Borough of Wrightstown, NJ
Burlington County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Wrightstown by Ord. No. 1975-4 as Sec. 11-1 of the Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 57.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 152.

§ 50-1 Designation of public officers to enforce provisions.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1975-7; Ord. No. 1982-1]
The construction official or subcode officials and the Burlington County Board of Health are hereby designated as the officials and agencies to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter. Said powers may be exercised jointly or by the individual official or agency involved.

§ 50-2 Conditions determining unfitness.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
For the purpose of this chapter, the construction official may determine that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation if he finds that conditions exist in such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwelling, the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents of the borough. Such conditions may include the following, without limiting the generality of the foregoing: defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities; lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities; dilapidation; disrepair, structural defects or uncleanliness.

§ 50-3 Adoption of code.

Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 21, P.L. 1946 (N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1), 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 the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use. A copy of the code is annexed hereto.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: A copy of the code is on file in the borough offices.

§ 50-4 Public record.

Three copies of the code have been placed on file in the office of the Borough Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same. The code is also 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.

§ 50-5 Complaint; hearing.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
Whenever a petition is filed with the construction official by a public authority as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the borough charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, or whenever it appears to the construction official (on his own motion) that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, he shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and 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 building inspector (or his designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor 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 complaints; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the construction official.

§ 50-6 Determination of unfitness; order.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
A. 
If, after such notice and hearing, the construction official determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation as herein defined, he shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of such determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order requiring:
(1) 
The repair, alteration or improvement of the 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 the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
(2) 
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 the building within the time specified in the order, that the owner remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
(3) 
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 construction official may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or 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; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
(4) 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the construction official may cause the building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for, and receipt of, bids therefor.
(5) 
That 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 chapter determined in favor of the municipality, and the cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, 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.
B. 
If the building is removed or demolished by the construction official, he 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 not such credits, a detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount so due shall be filed with the municipal Tax Assessor 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 exceed such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the construction official, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such court and shall be disbursed according to the order of 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 borough 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 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.

§ 50-7 Method of service.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
Complaints or orders issued by the construction official 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 construction official in the exercise of reasonable diligence and the construction official shall make as 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 borough. 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.

§ 50-8 Powers of construction official.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
The construction official is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following in addition to others herein granted:
A. 
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the borough in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation.
B. 
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
C. 
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.
D. 
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
E. 
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.

§ 50-9 Power of borough not impaired.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the power of the borough or any officer or department to enforce any provisions of its charter, or its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof, and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the borough by any other law or ordinance.

§ 50-10 Conformity to code required.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
No person shall occupy as owner or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.

§ 50-11 Duty of construction official.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
The construction official is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the borough in order that he may perform his 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 construction official 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 construction official 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 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. If such entry for the purpose of inspection is refused, then the construction official shall obtain a warrant before making such inspection.

§ 50-12 Construction official to repair; hearing.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1989-11]
A. 
In addition to the powers and procedures hereinbefore specified for causing the repair, alteration, improvement, vacating, closing, removal or demolition of a building and without in any way limiting those powers or any other remedy for enforcement of this chapter, whenever the construction official determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provisions of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall (except as otherwise provided where the procedures of §§ 50-5 50-7 are followed) give notice of such alleged violation to the person responsible therefore as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall:
(1) 
Be put in writing;
(2) 
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued;
(3) 
Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires; and
(4) 
Be served upon the owner or his agent, or the occupant, as the case may require; provided that the notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent or upon such occupant, if a copy thereof is served upon him personally; or if a copy thereof is sent by registered mail to his last known address; or if a copy thereof is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice; or if he is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state. Such notice may contain an outline or remedial action which, if taken, will affect compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
B. 
Any person affected by any notice (except where the procedures of §§ 50-5 through 50-7 are followed) which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the construction official, provided that such person shall file in the office of the construction official a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the day written notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition the construction official shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the day on which the petition was filed; provided that upon application of the petition the construction official may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such ten-day period, if in his judgment the petitioner has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. After such hearing the construction official shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the construction official sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice served pursuant to this chapter shall automatically become an order if written petition for a hearing is not filed in the office of the construction official within 10 days after such notice is served. The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the construction official shall be summarized, reduced to writing, and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the construction official. The record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the construction official may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of the state. Whenever the construction official finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, he may, without notice of hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition to the construction official shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the construction official shall continue each order in effect, or modify it, or revoke it.

§ 50-13 Adoption of rules and regulations.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1987-11]
The construction official is hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as he 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 nor in anywise alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The construction official shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which he may adopt in his office in the office of the Borough Clerk.