A few proposed rent control changes addressed in Hoboken hearing

HOBOKEN — Now that the proposed rent control amendments have been released to the public, and a hearing was held Monday night, Council President Beth Mason is hopeful that an ordinance to amend rent control will be on the council agenda at the next meeting, on Feb. 2.
“The committee will meet briefly and we’ll have some minor changes and we’ll present it at the next meeting,” Mason said. “The public comments were very good, very concise.”
Councilman Ravinder Bhalla, who also serves on the Rent Control Subcommittee of the City Council, said a city attorney will now put the public comments into a memo and prepare a second draft of the ordinance.
The proposed amendments would require landlords to inform tenants of their rights more frequently and have tenants sign a document acknowledging receipt of their rights. It would also impose a two year statute of limitations for tenants who file against their landlords for payments stemming from illegal rents, and allow alternative documents for the purpose of calculating the earliest date of a rent and determining the legal rent of a dwelling, which includes the consideration of a vacancy.
Some landlords were concerned because tenants had been finding out that the rent they were charged was illegal, and could sue landlords for years of overpayments.
Tenant advocates and landlords packed the City Hall council chambers on Monday evening. Many landlords believed the changes did not go far enough, and tenants worried that their rights will not be protected.
“I’m very concerned that you’re going to do a few things now and a few things down the road,” said Dan Thumpson, a rent control advocate. “And then step by step [you’ll] re-write the [entire] ordinance.”
Ron Simoncini, a spokesperson for Mile Square Taxpayers Association, a group of landlords in Hoboken, said “these amendments do not go far enough.”
Simoncini wants to see one to four units exempt from the rent control law, which tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick said would “basically end rent control.”
For more, watch this space this weekend and pick up the Hoboken Reporter.Ray Smith

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