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Vacant Properties

Information for Neighbors

As a result of the Recession of 2008, Ewing, as have so many other towns in our state, has been challenged by an increased number of vacant properties.    Abandoned properties, particularly those within our neighborhoods and the active business community, create a wide range of problems for the Township and community members.  Untended properties can create public health concerns, foster criminal activity, increase the risk of property damage through arson and vandalism, and cause the overall degradation of the quality of life in the areas in which they are situated.  They tend to fall into disrepair causing diminishing values for nearby properties and can pose safety hazards for neighbors. 

While the Township already had a method of maintaining abandoned homes by placing a lien on the property to pay for any necessary upkeep, in May 2103 Council approved an amendment to strengthen the Unfit Dwellings section of the Township Code which requires property owners to register and pay a fee.   The goal was and is to help preserve our neighborhoods and to ensure that vacant structures in Ewing are turned back into productive real estate.

If you know or suspect that the property next door to yours in abandoned, please help our Code Enforcement Officials to ensure that it is on our Vacant Properties List and being properly managed.  Fill out the Vacant Property Complaint form on our SDL Portal (Account required – directions) or call the Code Enforcement Office at (609) 883-2900 x7677 and report any property maintenance issues.  Don’t assume someone else will call.  The fastest way to see action on these properties is to let us know so we can take action.

What can you do if you find yourself living next to a vacant home?

Keep an eye of the comings and goings at the home and be sure to introduce yourself as a neighbor to anyone you don’t recognize at the home.  This will act as a deterrent to criminals and criminal activity at the home.  If the strangers are bank officials, voice your concerns about the possibility of long term vacancy. 

Identify the current owner of the property.  This may be your former neighbor’s lender and you will need to research local county records for the property’s deed to ascertain ownership.   If the property has been foreclosed on, ownership generally goes to the bank.   Call the bank as ask for their asset management team which most likely will have a method for dealing with vacant homes.  Talk to them about the conditions at the property.

Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.  Are there cars suddenly coming and going, lights on at night?  Keep a list of information about any vehicles that come and go.

Report anything suspicious to the police, including that list of vehicles.  Report untended issues to Code Enforcement officials.  Critter concerns?  Contact the Health Department. 

Maintain your own home and keep it secure to alert those intent on criminal activity that your home is occupied and to keep up your own property value. 

Again, call the police [(609) 882-1313] if you see anything suspicious. 

Information for Property Owners

As per Ordinance 13-16 passed on May 13, 2013, an addition to the Unfit Dwellings section of Ewing Township Code, a new section was added to govern the maintenance of vacant and abandoned properties in the Township and requiring a registration fee on the registered owners of the same.

A vacant property is defined as "one that is not legally occupied or at which all lawful construction operations have ceased for a period of at least three months, and which exhibits evidence of vacancy such that a reasonable person would believe that the property is vacant."

Evidence shall include two or more of the following conditions:

Overgrown or dead vegetation, accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers or mail, past due utility notices or disconnected,  utilities, accumulation of trash, junk or debris, the absence of window coverings such as curtains, blinds or shutters, the absence of furnishings or personal items consistent with residential habitation, statements by neighbors, delivery agents, or government employees that the property is vacant or abandoned, infestation by insects, vermin, rats or other pests, windows or entrances that are boarded up or closed off, multiple window panes that are damaged, broken or unrepaired, doors that are smashed, broken, unhinged or continuously unlocked or any uncorrected violation of a municipal building, housing or similar code during the preceding year.

Registration requirements

  • Registration within thirty (30) days after the building becomes vacant property or within 30 days after assuming the ownership of the vacant property.  Form
  • Registration of properties pre-dating this ordinance. These owners must also fill a registration form
  • Registration shall include all required contact information
  • Vacant property inspection by code enforcement officials

Fees:

  • Initial registration: $250
  • First renewal - $500
  • Subsequent renewals up to five years - $1000
  • Renewals after 5 years - $5000

Maintenance Requirements

  1. Signage – a sign shall be affixed to the inside of the building with the name address and telephone number of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent. 
  2. Security - The property must be secured against unauthorized entry
  3. Mail and deliveries must be stopped.
  4. Cessation of utilities, including gas and electric service and cessation of water service and draining the water lines.
  5. Provision for regular maintenance of the property as per Township code.

We welcome any questions regarding vacant properties, as this can be a confusing topic.  Please contact our office [(609) 883-2900 x7677] for information about a property you are responsible for or to provide notification about issues at a vacant property.

Municipal Building 
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628
 
(609) 883-2900 
 M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Senior & Community Center 
999 Lower Ferry Road 
Ewing, NJ 08628 
(609) 883-1776 
 M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Hollowbrook Community Center
320 Hollowbrook Drive
Ewing, NJ  08638
(609)  883-1199
M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm
 

Scotch Road (Public Works) 
Bulk and Electronic Items 
Th-F: 7:00am - 3:00pm 
 Sat: 7:00am - 2:30pm

Jack Stephan Way (Brush Drop-off) 
M-Sat: 7:30am - 2:30pm 

Ewing Animal Shelter 
4 Jake Garzio Drive 
 (609) 771-8076

Ewing Police 
2 Jake Garzio Drive 
 (609) 882-1313

Ewing Branch Library 
61 Scotch Road 
 (609) 882-3130

Rental Property Concern Hotline 
 (609) 323-1177

Ewing Public Schools 
2099 Pennington Road
Ewing, NJ 08618
P: (609) 538-9800
F: (609) 538-0041

Weather Central 
Courtesy of PHVFC 
phvfc.org/Weather.html
 


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