Borough of Paramus, NJ
Bergen County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Paramus 5-14-1969 by Ord. No. 608 (Ch. 7, Art. 1 of the 1969 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Certificates of compliance and continued certificates of occupancy — See Ch. 197.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 203.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 241.
Littering — See Ch. 289.
Solid waste — See Ch. 379.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 415.
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Paramus" and may be referred to in this chapter in the short form as the "Property Maintenance Code" or as "this code."
A. 
It is hereby found and declared that there exist in the Borough structures used for residential and nonresidential purposes which are or may become in the future substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance, and further, that such conditions, including but not limited to structural deterioration; inadequate maintenance; infestation; inadequate provisions for essential utilities or facilities; inadequate provisions for light and air; and unsanitary conditions constitute a menace to the health, safety and welfare of the residents and inhabitants of the Borough.
B. 
It is further found and declared that the existence of such conditions has the further effect of creating blight and substandard neighborhoods and that by the enactment of timely regulations and restrictions as herein contained, the development of blight may be prevented and neighborhood and property values maintained and the public health, safety and welfare protected and fostered.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to:
(1) 
Protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance, condition and occupancy of residential and nonresidential premises.
(2) 
Establish minimum standards governing facilities and other physical components and conditions essential to make the aforesaid facilities fit for human habitation, occupancy and use.
(3) 
Fix certain responsibilities and duties upon owners, operators and occupants.
(4) 
Fix penalties for the violation of this chapter.
B. 
This chapter is hereby declared to be remedial and essential for the public interest, and it is intended that this chapter be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes as stated herein.
The following words and 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:
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
A building or use that is on the same lot as; subordinate to; under the same ownership or control as; and used for the purpose customarily incident to the use of the main building.
DETERIORATION
The condition or appearance of a building or part thereof, characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting, other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
Those portions of a building which are exposed to public view and the open space of any premises outside of any building erected thereon.
GARBAGE
Putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food. (See also "refuse" and "rubbish.")
INFESTATION
The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises which constitute a health hazard.
A. 
Any public nuisance known at common law or in equity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the state or the ordinances of the Borough.
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 or motor vehicles, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash or debris.
C. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
D. 
Unsanitary conditions or conditions which render air, food or drink detrimental to the health of human beings.
OCCUPANT
Any person living, sleeping or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit.
OPERATOR
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.
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 shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling or dwelling unit as owner or agent of the owner or as fiduciary, including but not limited to executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of an 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.
PREMISES
A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon.
REFUSE
All putrescible and nonputrescible solid wastes, including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned automobiles and solid market and industrial wastes. (See also "garbage" and "rubbish.")
RUBBISH
Nonputrescible solid wastes consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery and similar materials. (See also "garbage" and "refuse.")
STRUCTURE
Anything that is built or constructed and permanently affixed on or under the ground or upon another structure or building.
Every residential and nonresidential building and the premises on which it is situated in the Borough previously or presently 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 October 9, 1968, and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the building or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities prior to October 9, 1968.
This code establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all such buildings and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of the building, equipment or facilities contained therein except as provided in § 339-7.
In any case where the provisions of this code impose a higher standard than set forth in any other ordinance of the Borough 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 ordinance of the Borough or of any law of the state, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or law shall prevail.
No certification of compliance with this code shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other ordinance of the Borough applicable to any structure or premises.
Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in this code, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duties and responsibilities nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in § 339-15 of this code, and the occupant shall not be relieved from any such duties and responsibilities nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that the owner or occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Unless expressly provided to the contrary in this code, the respective obligations and responsibilities of the owner and operator on one hand and the occupant on the other shall not be altered or affected by any agreement or contract by and between any of the aforesaid or between them and other parties.
A. 
Residential and nonresidential. The exterior of the premises and all structures thereon shall be kept free of any hazards to the safety of occupants, pedestrians and other persons utilizing the premises and free of unsightly or unsanitary conditions, and any of the foregoing shall be promptly removed and abated.
B. 
It shall be the duty of the owner or operator to keep the premises free of hazards and unsightly or unsanitary conditions which include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Ground surface hazards, including, without limitation, holes, excavations, breaks, projections or obstructions which constitute a hazard to persons using the premises.
(2) 
Inadequate foundation walls, piers and columns. Foundation walls, piers, columns or similar load-bearing components shall be kept structurally sound, free from defects and damage and capable of bearing imposed loads safely.
(3) 
Loose and overhanging objects including, without limitation, dead and dying trees, accumulations of ice or other similar conditions which, by reason of their location above ground level, constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof.
(4) 
Refuse, including, without limitation, junk, debris, scrap lumber, scrap metal, inoperable machinery or parts and fragments thereof, glass, tree stumps and trash.
(5) 
Unsafe exterior facilities, including, without limitation, exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes, all of which shall be kept structurally sound and in good repair and which shall be provided with bannisters or railings properly designed and maintained.
A. 
Residential. The exterior of the premises, the exterior of dwelling structures and the condition of accessory structures shall be maintained so that the appearance of the premises and all buildings thereon shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the residential standards of the neighborhood and such that the appearance of the premises and structures shall not constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining properties nor an element leading to the progressive deterioration and downgrading of the neighborhood with the accompanying diminution of property values.
(1) 
In order to preserve property values, eliminate safety hazards and protect adjoining properties and the neighborhood from blighting influences, the exterior of every structure or accessory structure (including fences) shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted or whitewashed where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance and be free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick or excessive peeling paint. The grounds shall be maintained to an extent sufficient to prevent the appearance thereof from constituting a blighting factor depreciation adjoining properties and impairing the residential character of the neighborhood.
(2) 
Front yard parking or standing of motor vehicles. No person shall park, stop or stand any motor vehicle or permit or suffer the same to be done in any front yard area of premises occupied by a dwelling except on driveways and parking areas constructed and installed in compliance with applicable Borough ordinances.
(3) 
It shall be the responsibility of any owner of real property abutting any public street or sidewalk in the Borough of Paramus to maintain and repair and, if necessary, reconstruct the sidewalks in front of and abutting such property whenever such sidewalks are in disrepair as to constitute a hazard to the general public. The property owner shall have the option of selecting one of the following:
[Amended 5-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-13]
(a) 
Within 45 days of notice from the Borough of Paramus, the property owner shall voluntarily make all such repairs at his own cost and expense. The work shall be performed in accordance with the standards established by Borough ordinance and the Department of Public Works.
(b) 
The Borough shall make all such repairs with permission from the owner. The exact cost incurred by the Borough shall be paid by the owner. In the event that the owner fails to pay the Borough within 30 days of said repair, then the Borough shall certify to the Tax Collector the cost of said repair, which shall become a lien upon said lands abutting the subject property to the same extent that assessments for local improvements are liens in the Borough of Paramus under general law, and said costs shall be collected in the manner provided by law for the collection of such other assessments, bearing interest at the same rate. Nothing herein shall deprive the Borough of Paramus of its right to bring an action to recover said amount against the owner of said lands.
(4) 
Waterways, brooks, etc. All waterways, brooks, drainage ditches and swales, to the extent that the same are located on or immediately adjacent to the premises, shall be maintained in good condition, free from debris, plantings or other obstructions.
B. 
Nonresidential. The exterior of the premises and the condition of accessory structures shall be maintained so that:
(1) 
The appearance of the premises and all buildings thereon shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the standards of the zoning district in which the property is located; and
(2) 
The appearance of the premises and structures shall not constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining properties nor be an element leading to the progressive deterioration and downgrading of the neighborhood or the zoning district in which the property is located.
(a) 
General maintenance. In order to preserve property values, eliminate safety hazards and protect adjoining properties and the neighborhood from blighting influences, the exterior of every structure or accessory structure (including fences) shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted or whitewashed where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance and be free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick or excessive peeling paint. The grounds shall be maintained to an extent sufficient to prevent the appearance thereof from constituting a blighting factor depreciating adjoining properties and impairing the character of the neighborhood.
(b) 
Conditions of approval. All conditions of approval incorporated in resolutions or other acts of the Borough Council or of any duly constituted board or agency of the Borough shall be adhered to and shall be construed to be continuing conditions of approval. All on-site improvements of every kind or nature, including, without limitation, sidewalks, curbs, catch basins, storm drains and driveways installed pursuant to the requirements of the Borough Council or any duly constituted board or agency of the Borough shall be maintained in good and serviceable condition at all times.
(c) 
Windows. No storage of materials, stock or inventory shall be permitted in window display areas unless said areas are first screened from the public view by drapes, venetian blinds or other permanent treatment rendering the windows opaque to the public view. All such screening of interiors shall be maintained in a clean and attractive manner and in a good state of repair.
(d) 
Storefronts. All storefronts shall be maintained in good repair and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted, when necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. In the event that repairs to a portion of a storefront are made, such repairs shall be performed with materials identical or compatible with the materials used in the area not undergoing repair to the end that the appearance of the storefront shall be uniform and attractive and shall not constitute a blighting factor depreciating adjoining properties.
(e) 
Any awning or marquee and its accompanying structural members which extend over any street, sidewalk or other portion of the premises shall be maintained in good repair and shall not constitute a nuisance or a safety hazard. In the event that such awnings or marquees are not properly maintained in accordance with the foregoing, they shall, together with their supporting members, be removed forthwith. In the event that said awnings or marquees are made of cloth, plastic or of similar materials, said cloth or plastic, where exposed to public view, shall be maintained in good condition and shall not show evidence of excessive weathering, discoloration, ripping, tearing or other holes. Nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any encroachment on streets, sidewalks or other parts of the public domain.
(f) 
Signs. All signs, including the structural and supporting components thereof, and all light stanchions and poles shall be maintained in good repair.
(g) 
Parking lines. All parking areas shall be marked with clearly visible parking lines and necessary directional arrows. Such markings shall be consistent with any requirements as to parking areas imposed by the Borough Council or any other duly constituted board or agency of the Borough.
(h) 
Waterways, brooks, etc. All waterways, brooks, drainage ditches and swales, to the extent that the same are located on or immediately adjacent to the premises, shall be maintained in good condition, free from debris, plantings or other obstructions.
A. 
Residential. To avoid safety or health hazards, every dwelling and accessory structure and every part thereof shall be kept structurally sound and in a state of good repair, including:
(1) 
Exterior walls, sidings and roofs. Exterior walls, sidings and roofs shall be kept structurally sound, in good repair and free from defects.
(2) 
Painting and other protective coating. All exposed surfaces susceptible to decay shall be kept at all times painted or otherwise provided with a protective coating sufficient to prevent deterioration.
(3) 
Weather- and watertightness. Every dwelling shall be so maintained as to be weather- and watertight.
(4) 
Exterior walls, roofs, etc. Exterior walls, roofs, windows, window frames, doors, door frames, foundations and other portions of the structure shall be so maintained as to prevent water from entering the structure under normal conditions and to prevent excessive drafts. Damaged materials must be repaired or replaced promptly; places showing signs of rot, leakage, deterioration or corrosion are to be restored and protected against weathering or seepage.
B. 
Nonresidential. The exterior of every structure or accessory structure (including fences and storefronts) shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted or whitewashed where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. All surfaces 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 property itself may be preserved. All safety hazards shall be eliminated and adjoining properties and the neighborhood protected from blighting influences. All reconstruction of walls and sidings shall be of standard quality and appearance commensurate with the character of the properties in the zoning district in which the premises are located, and the materials used shall not be of a kind that by their appearance under prevailing appraisal practices and standards will depreciate the value of neighboring and adjoining premises as aforesaid.
A. 
Basements and cellars. Basements, cellar and crawl spaces are to be maintained free of moisture, and ventilation shall be required where necessary to prevent accumulations of moisture and dampness.
B. 
Freedom from infestation. All parts of the premises shall be maintained so as to prevent infestation.
C. 
General sanitation and safety. All parts of the premises shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, free of nuisances and free from health, safety and fire hazards.
D. 
Accumulations of garbage. No accumulation or obstruction from garbage, refuse or rubbish shall be permitted on common stairways, areaways, balconies, porches, hallways, basements or cellars.
E. 
Floors, interior walls and ceilings. Floors, interior walls and ceilings of every structure shall be structurally sound and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
F. 
Floors, generally. Floors shall be considered to be structurally sound when capable of safely bearing imposed loads and shall be maintained at all times in a condition so as to be smooth, clean, free from cracks, breaks and other hazards.
G. 
Bathrooms, water closet compartments and kitchen floors. Bathrooms, water closet compartments, shower rooms and kitchen floors shall be kept at all times in a clean and sanitary condition.
H. 
Walls and ceilings, generally. Walls and ceilings shall be maintained in good repair and free from cracks, breaks, loose plaster and similar conditions. Walls shall be provided with paint, paper, sealing material or other protective covering so that said walls and ceilings shall be kept clean, free of visible foreign matter, sanitary and well maintained at all times.
I. 
Stairs and railings. Interior stairs of every structure shall be structurally sound and free from defects. Stairs shall be adequately lighted in all places with control switches operable from each story to permit safe use at night for persons ascending or descending, except where artificial lighting for hallways and common areaways is supplied, in accordance with state law or Borough ordinance, from a master control switch.
J. 
Garbage disposal. All structures shall be provided with watertight receptacles, with tight-fitting covers, sufficient in capacity to hold all refuse, garbage and waste matter emanating from said building or structure. The receptacles shall not be located nor maintained in such a manner as to provide the creation of a nuisance or a health hazard.
[Amended 10-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-24]
The Construction Code Official and/or any Zoning Officer of the Borough are hereby designated as the officers charged with the enforcement of this code and shall be considered Enforcement Officers with regard to the provisions of this code. For purposes of conducting hearings in accordance with the provisions of this code, the Construction Code Official shall be designated as the Hearing Officer before whom hearings shall be held. In addition, all members of the Police Department and authorized inspectors of the Volunteer Fire Department, Building Department and Board of Health of the Borough are hereby designated as Assistant Enforcement Officers for purposes of the enforcement of this code. Enforcement Officers are hereby authorized and directed to exercise the powers prescribed by this code, to enforce this code and to make inspections to determine the condition of commercial, business and industrial premises, structures and buildings, residential premises, structures and buildings and dwellings, dwelling units, lodging units (hereinafter "premises") and any and all properties (vacant or otherwise) located within the Borough of Paramus in order that they may perform their duties of safeguarding the health, welfare and safety of the occupants thereof and of the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections, the Enforcement Officers are hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times all such premises. The owner or occupant of such premises, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Enforcement Officers free access thereto at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey. No inspection shall interfere with the legal or constitutional rights of the owner, operator or occupant. Every occupant shall give the owner thereof, or his or her agent or employee, access at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
The Enforcement Officer may, at his election:
A. 
Prosecute violations of any section of this code involving public health or public safety without notice, by the filing of a complaint in the Municipal Court of the Borough.
B. 
Enforce the provisions of this code by notice and hearing as provided in § 339-18.
[Amended 10-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-24]
A. 
Whenever the Enforcement Officer or any Assistant Enforcement Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this code, he or she shall give notice of such alleged violation by preparing a complaint and forwarding said complaint to the person or persons responsible therefor as hereinafter provided. The owner or other person receiving said complaint shall be given an opportunity to file an answer to said complaint.
B. 
Such notice shall:
(1) 
Be in writing;
(2) 
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued;
(3) 
State that unless, within 10 days from service of the notice, a written request is made for a hearing before the Hearing Officer, said notice shall, at the expiration of such ten-day period, be deemed an order to cease and desist from and to abate the described violation;
(4) 
Prescribe a reasonable time within which such person shall be required to cease and desist from and abate such violation.
C. 
The notice and complaint may also contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this code.
D. 
The notice and complaint may be served upon the owner or occupant of the premises or the agent of either of them, provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served if a copy thereof is served upon such person personally or sent by certified or registered mail to his or her last known address or posted in a conspicuous place in or about the premises affected by the notice.
[Amended 10-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-24]
At any hearing held before the Hearing Officer pursuant to the provisions of this code, the Hearing Officer shall be vested with all the powers provided by law to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and parties in interest and to require the production of books, records and other documents which may be pertinent to matters to be determined by the Hearing Officer. The Rules of Evidence prevailing in the New Jersey Court System shall not apply at said hearing.
[Amended 10-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-24]
A. 
Any person given notice pursuant to § 339-18 shall be entitled to a hearing, if requested, before the Hearing Officer.
B. 
If such hearing is requested, it shall be commenced no later than 10 days after request therefor is made, provided that for good cause the Enforcement Officer may postpone such hearing for a reasonable time.
C. 
If, after hearing, the Hearing Officer finds that no violation exists, the notice of violation shall be withdrawn.
D. 
If the Hearing Officer finds that violation does exist, it shall enter and issue an order requiring the abatement of the same within a prescribed reasonable time.
E. 
The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Hearing Officer, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Borough Clerk.
F. 
Failure to comply. If the owner, operator or occupant of the premises fails to comply with an order to repair, alter, clean, remove any violation, or improve or, at the option of the owner, operator or occupant, to vacate and close a building, the Enforcement Officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered, cleaned, or improved, or to be vacated, and closed, or to be demolished in compliance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5 et seq., or take such other action as is required to remove the violation found to exist. The Enforcement Officer may instruct Borough employees to remove the violation or the Borough may employ private contractors to remove the violation, all at the property owner and/or occupant's expense.
A. 
Whenever the Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate attention to protect the public health or safety, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code, such order shall be effective immediately.
B. 
Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately but upon petition to the Enforcement Officer shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, the Enforcement Officer shall continue such order in effect or modify or withdraw it.
[Amended 9-12-1989 by Ord. No. 89-35; 11-24-1992 by Ord. No. 92-23; 3-14-2006 by Ord. No. 06-2; 10-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-24]
A. 
In addition to any other penalties or provisions contained hereunder, any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter or any other promulgated hereunder shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties provided by § 1-15 of this code.
B. 
The cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witness fees, search fees, publications and advertising charges incurred in the course of any hearing or proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the Borough and such cost of such repairs, cleanups, alterations or improvements to a building, or of vacating and closing a building, or other action taken to remove any violations of this chapter as authorized under this code, 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, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. The Enforcement 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 property taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as property taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as property taxes.