Hoboken passes new law to close rent control loophole regarding tax surcharges

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The City of Hoboken has passed new legislation to close a rent control loophole regarding how landlords pass off tax surcharges to tenants, updating an old law that centered around assessments from the year 1988.  

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

According to a copy of the approved ordinance, a tax surcharge is “current” if the landlord has applied for a tax surcharge, or reapplied for a new tax surcharge, in the past 12 months.

” … The future tax surcharges will be calculated from either 1988 or the date that the landlord acquired the property, whichever assessment date is later,” the ordinance says.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who signed the ordinance into municipal law yesterday, said that the new law will help keep Hoboken affordable for renters.

“We are committed to ensuring tenants are not burdened by large tax surcharges, and this new law will help ensure fairness and transparency for renters,” the mayor stated.

“I appreciate the assistance of Councilman Doyle and Councilwoman Falco in leading this process through the council.”

In recent years, property owners were allowed to pass on large tax surcharges on top of rent to tenants based on all property tax increases dating back to 1988.

Property owners who acquired rental properties, which are subject to rent control, after 1988 were still permitted to apply the tax surcharge on property tax increases dating to 1988, even when they did not own the property or absorb those tax increases prior to their ownership.

With the update, the tax surcharge can only be applied back to the date of when the property owner acquired the property, resulting in a smaller calculated amount, or tax surcharge, that can be applied to tenants.

“I am happy to have been part of the working group for the rent control ordinance,” added Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco.

“This is one area that Mayor Bhalla was committed to amend that will really assist residents. We will continue to find solutions in this area as this amendment is a work in progress.”

Additionally, Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle said that the local legislation will “keep our community economically diverse for the benefit of all.”

The second reading of the amendment was passed by the city council by vote of 8-0(1) at their January 16th meeting.

Council members Doyle, Falco, Michael Russo, Ruben Ramos, Emily Jabbour, Jen Giattino, Tiffanie Fisher, and Peter Cunningham voted yes, while Councilman Mike DeFusco was absent.