Pursuant to Ordinance #18-14, if you own a residential property in Vernon Township which is vacant and abandoned, you are required to register your property with the municipal clerk’s office and pay an initial $500.00 registration fee. The owner must then renew the registration fee annually as long as the property remains vacant. Failure to register may result in a fine of up to $2,000.00 dollars.
“Vacant and abandoned” residential property means, consistent with Section 1 of P.L. 2012, c.70 (C.2A:50-73), residential real estate, where a notice of violation has been issued pursuant to §130-5 (A) and subsection b. of Section 1 of P.L. 2014, c.35 (C.40:48-2.12s), or property which any condition on its own or combined with other conditions present would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is or has been vacant for three (3) or more months.
Residential property shall further be deemed vacant and abandoned where a mortgaged property is not occupied by a mortgagor or tenant. Such evidence would include, but is not limited to, evidence of the existence of two or more of the following conditions at the property:
- overgrown or neglected vegetation
- the accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail on the property
- disconnected gas, electric, or water utility services to the property
- the accumulation of hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials on the property
- the accumulation of junk, litter, trash or debris on the property
- the absence of window treatments such as blinds, curtains or shutters
- the absence of furnishings and personal items
- statements of neighbors, association management, delivery persons, or government employees indicating that the residence is vacant and abandoned
- windows or entrances to the property that are boarded up or closed off or multiple window panes that are damaged, broken and unrepaired
- doors to the property that are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked
- a risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public, or any adjoining or adjacent property owners, exists due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct, or the physical destruction or deterioration of the property
- an uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing, or similar code during the preceding year, or an order by municipal authorities declaring the property to be unfit for occupancy and to remain vacant and unoccupied
- the mortgagee or other authorized party has secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing
- a written statement issued by any mortgagor expressing the clear intent of all mortgagors to abandon the property
- any other reasonable indicia of abandonment
Need more information? Contact the Vernon Township Division of Planning and Zoning at 973.764.4055, ext. 2248.