[Adopted 10-26-1995 by Ord. No. 25-1995]
It is hereby found and declared that there exists in the Township of Washington structures used for residential and nonresidential use which are or may become in the future standard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance, and, further, that such conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance and appearance of 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, insanitary conditions and overcrowding, constitute a menace to the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comfort of the citizens and inhabitants of the Township of Washington. It is further found and declared that by reason of lack of maintenance and 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 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 article is to protect the public health, safety, morals and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance, conditions and occupancy of residential and nonresidential premises; to establish minimum standards governing utilities, facilities and other physical components and condition 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 article; and to provide for the repair, demolition or vacation of premises unfit for human habitation or occupancy use. It is intended that any inspections and/or reports compiled in accordance herewith may be used to aid any proceeding before any agency or court.
The following terms, wherever used herein or referred to in this article, shall have the respective meanings assigned to them unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context: (All definitions of the BOCA Basic Building Code are hereby included.)
- The condition of a building or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premise or any part thereof, or any building or any part thereof, which may be lawfully viewed by the public or any member thereof.
- EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
- Open space on the premises outside any building thereon.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents and vermin.
- GARBAGE - (see also "refuse" and "rubbish")
- Putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- HABITABLE ROOMS
- Rooms used or designed for use by one or more persons for living or sleeping or cooking and eating, but not including bathrooms, water closets, compartments, laundries, serving and storage pantries, corridors, foyers, vestibules, cellars, heater rooms, boiler rooms, utility rooms and other rooms or spaces that are not used frequently or for an extended period of time or that have less than 50 square feet of superficial floor area, which shall not be considered as habitable rooms.
- The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises which constitute a health hazard.
- INVASIVE PLANTS
- All native and non-native vines and vegetation that grow
out of place and are competitive, persistent, and pernicious. These
plants may damage trees, vegetation, or structures. Examples include
but are not limited to bamboo (spreading or running type), ragweed,
multiflora rose, kudzu-vine and poison ivy or oak.[Added 6-28-2017 by Ord. No. 12-2017]
- MIXED OCCUPANCY
- Any building containing one or more dwelling units or rooming units and also having a portion thereof devoted to nondwelling uses or as a hotel.
- A. Any public nuisance known as common law or in equity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Township of Washington.
- B. 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, excavations, abandoned iceboxes, refrigerators, motor vehicles, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, fences, debris or vegetation such as poison ivy, oak or sumac which may prove hazardous for inquisitive minors.
- C. Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
- D. Overcrowding of a room with occupants in violation of this article.
- E. Insufficient ventilation or illumination in violation of this article.
- F. Inadequate or insanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of this article.
- G. Insanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of this article.
- H. Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human, beings.
- I. Fire hazards.
- 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 individual, partnership or corporation and 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 shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling unit, as owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate, or as mortgagee in possession regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or reassigning any par 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, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the municipality.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- See § 179-13
- REFUSE - (see also "garbage" and "rubbish")
- All putrescible and nonputrescible solid wastes (except body wastes), including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleaning, dead animals, abandoned automobiles and solid market and industrial wastes.
- (see also "garbage" and "refuse") — 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.
Every residential, nonresidential or mixed occupancy building and the premises 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 article, whether or not such building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this article, 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 article. This article shall also apply to mobile home parks.
In any case where the provisions of this article impose a higher standard than set forth in any other local ordinances or under the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the standards set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this article impose a lower standard than any other local ordinances or the laws of the State of New Jersey, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or law shall prevail.
No license or permit or other certification of compliance with this article shall constitute a defense against any violation of any local ordinance applicable to any structure or premises, nor shall any provision herein relieve any owner, operator or occupant from complying with any such other provision nor any official of the Township of Washington from enforcing any such other provision.
The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of all nuisances and any hazards to the safety of occupants, 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 and 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, refuse 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.
Overhanging: 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 excretion of pets and other animals on paths, walks, driveways, parking lots, parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such 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 to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulation or storm water.
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 be structurally safe, durable, smoke tight 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 banisters 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 defect.
Invasive plants. All new in-ground plantings of invasive plants are strictly prohibited. All existing invasive plants and/or plantings must be contained by appropriate physical barriers to prevent the growth or spread of existing invasive species beyond the boundaries of a property owner's premises.
[Added 6-28-2017 by Ord. No. 12-2017]
[Added 2-27-2019 by Ord. No. 4-2019]
All exterior lights shall be maintained and/ or operated in such a manner so as not to be a nuisance or annoyance to any neighboring properties.
All exterior lights shall be designed, located, installed and directed to prevent objectionable light and glare across property lines and above a 90° horizontal plane.
All lighting shall be shielded to prevent glare for drivers or pedestrians, light trespass beyond the property line and light above the 90° horizontal plane.
The maximum illumination at the common property line with adjacent properties shall not exceed 0.2 footcandles.
Emergency lighting by police, fire and rescue and other authorities is exempt from this article.
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 owners, including the following:
Storage of commercial and industrial material. Equipment and materials relating to commercial or industrial use shall not be stored or used at a location visible from the sidewalk, street or other public areas unless permitted under the Zoning Ordinance for the premises.
Landscaping. Premises with landscaping and lawns, hedges and bushes, shrubs, flowering and vine plants shall be kept trimmed and from becoming overgrown and shall not be allowed to grow beyond the boundaries of the property lines. All shall be kept under control so it does not constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining property.
[Amended 2-27-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
Reconstructed walls and sidings. Reconstructed walls and sidings of nonresidential structures shall be of standard quality and appearance commensurate with the character of the properties in the same block and on both sides of the street on which the premises front, such that the materials used will not be of a kind that by their appearance under prevailing appraisal practice and standards will depreciate the values of the neighboring and adjoining premises as aforesaid.
General maintenance. 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 condition reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance, to the end that the property itself may be preserved safely and fire hazards eliminated and adjoining properties protected from blighting influences. A periodic (every month) exterminating service shall be maintained in all multiple-family dwellings.
The outside building walls shall not have any holes, loose boards or any broken, cracked or damaged finish that admits rain, cold air, dampness, rodents, insects or vermin.
Every dwelling shall be so maintained as to be weather and watertight.
Basements, cellars and crawl spaces shall be free of moisture resulting from seepage, and cross-ventilation shall be required where necessary to prevent accumulations of moisture and dampness, and such areas shall be paved with stone or concrete not less than four inches thick and shall be maintained at all times in a condition so as to be smooth, clean, free from cracks, breaks and other hazards.
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 weather and rain tight and shall be kept in good repair.
Janitorial service. In every multiple dwelling containing four or more dwelling units or apartments or rooming units or combination thereof, the owner shall provide a superintendent, janitor, or housekeeper who shall at all times maintain the premises in compliance with this article, including the responsibility for providing the receptacles for the disposal of garbage and refuse. The person provided shall be regularly available on the premises to perform the foregoing duties, and, in the case of complexes with 500 or more units, at least two such persons shall be provided one of which shall reside on the premises.
The owner or operator shall make known to all tenants or occupants the name, address and telephone number of the person to act as superintendent, janitor or housekeeper and shall register the same with the public officer and Township Clerk. The owner or operator shall also make available and known to all tenants or occupants the name of an alternate individual who shall be responsible for the duties of the superintendent, janitor or housekeeper during his or her absence.
The failure of any superintendent, janitor or housekeeper to comply with the provisions of this article, even in disobedience of instructions, shall not relieve the owner or operator from the duties and responsibilities imposed by this article.
Any and all maintenance employees hired by the owner or operator, including the superintendent, janitor or housekeeper or their agents, shall be provided with picture identification which they shall keep with them at all times and produce upon request. The responsibility for compliance with this requirement shall be that of the owner or operator.
The owner or operator shall register the name, address and telephone number of said owner or operator with the public officer and the Township Clerk.
Removal and storage of garbage and refuse. The owner or operator or every multiple dwelling containing four or more dwelling units, apartments or rooming units or any combination thereof shall have the duty and responsibility of removing garbage and refuse after its daily collection from tenants or occupants. The owner or operator shall have the duty and responsibility of providing storage areas or storage bins of fireproof construction containing fireproof walls or partitions of at least two hours rating for the storage of accumulated garbage or refuse while awaiting collection for removal from the premises.
Central heat and air conditioning. Premises who lease or express or implied covenants cognizable at common law or equity, or as provided by law, shall include air conditioning from May 2 until September 14 annually at a temperature not exceeding 74º F. or a temperature not less than 15º lower than actual outside temperatures. Central heat shall be required in all residential dwelling units from September 15 to May 1 annually at a temperature of not less than 68º F.
Elevators. All residential dwellings of four or more stories containing elevators shall have twenty-four-hour maintenance contracts to prevent elevators being out of service for excessive lengths of time.
Every building covered by this article shall comply with the minimum requirements for fire safety established by the BOCA Fire Code, 1993 Edition.
Whenever there shall occur any change in industrial, institutional or commercial use or commercial use by way of a new operator on the first floor of any apartment building where such use is permitted shall require a new occupancy certificate.
Whenever said aforesaid change shall occur, the owner of said dwelling or premises shall have the responsibility of notifying the public officer at least 10 days prior to such change in use and make the premises available to the public officer for inspection to determine if said premises are in compliance with the terms of all applicable statutes, ordinances and regulations. If the public officer determines there is compliance, a new occupancy certificate shall be issued, provided all applicable fees have been paid. If after inspection the public officer determines that said premises are not in compliance, then no occupancy certificate shall be issued and any occupancy shall be a violation of the terms of this article.
The Mayor of the Township shall appoint a Property Committee, whose membership shall include the Director of Licensing and Inspections, the Director of Municipal Services, the Zoning Officer and the Mayor. The Mayor shall serve as the Director, who shall assume the duties of public officer.
The Director of the Property Committee is hereby designated to serve as the public officer hereunder, and all inspections, regulations, enforcement and hearings on violations of the provisions of this article, unless expressly stated to the contrary, shall be under his direction and supervision. He may appoint or designate such other local public officers or employees to perform duties as may be necessary to the enforcement of this article, including the making of inspections and holding of hearings as well as issuing notices of violations and summonses in Municipal Court for noncompliance.
Whenever a complaint is filed in writing by a public authority, or by at least one resident or operator charging noncompliance after written landlord notification with this article, or whenever it appears to the public officer on his own motion, either as the result of a change of occupancy inspection required by § 179-12 hereof or otherwise, that there is noncompliance with this article, the public officer may, in addition to the nonissuance of an occupancy certificate if a new one is required, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of such dwelling or premises a complaint stating the charges of noncompliance and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the public officer or his designee at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of the complaint. The notice shall also state that the owner shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise to dispute said complaint. The notice shall also advise that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
Whenever the enforcement officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provisions of this article, he or she shall give notice of such violation to the person or persons or entities responsible therefore under this article. Such notice shall be in writing and shall include a concise statement of the reasons for issuance. Such notice shall be deemed properly and sufficiently served if a copy thereof is sent by registered or certified mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served as shown on the current tax records of the Township; or a copy thereof handed to said person or persons; or a copy thereof left at the usual place of abode or office of said person or entities. Notice shall be deemed received upon either actual notice or within three days of the date the letter is placed in the mail. Notice shall be given as aforesaid within or without the Township. The notice shall also state that unless the violation is abated, removed, cured or prevented within 10 days of the date of service of such notice (exclusive of the date of service) a summons shall be issued for such violations. The enforcement officer may, at the time he or she issues the notice, extend the period for compliance with the violation stated in the notice for a period in excess of the aforesaid 10 days if, in his or her judgment, the abatement, removal, prevention, cessation of or cure of the conditions violated cannot reasonably be affected within the ten-day period. In the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured, prevented or otherwise fully remedied within said ten-day period or within such extended period as set forth in the notice pursuant to this subsection, a summons shall then be issued against the person, persons, entity or entities so notified.
[Added 6-26-2008 by Ord. No. 30-2008]
If, after such notice and hearing, the public officer determines that the building or apartment under consideration is unfit for human 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 repair, alteration or improvement of said building or apartment 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 building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; or
If the building or apartment 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 said building within a reasonable time as specified in said order of removal.
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 or apartment, the public officer may cause such building or apartment to be repaired, altered or improved, or be vacated and closed; and the public officer may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any building or apartment so closed a placard with the following words: "This building or apartment is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupation of this building or apartment 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 removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
The amount of 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 article 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 real property upon which such cost was incurred. The public officer shall certify the cost thereof to the governing body, which shall examine the certificate and, if found correct, shall cause the cost as shown thereon to be charged against said lands; the amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes. If the building is removed or demolished by the public 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 Municipal Tax Collector or other custodian of the records of tax liens and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded 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 public 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 municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatements, by summary proceedings or otherwise. 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.
Complaints or orders issued by a public officer pursuant to this article 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 public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer 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 municipality, or in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the municipality in which the buildings are located. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. 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 building is located.
[Added 11-12-2014 by Ord. No. 21-2014]
Pursuant to the provisions of the Public Laws of 2014, Chapter 35, a creditor filing a summons and complaint to foreclose a lien on a residential property that is vacant and abandoned, whether the filing of the summons and complaint is made before or after the determination that the property is vacant and abandoned, shall be responsible for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the residential property. This obligation applies whether the determination that the property is vacant and abandoned is made by the public officer pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and/or pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73 or otherwise.
[Added 11-12-2014 by Ord. No. 21-2014]
If the public officer or other authorized municipal official determines that a creditor obligated to care for, maintain, secure and keep up a vacant and abandoned property has failed to do so in violation of the provisions of this chapter, the public officer or other authorized municipal official shall issue a notice of violation to the creditor that has filed a summons and complaint to foreclose on the property in question. The notice shall require the person or entity to correct the violation within 30 days of receipt of the notice, or within 10 days of receipt of the notice if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety. The issuance of this notice shall constitute evidence that a property is "vacant and abandoned" for purposes of N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73.
[Added 11-12-2014 by Ord. No. 21-2014]
An out-of-state creditor shall include the full name and contact information of the in-state representative or agent in the notice required to be provided to the Municipal Clerk pursuant to Subdivision a(1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51. An out-of-state creditor found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have violated this provision shall be subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation, commencing on the day after the ten-day period set forth in Subdivision a(1) of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 with respect to notifying the Municipal Clerk that an action to foreclose on the property has been filed.
[Added 11-12-2014 by Ord. No. 21-2014]
Except as set forth in § 179-18.3 and herein, any person, firm, corporation or entity violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, of this Code. A creditor required to care for, maintain, secure and keep up a property under this chapter cited in a notice issued pursuant to § 179-18.2 shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation.
The public officer shall exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this article, including the following powers in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the municipality in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
To administer oaths, affirmation, examine, witness and receive evidence.
To enter 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, and provided that any entrance without the permission of the occupant such be consistent with the laws and Constitution of the State of New Jersey and of the United States.
To appoint and fix duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this article.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under the chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
To collect on behalf of the municipality any appropriate fees properly authorized.
The public officer may, subject to approval by the governing body, by ordinances amending this article, adopt written rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this article; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this article nor in anyway alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The public officer shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which he may adopt in his office and in the office of the Township Clerk of the Township of Washington. Such rules and regulations shall be ineffective until adoption by the governing body of the Township of Washington by ordinance.
The public officer may determine that a building or apartment is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of such municipality. 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; and uncleanliness.
The Council of the Township of Washington may, by resolution, abate a nuisance, correct a defect or put the premises in condition so as to comply with the requirements of any municipal ordinance or state law applicable thereto, at the cost of the owner or lessor, and expend municipal funds for such purpose and charge the same against the premises, and the amount thereof as determined by the governing body of the municipality shall be a lien against the premises and collectible as provided in this article.
Where the violation or condition existing on the premises is of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat of life and limb, unless abated without delay, the Police Department, Construction Code Official or Health Officer may order the owner, operator or occupant to correct the violation or condition within the period of time consistent with the hazard involved and with the measures necessary to remove the hazard and upon failure of the operator, owner or occupant to correct said condition, the Police Department, Construction Code Official or Health Officer shall abate said condition immediately thereafter wherein the cost shall be borne on the owner, operator or occupant and all costs shall become a lien as set forth in this article and costs shall be imposed as set forth in Chapter 80.
[Added 6-26-2008 by Ord. No. 30-2008]
Whenever the enforcement officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provisions of this article, he or she shall give notice of such violation to the person or persons or entities responsible therefore under this article. Such notice shall be in writing and shall include a concise statement of the reasons for issuance. Such notice shall be deemed properly and sufficiently served if a copy thereof is sent by registered or certified mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served as shown on the current tax records of the Township; or a copy thereof handed to said person or persons; or a copy thereof left at the usual place of abode or office of said person or entities. Notice shall be deemed received upon either actual notice or within three days of the date the letter is placed in the mail. Notice shall be given as aforesaid within or without the Township. The notice shall also state that unless the violation is abated, removed, cured or prevented within 10 days of the date of service of such notice (exclusive of the date of service), a summons shall be issued for such violations. The enforcement officer may, at the time he or she issues the notice, extend the period for compliance with the violation stated in the notice for a period in excess of the aforesaid 10 days if, in his or her judgment, the abatement, removal, prevention, cessation of or cure of the conditions violated cannot reasonably be affected within the ten-day period. In the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured, prevented or otherwise fully remedied within said ten-day period or within such extended period as set forth in the notice pursuant to this subsection, a summons shall then be issued against the person, persons, entity or entities so notified.
[Added 6-26-2008 by Ord. No. 30-2008]
Where the abatement of any condition described herein, correction of a defect in the premises or work necessary to place the premises in a proper condition, so as to conform to this article or any other ordinance of the Township or applicable laws of the State of New Jersey, shall not have been completed within the period required by the notice from the enforcement officer, the enforcement officer shall present a report of the work accomplished to the Mayor and Council along with a summary of the proceedings undertaken to secure compliance, including notice served upon the owner, operator or occupant or their agents as the case may be. The governing body shall then approve the expenditures made and assess the same against the premises collectible as provided by law. A copy of the resolution approving said expense shall be certified by the Township Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector of the Township of Washington, who shall be responsible for the collection thereof, and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner, operator, occupant and/or their agent.
[Added 6-26-2008 by Ord. No. 30-2008]
Whenever the public officer 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 requiring that such action be taken as he determines necessary, applying the statutes and other provisions of this article to meet the emergency, and such order shall be effective immediately, and any person to whom such order is directed shall comply immediately, but upon petition to the public officer shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. The provisions of this article as to charging the costs and making them assessable as taxes shall apply to such emergencies.
Any violation of any ordinance other than this article discovered in the enforcement of this article shall be reported to the public officer, who shall refer the alleged violation to the official or agency responsible for the enforcement of such ordinance.
The public officer shall have the power to withhold strict enforcement of this article upon written application therefor by an owner or party in interest after obtaining approval of Township Council after making determination that:
Any variation or modification of structure use approved by the public officer will not in any material way alter the standards of this article and cannot affect detrimentally the health or safety of occupants of the premises or the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or owners of adjacent premises or of the neighborhood.
Strict enforcement would constitute an undue and unnecessary hardship on the owner, operator or occupant because it would compete expenditures on premises which would be substantially disproportionate to any benefit to health, safety or welfare that might be derived therefrom.
The owner, operator or occupant is without any practical or feasible means to comply with the strict provisions of this article.
Premises subject to this article are contemplated for acquisition or are within the area where acquisition is contemplated by a public agency having the power of eminent domain and there is a reasonable likelihood that said premises will be acquired within a period of two years and that the strict enforcement of the provisions of this article would require the installation of repairs and improvements estimated to exceed $1,000 in cost and there is an alternative means satisfactory to the public officer to be used which will eliminate violations of this article constituting hazards to the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of the premises and persons in the immediate vicinity thereof; provided, however, that any waiver of the provisions of this article permitted under this subsection shall be canceled and the public officer shall strictly enforce the article if it shall be ascertained subsequent to the granting of the waiver that the premises are in fact not to be acquired for any public use or purpose.
The public officer may, with the approval of the Township Council of the Township of Washington, by resolution, bring an action to be appointed receiver ex officio of the rents and income of such property for the purpose of collecting the rents and income from such property and expending the same for the purpose of abating the conditions against which this article is directed. The procedure and other legal steps shall be governed by the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12h to 40:48-2.12k and/or N.J.S.A. 2A:42-74 to 2A:42-84.
[Amended 6-26-2008 by Ord. No. 30-2008]
Any and all fees and costs incurred with the inspection as well as any work for public works employees to abate the condition shall be charged to the owner of the premises at the rate set forth in Chapter 80, Fees.
This article is enacted pursuant to the following New Jersey statutes: N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.14, 40:48-1 (15), 40:48-2.3 to 40:48-2.12, 40:48-2.12a to 40:48-2.12l, 40:69A-30 and/or N.J.S.A. 2A:42-74 to 2A:42-84 and the general police powers.