[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mannington 7-28-1966. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A public officer, to be known as the Housing Officer, shall be appointed by the Township Committee to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Housing Officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Township of Mannington charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Housing Officer (on his or her own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the Housing Officer shall, if the 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 a hearing will be held before the Housing Officer (or designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint, that the owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, or otherwise, and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaints; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Housing Officer.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Housing Officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he or she shall state in writing the 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:
If the repair, alteration or improvement of the said building can be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the value of the building (it is hereby determined that 75% of such value is a reasonable cost for such purpose), requiring the owner (to the extent and within the time specified in the order) to repair, alter or improve the said building to render it fit for human habitation or occupancy or use or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the building; or
If the repair, alteration or improvement of the said building cannot be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the value of the building (being 75% as above set forth), requiring the owner (within the time specified in the order) to remove or demolish such building.
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 occupation 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 Housing Officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished.
The amount of such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Housing Officer, he or she shall sell the materials of such building and shall credit the proceeds of such sale against the cost of the removal or demolition and any 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 by such court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or decree of such court.
The Housing Officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he or she 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 to the residents of the Township of Mannington. 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; uncleanliness.
Process and procedure for the administration of this chapter shall be governed by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 to 40:48-2.12.
The Housing Officer shall have the right 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 power in addition to the others herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the Township of Mannington in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses 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.