Dancer legislation addressing derelict properties becomes law

Dancer legislation addressing derelict properties becomes law

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – In an effort to prevent derelict buildings from becoming a neighborhood nuisance, Assemblyman Ron Dancer shepherded a bill through the Legislature that allows municipalities to hold owners responsible for maintaining vacant or abandoned residential and commercial properties. It was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday.

“Overgrown neighborhood eyesores bring down the value of everyone’s homes and local businesses,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “To prevent neglect, people need to be held responsible for the upkeep of their property. This law will help clean up communities.”

The law (A2877/S1149) creates a new process for owners of vacant and abandoned buildings to register with the municipality. Responsible parties would then be required to undertake protective measures such as securing the property against unauthorized entry and maintaining the upkeep of the building.

Currently, a municipality is authorized to adopt an ordinance to regulate the care, maintenance, and security of vacant and abandoned residential properties on which a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose has been filed. This new law establishes a timelier process for the identification and registration of abandoned residential and commercial properties prior to, or at the same time as, the foreclosure process.

“Abandoned buildings can foster crime and create public health problems. No one wants that in their neighborhood, and this new law will help prevent such things from happening,” said Dancer.