[HISTORY: Derived from Sec. 29-6 of the 1999 Code of the Township of Clinton. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 82.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 97.
Public health nuisances — See Ch. 181.
Vacant structures — See Ch. 242.
Editor's Note: The title of this chapter, which was formerly Housing Standards, was amended 12-9-2015 by Ord. No. 1079-15.
[Amended 4-28-2010 by Ord. No. 997-10]
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, and N.J.S.A. 40:69A-181a, the New Jersey State Housing Code as approved by the Departments of Health and Conservation and Economic Development and filed in the Secretary of State's office is hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in this municipality are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. Ten copies of the New Jersey State Housing Code have been placed on file in the office of the Township Clerk and Health Officer and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Health Officer by a public authority as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4 or by at least five residents of the Township, charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, or whenever it appears to the Health Officer (on his/her own motion) that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, the Health Officer is hereby authorized and directed to file intent to inspect with the Secretary of the Board of Health, citing suspected violations, and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the Township in order that he/she may perform his/her duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections, the Health Officer is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit and rooming unit, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Health Officer free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof or his/her agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit or its premises 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.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Health Officer as noted in § 155-3 and the Health Officers finds from his preliminary investigation a basis for a charge that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, the Health Officer shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner of the parties in interest in such dwelling a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Board of Health (or its designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days a hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the day on which the complaint was served (upon application of the petitioner the Board of Health may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such ten-day period if in its judgment the petitioner has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. Said postponement shall not be for more than 30 days after the serving of the 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 time and place fixed in the complaint; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in court of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Board of Health.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Board of Health determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, it shall state in writing its findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and the parties in interest an order requiring:
The repair, alteration or improvement of the same 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 to have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
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 said building within the time specified in the order, that the owner remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
That, 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 Board of Health may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed; that the said Board of Health 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; that use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
That, if the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Board of Health 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 section determined in favor of the Township; and
Such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvement, 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 Board of Health, it 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 Township 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 Board of Health, 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 chapter 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. 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.
[Amended 4-28-2010 by Ord. No. 997-10]
Complaints or orders issued by the Board of Health pursuant to this chapter 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 Board of Health in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Clerk of the Board of Health 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 County of Hunterdon. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order, and 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 dwelling is located.
The Board of Health is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carryout and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter including the following in addition to those herein granted:
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Township of Clinton in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation;
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence;
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination, provided 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 it deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
To delegate any of its functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as it may designate; and
To make and adopt such written rules and regulations as it may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5 et seq., nor in any way alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. A certified copy of all rules and regulations which it may adopt in its office and in the office of the Township Clerk.
[Amended 4-26-2000 by Ord. No. 720-00; 7-28-2004 by Ord. No. 857-04; 4-28-2010 by Ord. No. 997-10]
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or rent to another for occupancy any building, dwelling, dwelling unit, or part thereof for the purpose of living therein that does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code, N.J.A.C. 5:28-1 et seq., as the same may be supplemented and amended in the future, established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.
No person shall occupy or rent to another for occupancy any building, dwelling, dwelling unit, or part thereof after having been served with an order issued pursuant to § 155-5 relating to such building or part thereof until there is compliance with such order. This Subsection B shall not apply to rental or occupancy under a permit issued by the Construction Official or his designee authorizing rental or occupancy for a specified period during the making of repairs, alterations and improvements required by such order.
Certificate of construction records clearance required.
[Amended 12-9-2015 by Ord. No. 1079-15]
There shall be no change in occupancy of a residential building or individual residential unit within a building prior to the issuance of a certificate of construction records clearance ("CRC"). A CRC shall be required prior to the conveyance of any residential building, or individual residential unit within a building.
Exceptions to the requirement for a CRC. Under the circumstances set forth below, a CRC shall not be required.
Provided there is no change in occupancy, the following conveyances are exempt from the requirement to obtain a CRC:
Transfer of title to correct a previously recorded deed.
Title eligible to be recorded as an ancient deed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 46:16-7.
Transfer of title between spouses or civil union partners, whether or not relating to divorce or other formal severance; or between former spouses or civil union partners if the transfer is incident to an order or judgment from a court of competent jurisdiction.
Transfer of title relating to new construction for which a certificate of occupancy is required.
Transfer of title by or to an executor, administrator or court order which effects a distribution of a decedent's estate in accordance with the provisions of the decedent's will or intestacy laws of the state.
Transfer of title due to refinancing, home equity loans and/or additional mortgages.
Transfer of title by or to a receiver, trustee in bankruptcy or liquidation or assignee for the benefit of creditors.
Transfer between a parent and child.
Transfer releasing a right of reversion.
Transfer solely to provide a release or security for a debt or obligation.
Any other transfer of title that does not cause a change in occupancy.
When the residential premises will be demolished and no occupancy of the premises will occur prior to demolition.
A buyer or tenant of residential premises may agree in writing to assume full responsibility for obtaining a CRC prior to taking occupancy of the premises, provided written notification thereof is provided to the Construction Official and that the buyer or tenant does not take occupancy until the CRC has been obtained.
Except as provided above, no owner shall permit the sale of a residential premises until the required CRC has been obtained. No purchaser or new tenant shall occupy any residential premises until the required CRC has been obtained. Owners and occupants shall be jointly and separately responsible for failure to obtain the CRC required hereunder. The owner or its authorized agent shall submit a written application on forms provided by the Township.
Prior to issuance of a CRC, the Construction Official (or his/her designee) shall conduct a records inspection to ensure that there are no open construction permits or pending, open, unabated violations for the subject premises. Should there be open permits or pending, open, unabated violations, all final inspections and prior approvals shall be obtained and all pending, open, unabated violations cured prior to issuance of the CRC.
Fees. The application fees to obtain a CRC are as follows:
Validity. A CRC shall be valid for a period of six months from the date of its issuance, provided no change in occupancy has occurred during said six months.
[Amended 4-26-2000 by Ord. No. 720-00; 7-28-2004 by Ord. No. 857-04; 4-28-2010 by Ord. No. 997-10]
No person shall occupy as owner or occupant or rent to another person for occupancy any building for the purpose of occupancy, whether temporary or permanent, that does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, N.J.A.C. 5:23-1 et seq., as the same may be supplemented and amended in the future, established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a structure is safe, sanitary, and fit for human occupancy for nonresidential purposes.
The occupancy and rental of buildings and parts thereof for human occupation or use shall be subject to the following:
No person shall occupy or rent to another for occupancy any building or part thereof after having been served with a notice of violation issued pursuant to the Uniform Construction Code, concerning a violation posing an immediate hazard to health and safety, until there is compliance with such notice.
Prior to any change in occupancy of any building or part thereof that is used or intended to be used for human occupancy, a certificate of occupancy or of continuing occupancy with municipal standards shall be obtained from the Construction Official or his designee stating that the premises complies with the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code incorporated by reference by this chapter.
A certificate of occupancy or a certificate of continuing occupancy issued pursuant to this section shall not be issued if there are open Uniform Construction Code permits on the subject property.
The fees for a certificate of occupancy and for a certificate of continuing occupancy with municipal standards are set forth in Chapter 97 of this Code and shall be remitted with the application for the certificate.
[Amended 7-28-2004 by Ord. No. 857-04]
Every outdoor swimming pool, existing or new, shall be enclosed by a fence or wall that complies with the standards set forth in Section 3109.7.1 of the International Building Code, New Jersey edition, and in Section 5:23-3.14 of the Uniform Construction Code, as the same may be supplemented and amended in the future.
[Amended 4-26-2000 by Ord. No. 720-00]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the owner or the Township or any officer or department to enforce any provision of its charter, or its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violators thereof, and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the Township by any other law or ordinance.