Cherry Hill tenants fear rent control is at risk 4, 2012  |  Written by JOE COONEY Courier-Post Staff

CHERRY HILL — Township council has taken a first step toward changing Cherry Hill’s approach to rent control.

Council members last week gave initial approval to a measure that would amend the existing rent-control ordinance. The change, if approved on second reading, would institute “permanent vacancy decontrol,” as opposed to the current “vacancy decontrol.”

Township officials say the move is not intended to abolish rent control, but tenants fear that will happen.

Under the current provision, a landlord can increase the rent to market rate on a unit that became vacant. However, any future increases would fall within the rent-control ordinance.

With the proposed change, future rents on a vacated unit would no longer be subject to rent control and the landlord would be free to adjust the rent annually.

“While considering this amendment, it was important to the township administration that current tenants under rent control remain protected by the rent-control ordinance,” said Erin Gill, Cherry Hill’s director of policy, planning and programs.

“Rent control has been a contentious issue in Cherry Hill for years,” Gill said. “Tenants cite dilapidated building and lack of proper maintenance, while landlords plead for increases to cover the costs to run and properly maintain their buildings.”
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