[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Dumont as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Dangerous Buildings, Walls and Structures
Article II Unfit Buildings
§ 148-16 Failure to comply with orders; placard; vacating by occupants; removal of placard prohibited.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 338 (Secs. 6-26 through 6-29 of the 1970 Revised Ordinances)]
Whenever it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Council that any building, wall or structure is or may become dangerous to life or health, or may tend to extend a conflagration, the governing body of the Borough shall have the right and authority to cause the said building, wall or structure to be removed or destroyed, and, by resolution or motion, the governing body shall cause notice of the contemplated removal or destruction of the building, wall or structure to be given to the owner of the land affected thereby.
The notice referred to in the preceding section shall contain:
Description of the property affected, sufficiently definite in terms to identify it, as well as a description of the manner in which such removal or destruction is to be carried out; and
Notice that unless the building, wall or structure is removed or destroyed within 30 days after the service of the notice, the Borough will proceed with the removal or destruction or cause it to be proceeded with pursuant to the authority of this article.
The notice shall be served in the manner provided by N.J.S.A. 40:48-1, Subsection 15.
Proof of service shall be filed as provided by N.J.S.A. 40:48-1, Subsection 15.
Upon the failure of the owner to remove or destroy the building, wall or structure in compliance with the provisions of the notice referred to in § 148-1, the Mayor, with the advice and consent of a majority of the Council present at the meeting, shall appoint some person to take charge of and superintend the removal or destruction of the building, wall or structure, and to keep an accurate account of the cost and expense thereof.
Upon the completion of such removal or destruction, the person in charge of the work shall file with the Building Department an accurate account of the cost and expense thereof, under oath or affirmation.
The governing body shall examine the account and if it is properly made, shall confirm it and file the report thereof with the Building Department who shall record it in a book to be kept for that purpose.
The governing body shall then assess such cost as a municipal lien against the premises on which the building, wall or structure was located or was a part, in accordance with law.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 677 (Secs. 6-8 through 6-25 of the 1970 Revised Ordinances)]
As used in this article:
- 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.
- MUNICIPAL BOARD OF APPEALS
- That board appointed pursuant to the Building Code of the Borough, and which is authorized by this article to hear and determine complaints filed by the Building Inspector in his exercise of the powers prescribed for him as the public officer.
- 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 building 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 government of the Borough, county or state relating to health, fire, building regulations, or to other activities concerning buildings in the Borough.
It has been found and declared that there exist in the Borough buildings 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, and that the occupancy or use of such buildings for any purpose is inimical to the health and safety of the people of the Borough, and that a public necessity exists for the repair, closing or demolition of such buildings.
Whenever it shall be found that there exists in the Borough 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 unsafe or unsanitary, or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety, or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of this Borough, and in addition to the above, but not in limitation thereof, whenever it shall be found that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use because such building does not meet any of the minimum standards of the building, electrical and fire codes of the Borough of Dumont, the building inspector shall, upon filing with him of a petition by a public authority, or by at least five residents of the Borough, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy, or use, or if it shall appear to said building inspector (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy, or use, for the reason above stated, the Building Inspector shall make or cause to be made a preliminary investigation concerning the basis for such charges.
If the investigation discloses a basis for such charges, he shall issue and cause to be served, upon the owner and parties in interest of such building, a complaint stating the charges in that respect. The complaint shall contain a description of the property affected, sufficiently definite in terms to identify it and shall contain a notice that a hearing will be held before the Municipal Board of Appeals at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint. The complaint shall be served in the manner provided in § 148-15 hereof.
The owner and parties in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint with the building inspector, not less than three days prior to the date fixed for the hearing, and the right to appear in person, by counsel or otherwise, and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint.
The rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Municipal Board of Appeals.
After such notice and hearing, the Municipal Board of Appeals may determine that the building which is the subject of the hearing is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if it finds that any or all of the conditions set forth in § 148-8 exists therein and that such conditions 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.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Municipal Board of Appeals shall determine that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use for any of the reasons set forth in § 148-8, the Board shall, within 10 days from the date of said hearing:
State in writing its findings of fact in support of such determination; and
Cause to be served upon the owner of said buildings and the parties in interest and the Council, a copy of said findings; and
Issue and cause to be served upon said owner and parties in interest an order:
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the building to be made by the owner, within such time as, in the opinion of the Municipal Board of Appeals, the need for and the extent of the needed repairs shall require, but not more than 30 days from the date of said order, or, at the option of the owner, requiring the owner to vacate or to have said building vacated and closed within said thirty-day period, provided that the building, when vacated and closed, will not then be dangerous or injurious to the health and safety of the occupants or other residents of the Borough.
Setting forth what repairs, alterations or improvements shall be made and the manner in which such repairs, alterations or improvements shall be carried out.
If the building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near the premises, and if the owner fails to repair, alter or improve within the time specified in the order as set forth in § 148-13C, and if the Municipal Board of Appeals shall also determine that the building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of persons on or near the premises even if such building should be vacated and closed, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within such time as in the opinion of the Municipal Board of Appeals the need for such action shall require. The order shall set forth the manner in which such removal or demolition shall be carried out.
Complaints, notices and orders issued pursuant to this article shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail. If the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the building inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and he shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint, notice 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 Bergen and circulating in the Borough. A copy of such complaint, notice or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint, notice or order. A copy of such complaint, notice or order shall be duly recorded in the office of the Clerk of Bergen County.
§ 148-16 Failure to comply with orders; placard; vacating by occupants; removal of placard prohibited.
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 governing body may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed. The building inspector may cause to be posted on the main entrance to 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."
After a building has been placarded as set forth in Subsection A hereof and notice thereof given by the Building Inspector to the occupants of such building, it shall be the duty of such occupants, after having been so ordered by the Building Inspector, to vacate the building within such time as, in the opinion of the building inspector, the health and safety of such occupants shall require such action.
No person shall remove or cause to be removed the placard referred to in Subsection A of this section without the written consent of the Building Inspector or his authorized representative. Any person violating this section shall be punished as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, General Penalty, of the Code of the Borough of Dumont.
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the governing body may cause such building to be removed or demolished, or it may contract for the removal or demolition thereof, after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
In addition to the foregoing provisions of this article, in emergency cases where it reasonably appears that the building is in such condition as to render the same an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or the safety of the adjoining property or properties, the Building Inspector may forthwith enter upon the premises with such assistance as may be necessary, and cause the building to be made secure or demolished.
In the circumstances set forth in Subsection A of this section, it shall not be necessary to give any notice to the owner or to the parties in interest, nor shall it be necessary for the building inspector to advertise or receive bids for such emergency repair or demolition.
The amount of the cost of filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this article determined in favor of the Borough; and such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, as the case may be, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished and the materials of such building can be sold, 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 total sum of such costs exceeds the total of such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed as a lien certificate with the Borough Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens, and a copy thereof shall be sent forthwith to the owner by registered mail.
If the total of the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited by the building inspector in the Superior Court of New Jersey and shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such court. The proceeds shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of such court to the persons found entitled thereto by final order or judgment of the court. Any owner or party in interest may, within 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 lien certificate.
In addition to the powers granted in this article to the Building Inspector, he shall have the following powers:
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 enter upon premises, in accordance with law, for the purpose of making examinations; provided that such entrance shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this article to such officers and agents as he may designate.
In addition to the powers granted in this article to the Municipal Board of Appeals, it shall also have the power to administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of the courts or of any department of the Borough to enforce any provisions of its charter or of its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof. The powers conferred by this article shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law or ordinance.
Nothing in this article 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 (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.) or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.