[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Netcong 7-12-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-4. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code."
It is hereby found that there exist in the Borough residential and nonresidential premises which are or may become in the future substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance or further that conditions, such as structural deterioration, infestation, lack of maintenance, existence of fire hazards and unsanitary conditions which constitute a menace to the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comfort of the residents of the Borough. It is further found and declared that, by reason of such lack of maintenance and because of progressive deterioration, certain properties have the effect of creating blighting conditions that, if the same are not curtailed and removed, these conditions will grow and spread and will necessitate the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate them. It is also found that timely implementation of the regulations and restrictions contained herein, the growth of blight may be prevented and property values maintained, the desirability of the Borough's neighborhoods enhanced and the public health, safety and welfare protected.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and condition of residential and nonresidential premises. It fixes certain responsibilities upon owners, operators, occupants and other persons. It fixes penalties for the violation of this chapter and provides procedures for correcting violations in those cases requiring Borough action. This chapter is hereby declared to be remedial, protective, preventive and essential for the public interest, and it is intended that this chapter be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes as stated herein.
Every residential and nonresidential structure and the premises on which it is situated in the Borough, used or intended to be used for dwelling, commercial, business or industrial occupancy, shall comply with the provisions of this chapter whether or not such structure shall have been constructed, altered or repaired before or after the enactment of this chapter, and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the structure or for the installation or repair of equipment or facilities prior to the effective date of this chapter. This chapter establishes minimum standards for the maintenance of all buildings and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the habitability, construction, repair, alteration or use of the building, equipment or facilities contained therein, except as may be provided in § 225-5.
The following terms, wherever used herein or referred to in this chapter, shall have the respective meanings assigned to them, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any unlicensed or unregistered motor vehicle which is not capable of operation or has been in an inoperable state for more than seven calendar days.
- The condition of a building or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
- EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
- Any premises or any part thereof or any building or any part thereof which may be lawfully viewed by the public.
- EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
- The open space on the premises and on adjoining premises under the control of the owners or operators on the outside of the premises.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food by poison, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other approved pest elimination methods.
- Putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food. (See also "refuse" and "rubbish.")
- The presence, within or contiguous to the structure or premises, of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.
- Any old, discarded or unused waste iron or other metal or substance, glass, paper, used lumber, rags, machine parts, accessories, machinery, machines, unregistered motor vehicles which are unfit for operation, used pads of motor vehicles and any material commonly known and generally referred to as "junk" in the ordinary and accepted meaning of the word.
- A. Any public nuisance as defined by statute or ordinance or at common law.
- B. Any unattractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children, whether in a building, on the premises of a building or upon an unoccupied lot. This includes but is not limited to abandoned motor vehicles, abandoned cesspools, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, abandoned refrigerators, any structurally unsound fences or structures, used lumber, trash, junk, debris or vegetation, such as poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, which may prove hazardous.
- C. Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
- D. Insufficient ventilation or illumination in violation of this chapter.
- E. Inadequate or unsanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of this chapter.
- F. Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health, in violation of this chapter.
- G. Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings.
- H. Fire hazards.
- Any person living or sleeping in a building; or having possession of a space within a building.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a dwelling or premises or a part thereof, whether with or without the knowledge and consent of the owner.
- Any person or entity who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling unit as owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or reassigning any part or all of any dwelling or dwelling unit shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereon. For the purpose of this chapter, a vacant lot shall be defined as a "lot."
- All putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste, except body wastes, including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ash, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned motor vehicles and solid and industrial wastes. (See also "garbage" and "rubbish.")
- Nonputrescible solid wastes consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery and similar materials. (See also "garbage" and "refuse.")
In any case where the provisions of this chapter impose a higher standard than set forth in any other local ordinance or under the laws of the state, then the standards as set forth herein shall prevail, but if the provisions of this chapter impose a lower standard than any other local ordinance or the laws of the state, then the higher standard contained in any such other ordinance or law shall prevail.
No license, permit or other certification of compliance with this chapter shall constitute a defense against any violation of any other local ordinance applicable to any structure or premises, nor shall any provision herein relieve any owner, operator or occupant from complying with any such other provision nor any official of the Borough from enforcing any such other provision.
Owners and operators shall have all the duties and responsibilities described in this chapter, and no owner or operator shall be relieved from any such duty and responsibility nor be entitled to defend against any charge or violation thereof by reason of the fact that the occupant is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Occupants shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in this chapter and all the regulations promulgated thereto, and the occupants shall not be relieved from any such duty and responsibility and be entitled to defend against any charge or violation thereof by reason of the fact that the owner is also responsible therefor and in violation thereof.
Unless expressly provided to the contrary in this chapter, the respective obligations and responsibilities of the owner and operator on one hand and the occupant on the other shall not be altered or affected by any agreement or contract by and between any of the aforesaid or between them and other parties.
Appearance of exterior of premises and structures. The exterior of premises, the exterior of structures and the condition of accessory structures shall be maintained so that the appearance of the premises and structures shall not constitute a blighting factor on adjoining property.
Sanitation. All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The occupant shall keep that part of the exterior property which such occupant occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition.
Editor's Note: § 302.1 of the BOCA 2000 International property Maintenance Code.
Exhaust vents. Pipes, ducts, conductors, fans and blowers shall not discharge gases, steam, vapor, hot air, grease, smoke, odors or other gaseous or particulate wastes directly upon abutting or adjacent public or private property or that of another tenant.
Editor's Note: § 302.6 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
General exterior structure. The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair. The same shall be maintained free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick, peeling paint or other conditions reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance to the end that the property itself may be preserved, safety and fire hazards eliminated and adjoining properties protected from blighting influences.
Exterior painting. All wood and metal surfaces, including but not limited to window frames, doors, door frames, cornices, porches and trim shall be maintained in good condition. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.
Editor's Note: § 303.2 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
Roofs and drainage. The roof and flashing shall be sound, tight and not have defects that admit rain. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the structure. Roof drains, gutters and downspouts shall be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions. Roof water shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a public nuisance.
Editor's Note: § 303.7 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
Overhang extensions. All canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, fire escapes, standpipes, exhaust ducts and similar overhang extensions shall be maintained in good repair and be properly anchored so as to be kept in a sound condition. When required, all exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
Editor's Note: § 303.9 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
Stairways, decks, porches and balconies. Every exterior stairway, deck, porch and balcony, and all appurtenances attached thereto, shall be maintained structurally sound, in good repair, with proper anchorage and capable of supporting the imposed loads.
Editor's Note: § 303.10 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
Chimneys and towers. All chimneys, cooling towers, smoke stacks and similar appurtenances shall be maintained structurally safe and sound and in good repair. All exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
Editor's Note: § 303.11 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
No inoperable motor vehicle, currently unregistered motor vehicle or motor vehicle without a current valid license plate shall be parked, stored or left on any property for more than one week, unless such vehicle is:
Defacement of property. No person shall willfully or wantonly damage, mutilate or deface any exterior surface of any structure or building on any private or public property by placing thereon any markings, carving or graffiti. It shall be the responsibility of the owner to restore said surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.
Editor's Note: § 302.9 of the BOCA 2000 International Property Maintenance Code.
Accumulation of rubbish or garbage. All exterior property and premises shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.
There shall not be stored or used at a location visible from the sidewalk, street or other public areas equipment and materials relating to commercial or industrial use unless permitted under the Borough's Zoning Ordinance for the premises.
Under no circumstances shall any of the stored materials exceed the height of the appropriate fencing for the specific zone.
Landscaping of all premises shall be properly maintained, with lawns, hedges and bushes kept trimmed and from becoming overgrown and unsightly where exposed to public view and where the same constitutes a blighting factor depreciating adjoining property.
All storefronts shall be kept in good repair, painted where required and shall not constitute a safety hazard or nuisance. In the event that repairs to a storefront become necessary, such repairs shall be made with the same or similar materials used in the construction of the storefront in such a manner as to permanently repair the damaged area or areas. Any cornice visible above a storefront shall be kept painted, where required, and in good repair.
All signs permitted by reason of other regulations or as a lawful nonconforming use shall be maintained in good repair, and printed matter, pictures or illustrations contained thereon shall be completely maintained or, when no longer in use, completely removed. All nonoperative or broken electrical signs shall be repaired or shall, with their supporting members, be removed forthwith.
All reconstruction of walls and sidings shall be of standard quality and appearance commensurate with the character of the properties in the same block and on both sides of the street on which the premises fronts, such that the materials used are not of a kind that, by their appearance under prevailing appraisal practices and standards, will depreciate the value of the neighboring and adjoining premises.
[Amended 6-13-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-7]
This chapter may be enforced by any Borough official or employee (the "Enforcement Official") who shall be designated and directed by the Borough Administrator to address any particular violation(s) of this chapter. The Enforcement Official shall have the authority to issue a notice of violation and abatement (the "notice") directing the abatement of any violation of this chapter and specifying a reasonable time period for abating the violation. In the event that the property owner does not reside on the property and has not provided the Borough with a current address for service, the notice may be posted upon the property. The failure to comply with the notice shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
For a violation of this chapter, the offender shall be subject to imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days or any combination thereof. Any person who is convicted of violating this chapter within one year of the date of a previous violation of the same chapter and who was fined for the previous violation shall be sentenced by the court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. The additional fine imposed by the court upon any person for a repeat offense shall not exceed the maximum fine fixed for a violation of this chapter, but shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation of the chapter.
Emergency conditions. Where the violations or conditions existing on the premises are of such a nature as to constitute an immediate threat to life and limb unless abated without delay, the Enforcement Official may either cause the violation to be abated or order the owner, occupant or operator to correct the violation or condition within a period of time not to exceed three days. Upon failure to do so, the Enforcement Official may cause the condition to be abated. In addition, any other remedies set forth in other sections of the Netcong Borough Code shall be available.
Abatement by the Borough. The Borough may abate a violation of this chapter when the Enforcement Official is unable to serve the notice upon a property owner or when the property owner, after service of the notice, fails to satisfactorily abate the violation. The Borough may also abate a violation, without any prior notice, in an emergency situation as set forth in Subsection C above. If the Enforcement Official recommends that the Borough abate a violation, the Enforcement Official shall submit a report of the findings and recommendations to the Borough Council. The Borough Council may thereupon, by resolution, authorize the abatement of the condition as may be necessary to put the premises in such a condition so as to comply with the requirements of this Code. The Borough Council may, by such resolution, authorize the expenditure of municipal funds and fix the amount to be used for such purpose. Upon completion of the abatement, the Enforcement Official shall submit a report of the monies expended to the Borough Administrator for presentation to the Borough Council. After review of the report, the Borough Council may approve the expenses and costs by resolution and, thereupon, the stated amount of expenses and costs spent shall become a lien against the premises, collectible as provided by law in conformity with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.14. A copy of the resolution approving the expenses and costs shall be certified by the Borough Clerk and filed with the Tax Collector of the Borough, who shall be responsible for the collection thereof, and a copy of the report and resolution shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the affected premises.
Nothing contained herein shall limit the power of the Code Enforcement Officer to take such further action under the criminal and civil laws of this state through any court of competent jurisdiction as may be necessary to remove or abate any nuisance.
Editor's Note: Former § 225-16, Compliance inspection, was repealed 6-13-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-7.
Editor's Note: Former § 225-17, Costs of removal of debris, was repealed 6-13-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-7.