herein granted:
A. 
To investigate the building conditions in the Borough of Madison in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use.
B. 
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
C. 
Using due process of law, to enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations; provided, however, that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
No person shall occupy as owner occupant or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.
[Added 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71]
A. 
All owners and the management of every building and structure in the Borough of Madison which is occupied by two or more families as tenants of the owner or lessor shall register with the Clerk of the Borough on a form prescribed by and furnished by the Borough at the Clerk's office. The registration form shall include the following:
(1) 
Name and address of the owner.
(2) 
Name and address of the lessor, if other than the owner.
(3) 
Name and address of the agent in charge of the premises in the Borough.
B. 
Every owner or lessor of a building and structure, where said owner or lessor resides outside the Borough of Madison, or off the premises, shall designate an agent for such premises who resides in the Borough.
C. 
When any notice is required to be served upon the owner, lessor or agent of the owner or lessor of any building or premises pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or any ordinance of the Borough and the owner or lessor shall have failed to register his premises with the Borough Clerk and designate an agent for the premises who resides in the municipality, or where such agent has been designated but cannot be found at the address given in the registration then it shall be sufficient notice to the owner or lessor, and proper service upon them, to post the notice upon the premises in a conspicuous place.
[Amended 6-14-1976 by Ord. No. 15-76]
[Added 5-10-1971 by Ord. No. 8-71; amended 6-14-1976 by Ord. No. 15-76]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of the courts or of any department of the Borough of Madison to enforce any provisions of its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or to punish violations thereof; and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law or ordinance.
[Amended 8-14-2000 by Ord. No. 35-2000; 5-8-2006 by Ord. No. 19-2006]
A. 
Any person, firm, corporation or other organization found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by one or more of the following in the discretion of the Judge: a fine of not to exceed $2,000; or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days; or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. In the event that a fine is imposed, pursuant to this section, such fine shall be no less than $100. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
B. 
If a fine in an amount greater than $1,250 is administered upon an owner for a housing violation, then a thirty-day period shall be provided in which the owner shall be afforded the opportunity to cure or abate the condition and shall also be afforded an opportunity for a hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction for an independent determination concerning the violation. Subsequent to the expiration of the thirty-day period, a fine greater than $1,250 may be imposed if a court has not determined otherwise or, upon reinspection of the property, it is determined that the abatement has not been substantially completed.