[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Berlin 6-17-1968 by Ord. No. 68-3 as Ch. 26 of the 1968 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It shall be unlawful to:
Construct or maintain in the Borough of Berlin any building or any part of any building, staging, wall or other structure that from any cause may now be, or which at any time hereafter may become, dangerous to life or health, or which may tend to extend a conflagration; and
Maintain any building or buildings or parts thereof which are so old, dilapidated or which have become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, insanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or which are inimical to the welfare and dangerous and injurious to the health and safety of the people of the Borough of Berlin; and
Maintain any 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 due to other conditions rendering such building or buildings or any part thereof unsafe or insanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Borough of Berlin.
Any such building or part of building, staging, wall or other structure within the provisions of § 105-1 hereof shall be taken down and removed or made safe and secure in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Upon the filing of a complaint by any person, firm or corporation with the Borough Clerk, addressed to the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Berlin, that any building or any part of any building, or any staging, wall or other structure, maintained or being constructed in the Borough of Berlin, is within the provisions of said § 105-1, the Borough Clerk shall cause such complaint to be entered on his minutes. Every such complaint shall set forth:
The name and address of every person, firm or corporation interested as owner, lessee or otherwise, including a mortgagee or mortgagees, known to the complainant as having any interest in said structure.
A description of the property affected, sufficiently definite to identify the same.
The particulars in which said structure is alleged to be unsafe or dangerous.
The length of time, if the same can be given, during which said structure has been maintained in such unsafe and dangerous condition.
A request that the Mayor and Borough Council take appropriate action to have such structure repaired or removed and the premises on which the same is located made safe and free from danger.
A request for the hearing to be had before the said Mayor and Borough Council on such complaint.
Each and every complaint, as herein provided for, shall be signed by complainant, and the facts set forth therein shall be verified by the oath of the person or persons so complaining.
Upon the filing of such complaint, the Borough Clerk shall immediately notify the Building Inspector, the Board of Health and the Chief of Police, each of whom shall make a personal inspection of any such structure, and upon them or any of them being satisfied, after such inspection, that any such structure violates the prohibitions of § 105-1 hereof, they and each of them shall report accordingly to the Borough Clerk. Said Borough Clerk shall then serve or cause to be served upon every person, firm or corporation known to him to have any interest in the premises, a notice requesting all parties having any such interest to repair or remove said structure or to make the premises on which it is maintained or being constructed safe and free from any violations of the terms of § 105-1 hereof within a reasonable time (which shall be not less than 30 days) from the date of service of such notice.
Such notice shall contain a description of the property affected, sufficiently definite to identify the same, and shall notify all persons interested in said property that the Mayor and Borough Council are contemplating its repair, rehabilitation, removal or destruction, and that unless the same shall have been made safe and free from any violations of the terms of § 105-1 hereof within the time specified in said notice, the Borough of Berlin will proceed with such repairs, rehabilitation, removal or destruction, as may be necessary and required, causing the same to be proceeded with pursuant to the authority of law. Said notice shall further specify that on a certain date, to be named in said notice (which date shall be not less than 30 days after the service of the notice), the Borough Clerk will present said matter to the Mayor and Borough Council, at which time evidence will be received by the Mayor and Borough Council with respect to said property, and at the conclusion of such hearing, if the Mayor and Borough Council shall determine that said structure or any part thereof violates the terms of § 105-1 hereof, a formal determination to that effect shall be made by the Mayor and Borough Council, and, following such determination, that the Mayor and Borough Council will proceed with the repairs, rehabilitation, removal or destruction, or cause the same to be proceeded with pursuant to the authority of the statute in such case made and provided. Said hearing shall be conducted by the Mayor and Borough Council at the Borough Hall, Berlin, New Jersey, or at such other place as may be designated in the notice served by the Borough Clerk.
At the time and place fixed in said notice so to be served and filed by the Borough Clerk, a public hearing shall be accorded to every person, firm or corporation so served or interested therein. Any such hearing may be adjourned by the Mayor and Borough Council from time to time as the occasion may require. At such hearing, the Building Inspector, the Board of Health and/or the Chief of Police shall submit such evidence as they or any of them deem necessary and proper in relation to the complaint; and every person, firm or corporation so served with such notice or interested therein shall be privileged to present any proofs or evidence deemed desirable by them. At the conclusion of such hearing, the Mayor and Borough Council shall then determine the fact as to whether any such alleged structure violates the terms of § 105-1 hereof, and, if so, in what particular, and may either make an order requiring the same to be repaired, rehabilitated or made secure, or taken down or removed, as said Mayor and Borough Council deem advisable under the evidence.
If any person, firm or corporation so served with notice to appear at any such hearing shall fail to appear, then after due proof of service of said notice has been made, the Mayor and Borough Council may proceed in the absence of any such person, firm or corporation, and hear the proofs submitted by the Building Inspector, Board of Health or Chief of Police, or any of them, in support of such complaint, and at the conclusion of said hearing shall make such order as they may deem proper in relation thereto.
Said Mayor and Borough Council, if they deem it advisable pursuant to the authority of the Act hereinabove referred to, may make an order for the removal or destruction of any such property or structure to be undertaken and completed by the Borough of Berlin or the duly authorized officials or employees thereof.
The notice referred to in this chapter may be served pursuant to the terms of this chapter and the statute in such case made and provided, by the Borough Clerk or any employee of the Borough of Berlin, upon the owner or owners of any such property resident in said Borough, either in person or by leaving the same at their usual place of residence with a member of their family above the age of 14 years; in case any such owner shall not reside in the Borough of Berlin, such notice may be served upon him personally or mailed to his last known post-office address, by United States certified mail, or it may be served upon the occupant of the property or upon the agent of the owner in charge thereof; in case the last known post-office address of the owner is not known or said notice may not be served as above directed, said notice shall be published at least once, not less than 30 days before the date fixed for the hearing before the Mayor and Borough Council, in a newspaper circulating in the Borough of Berlin. In any such advertisement, notice to the owner or owners of several different parcels of land may be inserted. Any such notice directed to an infant owner or to an owner or owners of unsound mind may be served upon their respective guardians. If any such property or structure is located on lands which are held in trust, service of such notice shall be made upon the trustee. Where the lands upon which any such structure or property is located are held by two or more joint tenants or tenants in common or tenants by the entirety, the service of such notice upon one of such owners shall be sufficient and shall be deemed and taken as notice to all such owners.
Proof of service of such notice shall be filed by the Borough Clerk within 10 days after the making of such service, with the Borough Collector of Taxes, having charge of the records of tax liens in the Borough of Berlin; failure to file said proof of service, however, shall not invalidate the proceedings if service has actually been made as herein provided.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall upon conviction thereof pay the penalty of a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment in the Camden County Jail for a term of not exceeding 90 days, or both, in the discretion of the Judge before whom said conviction shall be had.