Township of Middle, NJ
Cape May County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 4-7-2014 by Ord. No. 1465-14[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. III, Property Maintenance Code, adopted 9-20-1990 by Ord. No. 746-90, as amended.
There is hereby established a Property Maintenance Code for all properties in the Township of Middle.
A. 
The purpose of this article is to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the maintenance of structures and premises.
B. 
The intent is to foster the beautification of the Township of Middle through the cleanup of litter, debris and unsightly properties. The provisions of this chapter shall govern the minimum conditions and the responsibilities of persons for maintenance of structures and exterior property.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CODE OFFICIAL
The official who is charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or any duly authorized representative, including but not limited to code enforcement officer, zoning officer, construction official.
CONDEMN
To adjudge unfit for occupancy.
DUMPSTER
An exterior waste container designed to be mechanically lifted by and emptied into or carted away by a commercial vehicle.
DWELLING
Any building or structure or part thereof used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 1479-14]
DWELLING UNIT
A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
HABITABLE SPACE
Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces, and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.
HEAVY DUTY EQUIPMENT
Vehicles, designated for executing commercial construction tasks, such as bulldozers, excavators, engineering equipment, heavy hydraulics, etc.
INOPERABLE VEHICLE
A vehicle on which the engine, wheels or other parts have been removed, altered or damaged or allowed to deteriorate to the point where the vehicle cannot be driven.
LITTER
Any used or unconsumed substance or waste material which has been discarded, whether made of aluminum, glass, plastic, rubber, paper or other natural or synthetic material, or any combination thereof, including but not limited to any bottle, jar or can or any top, cap or detachable tab of any bottle, jar or can; any unlighted cigarette, cigar, match or any flaming or glowing material; any garbage, trash, refuse, debris, rubbish, grass clippings or other lawn or garden waste; newspapers or magazines; glass, metal, plastic or paper containers or other packaging; or construction material; but does not include the waste of the primary processes of mining or other extraction processes, logging, sawmilling, farming or manufacturing.
LITTER RECEPTACLE
A container suitable for the depositing of litter.
OCCUPANT
Any person or persons, regardless of age, in actual possession of and living in any room or rooms in a hotel, lodging house, motel, or dwelling unit designed and normally used for sleeping and living purposes, or the right to the use or possession of the furnishings or the services and accommodations accompanying the use and possession of such room, rooms or dwelling unit, regardless of whether such use and possession is as lessee, tenant, guest, invitee or licensee.
OWNER
The holder of the title in fee simple.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 1479-14]
PARTIES IN INTEREST
All individuals, associations and corporations who or which have interests of record in a dwelling and any who or which are in possession thereof.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 1479-14]
PUBLIC AUTHORITY
Any housing authority or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the municipality, county or state relating to health, fire or building regulations or to other activities concerning dwellings in the municipality.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 1479-14]
It shall be the duty of the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant and/or person in charge of any structure or property to maintain the property in strict conformance with this article. The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy premises which are not in a sanitary and safe condition and which do not comply with the requirements of this chapter. Occupants of a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit are responsible for keeping in a clean, sanitary and safe condition that part of the dwelling unit, rooming unit, housekeeping unit or premises which they occupy and control.
The code official or employee charged with the enforcement of this code, while acting for the jurisdiction in good faith and without malice in the discharge of the duties required by this code or other pertinent law or ordinance, shall not thereby be rendered liable personally, and is hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of an act or by reason of an act or omission in the discharge of official duties. Any suit instituted against any officer or employee because of an act performed by that officer or employee in the lawful discharge of duties and under the provisions of this code shall be defended by the legal representative of the jurisdiction until the final termination of the proceedings. The code official or any subordinate shall not be liable for costs in an action, suit or proceeding that is instituted in pursuance of the provisions of this code (IPMC - A103.4).
A. 
General. The code official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The code official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.
B. 
Inspections. The code official shall make all of the required inspections, or shall accept reports of inspection by approved agencies or individuals. All reports of such inspections shall be in writing and be certified by a responsible officer of such approved agency or by the responsible individual. The code official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that arise, subject to the approval of the appointing authority.
C. 
Right of entry. Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or whenever the code official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition in violation of this code, the code official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such structure or premises is occupied the code official shall present credentials to the occupant and request entry. If such structure or premises is unoccupied, the code official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the code official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.
D. 
Identification. The code official shall carry proper identification when inspecting structures or premises in the performance of duties under this code.
E. 
Notices and orders. The code official shall issue all necessary notices or orders to ensure compliance with this code.
F. 
Department records. The code official shall keep official records of all business and activities of the department specified in the provisions of this code. Such records shall be retained in the official records for the period required for retention of public records.
All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health, safety or general welfare of the surrounding property owners, the neighborhood, or the community as a whole.
All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The occupant shall keep that part of the exterior property which such occupant occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition.
All exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, drop, discard or otherwise place litter of any nature upon any public or private property, other than in a litter receptacle. Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of all rubbish in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such rubbish in approved containers.
B. 
No person shall sweep into or deposit in any gutter, street, catch basin or other public place any accumulation of litter from any public or private sidewalk, driveway, curb or property.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any owner, agent or contractor in charge of a construction or demolition site to permit the accumulation of litter, trees, stumps and/or cleaning debris before, during or after completion of any construction or demolition project on the job site or on any vacant lot situate in a residential district.
D. 
It shall be unlawful for any residential or commercial property owner to permit open or overflowing waste disposal bins or litter receptacles on his or her property.
E. 
It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to store or permit storage of any trash, garbage, rubbish, or bulky household waste, including household appliances, furniture and mattresses, except in a fully enclosed structure or during days designated for the collection of bulky items.
F. 
It shall be unlawful for any property owner to store or permit the storage of tires, except in a fully enclosed structure or on days designated for the collection of tires.
G. 
It shall be unlawful for any vehicle to be driven, moved, stopped or parked on any highway unless such a vehicle is constructed or loaded to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping there from. Any person operating a vehicle from which any glass or objects have fallen or escaped, which could cause an obstruction, damage a vehicle or otherwise endanger travelers or public property, shall immediately cause the public property to be cleaned of all glass or objects and shall pay the cost therefore. Refrigerators and similar equipment not in operation shall not be discarded, abandoned or stored on premises without first removing the doors.
H. 
The owner of every occupied premise shall supply approved covered containers for rubbish, and the owner of the premises shall be responsible for the removal of rubbish. The operator of every establishment producing garbage shall provide, and at all times cause to be utilized, approved leak proof containers provided with close-fitting covers for the storage of such materials until removed from the premises for disposal.
I. 
Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of garbage in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such garbage in an approved garbage disposal facility or approved garbage containers.
J. 
Any container proposed in the right-of-way shall first obtain a permit from the code official per Chapter 158 of the Code of the Township of Middle.
K. 
Any dumpster proposed in the right-of-way or on private property shall first obtain a permit from the code official of the Township of Middle. The permittee shall abide by all time constraints and provisions set forth in § 218-99A of the Township Code.
L. 
The owner, lessee, tenant, occupant and/or person in charge of any structure or property shall provide a litter receptacle and service therefor at the following public places:
(1) 
Buildings held out for use by the public, including schools, government buildings and the like.
(2) 
All street vendor locations: one receptacle per location.
(3) 
Self-service refreshment areas: one receptacle per location.
(4) 
Gasoline service station islands: one receptacle per island.
(5) 
Shopping centers: minimum of one receptacle per store or unit to be placed at the entrances of stores/units.
(6) 
Campgrounds: minimum of one receptacle in each of the following areas: pools, restrooms, laundry facilities, common areas.
(7) 
Mobile home parks: minimum of one receptacle in each of the following areas: pools, restrooms, laundry facilities, common areas.
(8) 
Marinas, boat moorage and fueling stations, boat-launching areas and public and private piers: minimum of one receptacle in each of the following areas: pools, restrooms, laundry facilities, common areas.
(9) 
Beaches and bathing areas: one receptacle for each public access area.
(10) 
At special events to which the public is invited, including sporting events, parades, carnivals, circuses, festivals and picnics: six receptacles per acre of area designated for the event, not including parking.
M. 
It shall be the duty of the owner, agent and/or contractor in charge of any construction site to furnish containers adequate to accommodate flying or nonflyable debris or trash at said construction site at areas convenient thereto and to maintain and empty said litter receptacles in such a manner and with such a frequency as to prevent spillage of refuse.
N. 
All sweepings shall be collected and properly containerized in a litter receptacle.
A. 
All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens. This subsection shall not apply to undeveloped wooded tracts. Upon failure of the owner or agent having charge of a property to abate a violation by cutting grass and weeds within 10 calendar days, he or she shall be subject to prosecution in accordance with § 193-16.12 and as prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction. Each day shall be counted as a separate offense. Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, any duly authorized employee of the jurisdiction or contractor hired by the jurisdiction shall be authorized to enter upon the property in violation and cut and destroy the weeds and grass growing thereon, and the costs of such removal plus a 20% administrative fee shall be paid by the owner or agent responsible for the property.
B. 
Each separate twenty-four-hour period during which a violation continues shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation of this article.
All premises shall be graded and maintained to prevent the erosion of soil and to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water thereon, or within any structure located thereon with the exception of approved retention areas and reservoirs. Such grading and drainage shall be directed to neighboring properties.
All sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas abutting the building, structure, or property shall be kept in a proper state of repair, clean, and maintained free from hazardous conditions or nuisances of every kind. Any parking lot that services the public shall be kept free from potholes.
All structures and exterior property (residential and nonresidential) shall be kept free from rodent harborage and infestation. Where rodents are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes which will not be injurious to human health. After pest elimination, proper precautions shall be taken to eliminate rodent harborage and prevent reinfestation. Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, any duly authorized employee of the jurisdiction or contractor hired by the jurisdiction shall be authorized to enter upon the property in violation and exterminate, and the costs of such action shall be paid by the owner or agent responsible for the property along with a reasonable administrative fee to be determined by the Township.
A. 
The owner of any structure shall be responsible for pest elimination within the structure prior to renting or leasing the structure.
B. 
The occupant of a one-family dwelling or of a single-tenant nonresidential structure shall be responsible for pest elimination on the premises.
C. 
The owner of a structure containing two or more dwelling units, a multiple occupancy, a rooming house or a nonresidential structure shall be responsible for pest elimination in the public or shared areas of the structure and exterior property. If infestation is caused by failure of an occupant to prevent such infestation in the area occupied, the occupant and owner shall be responsible for pest elimination.
D. 
The occupant of any structure shall be responsible for the continued rodent- and pest-free condition of the structure.
E. 
Exception: Where the infestations are caused by defects in the structure, the owner shall be responsible for pest elimination. Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, any duly authorized employee of the jurisdiction or contractor hired by the jurisdiction shall be authorized to enter upon the property in violation and exterminate the pests. The costs of such removal shall be paid by the owner or agent responsible for the property, along with an administrative fee.
Consistent with the current International Mechanical Code, pipes, ducts, conductors, fans or blowers shall not discharge gases, steam, vapor, hot air, grease, smoke, odors or other gaseous or particulate wastes directly upon abutting or adjacent public or private property or that of another tenant.
All accessory structures, including but not limited to detached garages, fences and walls, shall be maintained structurally sound and in good repair.
A. 
Except as provided for in other regulations, no unregistered or inoperable motor vehicle, trailer, boat, recreational vehicle, heavy equipment or ATV shall be parked, kept or stored on any exterior premises, and no vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Painting of vehicles is prohibited unless conducted inside an approved spray booth which has been approved by the code official.
B. 
No person, firm or corporation shall park or store any unregistered or inoperable motor vehicle, trailer, boat, recreational vehicle, heavy equipment or ATV on any street within the limits of the Middle Township. In addition, no registered trailer that is not attached to a registered motor vehicle shall be parked or stored on any street within the limits of Middle Township.
C. 
Registered, operable motor vehicles, trailers, boats, recreational vehicles, ATVs and any other motorized vehicles being stored or kept must be parked on approved driveways or other approved surfaces. No portion of the vehicle or trailer may encroach upon any public right-of-way, including sidewalks.
D. 
Existing nonconforming parked boats, trailers, and campers are not exempt from the above provisions, as of the effective date of this article.
E. 
Any such vehicle stored in accordance with this article shall not be occupied and shall not be provided with utility connections other than required for vehicle maintenance or startup for a period not to exceed 72 hours and shall not be used for storage or space for the permanent conduct of a business, profession, occupation or trade.
A. 
No person shall willfully or wantonly damage, mutilate or deface any exterior surface of any structure or building on any private or public property by placing thereon any marking, carving or graffiti.
B. 
It shall be the responsibility of the owner to restore said surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.
A. 
Living room requirements: Every living room shall contain at least 120 square feet.
B. 
Bedroom requirements: Every bedroom shall contain a minimum of 70 square feet, and every bedroom occupied by more than one person shall contain a minimum of 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.[1]
Minimum Area Requirements
Minimum Area
(square feet)
Space
1 to 2 occupants
3 to 5 occupants
6 or more occupants
Living rooma, b
120
120
150
Dining rooma, b
No requirement
80
100
Bedrooms
Shall comply with § 193-16.11B
[1]
Editor's Note: The superscript text (a and b) in the table below refers to Subsections A and B of this section.
C. 
Access from bedrooms. Bedrooms shall not constitute the only means of access to other bedrooms or habitable spaces and shall not serve as the only means of egress from other habitable spaces. Exception: units that contain fewer than two bedrooms.
D. 
Water closet accessibility. Every bedroom shall have access to at least one water closet and one lavatory without passing through another bedroom. Every bedroom in a dwelling unit shall have access to at least one water closet and lavatory located in the same story as the bedroom or an adjacent story.
E. 
Prohibited occupancy. Kitchens and nonhabitable spaces shall not be used for sleeping purposes.
F. 
Overcrowding. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum area requirements of the table above.
G. 
Sleeping area. The minimum occupancy area required in this section shall not be included as a sleeping area in determining the minimum occupancy area for sleeping purposes.
H. 
Combined spaces. Combined living room and dining room spaces shall comply with the requirements above if the total area is equal to that required for separate rooms and if the space is located so as to function as a combination living room/dining room.
I. 
Efficiency unit. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an efficiency living unit from meeting the following requirements:
(1) 
A unit occupied by not more than one occupant shall have a minimum clear floor area of 120 square feet (11.2 m2). A unit occupied by not more than two occupants shall have a minimum clear floor area of 220 square feet (20.4 m2). A unit occupied by three occupants shall have a minimum clear floor area of 320 square feet (29.7 m2). These required areas shall be exclusive of the areas required by items listed in Subsection I(2) and (3).
(2) 
The unit shall be provided with a kitchen sink, cooking appliance and refrigeration facilities, each having a minimum clear working space of 30 inches (762 mm) in front. Light and ventilation conforming to this code shall be provided.
(3) 
The unit shall be provided with a separate bathroom containing a water closet, lavatory and bathtub or shower.
(4) 
The maximum number of occupants shall be three.
A. 
Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to be in conflict with or in violation of any of the provisions of this code.
B. 
Notice of violation. The code official shall serve a notice of violation or order in accordance with § 193-15.
C. 
Prosecution of violation. Any person failing to comply with a notice of violation or order served in accordance with § 193-15 shall be deemed guilty of a local ordinance violation as determined by the local municipality. If the notice of violation is not complied with, the code official shall institute the appropriate proceeding at law or in equity to restrain, correct or abate such violation, or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful occupancy of the structure in violation of the provisions of this code or of the order or direction made pursuant thereto. Any action taken by the authority having jurisdiction on such premises shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
D. 
Violation penalties. Any person who shall violate a provision of this code, or fail to comply therewith, or with any of the requirements thereof, shall be prosecuted within the limits provided by state or local laws. Each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense.
E. 
Abatement of violation. The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the legal officer of the jurisdiction from instituting appropriate action to restrain, correct or abate a violation, or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises, or to stop an illegal act, conduct, business or utilization of the building, structure or premises. If a violation is abated after the prescribed time period allotted by the violation notice, prosecution and penalties may still be implemented and assessed.
A. 
Notice to person responsible. Whenever the code official determines that there has been a violation of this code or has grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, notice shall be given in the manner prescribed to the person responsible for the violation as specified in this code.
B. 
Form. Such notice shall be in accordance with all of the following:
(1) 
Be in writing.
(2) 
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification.
(3) 
Include a statement of the violation or violations and why the notice is being issued.
(4) 
Include a correction order allowing a reasonable time to make the repairs and improvements required to bring the dwelling unit or structure into compliance with the provisions of this code.
(5) 
Inform the property owner of the right to appeal.
(6) 
Include a statement of the right to file a lien in accordance with this chapter.
C. 
Method of service. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly served if a copy thereof is either:
(1) 
Delivered personally;
(2) 
Sent by certified or first-class mail addressed to the last known address; or
(3) 
If the notice is returned showing that the letter was not delivered, a copy thereof shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by such notice.
D. 
Unauthorized tampering. Signs, tags or seals posted or affixed by the code official shall not be mutilated, destroyed or tampered with, or removed without authorization from the code official.
E. 
Penalties. Penalties for noncompliance with orders and notices shall be as set forth in § 193-16.14.
F. 
Transfer of ownership. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure who has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such dwelling unit or structure to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or until such owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of any compliance order or notice of violation issued by the code official and shall furnish to the code official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation. If any such transfer by an owner does occur, then the new owner takes such title and the property subject to the compliance order, notice of violation, and/or Municipal Court complaints, and any other legal or administrative actions, and shall be deemed to be the responsible party in any action and in any venue, and shall be responsible for satisfying all other penalties and conditions, monetary or otherwise.
[Amended 9-3-2014 by Ord. No. 1481-14]
A. 
Any person or entity that shall violate § 193-16.3 shall be subject to a fine as follows:
(1) 
First offense: The violator shall, upon conviction, compensate the Township, as restitution, for all costs incurred in cleaning the premises. A lien shall issue against the premises in this regard until paid. Additionally, the violator shall be fined $150.
(2) 
Second offense: The violator shall, upon conviction, compensate the Township, as restitution, for all costs incurred in cleaning the premises. A lien shall issue against the premises in this regard until paid. Additionally, the violator shall be fined $250.
(3) 
Third and all subsequent offenses: The violator shall, upon conviction, compensate the Township, as restitution, for all costs incurred in cleaning the premises. A lien shall issue against the premises in this regard until paid. Additionally the violator shall be fined $500.
B. 
Any person or entity that shall violate any other provision of this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine not to exceed $ 1,000 per occurrence. Each separate twenty-four-hour period during which a violation continues shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation of this section.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 1479-14]
A. 
Authority of Building Inspector. The Building Inspector of the Township of Middle and/or his appointee be and he is hereby designated and appointed to exercise the powers prescribed by this section and is hereinafter called the "public officer."
B. 
Determination of unfit dwelling. Any dwelling within the Township of Middle is hereby declared to be unfit for human habitation if conditions exist in such dwelling which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such dwelling, the occupants of neighboring dwellings or other residents of such municipality, including, 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 or failure to conform to other laws of the State of New Jersey or ordinances of this Township or of the local Board of Health of this Township regulating the safety and sanitation of dwellings.
C. 
Complaint, investigation and hearing. Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by a public authority or by not fewer than five residents of this municipality charging that any dwelling located therein is unfit for human habitation, the public officer shall make a preliminary investigation of the charges, and if his preliminary investigation of said charges discloses a basis therefor, or whenever it appears to the public officer from his own investigation that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, said 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 at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the serving of said complaint.
D. 
Rights of owner. The owner and parties in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or by attorney and give testimony at the place and time fixed in said notice of hearing.
E. 
Evidence. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
F. 
Conduct of hearing. At the time and place stated in said notice or at such time and place to which said hearing shall be adjourned from time to time, the public officer shall hold a hearing at which complainants, if any, and the owner and parties in interest and witnesses shall be heard and at which said public officer shall publicly state the results of his investigation.
G. 
Determination of public officer; order. If after such notice and hearing the public officer determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, he shall state in writing his determination and his findings of fact in support thereof and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof and parties in interest an order:
(1) 
Requiring the owner, within the time specified in the order, to repair, alter or improve said dwelling to render it fit for human habitation if the repair, alteration or improvement of said dwelling can be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the value of the dwelling or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the dwelling; or
(2) 
Requiring the owner, within the time specified in the order, to remove or demolish such dwelling if the repair, alteration or improvement of said dwelling cannot be made at a reasonable cost in relation to the value of the dwelling.
H. 
Failure of owner to comply.
(1) 
If the owner fails to comply with an order so issued by the public officer to repair, alter or improve or, at the option of the owner, to vacate and close the dwelling, the public officer may cause such dwelling to be repaired, altered or improved or to be vacated and closed, and the public officer may cause to be posted on the main entrance of any dwelling so closed a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation; the use or occupation of this building for human habitation is prohibited and unlawful."
(2) 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the dwelling, the public officer may cause such dwelling to be removed or demolished.
I. 
Recovery of costs. The amount of such cost of such repairs, alterations or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, and any other consequential costs shall be a municipal lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. If the dwelling is removed or demolished by the public officer, he shall sell the materials of such dwelling and shall credit the proceeds of such sale against the cost of the removal or demolition, and any balance remaining shall be deposited in the Chancery Division of the Superior Court by the public officer, shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by such Court, and shall be disbursed by such Court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such Court.
J. 
Additional powers of public officer. In addition to the powers in this section granted to the public officer, he shall also have the following powers:
(1) 
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the municipality in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation.
(2) 
To administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
(3) 
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entries shall be made in such a manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
(4) 
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
(5) 
To issue complaints against owners, either on his or her own motion or in response to petitions from others.
(6) 
To hold hearings on complaints.
(7) 
To issue orders requiring owners to repair, vacate or demolish properties as appropriate.
(8) 
To take action to repair, vacate or demolish properties, if the owner fails to do so (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5).
K. 
Power to abate nuisances. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of this municipality to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement by summary proceedings or otherwise.
L. 
Violations. The failure, neglect or refusal of any person to comply with any order made by the public officer pursuant to the provisions hereof, or the hindrance by any person of the public officer in making any investigation under this section, shall constitute a violation of this section.
M. 
Statutory authority; findings. This section is adopted pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 112 of the Laws of 1942 of the State of New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 to 40:48-2.12, as amended and supplemented) and after the adoption by the Township Committee of said Township of a resolution finding that there are dwellings in said municipality unfit for human habitation due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities, and other conditions rendering such dwellings unsafe or insanitary or dangerous or detrimental to the health or safety and otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of this Township.
N. 
Violations and penalties. Any person or persons, firm or corporation or association violating this section or any of the provisions thereof shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment in the Cape May Jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, in the discretion of the Magistrate before whom such violator shall be convicted.