Township of Mansfield, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mansfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unfit buildings — See Ch. 144.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 158.
Housing standards — See Ch. 214.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 264.
[Adopted 9-23-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-13]

§ 270-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CREDITOR
A state-chartered bank, savings, bank, savings and loan association or credit union, any person or entity required to be licensed under the provisions of the New Jersey Residential Mortgage Act, P.L. 2009, c. 53 (N.J.S.A. 17:11C-51 et seq.), any foreclosing entity subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 (P.L. 2008, c. 127, Sec. 17, as amended from time to time) and any entity acting on behalf of the creditor named in the debt obligation, including, but not limited to, services.
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, where a notice of violation has been issued pursuant to § 270-5A of this article and subsection b. of section 1 of P.L. 2014, c. 35 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s). 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:
A. 
Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
B. 
The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property;
C. 
Disconnected gas, electric, or water utility services to the property;
D. 
The accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
E. 
The accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property;
F. 
The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
G. 
The absence of furnishings and personal items;
H. 
Statements of neighbors, association management, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
I. 
Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and repaired;
J. 
Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked;
K. 
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;
L. 
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;
M. 
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;
N. 
A written statement issued by any mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon property;
O. 
Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.

§ 270-2 Registration of vacant and abandoned properties.

A. 
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a vacant and abandoned property, or a creditor who has previously filed a summons and complaint to foreclose on a residential property which subsequently becomes vacant and abandoned, shall within 30 calendar days after the building becomes vacant and abandoned or within 30 calendar days after assuming ownership of the vacant and abandoned property, whichever is later; or within 10 calendar days of receipt of notice from the Township, and annually thereafter, file a registration statement for such vacant and abandoned property with the Municipal Clerk on forms provided by the Township for such purposes. Any failure to receive notice by the Township shall not constitute grounds for failing to register the vacant and abandoned property.
B. 
Each vacant and abandoned property having a separate block and lot number as designated in the official tax maps of the Township shall be registered separately.
C. 
The registration statement shall include name, street address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if applicable) of a person 21 years or older, designated by the creditor as the authorized agent for receiving notices of code violations and for receiving process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding on behalf of such creditor in connection with the enforcement of any applicable code.
D. 
The registration statement shall include the name, street address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if applicable) of the firm and the actual name(s) of the firm's individual principal(s) responsible for maintaining the vacant and abandoned property. The individual or representative of the firm responsible for maintaining the vacant and abandoned 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.
E. 
The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration except for the initial registration which shall be valid through December 31 of the year in which it was filed. The creditor shall be required to renew registration annually as long as the building remains vacant and abandoned and shall pay a registration or renewal fee in the amount prescribed in § 270-3 of this article for each vacant and abandoned property registered.
F. 
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.
G. 
The creditor shall notify the Municipal Clerk within 30 calendar days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Municipal Clerk for such purpose.
H. 
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 creditor.

§ 270-3 Fee schedule.

The initial registration fee for each vacant and abandoned property under the provisions of this article shall be $500. The fee for the first annual renewal shall be $1,500, and the fee for the second annual renewal shall be $3,000. The fee for any subsequent annual renewal beyond the second renewal shall be $5,000.
Vacant Property Fee Schedule
Registration or Renewal
Fee
Initial registration
$500
First renewal
$1,500
Second renewal
$3,000
Any subsequent renewal
$5,000

§ 270-4 Creditor responsibility for vacant and abandoned properties.

A. 
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 article.
B. 
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 § 270-4A of this article. Notice of said representative or agent shall be provided to the Municipal Clerk pursuant to § 270-2C and D of this article and pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 17 of P.L. 2008, c. 127 (N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51).
C. 
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 (if designated pursuant to § 270-2C of this chapter, 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 18 inches by 24 inches.

§ 270-5 Property inspection and notice.

A. 
After filing a registration statement or a renewal of a registration statement, the owner of any vacant property shall provide access to the Town to conduct an exterior and interior inspection of the building to determine compliance with the Municipal Code following reasonable notice, during the period covered by the initial registration or any subsequent renewal.
B. 
The enforcement officers designated in this article 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 enforcement officer determines that the creditor has violated this article by failing to provide for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of a vacant and abandoned 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 § 270-4B of this article and paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 17 of P.L. 2008, c. 127 (N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51).
C. 
The notice referenced in § 270-5B of this article 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.
D. 
The issuance of a notice pursuant to § 270-5B of this article shall constitute proof that a residential property is vacant and abandoned for the purposes of this article.

§ 270-6 Enforcement officers.

The duty of administering and enforcing the provisions of this article is conferred upon the Municipal Clerk, Construction Official, Zoning Officer, Housing Officer, Health Officer, Township Police, and any other duly appointed representatives.

§ 270-7 Violations and penalties.

A. 
A creditor subject to this article 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 article 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 receipt of the notice, except if the violation presents an imminent risk to public health and safety, in which case any fines shall commence 11 days following receipt of the notice.
B. 
An out-of-state creditor subject to this article 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 pursuant to this article shall be subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation. Any fines imposed on a creditor for the failure to appoint an in-state representative or agent shall commence on the day after the ten-day period set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 17u 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.
C. 
A creditor subject to this article 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 register a vacant and abandoned property pursuant to Paragraph b. of this article shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $2,000. Any fines imposed on a creditor under this paragraph shall commence 11 days following receipt of notice from the Township pursuant to this article shall be utilized by the Township for municipal code enforcement purposes.