Can a borough, landlord or parent have child endangerment charges brought against them for allowing the minor children to live in house without a Certificate of Occupancy?

My ex has debt collectors after him, does not pay nor file IRS taxes, does not seek employment. He slept on a colleagues office sofa for 20 months after the divorce until I filed to receive child support. Then he got his residence with a sham lease whereby he pays no rent just utilities each month. After having seen the inside I

went to the borough hall and asked if there was a CO. They said no and that no one lives there. I gave them his lease copy. It has been five months and still no CO. What can I do?

Asked on October 12, 2017 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, the borough and landlord may not be charged: it is NOT their responsibility to make sure no minor children are living there. You cannot hold someone liable for anything which they do not have a duty or obligation to do, and the borough and landlord have no duty vis-a-vis your children in this regard.
Your ex may be guilty of child endangerment IF the children have been put in danger by this. The CO is just a piece of paper: it's lack does not automatically equal danger. You'd have to show that there was in fact danger to charge your ex with child endangerment.

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