Township of Kingwood, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: [1]Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Kingwood as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unfit buildings — See Ch. 62.
Outdoor burning — See Ch. 65.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 71.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 76.
Littering — See Ch. 128.
Zoning — See Ch. 132.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 96, Quarries, adopted 12-18-1954, as amended, was repealed 8-12-1988 by Ord. No. 6-12-88.
[Adopted 6-1-2009 by Ord. No. 15-07-2009]
It shall be the duty of any owner and tenant or person in possession of any lands in the Township:
A. 
To keep such lands free of filth, garbage, trash, and debris, including but not limited to nonfunctional vehicles or parts thereof, nonfunctional equipment or parts thereof, or nonfunctional machinery or parts thereof, unless present on any such lands in conjunction with an approved site plan for a repair facility, where such items are inimical to the preservation of public health, safety or general welfare of the Township or which may constitute a fire hazard.
A. 
Whenever the Enforcement Officer shall deem it necessary and expedient for the preservation of the public health, safety and general welfare or the elimination of a fire hazard, or upon investigation of the complaint of any resident, officer or employee of the Township, he may issue a violation to the person or persons or entities responsible therefor under this article. Such notice shall be in writing and shall include a signed statement citing the reasons for issuance.
B. 
Such notice shall be deemed properly and sufficiently served when a copy thereof is sent by registered or certified mail to the last known address of the person or entity upon which the same is served, as shown by the current tax records of the Township, and sent simultaneously by regular mail, or a copy thereof handed to said person or persons; or a copy thereof left at the usual place of abode or office of said person or entities. The notice shall also state that, unless the violation is abated, removed, or cured within 14 days of the date of such notice (exclusive of the date of service), a summons shall be issued for such violation. The Enforcement Officer may, at the time the notice is issued, extend the period for compliance with the violations stated in the notice for a period in excess of the aforesaid 14 days if, in his or her judgment, the abatement, removal, cessation of or cure of the condition of violation cannot reasonably be effected within the fourteen-day period. In the event the violation is not abated, removed, cured, or otherwise fully remedied within said fourteen-day period or within such extended period as set forth in the notice pursuant to this section, a summons shall then be issued against the person, persons, entity or entities so notified.
Owners, tenants, and persons in possession shall have all the duties and responsibilities as prescribed in this article and shall not be relieved from any such duties and responsibilities nor be entitled to defend against any charge of violation thereof by reason of the fact that another party may also be responsible therefor and in violation thereof. Responsibilities of owners, tenants, and occupants in possession shall not be altered or affected by any agreement or contract by and between any of them or between them and other parties.
Whenever the enforcement officer finds that an emergency condition in violation of this article exists, which condition requires immediate attention in order to protect the public health or safety, he or she may issue an order by service of notice as set forth above reciting the existence of such an emergency condition and requiring that such action be taken by the violator as soon as it is reasonably necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, such order shall be effective immediately.
Any person who shall violate any provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable for a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment of a term of not more than 90 days, or by community service of not more than 90 days, or any combination of fine, imprisonment and community service as determined in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge. The continuation of such violation for each successive day shall constitute a separate offense.
[Adopted 2-2-2017 by Ord. No. 19-01-2017]
The purpose of this article is to create a regulation regarding registration and maintenance of vacant and abandoned residential properties in foreclosure.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CREDITOR
A state-chartered 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, servicers.
A. 
Consistent with N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73, residential real estate, where a notice of violation has been issued pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12s(1)(b). 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:
(1) 
Overgrown or neglected vegetation;
(2) 
The accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property;
(3) 
Disconnected gas, electric, or water utility services to the property;
(4) 
The accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property;
(5) 
The accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property;
(6) 
The absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters;
(7) 
The absence of furnishings and personal items;
(8) 
Statements of neighbors, association management, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned;
(9) 
Windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and unrepaired;
(10) 
Doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked;
(11) 
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;
(12) 
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;
(13) 
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;
(14) 
A written statement issued by any mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property;
(15) 
Any other reasonable indicia of abandonment.
B. 
A residential property shall not be considered "vacant and abandoned" if, on the property:
(1) 
There is an unoccupied building which is undergoing construction, renovation or rehabilitation that is proceeding diligently to completion, and the building is in compliance with all applicable ordinances, codes, regulations, and statutes;
(2) 
There is a building occupied on a seasonal basis, but otherwise secure; or
(3) 
There is a building that is secure, but is the subject of a probate action, action to quiet title or other ownership dispute.
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 § 96-7.
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 N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73(d)(1). Notice of said representative or agent shall be provided to the Municipal Clerk pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12(b)(3) and (4) and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51(a)(1).
C. 
A creditor filing a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property within the Township shall 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 Subsection B of this section), 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 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.
A. 
The owner and/or creditor of any vacant property shall provide access to the Township to conduct an exterior and interior inspection of the building to determine compliance with the municipal code following reasonable notice.
B. 
The enforcement officers designated in § 96-10 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 section by failing to provide the care, maintenance, security and upkeep of the exterior of a vacant and abandoned property, or otherwise fail to comply with this section.
C. 
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 N.J.S.A. 2A:50-73(d)(2) and N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51(a)(1).
D. 
The notice referenced in Subsections B and C of this section 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 enforcement officer has deemed the violation presents an imminent threat to public health and safety.
E. 
The issuance of a notice pursuant to Subsections B and C of this section shall constitute proof that a residential property is vacant and abandoned for the purpose of this article.
The duty of administering and enforcing the provisions of this article is conferred upon the Municipal Clerk, Construction Official, Zoning Officer, Board of Health, New Jersey State Police, and any other duly appointed representatives.
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, 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 section 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 N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51(a)(1) for providing notice to the Municipal Clerk that a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a mortgage has been served.