HOBOKEN – Just like many times in the past 37 years, Hoboken's tenant advocates have succeeded in suspending recent changes by the City Council to the city's Rent Control Ordinance.
Three changes to the ordinance were passed unanimously by the City Council in on March 2, but will now have to wait.
After the council vote, rent control advocates took to the streets and gathered 1,442 signatures to suspend Ordinance Z-88, which includes the three amendments.
The amendments limit tenant reimbursement for illegal rent overcharges to two years and make it easier for landlords to provide documentation for seeking a vacancy decontrol. Landlords are also required to distribute a pamphlet outlining tenant’s rights and obtain signatures confirming delivery whenever a change in rent or tenancy occurs.
Tenant advocates claim that the changes weaken Hoboken’s rent control law and harm tenants, while Council President Beth Mason, the chair of the subcommittee, stated that the council believes the changes went “down the middle.”
Now, the ordinance will be suspended until it comes up for a public referendum, or until the City Council withdraws it.
“If the City Clerk certifies the referendum petition as having a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters in Hoboken, the City Council must vote to either repeal the law or place it on the ballot for a democratic vote,” according to a release from tenant advocates.
The clerk’s office was unable to confirm on Wednesday if the issue would appear on the ballot.
In related news, tenant advocate and attorney Cathy Cardillo filed an “order to show cause” in Hudson County Superior Court on Monday, naming the City Council, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and the city of Hoboken as defendants. Cardillo’s filing states that the council members, because they could be affected by the law financially, had a conflict of interest in the vote. The lawsuit also states that the defendants violated the Faulkner Act by enacting similar provisions, such as the limitation of tenant rebates, to those that were defeated by a referendum in 2005.
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