There are several moves afoot to limit or eliminate local rent controls in New Jersey, on a municipal level. For instance, in the town of Neptune a measure is being considered to eliminate rent controls for properties with four rental units or less.
Meanwhile, in Hoboken a referendum to reform local rent controls will appear on the ballot this year after having been narrowly defeated in last year’s post-Hurricane Sandy voting. The ballot measure would eliminate rent controls in buildings with 4 or fewer rental units upon vacancy and would allow a decontrol-recontrol scenario for units in buildings with 5 or more units.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently conditionally vetoed legislation that would have extended rent controls to some new and existing senior citizen housing developments. New Jersey has some 100 out of 500 municipalities that maintain some form of rent control for existing housing but has also enacted State legislation that precludes rent controls for new housing.
The conditional veto sends the bill back to the Legislature with amendments including a request for a study of the effects of rent controls on seniors and their housing. Since any such study is likely to show that rent controls negatively affect the quantity and quality of housing, the N.J. Apartment Association lauded the veto as the kiss of death for the rent control proposal.