The Jersey City Council is expected to vote on a rent hike freeze, as well as prohibiting the collection of interest and/or late penalties, as part of the first reading of an ordinance that will be introduced next week.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We’ve had this rent freeze in place dating back to early last year, we’re getting close to the end of this pandemic, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro, the primary sponsor of the legislation, told HCV over the phone.
“Residents in Jersey City are having a tough time with their monthly expenses, let alone rent increases. Hopefully that will change once the vaccination process is more robust, but until then, we need to make sure our residents are taken care of.”
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic back on March 15th and signed another order the following month announcing the of suspension of rent increases at New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency eligible properties – about 36,000 statewide.
Still, the Jersey City Council, in a measure spearheaded by Ward E Councilman James Solomon, took their rental relief a step further back in May by preventing rent increases at rent-controlled units and units within one-to-four-family buildings that are not owner-occupied.
That ran through August 1st and the governing body extended their rent increase moratorium three times after that.
The latest ordinance, where Solomon is a co-sponsor, calls for “imposing a rent increase freeze on units subject to Municipal Regulation excluding owner-occupied homes with 2-4 units of housing.”
The Jersey City Council will convene for a caucus meeting Monday at 4 p.m. via Microsoft Teams.
Additionally, city officials announced earlier this week that 1,638 eligible households would receive COVID-19 rental and utility relief.