The Hoboken Fair Housing Association urges people to vote No on question 2 and keep the current rent control protections in place as they are. It is an essentially human argument.....
Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) Position: Vote NO on Hoboken Public Question #2
On the November 6, 2012, Hoboken Public Question #2 (HPQ2) will appear on Hoboken’s election ballot which will ask Hoboken voters to approve or reject amendments to Hoboken’s Rent Control (RC) law which decontrol rents for all new tenants and which permanently eliminate all RC protections for tenants in 1-4 unit buildings and condos.
The wording of HPQ2 is identical to the wording that Mile Square Taxpayer Association (MSTA), the developer/realtor organization that circulated the initiative petition which put the RC amendments on the ballot, put on their initiative petition:
“Shall the City of Hoboken continue annual rental increase protections for current residents of rent controlled properties but allow property owners to negotiate rents for vacant apartments and exempt buildings with one-to-four units and condominium units from the rent leveling ordinance by adopting the proposed amendment to Chapter 155 of the Code of the City of Hoboken?”
HFHA’s position on HPQ2 and the underlying MSTA RC amendments is twofold:
(I.) If approved by the voters on November 6, The MSTA RC amendments will eliminate RC protections for all new tenants. This elimination of RC protections will destabilize the Hoboken community by encouraging landlords to evict their current tenants and by permanently eliminating a large fraction of Hoboken’s affordable housing.
Here’s what will happen if a majority of the voters approve the RC Amendments by voting “yes” on HPQ2: Once a current tenant vacates his/her unit either voluntarily or by court ordered eviction: (1.) Rents are decontrolled can be increased to whatever the landlord wants to charge for every new tenant. (2.) All 1-4 unit buildings and condos are permanently exempted from Rent Control.
New Jersey State law makes it easy for a landlord to obtain court ordered eviction of tenants from 1-3 unit rental buildings and condos at the end of their lease and from all rental buildings with condo conversion evictions. Thus, if HPQ2 is approved by the voters, landlords will have the means and financial incentive to evict current tenants or otherwise “convince” them to move “voluntarily” and then jack up the rent to whatever they want for new tenants. MANY HOBOKEN RENTERS WILL LOSE THEIR HOMES.
(II.) In violation of NJ State Law, the MSTA public question wording that will be on the Nov 6 ballot is so misleading that it will trick many voters into voting against their intent.
Suppose a voter who wants Hoboken to continue RC protections reads the beginning of the MSTA ballot question: “Shall the City of Hoboken continue annual rental increase protections for current residents of rent controlled properties …” The voter will naturally assume that he must vote “yes”. NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH. The actual purpose of the HPQ2 initiative is to completely DECONTROL all rents upon vacancy. Note also that HPQ2 fails to mention that the rent can be increased to whatever the landlord wants to charge for new tenants, but states only that the MSTA amendments will “allow property owners to negotiate rents for vacant apartments”. In actuality, there is no negotiation involved: the tenant must pay whatever rent the landlord demands if he wants to rent the unit.
The deceptive wording of the HPQ2 thus fundamentally undermines the democratic electoral process: voters can be tricked into voting against their intent. ◦