Borough of Rockaway, NJ
Morris 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 Mayor and Council of the Borough of Rockaway 10-14-1971 by Ord. No. 5-71 as Ch. 9, Art II, of the 1971 Code of Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 115.
Fire prevention and protection — See Ch. 139.
Housing — See Ch. 159.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 197.
Health and sanitation — See Ch. 261.

§ 109-1 Definitions and word usage.

The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this chapter, shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes hereof, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
BUILDING
Any building or structure or part thereof, whether use for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto 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.
PUBLIC AUTHORITY
Any housing authority or any official who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Borough relating to health, fire or building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the Borough.
PUBLIC OFFICER
The officer or officers who are authorized to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter.
[Added 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]

§ 109-2 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Any person convicted of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter by unlawfully removing any notice affixed to any building or refusing to vacate any building, structure or premises or part thereof when lawfully ordered to vacate the same shall be subject to the penalty provisions of Chapter 1, General Provisions, § 1-2.
B. 
The imposition of a fine or imprisonment for a violation of this chapter shall not be construed as in any manner affecting the enforcement of the other provisions hereof.

§ 109-3 Construal of provisions.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of the court or of any 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 by any other law or ordinance.

§ 109-4 Enforcement.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
The Construction Official, the Fire Marshal or the Health Officer, or such person serving the Board of Health of the Borough in that capacity, is hereby designated as the public officer to enforce this chapter and to exercise the powers prescribed herein.

§ 109-5 Costs of enforcement.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
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 in accordance with this chapter and determined in favor of the Borough 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. 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 Borough 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 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 section 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 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.

§ 109-6 Additional powers of public officer.

In addition to the powers granted to the public officer in this chapter, he shall also have the following powers:
A. 
To investigate the building conditions in the Borough in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use.
B. 
To administer oaths and affirmations and to examine witnesses and receive evidence.
C. 
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
D. 
Subject to the consent of the Council first being obtained, 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 hereunder to such duly appointed officers and agents as he may designate.

§ 109-7 Investigation of complaints.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
Whenever it shall be found that there exist in the Borough buildings which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, due to dilapidation, disrepair, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitation facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such buildings unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Borough, the public officer shall, upon the filing of a petition by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Borough charging that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, or if it shall appear to such public officer (on his own motion) that any building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, make a preliminary investigation or cause such preliminary investigation to be made concerning the basis for such charges.

§ 109-8 Conditions rendering buildings unfit for habitation.

A. 
Buildings shall be considered unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use within the meaning of § 109-7 when one or more of the following conditions are found to exist:
(1) 
Condition of structure. The condition of the structure is such as to make it unsafe or unsanitary through the presence of serious safety hazards resulting from the need for major repairs to the roof, walls, ceiling, floors, or stairs or through the presence of serious health hazards resulting from continuous dampness or exposure brought about by neglect or dilapidation.
(2) 
Water supply. Lack of potable running water within each dwelling or lack of hot water facilities available to each dwelling.
(3) 
Sewerage system. No connection between plumbing fixtures and an adequate sewerage disposal system.
(4) 
Toilet facilities. No flush toilet, fit for use, in each dwelling.
(5) 
Bath facilities. No bathtub or shower, fit for use, in each dwelling.
(6) 
Kitchen facilities. Lack of permanent, safe and reasonably efficient kitchen facilities within each dwelling unit, including sink with running water and provisions for a cooking stove.
(7) 
Lighting facilities. Building inadequately wired for electricity.
(8) 
Heating facilities. Heating facilities inadequate or unsafe.
(9) 
Light and ventilation. Living room, bedroom or kitchen with no windows or with windows opening on an airshaft or a toilet or bathroom without adequate ventilation.
B. 
The generality of the conditions rendering a building unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use specified in § 109-7 shall not be deemed to be limited in any way by the foregoing specifications of conditions.

§ 109-9 Service of complaints or orders.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
Complaints or orders issued by the public officer pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon a person either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such person are unknown and the same cannot be 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 person may be made by publishing the same once in a newspaper printed and published in the Borough of Rockaway or circulated 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. A copy of such complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the County Clerk.

§ 109-10 Service of complaint by public officer.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
If a preliminary investigation authorized by this chapter shall disclose to the public officer a basis for the charges stating that a building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, he shall 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. The complaint shall also contain a notice that a hearing will be held before him at a place therein fixed not less than seven 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 place and time fixed in the complaint; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.

§ 109-11 Right to answer complaint.

The owner and parties in interest of a building shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint authorized in § 109-10 and to appear in person, by counsel or otherwise and give testimony at the time and place fixed in the complaint.

§ 109-12 Rules of evidence.

The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in a hearing before the public officer.

§ 109-13 Additional conditions rendering building unfit for habitation or use.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
The public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use if he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the Borough; such conditions may include, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents 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, or the conditions set forth in §§ 109-7 and 109-8.

§ 109-14 Orders to repair or remove.

If, after the notice and hearing authorized in § 109-10, the public officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation, 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 the parties in interest an order, as follows:
A. 
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the building to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which shall in no event exceed 90 days from the order, which time shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or have the building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
B. 
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, the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time to be specified in the order.

§ 109-15 Failure to comply with order.

A. 
If the owner of a building 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 or to be vacated and closed. The public officer may 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 occupancy of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
B. 
If the owner of a building fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the public officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement and after receipt of bids therefor.

§ 109-16 Actions for injunctive relief.

[Amended 11-13-2008 by Ord. No. 26-08]
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the public officer in accordance with 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.

§ 109-17 Remedies to be exclusive.

The remedies provided in this chapter shall be exclusive remedies, and no person affected by an order of the public officer shall be entitled to recover any damage for action taken pursuant to any order of the public officer or because of noncompliance by such person with any order of the public officer.

§ 109-18 Placarding damaged buildings.

Every building which shall have been damaged by fire or other cause so as to be dangerous by reason of the bad conditions of walls, floors, construction or otherwise shall be held to be unsafe, and the public officer, besides proceeding as required in this chapter, shall also fix a notice of the dangerous character of the structure to a conspicuous place on the exterior of the building.