Township of Montclair, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Montclair 4-15-1980 by Ord. No. 80-12 as Art. II of Ch. 98 of the 1979 Code]
The Township Council hereby determines that in the township there are or may be in the future dwelling structures which are so dilapidated, unsafe, dangerous, unhygienic or insanitary as to constitute a menace to the health and safety of the people of the township.
The purpose of this article is to establish minimum standards governing the conditions and maintenance of dwellings; establish minimum standards governing supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to make dwellings safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation; fix certain responsibilities and duties of owners and occupants of dwellings; authorize the inspection of dwellings; and fix penalties for violations.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY
The department, branch or agency of this municipality which is authorized by the adopting ordinance to administer the provisions of this article.
BUILDING
Any building or structure or part thereof used or intended by its design to be used for human habitation, use or occupancy, and includes any accessory buildings and appurtenance belonging thereto usually enjoyed therewith.
DWELLING
A building or structure or part thereof containing one or more dwelling units or lodging units.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms or any part thereof located within a building and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.
GARBAGE
The animal and vegetable and other organic waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
HABITABLE ROOM
A room or enclosed floor space within a dwelling unit used or designed to be used for living, sleeping. cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
INFESTATION
The presence, within or around a building, of any insects, rodents or other pests.
LODGING HOUSE
Any building or that part of any building containing one or more lodging units, each of which is rented by one or more persons not related to the owner.
LODGING UNIT
A rented room or group of rooms containing no cooking facilities, used for living purposes by a separate family or group of persons living together or by a person living alone, within a building.
OCCUPANT
Any person or persons in actual possession of and living in the building or dwelling unit, including the owner.
OWNER
Any person properly authorized to exercise powers of or for an owner of property for purposes of its purchase, sale, use, occupancy or maintenance.
PERSON
Shall be given the same meaning as defined in N.J.S.A. 1:1-2.
PLUMBING FIXTURES
All installed receptacles or devices which are supplied with water or which receive or discharge liquid waste or sewage into the drainage system with which they are directly or indirectly connected.
PUBLIC OFFICER
The officer or officers who are authorized by the adopting ordinance to exercise powers prescribed by this article.
RUBBISH
All combustible and noncombustible waste material, except garbage.
UTILITIES
Electric, gas, heating, water and sewerage services and equipment therefor.
A. 
The Zoning and Housing Officer and the Housing Inspectors are hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units and premises located within the township in order that they may perform their 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 Zoning and Housing Officer and the Housing Inspectors may enter, examine and survey dwelling units and premises at all reasonable times.
B. 
The owner or occupant of every dwelling or dwelling unit or the person in charge thereof shall give such officers free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey.
Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof or his or her 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 article or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this article.
The Zoning and Housing Officer and the Housing Inspectors are hereby designated and appointed to enforce the provisions of this article.
Whenever the Zoning and Housing Officer or a Housing Inspector determines that there exists a violation of any of the provisions of this article, he or she shall give notice of such violation to the owner, landlord, tenant or occupant responsible therefor. Such notice shall:
A. 
Be in writing.
B. 
Contain a statement of the violation or violations existing in the dwelling or dwelling unit.
C. 
Specify a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days, in which the violation or violations shall be abated, corrected or eliminated.
D. 
Be served upon the owner or his or her agent, the landlord, the tenant or the occupant personally or by registered or certified mail addressed to him or her at his or her last known address, or by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling or dwelling unit affected by such notice.
Whenever the Zoning and Housing Officer finds in any dwelling a condition which presents an immediate and serious threat to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwelling or to the health or safety of the general public, he or she shall immediately issue and serve an order in the manner specified in § 190-7D, reciting the existence of such condition and requiring that corrective action specified by him or her be taken within such short time as he or she deems necessary to meet the emergency.
The Zoning and Housing Officer may grant a reasonable extension of time specified for the elimination of any violation of this article on good cause being shown to him or her for such extension.
[Amended 5-23-2000 by Ord. No. 00-19]
Any person ordered or directed by the Zoning and Housing Officer or a Housing Inspector to alter, correct or eliminate a violation of this article shall be entitled to a hearing upon and a review of such order or direction by the Director of the Department of Planning and Community Development or by such member of the Township Council as to whom the said Director may, refer the matter for hearing if application for a hearing is made in writing within 10 days of the service of such order or direction. At the conclusion of such hearing, the Director shall affirm the order or direction of the Zoning and Housing Officer or Housing Inspectors or set it aside if a violation is found not to exist, or he or she may enlarge the time specified by the order for the correction of the violations determined to exist.
A. 
Every dwelling unit and lodging house shall be provided with a safe supply of potable water meeting the standards as set forth in Potable Water Standards as published by the New Jersey State Department of Health.
B. 
The source of such water supply shall be approved by the New Jersey State Department of Health and/or the Board of Health.
C. 
The minimum rate of flow of hot or cold water issuing from a faucet or fixture shall be not less than one gallon per minute.
A. 
Every dwelling unit shall contain a kitchen sink of nonabsorbent impervious material, at least one flush-type water closet, a lavatory and a bathtub or shower, available only for the use of the occupants of that dwelling unit.
B. 
Every lodging house shall be provided with a minimum of one flush-type water closet, lavatory and a bathtub or shower for every eight persons or part thereof.
C. 
Every water closet, lavatory and bathtub or shower for each dwelling unit or lodging house shall be accessible from within the building without passing through any part of any other dwelling unit or lodging unit and, in a lodging house, shall be located no farther than one floor above or below the lodging units served. Such water closet, lavatory and bathtub or shower shall be contained in a room or rooms which are separated from all other rooms by walls, doors or partitions that afford privacy.
D. 
Every plumbing fixture shall be connected to water and sewer systems approved by the Board of Health and shall be maintained in good working condition.
E. 
Every kitchen sink, lavatory and bathtub or shower required by this article shall be connected to both hot- and cold-water lines.
F. 
Every dwelling shall have water heating facilities which are installed and maintained in good and safe working condition, connected with the hot-water lines required under the provisions of Subsection E of this section and capable of delivering water at a minimum temperature of not less than 120° F.
G. 
Every cellar or basement floor shall be of concrete not less than four inches thick. No dirt floors shall be allowed.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 98-28, Garbage and rubbish storage, which immediately followed this section, was deleted 5-23-2000 by Ord. No. 00-19.
A. 
Every habitable room shall have at least one window or skylight facing directly to the outdoors. The minimum total window or skylight area, measured between stops, for every habitable room shall be 10% of the floor area of such room. Whenever walls or other portions of structures face a window of any habitable room and are located less than three feet from the window and extend to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, such a window shall not be included in calculating the required minimum total window area.
B. 
Every dwelling shall be provided with electric service.
C. 
Every habitable room shall contain at least two separate wall-type electric convenience outlets or one such convenience outlet and one ceiling or wall-type electric light fixture. Every such outlet and fixture shall be maintained in good and safe condition and shall be connected to the source of electric power. No temporary wiring shall be used except extension cords which run directly from portable electrical fixtures to convenience outlets and which do not lie under rugs or other floor coverings nor extend through doorways, transoms or other openings through structural elements.
D. 
Every portion of each staircase, hall, cellar, basement, landing, furnace room, utility room and all similar nonhabitable space located in a dwelling shall have either natural or artificial light available at all times, with an illumination of at least two lumens per square foot (two footcandles) in the darkest portions.
E. 
Every portion of any interior or exterior passageway or staircase common to two or more families in a dwelling shall be illuminated naturally or artificially at all times, with an illumination of at least two lumens per square foot (two footcandles) in the darkest portion of the normally traveled stairs and passageways. In dwellings comprising two dwelling units, such illumination shall not be required at all times if separate switches, convenient and readily accessible to each dwelling unit, are provided for the control of such artificial light by the occupants thereof.
F. 
Every bathroom and water closet compartment shall have either natural or artificial light available at all times, with an illumination of at least three lumens per square foot (three footcandles). Such light shall be measured 36 inches from the floor at the center of the room. Artificial lighting shall be controlled by a wall switch so located as to avoid danger of electrical hazards.
A. 
Means of ventilation shall be provided for every habitable room. Such ventilation may be provided either by an easily operable window or skylight having an openable area of at least 45% of the minimum window area or minimum skylight area as required in § 190-13A or by other means acceptable to the administrative authority which will provide at least two air changes per hour.
B. 
Means of ventilation shall be provided for every bathroom or water closet compartment. Such ventilation may be provided either by an easily operable window or skylight having an openable area of at least 45% of the minimum window area or minimum skylight area as required in § 190-13A or by other means acceptable to the administrative authority which will provide at least five air changes per hour.
A. 
Every dwelling shall have heating facilities which are properly installed, maintained in good and safe working condition and are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments located therein to a temperature of at least 68° F. when the outside temperature is 0° F. The temperature shall be read at a height of three feet above floor level at the center of the room.
B. 
Every space heater, except electrical, shall be properly vented to a chimney or duct leading to the outdoors. Unvented portable space heaters burning solid, liquid or gaseous fuels shall be prohibited.
A. 
Every dwelling, dwelling unit or lodging unit shall have safe and unobstructed means of egress. Such means of egress shall not be through any other dwelling unit or part thereof and shall lead to a safe and open space at ground level accessible to a street.
B. 
A room used for sleeping purposes under the provisions of § 190-18E shall be provided with a safe and unobstructed means of egress leading directly to an outside area accessible to a street.
A. 
Every foundation, floor, wall, ceiling, door, window, roof or other part of a building shall be kept in good repair and capable of the use intended by its design, and any exterior part or parts thereof subject to corrosion or deterioration shall be kept well painted.
B. 
Every inside and outside stairway, every porch and every appurtenance thereto shall be so constructed as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the load that normal use may cause to be placed thereon and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair. Every stairway having three or more steps shall be properly banistered and safely balustraded.
C. 
Every porch, balcony, roof and/or similar place higher than 30 inches above the ground, used for egress or for use by occupants, shall be provided with adequate railings or parapets. Such protective railings or parapets shall be properly balustraded and be not less than three feet in height.
D. 
Every roof, wall, window, exterior door and hatchway shall be free from holes or leaks that would permit the entrance of water within a dwelling or be a cause of dampness.
E. 
Every foundation, floor and wall of a dwelling shall be free from chronic dampness.
F. 
Every dwelling shall be free from rodents, vermin and insects. Rodent or vermin extermination and rodentproofing and verminproofing may be required by the Board of Health. Rodent and vermin extermination shall be carried out in accordance with § 190-19K. Every openable window, exterior door, skylight and other opening to the outdoors shall be supplied with properly fitting screens in good repair from May 1 until October 1 of each year. Such screens shall have a mesh of not less than No. 16.
G. 
Every building, dwelling, dwelling unit and all other areas of the premises shall be clean and free from garbage or rubbish and hazards to safety. Lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and shall not be permitted to become overgrown and unsightly. Fences shall be kept in good repair.
H. 
The public officer may order the owner to clean, repair, paint, whitewash or paper such walls or ceilings when a wall or ceiling within a dwelling has deteriorated so as to provide a harborage for rodents or vermin, or when a wall or ceiling has become stained or soiled or the plaster, wallboard or other covering has become loose or badly cracked or missing. Nothing in this subsection shall be so construed as to place upon the nonresident owner responsibilities for cleanliness contained in § 190-19F.
I. 
Every water closet compartment floor and bathroom floor shall be so constructed and maintained as to be reasonably impervious to water so as to permit such floor to be kept in a clean condition.
J. 
Every vacant building, whether or not it has been permanently vacated, abandoned or boarded and secured, must be maintained in the same manner as required in this article for occupied buildings and all appurtenances thereto, except for the provision of heat and utilities for the duration of the vacancy. It shall be the responsibility of the owners to maintain the security of the building from unauthorized entry and from infestation by pests.
A. 
Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupant thereof and at least 100 additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant thereof, the floor space to be calculated on the basis of total habitable room area.
B. 
In every dwelling unit of two or more rooms, every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor space, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor space for each occupant thereof. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in every lodging unit every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 80 square feet of floor space, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least 60 square feet of floor space for each occupant thereof.
C. 
At least 1/2 of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven feet. The floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling height is less than five feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area of the room for the purpose of determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof.
D. 
No room in a dwelling may be used for sleeping if the floor level of the room is lower than 31/2 feet below the average grade of the ground adjacent to and within 15 feet of the exterior walls of the room.
E. 
A room located below the level of the ground but with the floor level less than 31/2 feet below the average grade of the ground adjacent to and within 15 feet of the exterior walls of the room may be used for sleeping, provided that the walls and floor thereof in contact with the earth have been dampproofed in accordance with a method approved by the administrative authority, and provided that the windows thereof are at least 15 feet from the nearest building or wall.
A. 
No owner or occupant shall cause any services, facilities, equipment or utilities which are required under this article to be removed from, shut off or discontinued in any occupied dwelling let or occupied by him or her, except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repairs or alterations are in process or during temporary emergencies when discontinuance of service is authorized by the public officer. In the event that any service or utility which the owner has agreed to supply is discontinued, the owner shall take immediate steps to cause the restoration of such service or utility.
B. 
The owner of a dwelling located in an area found by the public officer to be infested by rats, insects or other vermin shall carry out such rat stoppage, verminproofing or other means of preventing infestations of said dwelling as may be required by the Board of Health.
C. 
No owner shall occupy or let to an occupant any vacant dwelling unit or lodging unit unless it is clean and sanitary.
D. 
Every owner of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units or lodging units shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition the common areas of the dwelling and premises thereof.
E. 
It shall be the responsibility of the owner, unless otherwise provided for under lease agreement, to provide for the orderly maintenance of the premises. The storage of objects or materials not covered in Subsections G and H of this section or not otherwise prohibited by municipal ordinances shall be done in an orderly manner so as to not constitute a health, safety or fire hazard.
F. 
Every occupant of a dwelling shall keep in a clean and sanitary condition that part of the dwelling which he or she occupies and controls.
G. 
Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall dispose of all his or her garbage and any other organic waste which might provide food for rodents, by placing it in the garbage disposal facilities or garbage storage receptacles required by Chapter 292, Solid Waste, Article I, Garbage, Rubbish and Refuse.
[Amended 5-23-2000 by Ord. No. 00-19]
H. 
Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall dispose of all his or her rubbish in a clean, sanitary manner by placing it in the rubbish containers required by Chapter 292, Solid Waste, Article I, Garbage, Rubbish and Refuse.
[Amended 5-23-2000 by Ord. No. 00-19]
I. 
In dwellings containing no more than three dwelling units, it shall be the responsibility of the occupant of each dwelling unit to furnish such receptacles outside the dwelling unit as are needed for the storage of garbage and rubbish until removal from the premises. In lodging houses and in dwellings containing four or more dwelling units, it shall be the responsibility of the owner to furnish such receptacles outside the lodging units or dwelling units as are needed for the storage of garbage and rubbish until removal from the premises.
J. 
Every occupant of a dwelling unit in a dwelling containing no more than three dwelling units shall be responsible, unless provided for otherwise under a lease agreement, for the periodic removal of all garbage and rubbish from the premises each week in accordance with such regulations of this municipality for the collection of garbage and rubbish.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 292, Solid Waste.
K. 
Every occupant of a dwelling comprising a single dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests therein or on the premises, and every occupant of a dwelling unit in a dwelling containing more than one dwelling unit shall be responsible for such extermination whenever his or her dwelling unit is the only one infested. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a ratproof or reasonably insectproof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. Whenever infestation exists in two or more of the dwelling units in any dwelling or in the common parts of any dwelling containing two or more dwelling units, extermination thereof shall be the responsibility of the owner.
L. 
Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall keep all plumbing fixtures therein in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care in the proper use and operation thereof.
M. 
In dwellings containing two or more dwelling units having a common source of heat for domestic hot water, it shall be the responsibility of the owner to make provision for the proper operation of such facilities at all times.
N. 
Every owner of a dwelling who permits to be occupied any dwelling unit or lodging unit therein under any agreement, expressed or implied, to supply or furnish heat to the occupants thereof, shall supply heat adequate to maintain therein a minimum inside temperature of 68° F. in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. throughout the year.
O. 
In the absence of a contract or agreement to the contrary, an owner shall be obliged to provide heat wherever heating facilities are under the control of the owner or whenever two or more dwelling units or lodging units are heated by a common facility.
P. 
The owner shall be responsible for compliance with all provisions of this article not specified as the responsibility of occupants.
In any case where a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with any provision of any zoning, building, fire, safety or health ordinance or code of the township,[1] the provision which establishes the higher standard for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the people shall prevail.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 121, Construction Codes, Uniform; Ch. 153, Fire Prevention; Ch. 186, Health Standards; and Ch. 347, Zoning.
[Amended 5-23-2000 by Ord. No. 00-19; 4-10-2007 by Ord. No. 07-17]
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment in the county/municipal jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof as determined by the Municipal Court Judge. Each day on which a violation of an ordinance exists shall be considered a separate and distinct violation and shall be subject to imposition of a separate penalty for each day of the violation as the Municipal Court Judge may determine.