A ‘yes’ vote on the referendum is right for Hoboken
Oct 27, 2013 | 2074 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

Rent control is Hoboken’s most persistent policy problem and its most divisive political issue. A yes vote On November 5th solves the major public affairs rent regulation issues in Hoboken and seeds solutions to the remaining technical problems with the administration of the ordinance. Hoboken’s residents and elected officials have had to confront a five-year cycle of public hearings, Referenda, lawsuits and endless rhetoric.

Please consider just five issues that point to supporting a yes vote: 1) Condo owners face twin perils of rent control liabilities and revaluation impacts. They have the highest property taxes in the state on a per square foot basis, and yet they fall under rent control ordinance that avails most of them to regulated rents that are less then their maintenance fees. A yes vote immediately resolves all phantom-liability issues for all condo owners in Hoboken and protects their property values going forward. 2) Small homeowners need relief from threats to their family assets. Very few cities in New Jersey provide rent control protection to 2-4 family residences because their nature is to be owned by small homeowners rather than professional investors. In Hoboken many of these properties have been converted to single family homes or condominium units – and with increased taxes and upkeep costs, the economic pressure to convert grows as these properties age. Without rent control reform Hoboken will lose this entire segment of the market to conversion when, in fact, many of these owners would prefer to keep the property in their families. 3) Multi-family owners should be enabled to improve their properties and operate efficiently. 4) The public needs relief from the costs and uncertainties from the continued miss-administration of Hoboken’s rent-leveling ordinance. As an example, despite that the Z-88 amendments putatively allowed the opportunity to provide proof of compliance with the law to overcome technical problems, the rent leveling office and board continues to act in an arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional manner. Hoboken boasts the highest legal costs for rent control of any municipality in New Jersey and property owners continue to be deprived of due process and the value of their real estate.

The Hoboken Housing Improvement Initiative balances the interests of the City, property owners and tenants, and deserves your support. The amendment specifically protects existing tenants the same as the day they moved in three critical ways: a) Ensures protections against harassment and eviction. Eviction laws in New Jersey are the toughest in the country and they remain exactly as they are under H2I2, including in1-3 unit owner occupied properties. b) Every tenant has the right to a perpetual tenancy. Unless they are using the apartment illegally or they are woefully behind on their rent, existing tenants can be here through the rest of their lives with no threat to their residency. c) Tenants are protected by habitability conditions enforced by the Hoboken Buildings Department.

Ron Simoncini

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