Monday, November 10, 2014

Bayonne Voted 'No' to Bringing Back Rent Control



You may not be aware that on November 4th, Bayonne had a referendum question the ballot.  The referendum was an effort to bring back rent control in Bayonne.  The referendum failed. 
Despite strong efforts by tenant advocates, the referendum to end vacancy decontrol in Bayonne failed once again in the November 4th elections. Approximately 58% voted in favor of maintaining vacancy decontrol and ended a two-year long battle by the Bayonne Tenant’s Organization.
Three years ago, Bayonne adopted vacancy decontrol and allowed property owners to apply to have units in their buildings removed from rent control if a tenant willingly moves or is evicted. Tenant advocates immediately petitioned against the law on the November 2012 ballot, but came up short. However, Bayonne will allow this petition to keep appearing on ballots every two years as long as 10 percent of the number of voters from the previous election sign the petition. Back in April, tenant advocates collected nearly 2,000 signatures that allowed the initiative to appear on this November’s ballot. Tenant advocates have already promised to keep the battle going and will seek to end vacancy decontrol in November 2016.

Also very interesting, Union City modified it's rent control ordinance very quietly about 8 months ago.  Now, if an owner owns 3 condo units or less in the same building, those 3 units are not subject to Rent Control.

Union City has an interesting tax situation.  Like Hoboken, all units were otherwise subject to rent control unless they applied for the state exemption within 30 days of obtaining the certificate of occupancy for new or industrial to residential construction.

About 75% of Union City's residents are tenants and they have a very different socio-economic demographic than Jersey City or Hoboken's tenant base.  Hoboken has a disproportionate amount of new job seekers who may have below median income but are on a sharper trajectory and have a lot of higher end tenants.  The median income in Hoboken is about $80,000 where in Union City it's much closer to $40,000.

Union City has a huge issue with taxes among it's owner occupied base.  Take a look at the taxes of the average 2 bedroom, 2 bath 1200 square foot condo that was built in the last 10 years. ... those past an initial Payment In Lieu of Taxes plan.....much higher tax on price per square foot basis....