WARETOWN, NJ - Since 2017, Ocean Township has had an ordinance in place targeting vacant and abandoned properties. The local law requires property owners to complete registration statements and pay fees.  As of this month, the township now has the right to assert a lien for non-compliance.

The amended ordinance specifically updates the Vacant Property section of the Property Maintenance code. The new language provides a recourse against vacant property owners who do not abide by the requirements to register and pay fees.

“A municipal lien will be placed on the property for those who do not comply,” said Deputy Mayor Lydia Dodd. “This will ensure that the township is paid the proper fees.”

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Municipal property liens show up in title searches when purchasers enter into sales contracts. They must be cleared before the agreement goes through – whether it is a cash sale or a requirement of a mortgage lender.

According to the township ordinance, owners of vacant property must register them within thirty days of their vacancy. Additionally, local law requires an initial registration fee of $750 that only applies until the end of the calendar year.

Properties that remain unoccupied more than two years incur annual registration fees of $5,000. The law is intended to encourage landowners to find productive uses of their property.