Ventnor City, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Ventnor City as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Development regulations — See Ch. 102.
Nuisances — See Ch. 158.
Parental responsibility — See Ch. 166.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 171.
[Adopted 4-19-1990 by Ord. No. 9006]

§ 181-1 Definitions.

Unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning, the following words or phrases when used in this article shall have the following meanings:
AGENT or MANAGING AGENT
The individual or individuals designated by the owner as the person(s) authorized by the owner to perform any duty imposed upon the owner by this article. The term does not necessarily mean a licensed real estate broker or salesman of the State of New Jersey as those terms are defined by N.J.S.A. 45:15-3; however, such term may include a licensed real estate broker or salesman of the State of New Jersey if such person designated by the owner as his agent is so licensed.
APARTMENT or DWELLING
Any apartment, cottage, bungalow or other dwelling unit consisting of one or more rooms occupying all or part of a floor or floors in a building of one or more floors or stories, but not the entire building, whether designed with or without housekeeping facilities for dwelling purposes and notwithstanding whether the apartment is designed for residence, office or the operation of any industry or business or any other type of independent use.
BUILDING
Any building or structure or part thereof used for human habitation, use or occupancy, and includes any accessory buildings and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or rooms or suite or apartment thereof, whether furnished or unfurnished, which is occupied or intended, arranged or designed to be occupied for sleeping or dwelling purposes by one or more persons, including but not limited to the owner thereof or any of his servants, agents or employees, and shall include all privileges, services, furnishings, furniture, equipment, facilities and improvements connected with the use or occupancy thereof. This definition applies only to those "dwelling units," including single-family residences, which are available for lease or rental purposes.
HABITABLE ROOM
A room or enclosed floor space within a dwelling unit used or designed to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage space.
LICENSE
The license issued by the Building Code Official or his designee attesting that the rental unit has been properly registered in accordance with this article.
[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
LICENSEE
The person to whom the license is issued pursuant to this article. The term "licensee" includes within its definition the term "agent," where applicable.
LODGING UNIT
A room or group of rooms containing no cooking facilities, used for living purposes by a separate family or group of persons living together or by a person living alone, within a building.
MANAGING AGENT
See "agent."
OWNER
The person who owns, purports to own or exercises control over any building.
PERMITTEE
A person to whom a permit is issued hereunder.
[Added 7-18-1991 by Ord. No. 9111]
PERSON
An individual, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust or other legal entity, or any combination thereof.
REGISTRATION TENANT
The person or persons to whom a rental unit is leased or rented by the licensee. All children under 12 years of age shall be excluded from the term "registered tenant."
RENTAL UNIT
Includes the term "apartment" or "dwelling," "building," "dwelling unit," "habitable room," or "lodging unit" as defined by this article. This definition shall not apply to any single-family home which is not available for rental purposes.
RENTED BED
Any individual bed contained within a rental unit which is part of the rented premises.
SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS
The number of individuals who may be properly accommodated in the beds and other sleeping facilities located within any rental unit. A standard single bed shall count as a proper accommodation for one individual and a standard double bed as a proper accommodation for two individuals.

§ 181-2 Registration with Building Code Official required.

[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
All rental units shall hereafter be registered with the Building Code Official or his designee on forms which shall be provided for that purpose and which shall be obtained from the Building Code Official or his designee. Such registration shall occur on an annual basis as provided herein.

§ 181-3 Annual registration and license required; terms.

Each rental unit shall be registered and licensed annually. The license term shall commence February 1 of each year and such registration shall be valid until January 31 of the following year at which time it shall expire and a new registration shall occur. The initial registration for 1990 shall occur within 45 days following the adoption of this article. Any lease which has been executed prior to the adoption of this article shall not be affected, but the rental unit must nevertheless be registered, inspected and licensed in accordance with this article. No rental unit shall hereafter be rented unless the rental unit is registered and licensed in accordance with this article.

§ 181-4 Inspections.

A. 
Each rental unit shall be inspected at least once every three years. The initial inspection shall occur prior to January 31, 1991.
B. 
Such inspection shall be for the purpose of determining Zoning Ordinance[1] compliance and, to the extent applicable, to determine if the property complies with the Housing Code;[2] and/or Building Code; and/or Uniform Fire Safety Act.[3] In the event that the property is subject to inspection for the purposes of this article, and such property shall not be subjected to further inspection by the City except for compliance with the Municipal Zoning Ordinance and with the State Uniform Fire Safety Act.
[1]
Editor's Note: See now Ch. 102, Development Regulations.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 138, Housing Standards.
[3]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq.
C. 
Fees. The fees to be charged for such inspection shall be in accordance with the fee schedule established in the City from time to time.
D. 
Unsatisfactory inspection. In the event that the inspection(s) of a rental unit does not result in a satisfactory inspection, such property shall not thereafter be registered nor shall a license be issued, and the owner of the property or his agent shall not lease or rent such property nor shall any tenant occupy the property until the necessary corrections have been made so as to bring the property and rental unit into compliance with the applicable code and the property is thereafter subsequently registered and licensed. In the event that the property is occupied when such conditions are discovered, all such corrections shall be made within 60 days; and if not made within that time period, the owner shall be deemed in violation of this article, and every day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
E. 
Commencing on February 1, 1991, or February 1 of any year prior thereto following an inspection of the property, whichever first occurs, the property shall not be registered or licensed unless the owner thereof produces at the time of registration a current, valid certificate of inspection indicating that the property has either been inspected by the State of New Jersey Bureau of Housing or by the officials of the City of Ventnor City having jurisdiction and that the property does not contain any code violations.

§ 181-5 Prohibitions on occupancy.

No person shall hereafter occupy any rental unit nor shall the owner permit occupancy of any rental unit within the City of Ventnor City which is not registered and licensed in accordance with this article.

§ 181-6 Issuance of license.

[Amended 10-15-1992 by Ord. No. 9214]
Upon the filing of completed registration form and payment of the prescribed fee, the owner shall be entitled to the issuance of a license for a period of one year commencing the date of issuance of said license. A registration form shall be required for each rental unit, but a license shall be issued to the owner for each property containing the rental units, and said license shall specify the number of rental units contained therein. Each renewal for licensure shall be made and filed prior to the expiration of the one-year period.

§ 181-7 Fees.

[Amended 10-15-1992 by Ord. No. 9214; 11-15-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-15; 3-20-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-07]
At the time of filing the registration form, the owner shall pay a fee in the amount of $50 for each rental unit. Thereafter, an annual license fee of $50 shall be due. For failure to pay the annual license renewal fee within 30 days of the due date, the owner shall incur a late fee in the amount of $15 in addition to the annual fee. A late fee shall be assessed for each additional or part of an additional thirty-day period.

§ 181-8 Registration forms.

[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
Without in any way intending to infringe upon the requirements of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28, all rental units shall be registered and licensed as provided herein. Every owner shall file with the Building Code Official or his designee a registration form for each rental unit contained within a building or structure which shall include the following information:
A. 
The name and address of the record owner or owners of the premises and the record owner or owners of the rental business, if not the same persons. In the case of a partnership, the names and addresses of all general partners shall be provided, together with the telephone numbers for each of such individuals indicating where such individual may be reached both during the day and evening hours.
B. 
If the record owner is a corporation, the name and address of the registered agent and corporate officers of said corporation, including the addresses and telephone numbers of the corporate officers.
C. 
If the address of any record owner is not located in the County of Atlantic, the name and address of a person who resides in the County of Atlantic who is authorized to accept notices from a tenant and to issue receipts therefor and to accept service of process on behalf of the record owner.
D. 
The name and address of the managing agent of the premises, if any.
E. 
The name and address, including the dwelling unit, apartment or room number of the superintendent, janitor, custodian or other individual employed by the record owner or managing agent to provide regular maintenance service, if any.
F. 
The name, address and telephone number of an individual representative of the record owner or managing agent who may be reached or contacted at any time in the event of an emergency affecting the premises or any unit of dwelling space therein, including such emergencies as the failure of any essential service or system, and who has the authority to make emergency decisions concerning the building and any repair thereto or expenditure in connection therewith.
G. 
The name and address of every holder of a recorded mortgage on the premises.
H. 
If fuel oil is used to heat the building and the landlord furnishes the heat in the building, the name and address of the fuel oil dealer servicing the building and the grade of fuel oil used.
I. 
As to each rental unit, a specification of the exact number of sleeping rooms contained in the rental unit and the exact number of sleeping accommodations contained in each of the sleeping rooms, identifying each sleeping room specifically by number and location within the apartment or dwelling and by the square footage thereof. In order to satisfy the requirements of this provision, an owner shall submit a floor plan which shall become a part of the application and which shall be attached to the registration form when filed by the Building Code Official or his designee.
[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
J. 
Such other information as may be prescribed by the City.

§ 181-9 Registration forms available for public inspection; fee for list.

[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
The Building Code Official or his designee shall index and file the registration form and make it reasonably available for public inspection. In doing so, the Building Code Official or his designee shall follow the mandates of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28.1, as amended and supplemented, so that the filing of the registration form will simultaneously satisfy the registration requirements of N.J.S.A. 46:8-28 to the extent that it applies to the property being registered and will also satisfy the registration requirements of this article. The Building Code Official or his designee shall maintain a master index of all such registration forms, and any person may obtain from the Building Code Official or his designee a list of all rental units properly registered and licensed upon payment of a fee of $25.

§ 181-10 Amended registration forms.

Every person required to file a registration form pursuant to this article shall file an amended registration form within 20 days after any change in the information required to be included thereon. No fee shall be required for the filing of an amendment except where the ownership of the premises is changed.

§ 181-11 Owner to provide registration forms to occupants; exceptions.

Every owner shall provide each occupant or tenant occupying a rental unit with a copy of the registration form required by this article. This particular provision shall not apply to any hotel, motel or guesthouse registered with the State of New Jersey pursuant to the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Act as defined in N.J.S.A. 55:13A-3. This provision may be complied with by posting a copy of the registration certificate in a conspicuous place within the rental unit(s).

§ 181-12 Limitations on occupancy.

Each licensee granted a license pursuant to this article shall be permitted to lease or rent the rental unit which has been registered and for which a license has been granted hereunder to a number of registered tenants, which number shall not exceed the number which has been computed in accordance with the following:
A. 
Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.
B. 
Rental units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum occupancy area requirements of the table hereinafter set forth.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said table is on file in the office of the Building Code Official.
C. 
Combined living room and dining room spaces shall comply with the requirements of the table hereinafter set forth if the total area is equal to that required for separate rooms and if the space is so located that it functions as a combination living room/dining room.
D. 
Decks/porches. The maximum allowable occupancy on any deck shall be one person per nine square feet.
[Added 7-18-1991 by Ord. No. 9111]

§ 181-13 Posting of maximum number of occupants required.

[Amended 7-18-1991 by Ord. No. 9111]
A. 
It shall be unlawful and in violation of this article for an owner or tenant of any registered dwelling to allow a number of people greater than the posted maximum number of occupants, which number is to be posted on a register by the permittee, in the registered dwelling. It shall also be a violation of this article for the permittee to lease a dwelling unit to a number or group of tenants which exceeds the total number of sleeping accommodations which has been set forth in the permit requested under this article. It shall also be unlawful for any tenant or any permittee for a dwelling unit to knowingly permit a number of people greater than the maximum number of sleeping accommodations to sleep in or occupy the dwelling overnight. It shall also be unlawful for a tenant or permittee to allow a number of people greater than the maximum number of people permitted to occupy the decks or porches of a dwelling unit to occupy the deck or porch of the dwelling unit.
B. 
The owner or permittee of a dwelling unit must post a register in a conspicuous location in the dwelling. Such register must contain the names of the owner or permittee and his address, the names of all tenants and their addresses, such address to be their permanent address, the maximum number of tenants permitted to occupy the dwelling according to the permit, the maximum number of sleeping accommodations according to the permit and the maximum number of persons permitted on the decks or porches of the dwelling according to the permit.
C. 
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this article for an owner or permittee to fail to post the required register or for an owner, permittee or tenants to remove the required register.
D. 
The required register must be readily available for inspection upon demand by police officers of the Ventnor City Police Department or officials of the Ventnor City Code Enforcement Office. It shall be unlawful and a violation of this article for an owner, permittee or tenant to refuse to allow the inspection of said register upon demand by an officer of the Ventnor City Police Department or an official from the Ventnor City Code Enforcement Office.
E. 
The police officers of the Ventnor City Police Department or the officials of the Ventnor City Code Enforcement Office are authorized to issue a summons for a violation of this article to any owner, permittee or tenant that is found to be in violation of this article.

§ 181-14 Payment of taxes and municipal charges required.

No rental unit may be registered and no license shall issue for any property containing a rental unit unless all municipal taxes, water charges and other municipal assessments are paid on a current basis.

§ 181-15 Revocation of license; procedure.

A. 
Grounds. In addition to any other penalty prescribed herein, an owner may be subject to the revocation or suspension of the license issued hereunder under the happening of one or more of the following:
(1) 
Conviction of a violation of this article in the Municipal Court and other courts of competent jurisdiction.
(2) 
Determination of a violation of this article at a hearing held pursuant to Subsection B herein.
(3) 
Renting the unit or units to a tenant or tenants who on two or more occasions are convicted of violations of Chapter 156, Noise, of the Code of the City of Ventnor or any other disorderly, indecent, tumultuous or riotous conduct by the Ventnor Municipal Court due to conduct on or in proximity to said rental unit during any eighteen-month period.
[Amended 2-24-1994 by Ord. No. 9402]
(4) 
Continuously or repeatedly permitting the rental unit to be occupied by more than the maximum number of occupants as defined herein.
(5) 
Maintaining the rental unit or units or the property in which the rental unit is a part in a dangerous condition likely to result in injury to person or property.
B. 
Procedure; written complaint; notice; hearing.
(1) 
A complaint seeking the revocation or suspension of a license may be filed by any one or more of the following: the Mayor, Business Administrator, Director of Public Safety, Chief of Police, Construction Code Official or Zoning Enforcement Officer. Such complaint shall be in writing and filed with the Building Code Official or his designee. The complaint shall be specific and shall be sufficient to appraise the licensee of the charges so as to permit the licensee to present a defense. The individual(s) filing the complaint may do so on the basis of information and belief and need not rely on personal information.
[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
(2) 
Upon the filing of such written complaint, the Building Code Official or his designee shall immediately inform the Board of Commissioners, and a date for a hearing shall be scheduled which shall not be sooner than 10 nor more than 30 days thereafter. The Building Code Official or his designee shall forward a copy of the complaint and a notice as to the date of the hearing to the licensee and the managing agent, if any, at the address indicated on the registration form. Service upon the managing agent shall be sufficient.
[Amended 6-7-1990 by Ord. No. 9012]
(3) 
The hearing required by this section shall be held before the Board of Commissioners unless, in its discretion, the Board of Commissioners determines that the matter should be heard by a Hearing Officer who shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners. If the matter is referred to a Hearing Officer, such officer shall transmit his findings of fact and conclusions of law to the Board of Commissioners within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing. The Board of Commissioners shall then review the matter and may accept, reject or modify the recommendations of the Hearing Officer based on the record before such Hearing Officer. In the event that the matter is not referred to a Hearing Officer and is heard by the Board of Commissioners, then the Board of Commissioners shall render a decision within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing. Following the hearing, a decision shall be rendered dismissing the complaint, revoking or suspending the license or determining that the license shall not be renewed or reissued for one or more subsequent license years.
(4) 
A stenographic transcript shall be made of the hearing. All witnesses shall be sworn prior to testifying. The strict rules of evidence shall not apply and the evidential rules and burden of proof shall be that which generally control administrative hearings.
(5) 
The City Solicitor or his designee shall appear and prosecute on behalf of the complainant in all hearings conducted pursuant to this section.

§ 181-16 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 1-9-1997 by Ord. No. 9616]
In addition to the penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 46:8-35, any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction in the Municipal Court of the City of Ventnor City or such other court having jurisdiction, be liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days, or both. Each day that a violation occurs shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation subject to the penalty provisions of this article. In addition to or as a substitute for the previously mentioned fine, the imposition of community service shall be authorized as an additional penalty, which community service shall not exceed 90 days.
[Adopted 11-23-1993 by Ord. No. 9324]

§ 181-17 Purpose.

The City of Ventnor is a shore resort and destination community along the New Jersey coastline and as such the residents thereof are subject to disturbances, damage and public expense resulting from carelessly granted and inadequately supervised seasonal rentals of properties to irresponsible vacationers by inept or indifferent landlords. To preserve the peace and tranquility of the City of Ventnor for the permanent residents thereof and orderly vacationers who travel to said community and to maintain the viability of the City of Ventnor as a vacation destination for citizens of this and other states who are attracted to the beauties and pleasures of the City of Ventnor, its shoreline and other attractions, it is necessary and desirable that the City of Ventnor have adequate means to curb and discourage those occasional excesses arising as a result of said irresponsible seasonal rentals. Therefore, it is the specific purpose of this article to enable the City of Ventnor to take effective action to assure that such excesses, when they occur, shall not be repeated and that landlords offering seasonal rentals shall be held to sufficient standards of responsibility regarding the same.

§ 181-18 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following words shall have the following meanings:
HEARING OFFICER
A person designated pursuant to § 181-19 of this article to hear and determine proceedings brought pursuant to this article regarding posting and forfeiture of bonds/security.
LANDLORD
A person or persons, partnership, corporation or other entity who or which owns or purports to own any building in which there is rented or offered for rent housing space for living or dwelling under either a written or oral lease, including but not limited to any buildings subject to the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law, P.L. 1967, c. 76 (N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq.) and owner-occupied two-unit premises. In the case of a mobile home park, the term "landlord" shall mean the owner of an individual dwelling unit within said mobile home park.
SEASONAL RENTAL
Any rental of residential accommodations for a term of less than one year and including any part of the period extending from May 15 to September 15 of any given year.
SUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINT
A complaint which forms the basis for proceedings in accordance with § 181-21 of this article.

§ 181-19 Hearing Officer.

Any hearings conducted and decisions rendered regarding posting and forfeiture of bonds/security pursuant to this article shall be so conducted and rendered by a licensed attorney of the State of New Jersey appointed by the governing body of the City of Ventnor. Said licensed attorney of the State of New Jersey shall not be an owner or lessee of any real property within the City of Ventnor, nor shall said licensed attorney hold any interest in the assets of or be entitled to the profits arising from the ownership or lease of any such property within the City of Ventnor. Nothing contained in this section shall prevent said Hearing Officer from being the Judge within the City of Ventnor having jurisdiction over housing and like matters as long as said Housing Judge does not own or lease any property within the City of Ventnor or hold any interest in the assets or profits arising from the ownership or lease of such property.

§ 181-20 Posting of bond under certain circumstances.

If, during any one calendar year, three separate convictions in the Municipal Court of the City of Ventnor are obtained concerning three separate complaints of disorderly, indecent, tumultuous or riotous conduct upon or in proximity to any seasonal rental premises and attributable to the acts or incitements of any of the tenants of those premises, with all of said complaints being filed on separate occasions, then the City of Ventnor or any officers or official of said City so designated may institute proceedings which will require the landlord of the premises in question to post a bond against the consequences of future incidents of the same nature and character.

§ 181-21 Notice of hearing.

Upon conviction of three separate complaints as provided for in § 181-20 hereof, the City of Ventnor or the officer or official thereof as designated in § 181-19 shall cause to be served upon the landlord of said premises, in person or by registered mail to the address appearing on the tax records of the municipality for that property, notice advising of the institution of proceedings pursuant to this article, together with the particulars of the substantiated complaints upon which said proceedings are based and of the time and place at which a hearing will be held in the matter, which said hearing shall be in the Municipal Courtroom of the City of Ventnor or other such public place as designated within the municipality. Said hearing shall not occur sooner than 30 days from the date on which the notice required in this section is served or mailed.

§ 181-22 Landlord hearing.

At any hearing concerning a landlord which is convened pursuant to this article, the Hearing Officer shall give a full hearing so as to allow both the landlord and the municipality to submit any and all evidence, including any evidence in contradiction or mitigation of the charges that the landlord may present. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall determine whether the landlord shall be required to post a bond in accordance with this article. Any party appearing at said hearing may be represented by legal counsel.

§ 181-23 Amount and term of bond.

A. 
If the Hearing Officer determines that a bond is required to be posted, said bond shall be adequate in the case of subsequent offenses to make reparation for:
(1) 
Damages likely to be caused to public or private property and damages consequent upon disruption of affected residents' rights of fair use and quiet possession of their premises.
(2) 
Securing the payment of fines and penalties likely to be levied for such offenses.
(3) 
Compensating the municipality for the cost of representing and prosecuting such incident of disorderly behavior.
B. 
The amount of said bond is to be determined in light of the nature and extent of the offenses indicated in the substantiated complaints, but in no event shall be an amount less than $500 or more than $5,000. The City of Ventnor may enforce the bond requirement by bringing action in the Superior Court and shall be entitled to any injunctive relief which prohibits the landlord from making or renewing any lease of the effective premises for residential purposes until the bond or equivalent security, in satisfactory form and amount, has been deposited with the municipality. The City of Ventnor may also prohibit the registration pursuant to the rental registration ordinances of the City of Ventnor[1] or the issuance of any necessary permits or approvals until said bond or equivalent security has been so deposited.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Art. I, Registration of Rental Units, of this chapter.
C. 
In order for any bond or other security to be in compliance with this article, the same must be deposited with the City of Ventnor and shall remain in full force for a period of four years. After expiration of said four-year period, the landlord shall be entitled to discharge of the bond unless prior thereto further proceedings leading to a forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the bond or other security shall have been held pursuant to this article, in which case the security or bond shall be renewed in amount and the term extended as set forth in § 181-24 of this article and for a period that shall be specified by the Hearing Officer, but in no event for less than four years.

§ 181-24 Increase in amount or extension of time of bond.

If, during the period of time for which a landlord has been required to give security or post a bond pursuant to this article, a conviction concerning a complaint is recorded against the property in question, the City of Ventnor or its designee may institute proceedings against the landlord for the forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the security or bond posted and for an extension of the period of time for which said bond is to be posted and for an increase in the amount of security or bond which is required to be posted or for any or all of those purposes. The amount of any forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the bond or security posted shall be determined by the Hearing Officer solely in accordance with the amount deemed necessary to provide for the compensatory purposes as set forth in § 181-23 of this article. Any decision by the Hearing Officer to increase the amount or extend the period of time of the required bond or security shall be determined in light of the same factors as set forth in § 181-23 of this article, and the amount taken as said forfeiture or partial forfeiture of the bond or security posted shall be taken only to the extent that the nature of the complaint or complaints out of which proceedings arose pursuant to this article indicates the appropriateness of such amount in order to carry out the purposes of this article effectually. Any increase in the amount of bond or security to be posted or extension of time during which said bond or security must be posted shall be enforceable in the same manner as provided in § 181-23 of this article.