Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mayor Mark A Smith of Bayonne Proposes a New Rent Control Ordinance..... Do you think an Ordinance like this would be good for Hoboken?

Here is a press release from Mayor Smith of Bayonne. Looks like Bayonne is contemplating a change to its rent control Ordinance. What do you think of this? Do you think something like this would be good or bad for Hoboken? The comments section is open for you to comment here. Please click on the icon below to post your comment.

I believe that Mayor Smith's proposal is trying to address one of the negative impacts of rent control - Landlords have no incentive to improve a rent controlled unit as most rent control ordinances give little to nothing in terms of rent increases for property improvements. If a property was constructed a long time ago, many codes do not apply to that unit because it's protected under grandfathering. That is, many rent control units would not meet current construction code, nor are their grounds for pro-active inspections. As such, many rent control units are not up to par when it comes to safety and because of grandfathering there is no way to force landlords to improve their properties. It appears that Smith proposal gives Landlords an incentive to bring their apartments up to current construction codes.

What do you see as the pros and cons of this?

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Mayor Mark A. Smith announced that he has proposed an ordinance that would reform rent control in Bayonne. Smith said, "The Administration is seeking to provide an alternative to rent control that would provide incentives to property owners to upgrade and maintain their properties. Under the proposed ordinance, owners who can demonstrate that their property is in compliance with local, state, and international property maintenance codes, would be able to see their property decontrolled." The proposed ordinance would still continue to provide rent control for seniors, disabled persons, and income-qualified families.

According to the proposed ordinance, a landlord who wishes to participate in the program could seek to remove his or her building from rent control by filing an application. In order to do so, the residential building must be found to be in complete compliance with local, state, and international property maintenance codes. The landlord would be required to have an architect or an engineer certify that compliance, in order to obtain the rent control exemption. The Bayonne Housing Inspector would have the responsibility to verify landlords' compliance with the various codes. The landlord would be required to notify tenants fifteen (15) days in advance of the application to decontrol. Certain protected categories of tenants would have the right to seek the continuation of rent control for their individual apartments. Those tenants would have to be senior citizens, disabled, or income-qualified tenants. Senior status is defined as age 62 and over. The City of Bayonne will recognize as disabled anyone certified as such by the U.S. Social Security Administration. For the definition of income-qualified tenants, the municipality will use the very low income level definition in place by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In those cases, existing rent control regulations would remain in place.

Apartments with decontrolled rents would still be protected by state law, which prohibits "unreasonable" rent increases. Tenants objecting to allegedly unreasonable rent increases would have the right to contest such increases in Hudson County Superior Court.

The rent control reform ordinance will be introduced at the City Council meeting on February 16. It is scheduled to be considered at a public hearing at the Council meeting on March 16, at 7:00 p.m. 

Information provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty