I am writing to you concerning Public Question No. 2 on the election ballot this November to urge you to vote yes. Every benefit of rent control is specifically guaranteed to you for as long as you live in your apartment if you vote yes. There has been a lot of rhetoric about this Question, which would allow property owners like myself to set market rents upon vacancy rather than let the city’s rent leveling board set them. It may seem that this is a property owners vs. tenants scenario, but I hope you¹ll take a minute to consider what is important to you and what¹s fair. I am personally offended that anyone would suggest that the opportunity to increase rents on vacant units would motivate me to harass a tenant so they would move out.
Not only is this a crime punishable by a jail sentence, it is an evil act that professional real estate operators abhor. As a resident of our property who knows us through our work, I hope you recognize that neither I nor any of my staff would ever undertake such an evil act. Tenants are our customers. We do what we can to create an attractive, well-maintained environment so they can enjoy their apartments. Our efforts are severely constrained by rent control. Maintenance, insurance electric and heating costs all rise much faster than allowable rent increases for existing tenants. New tenants, almost all of whom move into Hoboken from somewhere else, are willing to pay market rents - they do so every time they move into a newly constructed building that is not covered by rent control. We are advocating that new tenants pay a market rent in the older buildings as well, so that we have the necessary revenue to update systems and absorb increased costs of operation. Every existing tenant will continue to be protected by rent control the same as the day they moved in, including limits on rental increases that are set by the City Council. But doesn¹t it make sense that we will do what we say ¬ that we will improve our properties to attract higher paying tenants? Every tenant in our building will enjoy improvements we make ¬ not just those coming in. I would like you to Vote yes because it’s fair, not just to me as a property owner and not just to owners of family-owned homes and condominiums, which are not covered by rent control anywhere in New Jersey except for Hoboken. I am asking you to vote yes because it is also fair to you, who has a secured rent and the most powerful protections of any tenant in New Jersey.