[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City 1-7-1997 as § 13-13 of the 1996 Revised General Ordinances, as amended through Ord. No. 3693. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
There exists in the City buildings which are unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use due to dilapidation defects, which increase the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities; lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities; or other conditions rendering such building or buildings, or parts thereof unsafe, unsanitary, dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the City.
The following terms whenever used or referred to in this chapter shall have the following respective meanings for the purpose of this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Any building or structure or part thereof whether used for human habitation or otherwise and including any outhouses, sheds and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually adjoined therewith.
- The complete destruction of any building or structure or
part thereof, including all foundation walls, and the removal from
the premises of all parts and materials of such building or structure
not falling within the definition of "clean fill" as defined in the
Basic Property Maintenance Code.[Amended 5-21-2013]
- The holder or holders of title in fee simple.
- PARTY IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations or corporations who have interest of record in a building and any person who is in actual possession thereof.
The Construction Official of the City is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, and (s)he shall serve in such capacity without any additional salary.
For the purpose of this chapter, the Construction Official may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation if (s)he finds that conditions exist in such building which are dangerous to or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents of the City. Such conditions may include the following, without limiting the generality of the foregoing:
The demolition of any building or structure or part thereof, including all foundation walls, shall require, but not be limited to, the following:
Demonstration of proper licensing to Building Department Construction Code Official and obtaining proper permit for demolition.
Compliance with the requirements set forth in the Uniform Construction Code and requirements of the Union City Building Department.
All footings, foundation walls, beams and underground or basement structures shall be removed.
Clean fill as defined by state statute shall be utilized to bring the lot to grade to maintain it in conformity to established street grades at curb level.
Vacant lots shall be maintained free from accumulation of rubbish and all other unsafe or hazardous conditions which endanger the life health or safety of the public.
Any sidewalks or curbing damaged by such demolition work shall be repaired or replaced in conformity with existing sidewalks and curbing.
A fence shall be erected around any lot vacant for over 30 days.
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the Basic Property Maintenance Code of the City, the Uniform Construction Code and all other building codes adopted by the State of New Jersey and the City, are established as standards to be used as a guide in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation, occupancy or use. A copy of the Basic Property Maintenance Code and the Uniform Construction Code are annexed to this chapter, and three copies of same have been placed on file in the office of the City Clerk and shall be available for the use and examination of the public.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Construction Official by a public authority, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the City charging that any building is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, or whenever it shall appear to the Construction Official, on his/her own motion, that any building is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, (s)he shall, if his/her preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charge, 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 shall be held before the Construction Code Official, or his/her designated agent, at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of such complaint.
The owner and parties 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 time and place fixed in the complaints.
The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Construction Code Official.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Construction Code Official determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, (s)he shall state, in writing, his/her findings of fact upon the owner thereof and parties interest in an order requiring:
That the repair, alteration or improvement of the building shall be made by the owner, within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order to vacate or to have such building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order.
That the owner remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time as specified in the order of removal 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, if the owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter, improve or to vacate and close the building, the Construction Official may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed. A placard with the following words may be caused to be posted on the main entrance of any building so closed by the Construction Official: "This building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use. The use or occupation of this building is prohibited and unlawful."
That, if the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Construction Official may cause such building to be removed or demolished or may contract for the removal or demolition thereof after advertisement for and receipt of a bid therefor.
That 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 chapter, determined in favor of the City and the cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, if any, or the amount of the balance thereof remaining after deduction of the sum, if any, realized from the sale of materials derived from such building or from any contract for removal or demolition thereof, shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the building is removed or demolished by the Construction Official, (s)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 totals 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 the credit exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Construction Official and shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by the 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 that nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the City 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.
A complaint or order issued by the Construction Official pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons as set forth in the Uniform Construction Code.
The Construction Official is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following, in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the City in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
To delegate any of his/her functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as (s)he may designate.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the power of the City, or any officer or department, to enforce any provisions of its charter or its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof. The powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the City by any other law or ordinance. Whenever a provision of this chapter is found to be in conflict with a provision of a zoning, building, fire, health or other law or ordinance, or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the provision or requirement which is more restrictive or which establishes the highest standard shall apply.