[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Springfield 12-14-1994 as § 12-2 of the 1994 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1, the New Jersey State Housing Code, as approved by the Department of Health and Conservation and Economic Development, and filed in the Secretary of State’s office, is hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining whether dwellings in the Township of Springfield are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and rental. A copy of the New Jersey State Housing Code is annexed to this chapter and three copies of the code have been placed on file in the office of the Township Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine same.
This chapter together with the New Jersey State Housing Code shall be known as the “Housing Code of the Township of Springfield,” and is hereinafter referred to as the “code.”
The Construction Code Official shall be designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed in this chapter, and shall serve in such capacity and with such salary as prescribed by ordinance.
Authorization. The Construction Code Official is authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units and premises located within the Township in order that (s)he may perform his/her duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections, the Construction Code Official is authorized to enter, examine and survey at all reasonable times all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises.
Duty of owner or occupant. The owner or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit or the person in charge thereof, shall give the Construction Code Official free access to such dwelling or dwelling unit, and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof, or his/her 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 chapter or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Search warrant. The Construction Code Official may, upon affidavit, apply to the Municipal Judge of the Township 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 chapter exists on the premises. If the Municipal Judge is satisfied as to the matter set forth in the affidavit, (s)he 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.
Whenever the Construction Code Official determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, (s)he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall be put in writing, shall include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued, shall allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires and shall be served upon the owner or his/her agent, or the occupant, as the case may require; provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent, or upon such occupant, if a copy thereof is served upon him/her personally, or if a copy thereof is sent by registered mail to his/her last known address, or if a copy thereof is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice, or if (s)he is served with such notice by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state. Such notice may contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules and regulations pursuant thereto.
Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Township Council, provided such person files in the office of the Township Clerk a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the day the notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition, the Council shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the day on which the petition was filed; provided that upon application of the petitioner the Council may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such ten-day period, if in its judgment the petitioner has submitted a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. After such hearing, the Council shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the Council sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice served pursuant to this chapter 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 Council 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 Council may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of the state.
Whenever the Construction Code Official finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, (s)he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as (s)he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition to the Council shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Council shall continue such order in effect, or modify or revoke it.
The Construction Code Official is authorized and empowered to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as (s)he may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter, nor in any way alter, amend or supersede any of the provisions thereof. The Construction Code Official shall file a certified copy of all rules and regulations which (s)he may adopt in his/her office and in the office of the Township Clerk.
No person shall occupy as owner/occupant or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of the code established herein as the standard to be used in determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation. No person shall rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein without first having had the premises to be let inspected by the Construction Code Official. Such person proposing to rent premises shall submit a written request to the Construction Code Official, setting forth the location of the premises to be rented, the date upon which occupancy is to be taken of the premises by prospective tenants and the name of the person to whom (s)he intends to rent the premises. The Construction Code Official shall, within 48 hours after the receipt of such written request, make inspection of the premises as requested. The Construction Code Official shall make a written report of his/her inspection and shall give copies of such report to the owner of the premises, to the person who proposes to rent the premises and to the Township Clerk and shall retain one copy. In the event the Construction Code Official determines, as a result of such inspection, that the premises are unfit for human habitation, and the owner rents the property without taking the necessary corrective measures or the person to whom the property is to be rented actually enters into occupancy of the premises, the owner and the occupant shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to the penalties provided for in this Code.
For the purpose of this chapter, the Construction Code Official may determine that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation if (s)he finds that 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 the Township. 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.