The question asked whether the city should take apartments off of rent control once a current tenant moves out. Buildings with five or more units would go back under control when a new tenant moves in paying the new rent. Smaller buildings would be free from rent control.
A property owners' group has lobbied for the "Yes" vote. Tenant advocates have pushed for the "No" vote.
The city's Rent Control Ordinance goes back to 1973 and limits how much a landlord can raise the rent each year, with certain exceptions. Amendments over the years have changed technicalities of the law, but have not overhauled it. Most apartments in Hoboken built during or before 1987 fall under rent control. (For more details on the city's rent rules, see earlier stories at hudsonreporter.com)
Last year, the same question was asked and narrowly failed, but the property owners' group took the matter to court. So it wound up on the ballot again.
Tuesday night, the outcome was different. The vote with machine and absentee ballots was 4,980 in favor of the change and 4,915 against.
It is uncertain as yet whether the provisional ballots will change the outcome. In addition, in such a close race, the side that ultimately loses has the option of challenging the outcome in court.