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North Bergen gives housing inspectors ability to enforce and issue summonses

The inspectors can now enforce measures previously only enforceable by the Building Department or Health Department

Township Administrator Janet Castro described the changes under the newly adopted ordinance. Photo by Daniel Israel.

The North Bergen Board of Commissioners has adopted an ordinance authorizing housing inspectors to enforce and issue summonses based on various ordinances in the township. 

North Bergen already employs housing inspectors who investigate complaints by township residents concerning residential dwelling conditions such as fire hazards, lack of heat, lack of hot water, plumbing deficiencies, infestations, damages to steps and railings, and various other residential living conditions in multiple dwellings. 

The housing inspectors also provide periodic inspections of multiple dwelling buildings for the state under the New Jersey Hotal and Multiple Dwelling Law. In providing these services and witnessing these conditions, the housing inspectors witness violations of various township ordinances controlling property maintenance and lawful and safe dwelling units. For economic and efficiency purposes, the township believes the housing inspectors should be able to enforce and write summonses asserting violations of various township ordinances when they witness such violations. 

Housing inspectors can enforce and issue summonses for violations of township ordinances including property maintenance; nuisance; prohibiting unlawful residential occupancies; controlling when construction may occur; short term rentals; the parking of commercial vehicles; removal of snow and ice from sidewalks, and any other ordinances concerning property owners or tenants peaceful enjoyment of their property or the health, welfare, and safety of the township residents or visitors arising out of building or property structures, conditions, or maintenance, and any amendments or superseding ordinances related to the aforementioned ones. 

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance at its May 25 meeting. Township Administrator Janet Castro explained the purposed of the ordinance at the request of Mayor Sacco, which grants inspectors from the North Bergen Bureau of Housing Inspectors enforcement authority over related ordinances.

“So we realized that the housing inspectors shared some duties with the Building Department and the Health Department,” Castro said. “However, they didn’t have enforcement authority, so that’s what this allows. Now with  enforcement authority, they’re going into these multiple dwelling buildings and they’ll able to issue summonses accordingly and work together with the Department of Health collaboratively.” 

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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