Township of Willingboro, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Willingboro as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Affordable housing — See Ch. 79.
Alarm systems — See Ch. 85.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 116.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 170.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 272.
Sewers — See Ch. 291.
[Derived from Secs. 9-1 to 9-4 of the 2003 Revised General Ordinances]

§ 199-1 Adoption of standards. [1]

The New Jersey State Housing Code, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:28-1.1 et seq., is hereby established in and for the Township of Willingboro in the County of Burlington, New Jersey, as a standard governing supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to making dwellings safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and governing the condition of dwellings. A copy of the New Jersey State Housing Code is on file in the office of the Clerk of the Township of Willingboro, Burlington County, New Jersey, and will remain on file for the use and examination of the public.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 199-2 Title.

This article, together with the New Jersey State Housing Code, shall be known as the Housing Code of the Township of Willingboro, Burlington County, New Jersey, and they are hereinafter referred to as the "code."

§ 199-3 Applicability.

The provisions of this code shall apply in all buildings and structures that are specifically provided for in the New Jersey State Housing Code, but not limited thereto.

§ 199-4 Authority of Code Enforcement Officer.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-10]
The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the Township of Willingboro in order that the Code Enforcement Officer may perform the duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public. For the purposes of making such inspections, the Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey, at all reasonable times, all dwellings, dwelling units and premises.

§ 199-5 Duty of owner or occupant.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-10]
The owner or occupant, person, firm, partnership or corporation, or duly authorized agent of every dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises shall give the Code Enforcement Officer, upon presentation of proper and official identification, free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey.
A. 
Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof, or the owner's 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 any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this article.
B. 
In the event that the owner, occupant, person, firm, partnership or corporation, or authorized agent of said owner, shall refuse to allow the Code Enforcement Officer free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming units or premises at reasonable times, then they shall be in violation of this code and subject to the penalties hereunder.

§ 199-6 Search warrant.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-10]
The Code Enforcement Officer may, upon affidavit, apply to the Municipal Court Judge of the Township of Willingboro for a search warrant setting forth factually the actual conditions and circumstances that provide a reasonable basis for believing that a nuisance or violation of this article exists on the premises, and if the Municipal Court Judge is satisfied as to the matter set forth in the affidavit, the Judge shall authorize the issuance of a search warrant permitting access to and inspection of that part of the premises on which the nuisance or violation may exist.

§ 199-7 Rules and regulations.

The Township Manager is hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as the Township Manager 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 any way alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The Township Manager shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which may be adopted in the Township Manager's office and in the office of the Clerk of the Township of Willingboro.

§ 199-8 Certificate of occupancy; inspections.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-10]
There is hereby established a requirement for a certificate of occupancy prior to a change in ownership or occupancy for all dwellings or dwelling units. No person shall own or occupy, as owner or occupant, any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the New Jersey State Housing Code without first having obtained a certificate of occupancy for the dwelling or dwelling unit from the Department of Inspections, stating that the dwelling or dwelling unit complies with the requirements of the code.
A. 
The owner or their authorized agent shall make application to the Department of Inspections for an inspection of the dwelling or dwelling units. Upon completion of the application and payment of the fee as provided for in § 150-7 of the Code of the Township of Willingboro, the Department of Inspections shall schedule an inspection of the premises. It is the responsibility of the owner or their authorized agent to insure that the Code Enforcement Officer has access to the premises for inspection. It is the responsibility of the owner or their authorized agent to provide 24 hours' notice to cancel or reschedule an inspection, or the initial fee will still be assessed as if the inspection had taken place.
B. 
The housing inspection is a visual examination of all accessible physical components of the structure to determine continued occupancy. This inspection does not include a complete electrical, plumbing and heating equipment guarantee by the Department of Inspections. A separate certification of the heating equipment is required by a qualified technician, authorized by the Township, that the heating equipment operates safely prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The certification must be made not more than 30 days prior to the certificate of occupancy being issued.
C. 
If the residential dwelling or dwelling unit does not comply with the requirements, no certificate of occupancy shall be issued. The Department of Inspections shall issue a written notice of defect, specifying any violations of the requirements. Each certificate and notice shall be dated, and a duplicate copy shall be retained by the Department of Inspections. The owner shall have 30 days from the date of inspection to complete all repairs and apply to the Department of Inspections for a reinspection. Upon passing the reinspection, a certificate of occupancy shall be issued to the owner.

§ 199-9 Unfit buildings; findings; police power.

[Added 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-11]
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3, the Township Council of the Township of Willingboro has hereby found and declared that the existence or occupation of any building or buildings or dwelling or dwellings, or parts thereof, in the Township which are so dilapidated or have become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use is inimical to the welfare of and dangerous and injurious to the health and safety of the people of the Township of Willingboro. Therefore, a public necessity exists for the repair, closing or demolition of such building(s) or dwelling(s) or parts thereof. Whenever the Township finds that there exists any building(s) or dwelling(s) 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, light or sanitation facilities or due to other conditions rendering such building(s) or dwelling(s), or part thereof, unsafe or unsanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the Township, power is hereby conferred upon the Township, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3, 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.

§ 199-10 Determination of unfitness.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-11]
For the purpose of this article, the Code Enforcement Officer, or a designated public officer, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, appointed to exercise the police powers prescribed by this article may determine that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5. The Code Enforcement Officer or public officer is authorized to make a finding that conditions exist in such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the occupants of such dwelling, the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents of the Township of Willingboro. Such conditions may include, 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; or uncleanliness.

§ 199-11 Complaints of unfitness; hearing; order to abate; failure to comply.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-11]
A. 
If the preliminary investigation of the Code Enforcement Officer discloses a basis for charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, in accordance with the statute, Housing Code and/or this article, and whenever a petition is filed with the Township Clerk, or other public officer as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, by the Code Enforcement Officer, by public authority, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the municipality charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, or whenever it appears to the Code Enforcement Officer (on his own motion) that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, the Code Enforcement Officer or public officer shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such dwelling 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, 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 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 the hearing before the public officer, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4(b), or Code Enforcement Officer, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5.
B. 
If after such notice and hearing, the public officer determines 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:
(1) 
Requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of the said building or dwelling to be made by the owner within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the 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; and
(2) 
If the building is in such a condition as to make it dangerous to the health and safety of such persons on or near the premises, and the owner fails to repair, alter or improve the said building within the time set forth in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the said building within a reasonable time as specified in the said order of removal.
C. 
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 or Code Enforcement Officer may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or, at the option of the owner to vacate and close the building(s) or dwelling(s), the public officer or Code Enforcement Officer may cause such building(s) or dwelling(s) to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed.
D. 
If the public officer causes the building(s) or dwelling(s) to be closed, he may post on the main entrance a placard stating: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use; the use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful," in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5.
E. 
If the owner 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 for, and receipt of, bids therefor;
F. 
The amount of the costs of filing 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 Township, 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. Other costs may be assessed against the property for the cost of removal, demolition, or leveling of the site. A detailed statement of the aforesaid costs and the amount due shall be filed with the Municipal Tax Assessor or other custodian of the records of tax liens, with a copy to the owner by registered mail or certified mail, return receipt requested. 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.
G. 
If an actual and immediate danger to life is posed by the threatened collapse of any fire-damaged or other structurally unsafe building, the public officer may, after taking such measures as may be necessary to make such building temporarily safe, seek a judgment in summary proceedings for the demolition thereof.
H. 
Nothing in this article shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the municipality to define and declare nuisances and cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise, nor to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or Construction Official or Code Enforcement Officer under the State Uniform Construction Code Act.

§ 199-12 Notice of violation.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that his preliminary inspection discloses a basis for a violation of any provision of this article or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner or parties in interest notice of such violation, or alleged violation, upon the person or persons responsible therefor. Such notice shall be in writing and shall contain:
A. 
A description of the real estate sufficient for identification.
B. 
A statement of the reason or reasons why it is being issued.
C. 
A provision allowing a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires.
D. 
An explanation of the rights of the person upon whom the notice has been served to seek modification or withdrawal of the notice by petition to the Township Manager for a hearing.
E. 
A statement that 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 Township Manager within 10 days after such notice is served.
F. 
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.

§ 199-13 Appropriate permit required.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
Whenever repairs, additions, alterations or replacements are required to the building or facilities, this notice shall direct that the person in violation shall make application to the appropriate Code Enforcement Officer for the appropriate permit to cover such requirements.

§ 199-14 Service of notice.

[Amended 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
Notices issued by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to this article shall be served upon the owner and parties in interest, or the operator or the occupant or any persons, as the case may require, either personally or by leaving a copy thereof posted upon the premises, or in the presence of a member of the family who shall be informed of the contents thereof, or, if not found, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to such person's last know address. If the whereabouts of such persons are unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the Code Enforcement Officer, the serving of such notice upon such persons may be made by publishing the notice once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in Burlington County. A copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the notice, and a copy of such notice shall be duly recorded or lodged for record in the office of the Township Clerk.

§ 199-15 Hearing.

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 Code Enforcement Officer, provided that such person shall file in person or by mail in the office of the Code Enforcement Officer a written petition requesting such hearing within 10 days after the day the notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition, the Code Enforcement Officer shall set a time and place for such hearing within 30 days therefrom and shall give the petitioner five days' written notification thereof. At any hearing held in accordance with this article, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations in connection with the conducting of any such hearing, and the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling in any such hearing.

§ 199-16 Order.

After hearing, the Township Manager shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending upon the findings of the Township Manager as to whether the provisions of this article and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the Township Manager 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 Township Clerk within 10 days after such notice is served. The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Township Manager, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Township 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 Township Manager may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of the state.

§ 199-17 Contents of order.

If, after such notice and hearing, the Township Manager determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, the Township Manager shall state in writing the findings of fact and shall serve upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order requiring:
A. 
The repair, alteration or improvement of the building to be made by the owner, within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order, or, at the option of the owner, to vacate or to 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, that the owner remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal.
C. 
That, 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 Township Manager may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed; that the Township Manager 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 occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
D. 
That, if the owner fails to comply with any order to remove or demolish the building, the Township Manager may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for, and receipt of, bids therefor.
E. 
That the amount of:
(1) 
The costs 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 be determined in favor of the municipality; and
(2) 
Such costs 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 Township Manager, the Township Manager shall sell the materials of such buildings. 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, the sum total of such 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 the credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Township Manager, 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 person 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 60 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.

§ 199-18 Emergencies.

Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, the Code Enforcement Officer may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as the Code Enforcement Officer 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 Township Manager shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon the Township Manager's findings as to whether the provisions of this article and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Township Manager shall continue such order in effect, or modify it or revoke it.

§ 199-19 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person violating the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).