Hudson County judge denies initial court action to overturn Union City renter relief

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A Hudson County Superior Court judge denied an initial court action to overturn local measures in Union City that provide renter relief, with the defendants scheduled to submit an order to show cause in two weeks.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Judge Joseph Turula denied temporary and injunctive relief on Union City ordinances that bars residential and commercial evictions for non-payment of rent and prevents rent increases during the public health emergency.

Union City Property Housing Initiative, a group that says they own over 2,000 properties in the North Hudson municipality, said in a lawsuit on Monday that both pieces of local legislation are constitutional violations, as HCV first reported.

State Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack expectedly expressed enthusiasm about today’s outcome.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the tenants of Union City. I am so pleased that Judge Turula saw merit in our argument and decided in favor of our tenants,” he said.

“The landlords have completely contradicted themselves by stating on record that they agree with the issue on rent freeze during a pandemic, but, in turn, filed a lawsuit to prevent the ordinances implementation. We are in a pandemic where people have lost their health and their livelihood, and some landlords are only concerned with a few extra dollars a month.”

According to Turula’s ruling, the defendants, the City of Union City, the mayor and board of commissioners, and the city’s rent level board, have an order to show cause on May 27th, which the UCPI must then respond to by June 3rd.

For the time being, the judge when then convene court on June 23rd to decide whether or not to overturn either, or both, of the ordinances.

” … The ‘Freeze Ordinance’ is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable and violates the constitutional right of equal protection of laws, impairs the right of contract and constitutes an unconstitutional taking without just compensation. Union City has also enacted a freeze on evictions, which re-writes the state statute that governs landlord tenant relationships,” the suit says.

The UCPI did not immediately return a request for comment.

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