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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 issue was put on the ballot after rent control advocates fought to have the issue voted on after an extensive petition drive,

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.

Hoboken Questioner November 08, 2011 at 02:26 AM
The HQ says vote No on this. The rent control folks are good people and the HQ appreciates how they are out there fighting for all renters in Hoboken. But it is time we implemented some serious over-hall to the rent control laws.
Frances Nicotra November 08, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Vote yes and stop the nonsense of giving more power to some very greedy self interested people.
Karen O'Shea November 08, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I would have to agree with Frances, vote yes on question 2.
Redrider765 November 08, 2011 at 02:55 PM
I'd rather just end rent control but if we are going to be stuck w/ it, then at least let's make it work. Vote NO on question 2 and let the badly needed reforms take hold. Ignore the hysterics of the rent control crowd who are just as greedy and self interested as the landlords they accuse of being the same. Listen to the mayor and the unanimity of the CC on this matter and let the CC's unanimous vote be law.
Single Issue Voter November 08, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Vote no and stop the nonsense of giving more power to some very greedy self interested people.
Hoboken Tenant November 08, 2011 at 03:58 PM
If you support tenants' rights, want to keep rents down, and keep it as hard as possible for landlords to bully tenants into leaving their apartments so they can raise rents, vote Yes. If you want to make it easier for landlords to subvert the letter and spirit of rent control, vote No. The thing that upsets me most is that the landlord lobby is making this seem like the amendment is a protection of rent control, rather than the attack on it that it is. Very sad.
Single Issue Voter November 08, 2011 at 04:11 PM
If you support tenants AND property owners' rights and equal protection under the law, local ownership of properties by community stakeholders who support the city's master plan for development, want to keep rents unaffected one way or the other since that is not in any way a part of this ballot question, and keep it as hard as possible for disingenuous, self-interested liars to overturn unanimous votes by the City Council in referendums they fight to ensure have as low turnout as possible, vote NO. If you want to make it easier for high-income tenants to exploit the affordable housing stock (kind of like the Russos, Romano, et al) and shake down property owners who are trying to resist the urge to sell to out-of-town developers who would raze smaller buildings and try to build more condo complexes that would tax our infrastructure at no expense to the non-taxpaying shakedown artists, vote yes. The thing that upsets me most is that the small handful of extremist, self-serving yippies feel the need to lie about what is actually at issue here and employ deception, strongarming, manipulation and other underhanded tactics to get petition signatures to get this on the ballot, then attack and smear public officials who don't agree with them (sound like any deceitful councilwomen who tried to destroy the hospital, anyone)? Bottom line: The sponsors of the "Vote Yes" initiative supported the Mason-Russo council leadership in the May election.
Redrider765 November 08, 2011 at 04:18 PM
You forgot to mention that Zimmer also supports voting No, other than that you are spot on.
KenOn10 November 08, 2011 at 05:05 PM
I voted "YES" on this referendum. I'm tired of the glossy, disingenuous BS dished out by the "taxpayers association", a bunch of wealthy landlords looking to cash in at the expense of long term tenants. If voting "yes" is somehow enabling for Russo and his ilk, why did Russo himself vote "no" in the city council? More dishonest misdirection from the greedy landlord lobby...

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