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Toms River Councilman Plans Rally, Motion to Repeal Home Sale Inspection Ordinance

A 'For Sale' sign on a home under contract in Toms River. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A ‘For Sale’ sign on a home under contract in Toms River. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A member of the Toms River Township council is planning a rally before the governing body’s meeting Wednesday, aimed at highlighting opposition to a controversial ordinance that requires home inspections performed by the township prior to the sale of a home.

Councilman Justin Lamb said he will gather with realtors, homeowners and taxpayers at a “property rights rally” at 5 p.m., an hour before the council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Then, he plans on motioning to introduce an ordinance repealing the home inspection ordinance, which was passed at the final meeting of 2021 and implemented in July.

At the council’s last meeting, held earlier this month, realtors and homeowners came in opposition to the ordinance, saying it has cost real estate sales from occurring and, in some cases, surprised homeowners with bills in the thousands of dollars in violation notices and required repairs. The inspections look back on prior permitting for a property, with owners being penalized for unpermitted improvements – such as a fireplace or a converted garage – that may have been installed before they even owned the home. Other homeowners have had to deal with costly sidewalk repairs, tree removals and other code-related matters.

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Township officials, at the time the ordinance was introduced, said such ordinance were more common in North Jersey and some new homeowners expected Toms River would have a similar measure on the books. They also said the inspections could prevent confusion over the obligation for some homes to be raised for flood prevention purposes, and deadly occurrences such as a high-profile case in which a girl was electrocuted after touching faulty wiring on a boat lift while swimming behind a lagoon-front home last year.

The realtors and homeowners said every buyer has a right to a private home inspection, and most buyers acknowledge that homes are not perfect, with certain repairs being worked into negotiations or simply accepted as part of purchasing an older home.

Lamb further said the township’s building department budget has ballooned to over $1.3 million with the hiring of new inspectors and the fees charged to sellers – something he believes is “eroding property rights and suppressing home values.”

“The existing ordinance has created bureaucratic red-tape, cumbersome mandates, and costly delays that are undermining our home values,” Lamb said.  “It’s time to begin the repeal process [Wednesday] night.”

A copy of the proposed repeal ordinance appears below. The rally is scheduled to be held at 5 p.m. outside town hall, 33 Washington Street.


Ordinance to be Proposed:


WHEREAS, the Township Council adopted Ordinance No. 4724-2021 on December 22, 2021 establishing a new Chapter 253 of the Township Code, entitled “Continued Use and Occupancy of Residential Dwellings;” and

WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 4724-2021 took effect on July 1, 2022; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2, the governing body of a municipality may make, amend, repeal, and enforce such other ordinances, regulations, rules and by-laws not contrary to the laws of this state or the United States, as it may deem necessary and proper for the good government, order and protection of person and property, and for the preservation of the public health, safety  and welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants, and as may be necessary to carry into effect the powers and duties conferred and imposed by this subtitle, or by any law; and

WHEREAS, Ordinance 4724-2021 undermines private property rights, threatens Toms River property values, imposes gratuitous fees on homeowners, empowers an invasive bureaucracy, has caused major problems in the Toms River real estate market, and is making it far too difficult to buy or sell a home in Toms River; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council deems it the in the public interest to repeal Ordinance 4724-2021, Chapter 253 of the Township Code, entitled “Continued Use and Occupancy of Residential Dwellings;”

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Council of the Township of Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey as follows:

Section 1. Ordinance No. 4724-2021, Chapter 253, entitled “Continued Use and Occupancy of Residential Dwellings,” is hereby repealed and shall be of no force and effect whatsoever.

Section 2. All sections of the Township Code not amended hereunder shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 3. In the event any section, part or provision of this Ordinance shall be held unconstitutional or invalid by any Court, such holding shall not affect the validity of this Ordinance or any remaining part of this Ordinance other than the part held unconstitutional or invalid.

Section 4. All ordinances or parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent of their inconsistencies.

Section 5. This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its final passage and publication as required by law.

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