Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has written a letter asking Bozzuto Group CEO Toby Bozzuto to reconsider “unconscionable” rent hikes in light of a couple speaking out against a potential 30 percent increase.
“As I have recently communicated to you, there are hundreds of residents in several apartment buildings under control of the Bozzuto Group who are facing a dilemma imposed by your company, that no one should have to deal with: pay rent increases of up to 30% or find another place to live,” Bhalla said in today’s letter.
“Many of these tenants also faced double digit rent increases last year. To be clear, this is not just one or two individuals who have received these massive rental increases. These are a mix of families with children attending our schools, local business owners, young professionals who are looking to set down roots, residents who have lived in the building since it came online years ago, and many more.”
Citing Forbes, Bhalla also pointed out that Bozzuto had $2.4 billion in revenues reported in 2022, as well as that a 30 percent increase would equate to an additional $1,518 per month or $18,216 for the year.
The company owns and/or manages the Courtyard at Jefferson (800 Jefferson St.), the Harlow (1330 Willow Ave.), the Juliana (600 Jackson St.), Park + Garden (1450 Garden St.), the Artisan (1100 Jefferson St.), and the Bexley (1300 Clinton St.).
“I am once again making a final appeal to you, to show some decency as a corporate executive, and to once and for all do the right thing,” Bhalla added.
“I hope you’ll reconsider these unconscionable rent increases, so you can indeed live up to your ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ statement of ‘making a tangible difference in communities facing homelessness and housing challenges.'”
The mayor also indicated that he has requested time to speak with Bozzuto, but his staff has not accommodated him as of this writing.
Bhalla penned his remarks after Matt and Jamie Burkhard sounded the alarm about the potential increases in a letter to the editor published yesterday.
“All of this comes down to one simple request of Bozzuto, and its CEO, Toby Bozzuto: please be reasonable. Please don’t drive us out of our homes. Please don’t drive our kids out of their schools,” they wrote.
2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, who oversees the area where most Bozzuto properties are located, said she is hopeful that a compromise can be reached.
“No Hoboken resident should be subjected to unconscionable rent increases of 20-30%, that are more than double the inflation rate. After several discussions, I was told today that the Park and Garden building owner and Bozzuto are meeting to hopefully agree a more reasonable approach. I’m cautiously optimistic.”
Additionally, 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, who represents the area where the Artisan is located, joined the call to treat Hoboken tenants fairly.
“I hope and expect that Bozzuto will reconsider its actions and do the right thing by my constituents, but if not, I call on the city to pursue all appropriate legal remedies to protect Hoboken’s residents, including the residents at The Artisan, who live in the 5th Ward.”
The Bozzuto Group did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen.