[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Burlington 9-28-1993; amended 3-27-2001 (Sec. 18:1 of the 1975 General Ordinances). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Boardinghouses and furnished rooms — See Ch. 135.
Brush, weeds, trees and debris — See Ch. 140.
Unfit buildings — See Ch. 153.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 200.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 275.
Hotels, motels and apartments — See Ch. 313.
Housing standards — See Ch. 318.
Land development — See Ch. 330.
Nuisances — See Ch. 366.
Solid waste — See Ch. 512.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 520.
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code" and may be referred to in this chapter in the short form as "this code."
It is hereby found and declared that there exist in the Township structures used for residential and nonresidential uses which are or may become in the future substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance, or further that such conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance and appearance of the exterior of premises, infestation, lack of essential heating, plumbing, storage or 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. It is further found and declared that, by reason of lack of maintenance and because of progressive deterioration, certain properties have the further effect of creating blighting conditions and initiating slums and 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 regulations and restrictions as are herein contained, the growth of slums and blight may be prevented and the neighborhood and property values thereby maintained, the desirability and amenities of residential and nonresidential uses and neighborhoods enhanced, and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
The purpose of this code is to protect the public health, safety, morals and welfare 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 code; and to provide for the repair, demolition or vacation of premises unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
All definitions of the BOCA Basic Building Code and the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code are hereby included by reference. Said codes which are referred to are the latest editions published before the passage of this chapter.
The following terms, wherever used herein or referred to in this code, shall have the respective meanings assigned to them unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context.
- The condition of a building, or part thereof, characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises, or any part thereof, or any building, or any part thereof, which may be lawfully viewed by the public.
- EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
- Open space on the premises outside of any building thereon.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents and vermin.
- Putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food. (See also "refuse" and "rubbish.")
- The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises, which constitutes a health hazard.
- MIXED OCCUPANCY
- Any building containing one or more dwelling units or room units and also having a portion thereof devoted to nondwelling uses or used as a hotel.
- (1) Any public nuisance as defined by statute or ordinance.
- (2) Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building, on the premises of a building or upon an unoccupied lot. This includes, but is not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements or excavations, abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators, motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts, and any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, poison oak or poison 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 property in violation of the Code of the Township of Burlington.
- (5) Insufficient ventilation or illumination in violation of this code.
- (6) Inadequate or unsanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of this code.
- (7) Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of this code.
- (8) Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings.
- (9) Fire hazards.
- (10) Weeds and grass.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a dwelling or premises, or a part thereof, whether with or without the knowledge and consent of the owner.
- 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 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 reassigning any part or all 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
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the municipality, county or state relating to health, fire or building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the municipality.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer or officers who will enforce the provisions of this code are the Construction Official or his designee.
- All putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste (except body wastes), including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned motor vehicles, broken machinery, engines, lawn mowers, and similar equipment, as well as solid market and industrial wastes. (See also "garbage" and "rubbish.")
- Nonputrescible solid wastes 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.")
Every residential, nonresidential or mixed-occupancy building and the land on which it is situated, used or intended to be used for dwelling, commercial, business or industrial occupancy shall comply with the provisions of this code, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this code and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the building or premises for the construction or repair of the building or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities prior to the effective date of this code. This code shall also apply to mobile home parks.
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than set forth in any other local ordinances or under the laws of the state, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this code impose a lower standard than any other local ordinances or of the laws of the state, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinances or laws shall prevail.
No license or permit or other certification of compliance with this code shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other local ordinances applicable to any structure or premises, nor shall any provision herein relieve any owner, operator or occupancy from complying with any such other provision nor any official of the Township from enforcing any such other provision.
Maintenance free of hazards and unsanitary conditions. The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of the occupant, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises and free of unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated by the owner or operator. It shall be the duty of the owner or operator to keep the premises free of hazards, which include but are not limited to the following:
Refuse. Brush, weeds, broken glass, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash and debris.
Natural growth. Dead and dying trees and limbs or other natural growth which, by reason of rotting or deteriorating conditions or storm damage, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
Overhangings. 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 and excrement of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots and parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible: holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps replaced and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate hazards or unsanitary conditions with reasonable dispatch upon their discovery. This subsection does not apply to single-family dwellings.
Recurring accumulations of stormwater. Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation of stormwater.
Sources of infestation.
Foundation walls. 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. 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 and shall be structurally safe, durable, smoketight and capable of withstanding the action of flue gases.
Exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes. Exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes shall be provided with bannisters 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.
Appearance of exterior of premises and structures. 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.
There shall not be stored or used, at a location visible from the sidewalk, street or other public areas, equipment and materials relating to commercial or industrial use unless permitted under the Zoning Ordinance for the premises.
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 constitutes a blighting factor depreciating adjoining property.
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 brick, excessive peeling paint or other conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance, to the end that the property itself may be preserved, safety and fire hazards eliminated and adjoining properties protected from blighting influences. A periodic exterminating service shall be maintained in all multiple-family dwellings as required.
The outside building walls shall not have any holes or loose boards or any broken, cracked or damaged finish, which admit rain, cold air, dampness, rodents, insects or vermin.
Every dwelling shall be so maintained as to be weathertight and watertight.
Basements, cellar and crawl spaces shall be free of moisture resulting from seepage and shall have cross ventilation where necessary to prevent accumulations of moisture and dampness.
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.
All boards and wood, including floorboards, subfloors, joists, bridging and all other boards in any interior or exterior floor, wall, roof or other part of the structure shall be maintained to be free of cracks, termite damage or rot. Any damaged members shall be replaced.
All inspections, regulations, enforcement and hearings on violations of the provision of this code, unless expressly stated to the contrary, shall be under the direction and supervision of the public officer. The public officer is deemed to be the Construction Official or his designee.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by a resident of the municipality, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or whenever it appears to the public officer on his own motion that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use or that the continuing of any condition constitutes a nuisance in the meaning of this chapter or presents a condition harmful to the health and safety of the occupants of said building and the general public of the municipality, 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 and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the public officer or his designated agent, all of the foregoing in accordance with the applicable notice provisions of the Uniform Construction Code. With regard to alleged violations of the Uniform Construction Code, the appropriate officer to hold the designated hearings shall be the Construction Code Official of the Township of Burlington.
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 shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of the 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 have the said 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 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.
If after such notice and hearing the person or persons notified disagree with the decision of the public officer, then they shall have the right to appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction.
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. 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 occupation 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 same after calling for bids in accordance with applicable provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.
The owner of the property where the public officer had a building removed or demolished shall be liable for all costs incurred by the public officer, on behalf of the municipality, relating to such removal or demolition. Said costs shall be certified by the public officer to the Tax Collector of the Township of Burlington and shall forthwith become a lien upon the property in question and shall be added and become part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such property, the same to bear interest at the same rate as other taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers in the same manner as taxes.
Complaints, orders and notices issued by the public officer shall be served personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by posting a notice on the property which is the subject of the violation. If the person to be served cannot be found in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer shall make an affidavit to that effect, the service of said complaint or order may be made in accordance with the applicable provisions of the New Jersey Construction Code.
The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human occupancy if he finds that conditions are dangerous or injurious to health or safety, including fire hazards, danger of accidents, lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities, disrepair, structural defects or uncleanliness.
[Amended 8-25-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-020; 8-9-2011 by Ord. No. 11-OR-018]
In addition to removal or demolition of a building, the public officer may order necessary repairs or improvements to be made by the owner. In the event the necessary repairs or improvements are not affected by the owner of the property, the public officer shall cause the same to be made by the Township of Burlington or its employee, official and/or designee. The owner of the property shall be liable for the costs of the said repairs or improvements in the manner provided for under § 442-18. The minimum charge for repairs or improvements shall be $300.
[Amended 9-23-2008 by Ord. No. 08-OR-025]
Any person, firm or corporation in violation of any provision of this chapter shall be subject to the maximum penalty in Chapter 1, Article II, Definitions; General Penalty, and a separate offense may be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues. The Burlington Township Municipal Court shall have concurrent jurisdiction for complaints alleging violations of this chapter.
Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to limit, modify or abrogate any right, either in law or in equity, which the Township of Burlington shall deem to possess in order to correct the conditions complained of or prohibited by this chapter.