[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-23-1963 by Ord. No. 470]
It is hereby found and declared that the existence or occupation of any building or buildings or parts thereof, in the Borough of Atlantic Highlands, which are so old, dilapidated or have become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use are inimical to the welfare and dangerous and injurious to the health and safety of the people of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands, and that a public necessity exists for the repair, closing or demolition of such building or buildings, or part thereof. It is hereby found that there exist in the Borough of Atlantic Highlands, building or buildings, which are unfit for human habitation or occupancy, or use, due to dilapidation, defects, increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, lack of sanitary facilities, or due to other conditions rendering such buildings or parts thereof unsafe or unsanitary, or dangerous or detrimental to the safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands, and as to which the Borough of Atlantic Highlands has the power, pursuant to P.L. 1942, c. 112, as amended by P.L. 1956, c. 197 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.), to exercise its police powers to repair, close or demolish, or cause or require the repairing, closing or demolition of such building or buildings, or part thereof, in the manner herein provided.
The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this article, shall have the following respective meanings for the purpose of this article, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Shall mean any building or structure, or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- DWELLING UNIT
- Shall mean a building or portion thereof providing living facilities for one or more persons.
- Shall mean the holder or holders of the title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- Shall mean all individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Shall mean any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Borough relating to health, fire, building regulations, or any other activities concerning buildings in the Borough of Atlantic Highlands.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- Shall mean the officer who is authorized by this article to exercise the powers prescribed for him.
The Public Officer shall be the Building Inspector of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands and he shall exercise the powers prescribed by this article.
In the event the Borough Council shall hereafter deem it necessary, or advisable to compensate the Public Officer for the duties to be exercised by him, as herein provided, the Borough Council may, in such event, hereafter fix such compensation by resolution or ordinance.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Public Officer by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or whenever it appears to the Public Officer (on his own motion) 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 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 and 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 this complaint, and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Public Officer.
If the Public Officer shall determine after such notice and hearing (§ 200-5) 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 as follows:
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the said building to be made by the owner, within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in order, or at the option of the owner, to vacate or have the said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
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.
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 or to be vacated and closed; provided that the Public Officer shall not incur any expense to repair, alter or improve any building without the approval by resolution of the Borough Council. 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 of occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish such building, the Public Officer may cause such building to be removed or demolished, subject to the approval by resolution of the Borough Council, or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof, subject to the approval of such contract by the Borough Council, after advertisement for and receipt of bids therefor.
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 under this article determined in favor of the Borough.
Such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements or vacating and closing, or removal and demolition, if any.
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 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 Municipal Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens and a copy thereof shall be forthwith forwarded to the owner by registered mail. If the total of 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 municipality 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.
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 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 of Atlantic Highlands; such conditions may 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.
Without any way limiting the standards and conditions set forth in Subsection A hereinabove and without in any way requiring that any one or all of the conditions hereinafter set forth be found in order to declare a building unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, the following are additional standards to guide the Public Officer, or his agent, in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use:
Those whose interiors walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle 1/3 of its base.
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more of damage, disrepair or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% of damage, disrepair or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those structures and every part thereof which are not maintained in good repair by the owner or agent and fit for human habitation; also where the roof is not maintained so as not to leak and where all rainwater is not properly drained and conveyed therefrom so as not to cause dampness in the wall or ceiling on the interior or exterior.
Those structures which are not maintained in proper repair so as to give adequate protection from the elements and those structures where the windows and doors do not fit properly and where all exterior wood surfaces are not protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering.
Those dwelling units which lack the following facilities in good working order:
A sink, flush toilet and bathtub or stall shower supplied by a sufficient supply of potable running water and connected to the sanitary sewage-disposal system of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands or to an approved individual sewage-disposal system according to Chapter 199, P.L. 1954, of New Jersey.
Those which lack permanent, safe and reasonably efficient kitchen facilities within the dwelling unit, including a sink with running water and provisions for a cooking stove.
Those dwelling units and public hallways which do not have a safe electric-lighting system.
Those which lack substantially adequate safe heating facilities.
Those where every habitable room does not contain a window or windows which open directly to the outside air, and the total area of such window or windows is less than 10% of the floor area of such room. Also where the window sash is not glazed and provided with suitable hardware and is not made to open to the extent of not less than 5% of the floor area of such room.
Those dwelling units not having a separate access either to a hallway or landing stairway leading to the street.
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
Those which are not dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary that they are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, or by reason of structural deficiencies or of continuous dampness or exposure brought about by neglect or dilapidation are likely to cause sickness or disease, or may reasonably be presumed to result in injury to the health, safety and general welfare of those using the premises.
Those dwelling units having rooms with less than 400 cubic feet of air space and 50 square feet of floor space for each adult and less than 200 cubic feet of air space and 30 square feet of floor space for each child under the age of 12 years occupying such room. Any room used for sleeping purposes having less than 60 square feet is also deemed uninhabitable.
Those basement dwelling units having rooms with ceiling height of less than six feet three inches or whose walls and floors have not been dampproofed and waterproofed by an approved method if in contact with earth.
Those whose courts, yards or other areas on the premises are not properly drained.
Those with fences in a dilapidated condition.
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or people of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands.
Those whose yards, lawns, courtyards, terraces, porches, balconies and accessory buildings are not kept clean and free of rodent and vermin infestation and ratproofed.
Stores or places of business converted to living purposes must conform to the above standards and all show windows must be replaced by conventional-type home windows which conform to the requirements of Subsection B(1) above.
Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of any ordinance of the Borough relating to health plumbing codes.
Complaints or orders issued by the Public Officer pursuant to this article shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is 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 persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the Borough of Atlantic Highlands. 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 of the County of Monmouth.
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the Public Officer pursuant to this article may, within 30 days after the posting and service of such order, avail himself of such remedies as are set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.8.
The Public Officer is hereby authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purpose and provisions of this article including the following powers in addition to others herein granted.
To investigate the building conditions in the Borough of Atlantic Highlands in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidences.
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.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he determines necessary to carry out the purposes of this article.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this article to such officers, agents and employees as he may designate, subject to confirmation by the Borough Council.
The Borough Council shall also, as soon as possible after the adoption of this article, prepare an estimate of the annual expenses or costs to provide the equipment, personnel and supplies necessary for periodic examinations and investigations of the buildings in the Borough of Atlantic Highlands for the purpose of determining the fitness of such buildings for human habitation or occupancy or use and for the enforcement and administration of this article and may make such appropriations from its revenues as it may deem necessary for this purpose and may accept and apply grants or donations to assist it in carrying out the provisions of this article.
Any person who shall violate §§ 200-7 and 200-8 of this article or who shall violate an order of the Public Officer, after duly made and promulgated pursuant to this article, or who shall interfere with the Public Officer or any other person authorized to exercise the powers of the Public Officer shall, upon conviction in the Municipal Court, be subject to a fine not exceeding $200 or be imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding 90 days, or both such fine and imprisonment; and such action in and penalties imposed by the Municipal Court may be in addition to any other action or proceedings provided in this article. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of any department of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands to enforce any provisions of its charter or its ordinances or regulations or to prevent or punish violation thereof.
4-12-1966 by Ord. No. 508; amended in its entirety 2-20-1991 by Ord. No. 989-91
The Housing Inspector of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands or his designee is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this article.
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 55:13A-6(e), Chapter 10 of Title 5 of the New Jersey Administrative Code, entitled "Maintenance of hotels and multiple dwellings," is hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether buildings, or portions thereof, hotels and multiple dwellings as defined in the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law, N.J.S.A. 55:13A-3, and other than rooming houses and boardinghouses, as defined in the Rooming and Boarding House Act of 1979, N.J.S.A. 55:13B-1 et seq., are fit for human habitation, use or occupancy.
The Housing Inspector or his designee is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the Borough of Atlantic Highlands in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections, the Housing Inspector or his designee is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit and rooming unit, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Housing Inspector or his designee free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof, or his agent or employee, access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit, or its premises, at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this article or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this article.
Whenever the Housing Inspector or his designee determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this article, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall:
Be put in writing.
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued.
Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires.
Be served upon the owner or his agent, or the occupant, as the case may require; provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent, or upon such occupant, if a copy thereof is served upon him personally; or if a copy thereof is sent by certified mail to his last-known address; or if a copy thereof is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice; or if he is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state.
Such notice may contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this article and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this article, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Building Inspector or his designee, provided such person shall file in the office of the Municipal Clerk a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the day the notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition, the Housing Inspector or his designee shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the day on which the petition was filed; provided that upon application of the petitioner, the Housing Inspector or his designee may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such ten-day period, if in his judgment the petitioner has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. After such hearing, the Housing Inspector or his designee shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this article and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the Housing Inspector or his designee sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice served pursuant to this article shall automatically become an order if a written petition for a hearing is not filed in the office of the Municipal Clerk within 10 days after such notice is served. The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Housing Inspector or his designee, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Municipal Clerk. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Housing Inspector or his designee may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of the state. Whenever the Housing Inspector or his designee finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, or safety, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this article, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately but, upon petition to the Housing Inspector or his designee, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this article and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Housing Inspector or his designee shall continue such order in effect or modify it or revoke it.
The Housing Inspector or his designee is hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this article; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this article nor in anyway alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The Housing Inspector or his designee shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which he may adopt in his office and in the office of the Clerk of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or rent to another for occupancy any building or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not conform to the provisions of the N.J.A.C. 5:10-1.1 et seq., established hereby as the standard to be used in determining whether such building or dwelling unit therein is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this article shall upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty; each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
This article shall apply only to multiple-family dwellings containing five or more dwelling units.
Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, the Building Inspector or his designee of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands shall have concurrent jurisdiction and authority to perform all the duties and functions of the Housing Inspector or his designee and to implement and enforce the provisions of this article as provided for herein.