Monday, January 24, 2011

Update!: Rent Control Subcommittee Meeting at City Hall Monday January 24 at 6PM

Update 1/24/2010:

Below is a draft copy of the proposed Rent Control Ordinance that was tabled at the last City Council meeting and will be brought up in a subcommittee meeting tonight at 6pm at City Hall.

This copy was released form the Hoboken City Clerk's Office with the following note:

"Please be advised that a DRAFT of the Rent Control Ordinance by the subcommittee is attached for everyone’s review.

It is being released solely for the purpose of discussion at tonight’s hearing on rent control, please be advised that the public is advised to keep their comments concise. All comments will be limited to a maximum of 5 minutes. No formal action will be taken."

It has been designated to the press properly and advertised on the City website and outside of the City Clerk’s office on the bulletin board under the OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT.

My comment: Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section. This is less substantial then both sides of the debate probably expected. The operative word in football as well as politics in situations such as these is punt!

Here is the document pdf embedded:

Below is the actual text from the draft:


WHEREAS, the City Council Committee on Rent Control & Affordable Housing has
conducted public hearings over the course of the past eighteen months in an effort to identify substantive and procedural deficiencies in the legislative and regulatory controls of residential rents through the City’s Rent Regulations Office and Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board; and

WHEREAS, this a mandatory ordinance is intended to address some of those concerns,recognizing that the work of the Committee is ongoing and intended to address other issues;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council of the City of Hoboken
as follows:

Section 1. Code Section 155-4, entitled “Controls; increase restrictions” is hereby amended and supplemented to read as follows:

§ 155-4 Controls; increase restrictions.

All rents for rental of housing space and services in dwellings to which this act is applicable are hereby controlled at the base rent level received by the landlord as of October 1, 1985, and no rental increases shall be hereinafter demanded, paid or accepted, except as provided in this chapter. Any rent increases imposed after October 1, 1985, to the extent that such increases are in excess of those to which this is an amendment, are hereby declared to be null and void, and, subject to the limitations and repose period set forth herein, such excess rents shall be refunded or credited to the tenant by the landlord forthwith. All rents may be rounded up or down to the nearest dollar after making the computations. Landlords shall report all increases of rents imposed after October 1, 1985, to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board. Any landlord seeking an increase shall notify the tenant in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of the increase and explain in detail the reason for the increase. Determinations under this section shall be made by the Rent Regulation Officer.

A. Two (2) Year Statute of Limitations/Two (2) Year Period of Repose

A refund and/or credit of excess rents shall be barred if the tenant’s request for a legal rent calculation is not made within two (2) years of the start of his or her tenancy. In no instance shall a tenant be allowed to collect rental overcharges for a period in excess of two (2) years as determined by the Rent Leveling Officer or the Board.

B. Disclosure Statement.

Every landlord subject to the provisions of this Chapter, upon signing of a lease or onset of tenancy without a lease, renewal of a lease or tenancy, or notification of a rental increase for any reason, shall provide to each tenant a Disclosure Statement, on Board approved forms, available through the Rent Regulation Office or by download from the City’s web site. The Disclosure Statement shall include a detailed description of the tenant’s rights under this Chapter, including the right to request a determination of the proper base rent; a copy of the Registration Statement on file with the Rent Regulation Office; and an acknowledgment advising the tenant of the Truth-In-Renting Act N.J.S.A. 46:8-43 et seq., and the Statement/Booklet prepared therein, which can be obtained from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards Landlord tenant information service P.O. Box 805 Trenton 08625; the Disclosure Statement is to be signed and dated by the tenant, and filed by the landlord with the Rent Regulation Officer.


C. Alternative Proofs of Rents and Vacancies

For the purpose of calculating the earliest date of a verifiable rent and determining the legal rent of the dwelling, including but not limited to the consideration of a vacancy of a dwelling, and in the absence of a filed and timely submitted Registration Statement and/or the absence of a filed and timely submitted vacancy decontrol certificate, a landlord shall be permitted to submit credible alternative proofs for consideration by the Rent Regulation Officer or the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board to determine the earliest date of a verifiable rent, the legal rent of the dwelling and/or whether vacancies occurred. These alternative proofs may consist of, but are not limited to, leases for comparable housing space, leases showing vacancies, and/or statements under oath from reliable sources. The Rent Regulation Officer and/or the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board shall have absolute discretion to determine the reliability of any such alternative proofs*.

Section 2. Inconsistency

All ordinances or parts thereof in conflict or inconsistent with this Ordinance are hereby repealed, but only however, to the extent of such conflict or inconsistency, it being the legislative intent that all ordinances or part of ordinances now existing or in effect unless the same being in conflict or inconsistent with any provision of this Ordinance shall remain in effect.

Section 3. Severability

The provisions of this Ordinance are declared to be severable and if any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof for any reason be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining sections, subsections, sentences, clauses and phrases of this Ordinance, but shall
remaining in effect, it being the legislative intent that this Ordinance shall stand notwithstanding the invalidity of any part.

Section 4. Effective Date

This Ordinance shall take effect after final adoption and approval thereof as provided by law.Date of Introduction: January ____, 2010

* The provisions of this section shall also apply Article VII ‐ Vacancy Decontrol.

Original Post 1/23/2011: There will be a Rent Control Subcommittee Meeting at City Hall Monday January 24 at 6PM. Supposedly at the meeting a draft ready for first reading will be presented at this meeting. Groups on both the tenant and landlord side have expressed concern that the new ordinance may not correct enough of the problems that exist on the current ordinance. This issue is one that creates a lot of anxiety and passion so I expect a spirited meeting.

Editor's side bar note: Look for the Jolly Green Giant (aka me) and don't be afraid to say hello. I may be big and imposing at first but I am really one that likes to be civil where are all possible. However, my detractors don't call me the "Jolly Green Jerk-off" for nothing. I know I can be a wise-ass at times too. Just ask Frank Raia about the JibJab video I did and you will hear words that are normally reserved for sailors and truck drivers if the mood should strike him. Such is life in the insular world of Hoboken politrickery :)

This issue however is a serious one and I take this discussion as important one for Hoboken's future.