Township of West Caldwell, NJ
Essex County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 1508]
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Maintenance Code" of the Township of West Caldwell.
[Ord. No. 1508]
It is hereby found and determined that there exist in the Township of West Caldwell structures used for residential and nonresidential use which are, or may become in the future, substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance. It is further found that conditions of the above-described property, including but not limited to structural deterioration, lack of maintenance and appearance of the exterior of premises, infestation, lack of essential heating, plumbing, storage of refrigeration equipment, lack of maintenance or upkeep of essential utilities and facilities, existence of fire hazards, inadequate provisions for light and air, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding, constitute a menace to the health, safety, morals, welfare and reasonable comfort of the citizens and inhabitants of the Township of West Caldwell. The Governing Body of the Township of West Caldwell further finds and declares that, by reason of lack of maintenance and the existence of progressive deterioration, certain properties have the further effect and/or the further potential effect of creating blighted conditions that, if the same are not curtailed and/or removed, the aforesaid conditions will grow and spread and will necessitate in time the expenditure of large amounts of public funds to correct and eliminate the same and that, by reason of timely regulation and restrictions as herein contained, the growth of depressed areas, and blight may be prevented. It is further found that such prevention will maintain neighborhood and property values, as well as the desirability and amenities of residential and nonresidential uses; and it is further found that such prevention will protect and foster the public health, safety and welfare.
[Ord. No. 1508]
The purposes of this Property Maintenance Code are as follows:
a. 
To protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of West Caldwell by establishing minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance, conditions and occupancy of property.
b. 
To establish and authorize procedures for the enforcement of this Code.
c. 
To fix certain responsibilities and duties upon owners, tenants and operators and distinct and separate responsibilities and duties upon occupants; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of residential and nonresidential premises.
d. 
To fix penalties for the violations of this Code.
[Ord. No. 1508; Ord. No. 1730]
The following terms, whenever used herein or referred to in this Code, shall have the respected meanings assigned to them, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context. All definition of the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code are hereby incorporated herein by reference.
DETERIORATION
Shall mean the condition of a building or structure or part thereof characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, cracking, peeling, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect, lack of maintenance or excessive use.
EXCESSIVE
Shall mean greater than what is usual or proper.
EXPOSED TO PUBLIC VIEW
Shall mean any premises or any part thereof of any building or structure or any part thereof which may be lawfully viewed by the public or any member thereof.
EXTERIOR OF THE PREMISES
Shall mean open space on the premises outside of any building located thereon.
EXTERMINATION
Shall mean the control and elimination of insects, rodents and vermin.
GARBAGE
Shall mean putrescible and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and/or consumption of food. (See also "refuse" and "rubbish".)
HABITABLE ROOMS
Shall mean rooms used or designed for use by one or more persons for living or sleeping or cooking and eating, including garages beneath such rooms, but not including bathrooms, water-closet compartments, home laundries, serving and storage pantries, corridors, foyers, vestibules, cellars, heater rooms, boiler rooms or utility rooms. Other rooms or spaces that are not used or have less than 50 square feet of interior floor area shall not be considered as habitable rooms.
INFESTATION
Shall mean the presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests on the premises which constitute a health hazard either to the occupants of the premises and/or to surrounding properties and/or residents.
MIXED OCCUPANCY
Shall mean any building containing one or more dwelling units or rooming units and also having a portion thereof devoted to non-dwelling uses.
NUISANCE
Shall mean:
a. 
Any public nuisance recognized in common law or in equity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the State of New Jersey or the ordinances of the Township of West Caldwell.
b. 
Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health and/or safety or children, whether in a building, on the exterior of premises or upon an unoccupied lot. Attractive nuisances include but are not limited to: abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, abandoned swimming pools, abandoned ice boxes, freezers and/or refrigerators, motor vehicles, campers, any structurally unsound fences or structures, lumber, trash, broken window glass, fences, debris or vegetation such as poison ivy, oak or sumac which may prove hazardous for inquisitive minors.
c. 
Physical conditions dangerous to human life or detrimental to the health of persons on or near the premises where the conditions exist.
d. 
Overcrowding of a room with occupants in violation of the New Jersey State Fire Code and local ordinances.
e. 
Inadequate or unsanitary sewage or plumbing facilities in violation of this Code.
f. 
Unsanitary conditions or anything offensive to the senses or dangerous to health in violation of this Code.
g. 
Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health of human beings.
h. 
Fire hazards, which shall include but not be limited to the maintenance and/or storage of combustible materials or flammable chemicals and/or the maintenance of an uncontrolled open fire.
OPERATOR
Shall mean any person who has charge, care or control of a dwelling or premises or any part thereof, whether with or without the knowledge and consent of the owner.
OWNER
Shall mean any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, shall have legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or who shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling unit as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administrative trustee, receiver or guardian of the estate or as a mortgagee in possession, regardless of how such possession was obtained. Any person who is a lessee subletting or assigning any part of any dwelling or dwelling unit shall be deemed to be a co-owner with the lessor and shall have joint responsibility over the portion of the premises sublet or assigned by said lessee.
PARTNERS IN INTEREST
Shall mean all individuals, associations and corporations who have interest of record in a building or premises and any who are in actual possession thereof.
PREMISES
Shall mean a lot, or parcel of land, including the buildings or structures thereof.
PUBLIC OFFICER
Shall mean any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Township of West Caldwell, County of Essex or State of New Jersey, relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the Township. Includes but is not limited to Township Administrator, Code Enforcement Official, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Fire Code Official, Director of Public Works, Zoning Officer, Building Subcode Official and any other Construction Code Official.
REFUSE
Shall mean all putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste (except body waste), including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned vehicles and solid market and industrial wastes. (See also "garbage" and "rubbish".)
RUBBISH
Shall mean nonputrescible solid waste consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery and similar materials. (See also "garbage" and "refuse.")
VEHICLE
Shall mean a machine propelled by other than human power, designed to travel along the ground by use of wheels, treads, runners or slides and to transport persons or property or pull machinery, including an automobile, truck, trailer, motorcycle, camper, tractor, buggy, wagon, lawn mower, snow and/or leaf blower and boats.
[Ord. No. 1508]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the powers of the Township of West Caldwell to enforce any provisions of its ordinances or regulations or prevent or punish violations thereof, and the power conferred by this chapter shall be in addition to and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law or ordinance.
[Ord. No. 1730]
The Township Administrator, Construction Code Official, Construction Subcode Officials, Zoning Officer, Health Officer, and Fire Official/Inspector shall have the authority to enforce this Property Maintenance Code.
[Ord. No. 1508]
a. 
The term "multiple dwelling" shall have the same meaning as set forth at length in N.J.S.A. 55:13A-3(k), and the aforesaid definition of "multiple dwelling" is incorporated herein by reference.
b. 
Property maintenance for multiple dwellings shall be regulated and governed by the Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, N.J.A.C. 5:10-1, 1 et seq., which regulations are hereby adopted by the Township of West Caldwell and incorporated herein by reference.
c. 
Copies of the Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings shall be on file in the offices of the Township Clerk and the Board of Health and shall be available for inspection upon request.
d. 
The procedures governing the inspection of multiple dwellings and the enforcement of violations shall be as set forth in the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law, N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq., and the Regulations for Maintenance of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings, N.J.A.C. 5:10-1.1 et seq.
[Ord. No. 1508]
a. 
All structures and premises in the Township of West Caldwell shall be kept free of all of the following conditions:
1. 
Broken glass, excessive brush, weeds, stumps and roots, obnoxious growth, filth, garbage, trash, refuse and debris.
2. 
Dead and dying trees, limbs or other natural growths which by reason of rotting, deteriorating conditions, storm damage or weathering constitute a hazard to persons in the vicinity thereof. Trees shall be kept pruned and trimmed to prevent such conditions.
3. 
Loose and overhanging objects and accumulations of ice and snow which by reason of location above ground level constitute a danger of falling on persons in the vicinity thereof.
4. 
Holes, excavations, breaks, projections, obstructions, icy conditions and other safety hazards of walks, driveways, parking lots, parking areas and other parts of the premises which are accessible to and used by persons on the premises. All such holes and excavations shall be filled and repaired, walks and steps replaced and other conditions removed where necessary to eliminate safety hazards or unsanitary conditions.
5. 
Sources of infestation or potential infestation by rodents, mosquitoes, flies and other harmful vermin.
b. 
The exterior of every structure or accessory structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair, and all surfaces thereof shall be kept painted and finished where necessary for purposes of preservation and appearance. The same shall be maintained free of broken glass, loose shingles, crumbling stone or brick, excessive peeling of paint or other conditions reflecting weathering, deterioration or inadequate maintenance, to the end that the property itself may be preserved, safety and fire hazards eliminated and adjoining properties in the neighborhood protected from blighting influences.
c. 
There shall not be stored or used, at a location visible from the sidewalk, streets or other public areas, equipment and materials relating to commercial or industrial uses, including, inter alia, commercial vehicles, snow plows and snow blowers, unless permitted under Chapter 20, Zoning, of this Code for the particular premises.
d. 
All brush, shrubs, grass and trees shall be maintained so as not to obstruct public access to specific sidewalks and roadways. Brush, shrubs and trees shall be kept trimmed so that they do not cross the line of the sidewalk from the ground to a height of seven feet. Poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak and similar noxious vegetation shall be removed from the vicinity of any public sidewalk or roadway. Lawn grass shall be trimmed and maintained so that it does not exceed a height of 10 inches from the ground.
e. 
Receptacles for garbage and recyclables shall be stored out of the sight of the public. Occupants of corner lots shall store garbage and recyclables in the back yard. They may be stored in the garage and placed at the curb of township roadways not earlier than the evening of the day before the regularly scheduled pickup.
f. 
All parts of the premises shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, free of nuisances and free of health, safety and fire hazards.
g. 
Adequate runoff drains shall be provided and maintained to eliminate any recurrent or excessive accumulations of stormwater.
[Ord. No. 1508]
The provisions of this section shall be enforced by the Construction Code Enforcement Official or his/her designated representative, who shall be referred to herein as the "enforcing agent."
[Ord. No. 1508]
a. 
Notice and Hearing.
1. 
Where a violation of this chapter or the regulations hereunder is found to exist, a written notice from the Construction Code Official or his/her designated representative shall be served upon the owner, tenant or operator, who shall be responsible for correcting such condition. The notice shall contain the following:
(a) 
An identification of the conditions constituting the violation.
(b) 
The necessary corrective actions.
(c) 
A reasonable time period, not to exceed 60 days, to correct or abate the violation.
(d) 
The right of the person in violation to request a hearing.
(e) 
A statement that the notice shall become an order of the Construction Code Enforcement Official in 10 days after service, unless a hearing is requested, in writing, within that time period.
2. 
The notice may be served personally or by certified mail at the last known address of the owner, tenant or operator alleged to be in violation. Where it is ascertained that the owner, tenant or operator does not reside on the premises and the last known address cannot be ascertained, the notice may be posted on the outside front entrance of the affected building.
Service upon any owner, tenant or operator may also be achieved by service of any notice upon a member of the family of the owner, tenant or operator of the age of 14 years or over then residing at the residence of such owner or operator.
3. 
After 10 days from the date of service of the notice, the notice shall constitute a final order, unless any owner, tenant or operator alleged to be in violation request a hearing thereon and serves a written request, in person or by certified mail, upon the Construction Code Enforcement Official for such hearing. The request for hearing shall state briefly the ground or reasons on which the request for hearing is based and the factual matters contained in the notice of violation which are disputed by the person alleged to be in violation. Appeals will be granted strictly on factual matters. The Construction Code Enforcement Official, upon receipt of the request for hearing, within 30 days therefrom and within five days' notice to the party alleged to be in violation, shall set the matter down for a hearing before him or her.
4. 
At the hearing provided for herein, the Construction Code Enforcement Official shall consider all matter presented by the owner, tenant or operator alleged to be in violation, together with all other relevant evidence. Within 10 days from the date of the hearing, the Construction Code Enforcement Official shall either affirm the prior notice issued by him or her or modify such notice in any manner deemed appropriate by him or her and consistent with the provisions and enforcement of this section.
5. 
The Construction Code Enforcement Official may extend the time for correction and abatement of any violation of this section for an additional period of time not to exceed 30 days, except where major capital improvement or renovations are involved, in which case the time for completion may be extended for such a period of time as the Construction Code Enforcement Official may deem reasonable and adequate.
b. 
Violations and Penalties. An owner, tenant or operator who violates this chapter by failure to comply with an order entered by the Construction Code Enforcement Official shall appear before the Municipal Judge for a hearing and/or imposition of fines, sanctions, sentence, or any combination thereof. A violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,250 imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period for community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof. Each violation of a different section of this chapter shall constitute a separate and distinct violation independent of any other section. Each day's failure to comply with any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation.
[Ord. No. 1508]
The owner, tenant or operator of lands lying within the limits of the Township of West Caldwell shall keep all brush, hedges and other plant life growing within 10 feet of any roadway and within 25 feet of the intersection of two or more roadways cut to a height of not more than 2 1/2 feet, where the Construction Code Enforcement Official or his/her designated representative shall deem it necessary and expedient for the preservation of public safety.
[Ord. No. 1508]
After a determination by the Construction Code Enforcement Official or his/her designated representative that it is necessary and expedient for the preservation of public safety to cut brush, hedges or other plant life, 10 days' notice shall be given by the Construction Code Enforcement Official or his/her designated representative, in writing, by mail or personal service, to the owner, tenant or operator, notifying him/her of the determination.
[Ord. No. 1508; Ord. No. 1730]
a. 
If the owner, tenant or operator shall fail to cut, remove or otherwise abate brush, weeds or other plant life, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash, refuse or debris within 10 days after the giving of notice, the cutting, removal or abatement shall be done by the Department of Public Works or a private service hired by the Township.
b. 
The Director of Public Works shall certify the cost thereof to the Governing Body of the Township at its next regular meeting thereafter. The Governing Body shall examine the certificate and, if found to be correct, shall cause the cost, as shown thereon, to be charged against the lands. In the event such cost is found to be excessive by the Governing Body, it shall cause a reasonable cost therefor to be charged against the lands. The amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien on the lands and shall be added to and become and form a part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon the lands and shall bear interest at the same rate as other taxes and be collected and enforced by the same officers and in the same manner as taxes.
[Ord. No. 1730]
a. 
Upon resolution of the Governing Body in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12f and 10 days' written notice to the owner, tenant or operator of the premises, the Department of Public Works or a private service hired by the Township may abate a nuisance or correct a defect or put the premises in proper condition so as to comply with any provision of this chapter or State law applicable thereto.
b. 
The Superintendent of the Department of Public Works shall certify the cost thereof to the Governing Body of the Township at the next regular meeting thereafter. The Governing Body shall examine the certificate and if found to be correct, charge the amount thereof as a lien against the premises and shall be added to and become and form a part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as other taxes and shall be collected and enforced by the same officers in the same manner as taxes.
[Ord. No. 1726]
a. 
Payment of Proceeds to Insured; Restriction.
1. 
No insurance company authorized to issue fire insurance policies in the State of New Jersey shall pay any claims in excess of $2,500 on any real property located in the township unless:
(a) 
The township issues to the insured:
(1) 
An official certificate of search for municipal liens pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-12, certifying that all taxes, assessments and other municipal liens and charges levied and assessed and due and payable against the property covered by such insurance policy have been paid; and
(2) 
An official certification on a form prescribed and certified by the township that demolition is not required or that the cost of demolition has been paid.
2. 
The township submits to the insurance company the certification required under paragraph a, 1(a)(2) and a certified copy of a duly adopted resolution approving an agreement between the township and the property owner of the fire-damaged property, in which said property owner agrees to pay in full all delinquent taxes, assessments and other municipal liens by installments pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-19 by installment or for the redemption of the tax sale lien pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-65 et seq. by installment, or for the payment in full of any anticipated costs of demolition by installment, if the Governing Body is satisfied that the claim for fire damages is to be used to restore or improve the fire-damaged property.
b. 
Payment of Proceeds to the Township. Unless the insurance company receives documentation in accordance with paragraph a herein, the insurance company is hereby authorized and required, prior to the payment of any claims for fire damages which are in excess of $2,500 to pay to the township the anticipated dfchsemolition costs and the amount of the liens appearing on the official certificate and such other recorded liens and related charges as may be certified to the insurance company.
If an appeal is taken on the amount of any lien or charge, other than an appeal on the assessed valuation of real property pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:3-21, the insurance company shall issue a draft payable to the court of record, to be held by the count in an interest bearing escrow account in a state or federally chartered bank, savings bank, or savings and loan association in the state, in an amount totaling 75% of the full amount of the lien or charge being contested, but not to exceed the proceeds payable under its insurance policy, and the insurance company shall issue a draft payable to the township for the remaining 25% of the lien or charge being contested, with the full amount paid by the insurance company to the court and the township not to exceed the proceeds payable under its insurance policy, pending termination of all proceedings, at which time such moneys and all interest accruing thereon, of a rate paid on interest bearing accounts in state or federally chartered banks, savings banks or savings and loan associations in the state, shall be disbursed in accordance with the final order or judgment of the court.
c. 
Escrow for Cost. If the demolition has not yet occurred on the date of receipt by the township of a request for execution of the certificate required by this section, the insured shall provide on that certificate an estimate of the anticipated costs of demolition. The insurer, on notice to the insured, shall pay the anticipated costs of demolition to the township, which shall hold the funds in an interest bearing escrow account in a state or federally chartered bank, savings bank or savings and loan association in this state.
d. 
Claims on Proceeds; Priority. A claim upon the proceeds of a fire insurance policy made by the township pursuant to N.J.S.A. 17:36-8 et seq. and this section shall be paramount to any other claims on the proceeds except the claims:
1. 
The holder of a purchase money mortgage held as a first mortgage; and
2. 
An institutional lender which is a holder of a mortgage on the fire-damaged property, where the policy lists the mortgagee as the holder of an insurable interest as provided for by N.J.S.A. 17:36-12 and any amendments thereto.
Claims entitled to priority under this paragraph shall be paramount to the township's lien only to the extent of the amount due and owing on the mortgage.
e. 
Limitations on Liability. This section shall be construed in accordance with the provisions set forth in N.J.S.A. 17:36-8 et seq.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as to affect the authority of the township to enforce the payment of a municipal lien under any other law of this state.
f. 
Applicability. Every fire insurance policy issued on property situated in the township shall be subject to the provisions of this section.