The Hoboken Fair Housing Association wants an amendment on a measure to end a rent hike moratorium up for second and final reading at tomorrow night’s city council meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The ordinance, sponsored by Council members Phil Cohen and Emily Jabbour, would end the moratorium and for rents to be increased on May 7th – two months after the city lifted their COVID-19 state of emergency.
” … After the expiration of the moratorium period a landlord may at the time of a new tenancy or lease renewal increase the rent and surcharges to levels that would have otherwise been permitted under law, consistent with this subchapter of the Code, as if no moratorium had been imposed,” the ordinance says, with no CPI increase between April 1st and December 31st, 2020 will be permissible.
Like most cities, the Hoboken council halted rent increases on April 15th last year, citing financial hardships related to business closures, reduction in work hours, and layoffs related to the public health emergency.
According to the HFHA, the local legislation as written would “allow landlords to assess rent increases they are not entitled to collect if they did not provide timely notice to their tenants.
These potential increases could amount to 2 or even 3 years worth of increases at once, adding to the financial burden tenants continue to face as we only now begin to recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.”
Noting a particular concern for the city’s rent-controlled tenants, the HFHA has retained Jersey City-based attorney Cynthia Hadjiyannis, indicating there will be a legal challenge if the measure passes as is.
The specific amendment they are seeking is to “not permit more than one CPI increase in any 12-month period and must not allow deferred or retroactive increases for prior years, unless they were properly noticed at the time a lease was renewed.”
The Hoboken City Council convenes tomorrow at City Hall, 94 Washington St., for the first meeting with an in-person component since the pandemic began.