10 years after fire, 9 Union City tenants reach settlement to return at same rental price


10 years after a fire, nine Union City tenants at 409-415 Bergenline Ave. reached a settlement to return at the same rental price they were paying in 2012, as well as a $10,000 credit against future rent.

Photos courtesy of the City of Union City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The city was awarded a $2.1 million judgement in Hudson County Superior Court when the property owner, Clifton-based Trendy Management, had sought to write the building off as a loss and have it demolished.

However, this settlement paves the way for tenants to return to their refurbished former apartments on or before September of this year, or receive a financial settlement if they have chosen not to return to their former homes.

“Being here brings back many memories and I am excited to take this next step forward. The mayor has been marvelous to work with. He always treated us well and kept us informed anytime there was an update,” Carmen Garcia, who lives on the third floor of the building, said in a statement.

Out of the 20 families who were displaced, nine people have signaled they will be returning. Those not returning will each receive a $5,000 payment.

“Union City has one of the strongest tenant protection laws in the state and I am gratified that, after so many years of legal disputes, we are able to help these residents return to their homes at their prior rents,” added state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack.

“This settlement also sends a message that Union City is committed to protecting tenant rights no matter how long it may take.”

The building’s owner at the time of the fire claimed the building was beyond repair and that it was not obligated to re-lease the apartments to their former tenants.

The Union City Rent Control Board denied the claim and the city filed legal action against the landlord in superior court in 2018, which was later followed by the landlord’s legal action against the city in federal court. This settlement resolves all litigation.

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