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Rent Control Referendum Overturned, Outcome of Election Now Void

A superior court judge has ordered a new referendum to be held to answer the question to uphold rent control in Hoboken or to switch to a "vacancy decontrol" model.

Superior Court Judge Christine Farrington has overturned the result of November's referendum about rent control.

The rent control laws in Hoboken were changed two years ago, when the full council approved the new laws.

While voters decided to uphold rent control on its current form in Hoboken — rather than changing to a vacancy decontrol system — the outcome was later contested. 

After all the vote by mail ballots were counted, rent control was upheld by less than 50 votes. A group of 15 voters — with the support of the Mile Square Tax Payers Association and lead by lawyer Charles Gormally — contested 92 ballots.

Now, Farrington decided, that the vote will have to take place again.

Cheryl Fallick, a long time rent control advocate who also sits on the city's rent leveling board, said the decision is "outrageous."

Fallick said she hopes that the state and the county will appeal and that there won't have to be a new referendum.

She called the contesting of the referendum "the most pathetic, bogus thing."

In turn, Gormally sent out a statement that explained their side's victory.

According to a mass email, Gormally said he and the fellow contesters "discovered that nearly 200 voters were denied the right to vote for or against the public question. 

In Sandy's aftermath, the state decided that voters could fill out provisionals at any polling place.

"Unfortunately, voters who did this and appeared outside of Hoboken to vote, were not presented with a Hoboken ballot and therefore could only vote for the presidential and senate races," the email stated.

The judge ruled a new election to have to take place within the next 60 days. No date has been scheduled yet.

Hawthorne February 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM
franksinatra: You forget the reval is coming and the mom and pop's will sell out not fix up. The taxes will go up and be passed on to tenants and force many tenants out too. The people already decided on this referendum in the November 6, 2012 election. Just because one does not like the outcome, you don't redo an election.
Hawthorne February 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM
demosthenes: Outofcontrol is right that most (I would say all) of the MSTA members were fully aware that the buildings were under a Rent Control Ordinance when they bought them. They can not expect the town to become just what they want. After all, many types of people live in Hoboken. The MSTA members are rather actually quite lucky since many bought when property was cheap and they have made a killing through the years when property values went insane. I realize some of the members are newer property owners and they overpaid for their properties, but then remember the old saying: "Buyer Beware."
Hawthorne February 15, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Cassandra I agree. The rich ARE already in control of the town. They are and will determine the future of many things. They will only want high paying renters. Ironically enough, after the reval, rents will become high anyway because the tax increases passed along to the existing tenants will be phenomenal. Rents could go up by three or four hundred dollars in one fell swope. If one owns a four- or three-story building with tenants they will split the increase four or three ways. Since most or all of the taxes can be passed along to the tenants, the reval will cause each tenant's rent to go up substantially. The smaller buildings will be hit the worse. Say you can pass along $1200 dollars in taxes split three ways to three tenants in building. That is $400 more added to each tenant's rent. Wow. I really wonder what will happen to the rental market, shortage or not.
Eric February 17, 2013 at 02:43 PM
The rich have ALWAYS been in charge of this town. The old rich are just different from the new ones. They're still bullies but they'll send a lawsuit to your house instead of some goons. The reval is coming and Hoboken has swept it under the rug for decades, you have no one to blame but yourselves. I'm against rent control. There are too many hand outs in this city, on the flip side you have all of those people living in middle income housing who no longer qualify for it too. Rent control doesn't make rents lower, it makes it higher because there are less available units. The people who live in them cheaply would have had to move out a long time ago, so the rest of us have to pay higher rent because of the lower number of units. I'm quickly getting tired of paying for everyone else's life when I have had to struggle too. No one helps me out. I can't get into middle income housing. I don't live in a rent controlled unit. So explain to me why I should care? So what if middle income folks get forced out? You don't think I have had to move and comprise my lifestyle because of finances? That's life in America. Deal with it. I won't be here forever, I can't afford to buy and I'm ok with that.
Eric February 17, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Why does it take 8 hours for a comment to go live on this patch???

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