[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Egg Harbor 8-11-1982 by Ord. No. 43-1982. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Committee of the Township of Egg Harbor finds that there exists in the Township of Egg Harbor buildings which are unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, due to dilapidation, defects increasing hazards of fire, accidents or other calamities, lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities and other conditions which render such buildings, or parts 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 of Egg Harbor, and the Township Committee of the Township of Egg Harbor desires to set forth the procedures by which 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 parts thereof, in the manner prescribed by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq., as amended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building or structure, or part thereof, whether used for human habitation or otherwise, and includes any garages or appurtenances thereto or usually enjoyed therewith.
- GOVERNING BODY
- The Township Committee of the Township of Egg Harbor, or such other legislative body charged with the governing of the Township of Egg Harbor.
- Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County, New Jersey.
- The holder or holders of the title in fee simple.
- PARTIES IN INTEREST
- All individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a building and any who are in actual possession thereof.
- PUBLIC AUTHORITY
- Any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of the Township of Egg Harbor, government of the County of Atlantic or government of the State of New Jersey relating to health, fire, building regulations or to other activities concerning buildings in the Township of Egg Harbor.
- PUBLIC OFFICER
- The Township official who is authorized by this chapter to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter and by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.3 et seq.
The Township Committeeman having charge of the Department of Inspections shall be the public officer designated to exercise powers prescribed by this chapter.
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer referred to above or with the Township Construction Code Official, by a public authority or by at least five residents of the Township of Egg Harbor, charging that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use or whenever it appears to the public officer on his own motion or the motion of the Township Construction Code Official that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the public officer or Township Construction Code Official shall, if the preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served, in the manner prescribed by this chapter, 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 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 the 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 and 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 hearings before the public officer or his designated agent.
After such notice and hearing, if the public officer or his designated agent determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he shall set forth 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, in the manner prescribed by this chapter, an order which shall set forth the following:
Requiring 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 have the building vacated and closed within a time as set forth in the order; and
If the building is in such a condition as to make it dangerous to the health or 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, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish the building within a reasonable time, which time shall be set forth in the order of removal.
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 his designated agent may cause such building to be repaired, altered or removed or to be vacated and closed; the public officer 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."
If the owner fails to comply with the order to remove or demolish the building, the public officer or his designated agent 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. If the public officer causes the building to be removed or demolished, repaired, altered or improved, vacated or closed, 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 Township of Egg Harbor, and 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 public officer or his authorized agent, the materials of such building shall be sold, and there shall be credited against the cost of removal or demolition thereof, including the clearance and, if necessary, leveling of the site, 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 the sum total of such costs exceed the total of such credit, 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 credits exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the public officer or his authorized agent and 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 persons found to be entitled thereto by final order or judgment of such Court. 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.
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 or his designated agent 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.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the Township of Egg Harbor to define and declare nuisances and to cause their removal or abatement, by summary proceedings or otherwise, nor is anything in this chapter intended to limit the authority of the enforcing agency or Construction Code Official under the State Uniform Construction Code Act, as amended, or any regulations or rules adopted thereunder.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.
The public officer or his designated agent may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that the conditions exist in such building which are dangerous or injurious to the health or safety of the occupants of such building, the occupants of neighboring buildings or other residents within the Township of Egg Harbor; such conditions may include, without limitation to the generality thereof, the following:
Defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities.
Lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities.
Disrepair or structural defects.
A support member or members which has or have deteriorated to such an extent as to be unable to safely support the applied loads or which has improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Electrical wiring that is dangerous due to lack of insulation, improper fuses, inadequate grounding, lack of capacity of wires or other dangerous conditions related thereto.
Complaints or orders issued by the public officer pursuant to this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered mail, but if the whereabouts of such persons is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the public officer or his authorized agent in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the public officer or his authorized agent shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing same once in a newspaper printed and published in the municipality or, in the absence of such newspaper, in one printed and one published in the County of Atlantic and circulating in the Township of Egg Harbor. A copy of the complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises effected by the complaint or order. A copy of the complaint or order shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the Office of the Atlantic County Clerk.
The public officer or his authorized agent shall exercise such powers as may be necessary and convenient to carry out and effect the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following powers in addition to others herein granted:
To investigate the building conditions in the Township of Egg Harbor in order to determine which buildings therein are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession.
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as deemed necessary by the public officer or his authorized agent to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
To delegate any of his functions and powers under the chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.
Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the public officer or his authorized agent under this chapter may, within 30 days after the posting and service of such order, bring an action for injunctive relief to restrain the public officer or his authorized agent from carrying out the provisions of the order and for any other appropriate relief.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the power of any department of the Township of Egg Harbor to enforce any provision of its Charter or its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof, and the powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other ordinance of the Township of Egg Harbor.