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City Establishes Abandoned Properties List

Ten properties are included in the City’s initial Abandoned Property List. They are:

84 Jersey Avenue

310 Townsend Street

164 Commercial Avenue

53 Remsen Avenue

42 Joyce Kilmer Avenue

147 Remsen Avenue

109 Howard Street

7 North Ward Street

377 Lee Avenue

69 Handy Street

Notification via certified mail has been sent to property owners and the list has been published in the City’s official newspaper, The Home News Tribune, and on the City of New Brunswick website, cityofnewbrunswick.org.

The City has two ordinances in place to help monitor and combat the issue of chronic vacancies in the City’s housing stock: The Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Ordinance and its companion ordinance, the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance. Both are meant to serve as motivators for property owners to fix residential properties that are underused or in need of rehabilitation.

Since the adoption of these ordinances, progress has been made in mitigating abandoned, blighted and underused properties with the goals of creating new housing, improving neighborhood aesthetics and public safety conditions around these structures.

The Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Ordinanceprovides a direct process to return abandoned and derelict homes to viable housing stock.

If a property is unoccupied for at least six months and the owner has failed to rehabilitate it or has missed at least one property tax payment, this ordinance allows the City to classify the property as abandoned and start legal proceedings to possibly take ownership of it.

The Vacant Property Registration Ordinance requires owners to register a property with the City within 60 days of it becoming vacant or within 30 days of assuming ownership of a vacant property. Annual progressive fees are paid to the City of New Brunswick for the duration in which the property remains vacant. The fees received help offset costs incurred by the City in addressing the problems these types of properties often cause.

Since June 2017, approximately 110 properties have been placed on the Vacant Properties Registration List, generating $152,000 in fees paid to the City of New Brunswick.

Of the 110 that have been on the Vacant Properties List, 40 properties have re-housed tenants or entered rehabilitation.

The remaining 70 registered vacant properties are in various stages of the foreclosure process.

Property owners or lien holders may appeal their placement on the Abandoned Properties list by submitting a plan of action to rehabilitate their properties. If the plan is determined to be sufficient and a bond is posted to cover the projected rehabilitation costs, the property can be removed from the list. In the event of a dispute, a Superior Court Judge will decide the outcome of the property.

If the owner does not appeal, or loses ownership of the property, the City will move forward on redeveloping the property and putting it up for sale.

The list will be regenerated every six months to keep tabs on those properties that may slide into lengthy periods of vacancy or arrears. Each new list will be republished in the newspaper and on the City website.

Because of the success we’ve experienced in working with property and lien holders to clean up and renovate their properties, the City of New Brunswick is prepared to engage owners of identified abandoned properties to ensure success in renovating these properties.