City of Englewood, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Englewood 10-5-1978 by Ord. No. 2335 as §§ 13-76 to 13-81 of the 1978 Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 167.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 317.
Rental payments for unlawful premises — See Ch. 325, Art. VIII.

§ 152-1 Definitions.

[Amended 2-21-1984 by Ord. No. 84-03]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING
Any building or structure, or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any accessory buildings and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
OWNER
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 and any record holders of any lien against a building.
PUBLIC OFFICER
The Chief Inspector within the Division of Code Enforcement within the Department of Public Safety of the City of Englewood.

§ 152-2 Enforcement.

A. 
The public officer, as hereinabove defined, is hereby designated to exercise the powers hereinafter prescribed by this chapter.
B. 
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by at least five residents of the municipality charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use or whenever it appears to the public officer that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the public officer 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 building a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that:
(1) 
A hearing will be held before the public officer, or his designated agent, at a place therein fixed not less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(2) 
The owner and parties in interest shall be given the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, through their attorney, or otherwise, and give testimony and present evidence at the place and time fixed in the complaint.
(3) 
The rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
C. 
If, after such notice and hearing, the public officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, 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:
(1) 
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of said 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 have said building vacated and closed within the times set forth in the order; and
(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 said building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish said building within a reasonable time as specified in said order of removal.
D. 
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 public officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, subject to Council authorization, or to be vacated and closed and shall 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; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
E. 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the public officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished subject to Council authorization.
F. 
The amount of the cost of the filing of legal papers, expert witness fees, search fees and advertising charges, incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this chapter determined in favor of the municipality, and such 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. If the building is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of such building. There shall be credited against the cost of the removal or demolition thereof, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, 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 Tax Collector, 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 public officer, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court, and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgement of the court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such 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 to contest the reasonableness of the amount or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
[Amended 2-21-1984 by Ord. No. 84-03]
(1) 
If an actual and immediate danger to life is posed by the threatened collapse of any fire damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the public officer may, after taking such measures as may be necessary to make such building temporarily safe, seek a judgment in summary proceedings for the demolition thereof.
(2) 
Nothing in this section 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 chapter intended to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or construction official under the State Uniform Construction Code Act, P.L. 1975, c. 217 (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.), or any rules or regulations adopted thereunder.

§ 152-3 Demolition. [1]

Any building or buildings, or parts thereof, which have been damaged to such an extent that nothing remains but the walls, or parts of the walls and other supports, shall, regardless of the safety and sturdiness of those remaining walls or parts thereof, be deemed inimical to the welfare of the residents of the City, and the municipality may exercise its police powers to repair, demolish, or cause the repairing or demolishing of the building or buildings, or parts thereof, pursuant to the procedures set forth in this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 152-4 Standards. [1]

The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such a building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such buildings, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the City of Englewood. Such conditions shall be deemed to 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; uncleanliness; failure to comply with the requirements of the Building Code or the certificate of occupancy.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 152-5 Service of complaints and orders.

[Amended 2-21-1984 by Ord. No. 84-03]
Complaints or orders issued by a public officer pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon parties in interest either personally or by registered mail, ascertained by the public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer 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 in a newspaper printed and published in the municipality or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and published in the county and circulating in the municipality in which the buildings are located. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the Clerk of Bergen County.

§ 152-6 Appeals.

[Amended 2-21-1984 by Ord. No. 84-03]
Any person aggrieved by an order by a public officer under this chapter may, within 30 days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the public officer from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief. The court may proceed in the action in a summary manner or otherwise. The remedy herein provided shall be exclusive, and no person affected by an order of the public officer shall be entitled to recover any damages for action taken pursuant thereto, or because of noncompliance by any person with any order of the public officer.

§ 152-7 Additional powers.

In addition to those powers hereinabove granted, the public officer may exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following powers:
A. 
To investigate the building conditions in the City of Englewood in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use;
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; and
E. 
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.