[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bay Head 12-18-1984 as § 9-2 of the 1984 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Demolition of buildings — See Ch. 87.
Moving of buildings — See Ch. 90.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 104.
Hotels, inns and rooming houses — See Ch. 138.
Mobile homes and recreational vehicles — See Ch. 157.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 183.
Rental property — See Ch. 189.
It is hereby found and declared that the existence or occupation of any building or buildings or parts thereof in this municipality which are so old, dilapidated or have become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use is inimical to the welfare and dangerous and injurious to the health and safety of the people of this municipality and this state and that a public necessity exists for the repair, closing or demolition of such building or buildings or parts thereof.
It is hereby further found and declared that there exists in this municipality a building or buildings which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities or other conditions rendering such building or buildings or part thereof unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of this municipality, and that this municipality shall hereafter exercise its police powers to repair, close or demolish or cause to require the repairing, closing or demolition of such building or buildings or part thereof, as hereinafter set forth.
The following terms shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes of this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Any building or structure or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- The holder or holders of the title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a buildings and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the borough government relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the borough.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The officer, officers, board or body who are authorized by ordinance to exercise the powers prescribed by such ordinance and by the provisions of this chapter.
The Construction Official shall be the public officer to exercise the powers prescribed by the provisions of this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by at least five (5) residents of the borough charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use or whenever it appears to the public officer, on his motion, that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, 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 in that respect and containing a notice that:
A hearing will be held before the public officer or his designated agent at a place therein fixed, not less than seven (7) days nor more than thirty (30) days after the serving of the complaint;
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 complaint; and
The rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
Statement of determination; notice. If, after 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 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 building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
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 building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time, as specified in the 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, the public officer may cause the 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 the building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof, after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
Costs of procedures to be a lien on the land.
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 the provisions of this chapter, determined in favor of this municipality, and the 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 the real property upon which such cost was incurred.
If the building is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of the building. The proceeds of any sale of such materials or any sum derived from any contract for the removal or demolition of the building shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof. 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 costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the Municipal Tax Collector, and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by certified mail. If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court of New Jersey by the public officer, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by the 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 of the court; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the borough to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise. Any owner or party in interest may, within thirty (30) days from the date of the filing of the lien certificate, proceed in a summary manner in the Superior Court of New Jersey to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
[Amended 6-1-1987 by Ord. No. 1987-9]
If an actual and immediate danger to life is posed by the threatened collapse of any fire damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the public officer may, after taking such measures as may be necessary to make such building temporarily safe, seek a judgment in summary proceedings for the demolition thereof.
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 abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise, nor is anything in this act intended to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or Construction Official under the State Uniform Construction Code Act, P.L. 1975, c. 217 (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.) or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.
The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in the 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 the borough. Such condition 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 or structural defects.
Uncleanliness and such other conditions as may render the building unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
Complaints or orders issued by the public officer pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by certified mail; but if the whereabouts of such person 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 in a newspaper printed and published in the borough in which the buildings are located. A copy of the complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of the complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the County Clerk of the County of Ocean.
The public officer in the discharge of his duties, and upon proper identification, shall have authority to enter any building, structure or premises at a reasonable hour after obtaining permission of the owner. If permission is denied and the building official has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of this code or other codes or ordinances under the jurisdiction of the building official may exist, he shall take such steps as may be necessary to obtain a search warrant to assist him in the performance of his duties.
[Amended 6-1-1987 by Ord. No. 1987-9]
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the public officer under the provisions of this chapter may, within thirty (30) days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the public officer from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief. The court may proceed in the action in a summary manner or otherwise. The remedy herein provided shall be exclusive, and no person affected by an order of the public officer shall be entitled to recover any damages for action taken pursuant hereto or because of noncompliance by any person with any order of the public officer.
The public officer is hereby authorized 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 powers in addition to others herein or by law granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the borough 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 the premises for the purpose of making examinations; provided, however, that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
Unless otherwise specified herein, for a violation of any provision of this chapter, the maximum penalty, upon conviction thereof, shall be a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.) or imprisonment for up to ninety (90) days or a period of community service not exceeding ninety (90) days, or any combination thereof. Except as otherwise provided, each and every day in which a violation of any provision of this chapter exists shall constitute a separate violation.
All fines and penalties under this chapter may be paid directly to the Municipal Court Administrator, unless otherwise indicated by the officer issuing the summons.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of the courts or any department of this borough to enforce any provisions of its Charter or its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof; and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law.