On The Ballot: Rent Control
Tuesday is election day. On the ballot in Hoboken: rent control.
The people of Hoboken on Tuesday have the chance to cast their vote on the issue of rent control in town.
The choice Hobokenites have is whether or not to repeal the new law that would—among other things—change the period of repose to two years and give more power to the rent-leveling board. The new ordinance is supposed to lower the amount of law suits to the city that are rent control related. The Hoboken City Council passed the new law unanimously in February.
The issue was put on the ballot after rent control advocates fought to have the issue voted on after an extensive petition drive, in which more than 3,000 signatures were gathered.
Under the new law—among other things—landlords are required to provide a disclosure statement to a new tenant when a lease is signed. That way tenants are aware of the fact that there is a rent control law and what their rights are.
Another major issue is that the period of repose in case a tenant has been overcharged rent, is a maximum of two years, which many tenants find too short. The base year on which rents are being calculated has been changed in the new law from 1973 to 1985.
The tenants in question are against the new ordinance—often called by its official name "Z-88"—because they fear it will take away tenants' rights.
Tenant advocates also think too much power is put in the hands of the rent leveling board.
"Z-88 gives the Rent Control Board the 'equitable authority' to depart from the RC law when they think it is 'fair' to do so, completely undermining the law," according to the tenant advocates' literature.
A "yes" vote to public question #2 is to repeal the new law, a "no" vote on the question keeps things as they are.
While rent control advocates—long term tenants in the city of Hoboken—have been promoting the referendum, trying to get their people out to vote "yes," the landlords in the matter are trying to get people to vote "no."
Represented by the Mile Square Tax Payers Association, the landlords want to keep the new ordinance, to prevent returning to a situation where "property owners would be subject to liabilities despite that they were complying with the ordinance as it was administered at the time, leading to continued litigation and a frozen market for rent control properties in Hoboken," according to the MSTA web site.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.