Friday, September 28, 2012

HFHA Says Vote No to Public Question on Rent Control

There is an important Public Question on the Ballot this November concerning rent control.Here is an email circulating from one side the Hoboken Fair Housing Association who are advocates for rent control staying the way it is. I will be studying this issue and presenting both viewpoints in favor of the Public Question and in this case saying no the changes to rent control proposed.

Dear Fellow Hoboken Voters:

We are forwarding the informational letter below to you to warn you that a PUBLIC QUESTION will be on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot proposing amendments to Hoboken's Rent Control Ordinance, which, if approved by the voters, will eliminate Rent Control tenant protections in Hoboken and will force many renters to lose their homes.

If you want to protect Hoboken's renters, you MUST VOTE AGAINST the Rent Control amendments and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same!


It is absolutely vital that you forward this email to as many Hoboken renters and other concerned Hoboken voters as you can.

This note above the letter is designed so you can simply forward it without having to write your own note.

It is best to insert your list of email addresses into a Bcc: address field so that you don't violate your friend's privacy by distributing their email addresses!

An email tree is an effective way to distribute information widely and quickly, but only if you forward the information to as many recipients as possible.

Could you also send confirmation to that you received this email (and have forwarded it) so that HFHA can get an idea of how effectively the email tree is expanding? One simple way to send the confirmation is to put into the To: address field when you put the list of email addresses to which you are forwarding this email into the Bcc: address field.

As you may know, Hoboken currently has a Rent Control (“RC”) Ordinance which limits yearly rent increases and keeps Hoboken rental housing affordable for many of its less wealthy renters.

If you are a Hoboken renter (i.e. tenant), or if you have any friends or neighbors who rent their apartment in Hoboken, then this email is intended to warn you that Rent Control is in danger of being eliminated and that Hoboken renters could consequently lose their homes.

This threat to tenants is described below, along with actions you can take to defend yourselves and your friends and neighbors who rent in Hoboken.
The Threat of the RC Initiative to Renters

Mile Square Taxpayers Association (“MSTA”), a landlord/developer/realtor group, recently circulated an initiative petition which will put proposed amendments to the Hoboken RC Ordinance on the November 6, 2012 ballot.

If the voters approve these RC amendments, it will mark the beginning of the end of RC protections in Hoboken, putting many Renters at immediate risk of losing their homes.

The RC amendments that will be on the November ballot state that “Upon the voluntary, un-coerced vacation or court ordered eviction” of any tenant protected by the existing RC ordinance, his/her unit will either be permanently exempted from RC (if the unit is in a building with 4 or fewer units) or, for all other units, be subject to a complete vacancy decontrol (i.e. an unlimited rental increase) each time the unit becomes vacant.

Even though this language clearly eliminates RC protections in all units once the current tenant vacates, it seems to suggest that current tenants are protected.  Be warned: this is not true.

NJ State law gives the landlord the right to obtain a “court ordered eviction” from (1) a condo or a unit in a 1-3 unit building (where the landlord either already occupies a unit or wants to occupy the tenant’s unit) at the end of the current lease with nothing more than a 60-day eviction notice, and (2) from a pre-condo conversion building with any number of units by converting the building to condos and giving the tenant a 3-year condo eviction notice.
Thus, NJ law allows a landlord to obtain a “court ordered eviction” of a current tenant from ANY rental unit. Of course, owners of larger buildings who don't want to convert their rental units to condos might instead resort to harassment in order to convince their tenants to leave “voluntarily”.

Under the current RC law, there is no incentive for a landlord to evict a tenant in these ways because the rent that the next tenant can be charged is limited by the RC law.

Under the proposed RC amendments that will be on the ballot in November, all rental units will be either permanently exempted from RC or completely decontrolled on each vacancy, so the landlord can charge a new tenant any rent he wants to.This will obviously provide a huge incentive to evict current tenants.

Thus, landlords will have both the legal means and the motivation to evict current tenants once Hoboken’s RC laws are gutted.

Bottom line:  if the MSTA-initiated RC amendments are approved by Hoboken voters in November, then RC protections will be eliminated for new tenants and the landlords will have a strong motivation to evict current tenants in order to jack up the rent for new tenants.  If the voters approve these RC amendments, many renters will lose their homes.

What Can Renters Do to Defend Themselves?

Renters and their concerned friends and neighbors must unite and work together to insure that the MSTA Initiative is rejected by the voters in the November election. Hoboken’s voters must be made aware of the danger and must go to the polls and vote against these MSTA RC amendments.Thus, every citizen who wants to stop this attack on RC must (1) vote against the RC amendments in November, and (2) spread the word to fellow renters, friends, and neighbors.

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association (“HFHA”) is a group of Hoboken citizens who are united to defend Hoboken renters. HFHA is working to get the word out to stop the MSTA Initiative by having members go door-to-door to circulate information and to donate time and funds to spread the word. You can join HFHA, contribute to the cause, or gain more information on this issue by going to the HFHA website:

Please Pass This Information On!

You can help to spread this warning by forwarding this informational email to everyone you feel should know. Please let them know that the November ballot will include a PUBLIC QUESTION asking whether the MSTA initiated RC amendments should be approved.Please warn them that if the RC amendments are approved by the voters, there will be serious consequences,including many renters losing their homes.Please emphasize that they MUST VOTE AGAINST the RC amendments and tell their friends and neighbors to do the same!

Finally, please ask the recipients of the forwarded email to forward it to their fellow renters, friends, and neighbors.An expanding email tree has the potential for spreading important information to a large population very quickly, but only if the recipients forward the message to as many concerned citizens as they can!

Together we can DEFEND Hoboken renters by getting out the vote to DEFEAT the MSTA initiative in November. If we want our friends and neighbors to be able to remain in Hoboken, then we have no other option.
-Hoboken Fair Housing Association