[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Ventnor City 7-6-1982 by Ord. No. 8230. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 86.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 98.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 110.
Housing standards — See Ch. 138.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 178.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 89, Buildings, Unfit, adopted 5-13-1957 by Ord. No. 8-1957, as amended.
The City of Ventnor City herein adopts this chapter to permit the City to make certain repairs, alterations and improvements, as well as to remove or demolish said buildings, when it is determined that said buildings within said municipality are unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use.
The person or persons or public officer to exercise the powers described by this chapter shall be the Building Code Official of the City of Ventnor City, New Jersey.
The following shall be the procedures and processes to follow in order to implement the intent of this chapter:
Whenever a petition is filed with the public officer by public authority or by at least five residents of the municipality 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) that any building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, the public officer shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, 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 will be held before the public officer (or his designated agent) at a place therein fixed not less than 10 days, nor more than 30 days after the serving of said 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 time and place fixed in the complaint; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the court shall not be controlling in hearings before the public officer.
After such notice and hearing, if the public officer determines that the building under consideration is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use, he shall state, 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 an order requiring the repair, alteration or improvement of said 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 said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and 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 said building within the time specified in the order, then the owner shall be required to remove or demolish said building within a reasonable time as specified in said 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 may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved 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 an order to remove or demolish the building, the public officer 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.
The amount of the cost of filing of legal papers, expert witnesses' fees, search fees and advertising charges incurred in the course of any proceeding taken under this act determined in favor of the municipality and any such 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 public officer, 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 the contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits or if the total sum of such cost 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 credits exceed such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the public officer, 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; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the municipality 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 to the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
A public officer may determine that a building is unfit for human habitation or occupancy or use if he finds that 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 of such municipality. Such conditions may include the following (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; and uncleanliness. This chapter may provide additional standards to guide the public officer or his agents in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use.
This chapter shall be governed by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.5 et seq.