Hoboken Voters Narrowly Defeat Decontrol Proposal

After appearing on the November ballot for the second straight year, a referendum to change rent controls in Hoboken was once again narrowly defeated by a slim-margin of 122 votes. If the measure had been approved, it would have permanently removed rent control from buildings with four or fewer rental units once a current tenant moves out, and would have also allowed a one-time decontrol/recontrol in buildings with five or more units.

Property owners who supported the referendum plan to challenge the result in court once again, despite local tenant advocates fighting to uphold the results last year.

N.J. Towns Move to Limit Rent Controls

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.

 

Challenge to Hoboken Rent Control Initiative Gets Court Date

 

By Daniel Reyes/The Jersey Journal

Arguments by a group of property owners to overturn the Election Day vote that rejected their rent-control ballot initiative will be heard in Superior Court in Hudson County.

The initiative, which was voted down, 8,248-to-8,196, in November, would have exempted buildings with four or fewer units, as well as all condo units, from rent control guidelines. The group of 15 property owners, represented by attorneys Charles Gormally and Sean Smith of Brach Eichler, filed a challenge to the Nov. 6 election result in early December. The court will hear their challenge on Jan. 22.

Arguments by a group of property owners to overturn the Election Day vote that rejected their rent-control ballot initiative will be heard in Superior Court in Hudson County.

Cheryl Fallic, a spokeswoman for the rent control advocacy group Hoboken Fair Housing Association, appeared at a hearing Friday with two motions aimed at quashing the property owners’ request to allow votes that weren’t counted in the election. Both motions were denied.

The votes which Gormally and Smith claim were wrongfully rejected include 92 absentee ballots that would be more than enough to change the outcome of the ballot initiative, which was decided by 52 votes.

“I can’t believe they denied (the two motions),” said Fallic after the hearing.

Fallic described the plaintiff’s case as “flimsy” adding that while she and her supporters were still digesting the news, an appeal of Friday’s ruling wasn’t out of the question.

Gormally understood Fallic’s concern, but felt that due to situations surrounding the election, specifically Superstorm Sandy, taking another look at votes that weren’t counted is “common sense.”

Gormally pointed out that a group of ballots postmarked before Election Day weren’t counted, even though the deadline to vote had been extended to Nov. 9 due to the storm.

He also cited hundreds of people who did not receive absentee ballots until Nov. 9 due to the storm.

“The confusion surrounding the whole process merits consideration,” said Gormally.

 

Source: NJ.com

Apparently, Rent Control Schemes Do Not Have to be Rational or Applied Fairly!

 

City of Hoboken prevails in aspect of litigation related to rent control

Oct 04, 2012

HOBOKEN —A Superior Court Judge ruled Thursday morning that the city of Hoboken has prevailed in part of a class action lawsuit regarding rent control, according to a press release from Hoboken City Hall.

The suit was filed against the city by a property owner, on behalf of property owners in town. The suit says the city enforced rent control laws inconsistently for almost 25 years, but then, in 2006, the city changed the laws and began enforcing them in a way that property owners could not comply with. The landlords hoped to recoup damages that they say were caused by the inconsistent enforcement, and also asked for the court to rule that the city has broken state law.

While the suit is not totally resolved, as a result of Thursday’s ruling the city will not have to pay all of the legal fees in the suit, which could have totaled more than $1 million.

The release did not specify what the next step is for the suit in general.

The city was represented by Victor A. Afanador and Marissa L. Quigley of Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer said, “It is unfortunate that so many lawsuits are filed against the City regardless of their lack of merit, but the positive results in these litigations are an important demonstration of the necessity of ensuring that the city receives the best possible legal representation.”

Source: HudsonReporter.com

City of Hoboken files complaint about confusing wording on rent control ballot question for November

Sep 10, 2012

HOBOKEN — In November, Hoboken voters will decide on whether to remove rent control from certain buildings once a tenant moves out. The measure is supported by a property owners’ group but opposed by tenant activists. Tenant activists have said the language of the ballot initiative is confusing.

Apparently, the city of Hoboken agrees.

An order to show cause, verified complaint and brief were filed Monday on behalf of the city clerk in relation to the question, according to a city press release.

According to the release, the city believes that the current proposed wording is misleading to voters, and the only way to fully protect their rights is to have the ballot question worded in a clearer manner. The city submitted a version of the question that they think is clearer, although it’s not shorter.

If the court denies the motion to revise the public question, the city has requested the approval of an accompanying interpretive statement alongside the original question. The city also requests that ballots not be printed until the matter is decided by the court.

“Regardless of which side people take on the question of rent control, voters deserve a clear understanding of the issue on which they are being asked to vote,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Source: Hudson Reporter