[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mantua 12-14-2004 by Ord. No. O-28-2004 (Ch. 124 of the 1978 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 130.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 142.
Handbills and posters — See Ch. 210.
Housing standards — See Ch. 217.
Junkyards — See Ch. 225.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 394.
Public health nuisances — See Ch. 439.
Weed control — See Ch. 472.
[Amended 6-16-2014 by Ord. No. O-8-2014]
The International Property Maintenance Code 2009, published by International Code Council, is hereby adopted as the Mantua Township Property Maintenance Code for the control of buildings and structures as therein provided, and each and all regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions, and terms of said Code are hereby referred to, adopted, and made a part hereof, as if fully set forth in this chapter, with the additions, insertions, deletions, and changes, if any, prescribed herein.
The International Property Maintenance Code/2003 is amended and revised in the following respects:
In Section 101.1, Insert "Township of Mantua."
In Section 304.14, Insert "April 15" and "September 15."
In Section 602.3, Insert "April 15" and "September 15."
In Section 602.4, Insert "September 15" and "April 15."
Any unoccupied building that is to have windows and doors covered with wood or any other protective covering must be covered with materials that are painted to conform with the existing decor of the building.
[Added 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. O-10-2014]
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABANDONED PROPERTY
- Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 55:19-81, defined as follows: Any property that has not been legally occupied for a period of six months and which meets any one of the following additional criteria may be deemed to be abandoned property upon a determination by the public officer that:
- (1) The property is in need of rehabilitation in the reasonable judgment of the public officer, and no rehabilitation has taken place during that six-month period;
- (2) Construction was initiated on the property and was discontinued prior to completion, leaving the building unsuitable for occupancy, and no construction has taken place for at least six months as of the date of a determination by the public officer pursuant to this section;
- (3) At least one installment of property tax remains unpaid and delinquent on that property in accordance with Chapter 4 of Title 54 of the Revised Statutes of the date of the determination by the public officer pursuant to this section; or
- (4) The property has been determined to be a nuisance by the public Officer in accordance with Section 5 of P.L. 2003, c. 210 (N.J.S.A. 55:19- 82). A property which contains both residential and nonresidential space may be considered abandoned pursuant to P.L. 2003, c. 210 (N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 et al.) so long as 2/3 or more of the total net square footage of the building was previously legally occupied as residential or commercial space and none of the residential or commercial space has been legally occupied for at least six months at the time of the determination of abandonment by the public officer and the property meets the criteria of either Subsection (1) or (2) of this section.
- Shall include the title holder, any agent of the title holder having authority to act with respect to a vacant/abandoned property, any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Sec. 17 as amended by P.L. 2009, c. 296), or any other entity determined by the Township of Mantua to have authority to act with respect to the property.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- Shall consist of the following individuals: Code Enforcement Officer, Construction Official, Zoning Officer, Housing Officer, Zoning/Code Enforcement Secretary or any other person designated by the Mayor or Business Administrator.
- VACANT PROPERTY
- Any building used or to be used as a residence, commercial or industrial structure which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction operations or occupancy has ceased, and which is in such condition that it cannot legally be reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation, including but not limited to any property meeting the definition of abandoned property in N.J.S.A. 55:19-81; provided, however, that any property where all building systems are in working order, where the building and grounds are maintained in good order, or where the building is in habitable condition, and where the building is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental, shall not be deemed a vacant property for purposes of this section.
Registration requirements. Effective January 1, 2015, the owner of any vacant property as defined herein shall, within 30 calendar days after the building becomes vacant property or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant property, whichever is later; or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality, file a registration statement for such vacant property with the Zoning Office on forms provided by the Township for such purposes. Failure to receive notice by the municipality shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the property.
Each property having a separate block and lot number as designated in official records of the municipality shall be registered separately.
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and email address (if applicable) of a person 21 years or older, designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceedings on behalf of such owner or owners in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code; and the name, street address, telephone number, and email (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firms individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the property shall be available by telephone or in person on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis. The two entities may be the same or different persons. Both entities shown on the statement must maintain offices in the State of New Jersey or reside within the State of New Jersey.
The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration except for the initial registration which shall be prorated through December 31. The owner shall be required to renew the registration annually as long as the building remains a vacant and/or abandoned property and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in Subsection F of this section, for each vacant property registered.
The annual renewal shall be completed by January 1 each year. The initial registration fee shall be prorated for registration statements received less than 10 months prior to that date.
The owner shall notify the Township within 30 calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by Zoning Office for such purpose.
The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the Township against the owner or owners of the building.
Access to vacant properties.
The owner of any vacant property registered under this section shall provide access to the Township to conduct exterior and interior inspections of the building to determine compliance with municipal codes, upon reasonable notice to the property owner or the designated agent. Such inspections shall be carried out on weekdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or such other time as may be mutually agreed upon between the owner and the Township.
Responsible owner or agent.
An owner who meets the requirements of this section with respect to the location of his or her residence or workplace in the State of New Jersey may designate himself or herself as agent or as the individual responsible for maintaining the property.
By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this section the owner consents to receive any and all notices of code violations concerning the registered vacant property and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the registered building by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purposes of this section until the owner notifies the Township in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
Any owner who fails to register vacant/abandoned property under the provisions of this section shall further be deemed to consent to receive, by posting on the building, in plain view, and by service of notice at the last known address of the owner of the property on record within the Township by regular and certified mail, any and all notices of code violations and all process in an administrative proceeding brought to enforce code provisions concerning the building.
Requirements of owners of vacant/abandoned properties.
The owner of any building that has become vacant/abandoned property, and any person maintaining or operating or collecting rent for any such building that has become vacant shall, within 30 days thereof:
Enclose and secure the building against unauthorized entry as provided in the applicable provisions of the Township Code, or as set forth in the rules and regulations supplementing those codes;
Post a sign affixed to the building indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner, the owner's authorized agent for the purpose of service of process, and the person responsible for day-to-day supervision and management of the building, if such person is different from the owner holding title or authorized agent. The sign shall be of a size and placed in such a location so as to be legible from the nearest public street or sidewalk, whichever is nearer, but shall be no smaller than eight inches by 10 inches; and
Secure the building from unauthorized entry and maintain the sign until the building is again legally occupied or demolished or until repair or rehabilitation of the building is complete;
Ensure that the exterior grounds of the structure, including yards, fences, sidewalks, walkways, right-of-ways, alleys, retaining walls, attached or unattached accessory structures and driveways, are well-maintained and free from trash, debris, loose litter, and grass and weed growth;
Continue to maintain the structure in a secure and closed condition, keep the grounds in a clean and well-maintained condition, and ensure that the sign is visible and intact until the building is again occupied, demolished, or until repair and/or rehabilitation of the building is complete.
The initial registration fee for each building shall be $500. The fee for the first renewal is $1,000, and the fee for the second renewal is $1,500. The fee for any subsequent renewal beyond the second renewal is $3,000.
Violations and penalties.
Any person who violates any provision of this section or the rules and regulations issued hereunder shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each offense. Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Fines assessed under this section shall be recoverable from the owner and shall be a lien on the property.
For purposes of this section, failure to file a registration statement within 30 calendar days after a building becomes vacant property or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of a vacant property, whichever is later, or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice by the municipality, and failure to provide correct information on the registration statement, or failure to comply with the provisions of such provisions contained herein shall be deemed to be violations of this section.
Severability. Should any section, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phase of this section be declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remaining portions of this section shall not be affected thereby and shall remain in full force and effect, and to that end the provisions of this section are hereby declared to be severable.
Conflicting ordinances. All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with this section are hereby repealed to the extent of their inconsistencies only.
The purpose of this section is to extend the requirements of the Township Property Maintenance Code so that creditors which have instituted foreclosure proceedings are held to the standards of the Code and to require creditors to comply with all provisions and be subject to all appropriate sanctions set forth in P.L. 2014, c. 35.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Consistent with Section 3 of P.L. 2008, c. 86, a state-chartered bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or any credit union, any person required to be licensed under the provisions of the New Jersey Residential Mortgage Lending Act, and any entity acting on behalf of the Creditor named in the debt obligation, including, but not limited to, servicers.
- VACANT AND ABANDONED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- Consistent with Section 1 of P.L. 2010, c.70 (N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73), residential real estate for which a notice of violation has been issued pursuant to Section 227-16 of this Chapter and Subsection b of Section 1 of P.L. 2014, c. 35. Residential property shall further be deemed "vacant and abandoned" where a mortgaged property is not occupied by a mortgagor or tenant and at least two of the following conditions exist:
- (1) Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
- (2) The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property;
- (3) Disconnected gas, electric, or water utility services to the property;
- (4) The accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
- (5) The accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property;
- (6) The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
- (7) The absence of furnishings and personal items;
- (8) Statements of neighbors, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
- (9) Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and unrepaired;
- (10) Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked;
- (11) A risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public, or any adjoining or adjacent property owners, exists due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct, or the physical destruction or deterioration of the property;
- (12) An uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing, or similar code during the preceding year, or an order by municipal authorities declaring the property to be unfit for occupancy and to remain vacant and unoccupied;
- (13) The mortgagee or other authorized party has secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing;
- (14) A written statement issued by any mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property; and
- (15) Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.
Creditor responsibility for vacant and abandoned properties.
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township shall be immediately responsible for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property, after the property becomes vacant and abandoned as defined in this section.
Where a creditor is located out-of-state, the creditor shall be responsible for appointing an in-state representative or agent to act on the creditor's behalf for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of Subsection B(1) of this section. Notice of said representative or agent shall be provided to the Township clerk in a manner that is consistent with Subsection A of Section 17 of P.L. 2008, c.127 (the "Save New Jersey Homes Act of 2008"), and shall further include the full name and contact information of the in-state representative or agent.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 55:14K-88 et seq.
Any public officer designated by the Mayor or authorized municipal official responsible for the administration of any property maintenance or public nuisance code shall be authorized to issue a notice to a creditor that has filed a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township, if the public officer determines that the creditor has violated this chapter by failing to provide for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of the property.
Where a creditor is an out-of-state creditor, the notice shall be issued to the representative or agent that has been identified by the creditor pursuant to Subsection B of this Section and the Save New Jersey Homes Act of 2008.
The notice referenced in Subsection C(1) shall require the creditor to correct the violation(s) within 30 days of receipt of the notice, or within 10 days of receipt of the notice if the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety.
Violations and penalties.
A creditor subject to this section that is found by the municipal court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to correct a care, maintenance, security, or upkeep violation cited in a notice issued pursuant to this section shall be subject to a fine of $1,500 for each day of the violation.
Any fines imposed pursuant to this subsection shall commence 31 days following the creditor's receipt of the notice, except where the violation is deemed to present an imminent risk to the public health and safety, in which case any fines shall commence 11 days following receipt of the notice.
An out-of-state creditor subject to this section that is found by the municipal court of the Township, or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, to be in violation of the requirement to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall be subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation.
Any fines imposed on an out-of-state creditor for the failure to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall commence on the day after the 10-day period set forth in Paragraph (1) of Subsection a. of Section 17 of P.L. 2008, c.127 (N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51) for providing notice to the Municipal Clerk that a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage has been served.
No less than 20% of any money collected by the Township pursuant to this section shall be utilized by the Township for municipal Code enforcement purposes.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.125.