Borough of Hopatcong, NJ
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hopatcong 7-3-1969. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Unsafe structures — See Ch. 78, Art. I.
Repair, closing or demolition of buildings — See Ch. 78, Art. II.
Building Code — See. Ch. 93.
The Health Inspector of the Borough of Hopatcong Board of Health be and he is hereby designated as the officer to exercise the powers prescribed by this chapter, and he shall serve in such capacity without additional salary.
For the purpose of this chapter, the Health Inspector may determine that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation if 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 Borough of Hopatcong. Such conditions may include the following, without limiting the generality of the foregoing:
A. 
Defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accident or other calamities.
B. 
Lack of adequate ventilation, light or sanitary facilities.
C. 
Dilapidation.
D. 
Disrepair, structural defects or uncleanliness.
In addition to the standards as provided in § 81-2 hereof and as a guide to the Health Inspector or his agents in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation, occupancy or use, and pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 21, P.L. 1946 (N.J.S.A. 40:49-5.1), there is hereby accepted, adopted and established as a standard to be used as a guide in determining the fitness of a building for human habitation or occupancy or use the New Jersey State Housing Code as approved by the Departments of Health and Conservation and Economic Development and filed in the Secretary of State's office. A copy of the New Jersey State Housing Code is annexed to this chapter, and three copies of the same have been placed on file in the office of the Hopatcong Borough Clerk and are available to all persons desiring to use and examine the same.
The standards in determining that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation as set forth in the New Jersey State Housing Code hereby adopted are modified in their application to dwellings within the Borough of Hopatcong as follows:
A. 
Section 4 - FACILITIES: Subsection 4.5 is hereby modified to read as follows:
4.5
Every kitchen sink, lavatory and bathtub or shower required by this code shall be connected to potable water lines.
B. 
Section 4 - FACILITIES; Subsection 4.6 shall not be applicable within the Borough of Hopatcong and said section is hereby deleted.
C. 
Section 6 - LIGHTING: Subsection 6.4 is hereby modified as follows:
6.4
Every portion of each staircase, hall, cellar, basement, landing, furnace room, utility room, and all similar nonhabitable space located in a dwelling shall have either natural or artificial light available at all times.
D. 
Section 7 - VENTILATION: Subsection 7.2 is hereby modified as follows:
7.2
Means of ventilation shall be provided for every bathroom or water closet compartment. Such ventilation may be provided either by an openable area of at least 45% of the minimum window area or minimum skylight area as required in Subsection 6.1 of this code, or by other means acceptable to the administrative authority, such as forced ventilation, which will provide at least six air changes per hour.
E. 
Section 8 - HEATING EQUIPMENT: Subsection 8.1 is hereby modified as follows:
8.1
Every dwelling used for year-round occupancy shall have heating facilities which are properly installed, maintained in good and safe working condition, and are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water-closet compartments located therein to a temperature of at least 70º F. The temperature shall be read at a height of three feet above floor level at the center of the room.
F. 
Section 10 - MAINTENANCE: Subsection 10.1 is hereby modified as follows:
10.1
Every foundation, floor, wall, ceiling, door, window, roof or other part of a building shall be kept in good repair and capable of the use intended by its design, and any exterior part or parts thereof subject to corrosion or deterioration shall be kept well maintained.
G. 
Section 10 - MAINTENANCE: Subsection 10.5 is hereby modified as follows:
10.5
10.5  Every foundation, floor and wall of a dwelling shall be free from chronic dampness. In the event chronic dampness persists, corrective measures shall be taken to abate the same in any such foundation, floor and wall of a building.
H. 
Section 10 - MAINTENANCE: Subsection 10.6 shall not be applicable within the Borough of Hopatcong and said section is hereby deleted.
I. 
Section 10 - MAINTENANCE: Subsection 10.7 is hereby modified as follows:
10.7
10.7  Every building, dwelling, dwelling unit and all other areas of the premises shall be clean and free from garbage or rubbish and hazards to safety. (The remaining portion of Subsection 10.7 as printed in the code on file with the Borough Clerk is not applicable and is hereby deleted.)
J. 
Section 10 - MAINTENANCE: Subsection 10.8 is hereby modified as follows:
10.8
10.8  The public officer may order the owner to clean, repair, paint, whitewash or paper such walls or ceilings, when a wall or ceiling within a dwelling has deteriorated so as to provide a harborage for rodents or vermin. (The remaining portion of Subsection 10.8 as printed in the code on file with the Borough Clerk is not applicable and is hereby deleted.)
K. 
Section 12 - RESPONSIBILITY OF OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS: Subsection 12.5 is hereby modified as follows:[1]
12.5
It shall be the responsibility of the owner to provide for the orderly maintenance of the premises. The storage of objects or materials not covered in Subsection 12.7 and 12.8 of this code, or not otherwise prohibited by municipal ordinances, shall be done in an orderly manner so as not to constitute a health, safety or fire hazard.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection K, concerning Section 11, Use and Occupancy of Space, was repealed 6-3-1971.
L. 
Section 12 - RESPONSIBILITY OF OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS: Subsection 12.10 shall not be applicable within the Borough of Hopatcong and said section is hereby deleted.
Whenever a petition is filed with the Health Inspector by a public authority, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.4, or by at least five residents of the municipality, charging that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, or whenever it appears to the Health Inspector that any dwelling is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, he 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 dwelling a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Health Inspector 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 given testimony at the time and place fixed in the complaints; and that the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Health Inspector.
If, after such notice and hearing, the Health Inspector determines that the dwelling under consideration is unfit for human habitation, as herein defined, 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:
A. 
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 to have said building vacated and closed within the time set forth in the order; and
B. 
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, that the owner remove or demolish said building within a reasonable time as specified in said order of removal.
C. 
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 Health Inspector may cause such building to be repaired, altered or improved, or to be vacated and closed; that the Health Inspector 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."
D. 
If the owner fails to comply with an order to remove or demolish the building, the Health Inspector 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.
E. 
The amount of:
(1) 
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 municipality; and
(2) 
The 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 Health Inspector, 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 any contract for the removal or demolition of the building. If there are no such credits or if the sum total of such costs 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 exceeds such costs, the balance remaining shall be deposited in the Superior Court by the Health Inspector, 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 or the accuracy of the costs set forth in the municipal lien certificate.
Complaints or orders issued by the Health Inspector 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 said Health Inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and if the said Health Inspector shall make an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the county and circulated in the Borough of Hopatcong. A copy of such complaint or order shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by the complaint or order and shall be duly recorded or lodged for record with the county recording officer of the county in which the dwelling is located.
The Health Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this chapter, including the following in addition to others herein granted:
A. 
To investigate the dwelling conditions in the Borough of Hopatcong in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation;
B. 
To administer oaths, affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence;
C. 
To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examination, provided that such entries shall be made in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession;
D. 
To appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter; and
E. 
To delegate any of his functions and powers under this chapter to such officers and agents as he may designate.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 28-9, Supplemental regulations for the sale or rental of properties, added 10-25-1975, as amended, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 11-5-1981 by Ord. No. 38-81.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate or impair the power of the Borough or any officer or department to enforce any provisions of its Charter, its ordinances or regulations, nor to prevent or punish violations thereof. The powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the Borough by any other law or ordinance.
Any person or persons, firm, corporation or association violating this chapter or any provision thereof shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment in the Sussex County Jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, in the discretion of the Magistrate before whom such violator shall be convicted.