Because it’s fair
Oct 21, 2012 | 4671 views | 5 5 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you concerning Public Question No. 2 on the election ballot this November to urge you to vote yes. Every benefit of rent control is specifically guaranteed to you for as long as you live in your apartment if you vote yes. There has been a lot of rhetoric about this Question, which would allow property owners like myself to set market rents upon vacancy rather than let the city’s rent leveling board set them. It may seem that this is a property owners vs. tenants scenario, but I hope you¹ll take a minute to consider what is important to you and what¹s fair. I am personally offended that anyone would suggest that the opportunity to increase rents on vacant units would motivate me to harass a tenant so they would move out.

Not only is this a crime punishable by a jail sentence, it is an evil act that professional real estate operators abhor. As a resident of our property who knows us through our work, I hope you recognize that neither I nor any of my staff would ever undertake such an evil act. Tenants are our customers. We do what we can to create an attractive, well-maintained environment so they can enjoy their apartments. Our efforts are severely constrained by rent control. Maintenance, insurance electric and heating costs all rise much faster than allowable rent increases for existing tenants. New tenants, almost all of whom move into Hoboken from somewhere else, are willing to pay market rents - they do so every time they move into a newly constructed building that is not covered by rent control. We are advocating that new tenants pay a market rent in the older buildings as well, so that we have the necessary revenue to update systems and absorb increased costs of operation. Every existing tenant will continue to be protected by rent control the same as the day they moved in, including limits on rental increases that are set by the City Council. But doesn¹t it make sense that we will do what we say ¬ that we will improve our properties to attract higher paying tenants? Every tenant in our building will enjoy improvements we make ¬ not just those coming in. I would like you to Vote yes because it’s fair, not just to me as a property owner and not just to owners of family-owned homes and condominiums, which are not covered by rent control anywhere in New Jersey except for Hoboken. I am asking you to vote yes because it is also fair to you, who has a secured rent and the most powerful protections of any tenant in New Jersey.

Steve Silverman

Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 23, 2012
Oh Charlie, stop making up caricatures, the only attorney making millions (or trying to) off the backs of the Hoboken taxpayers is YOU! There are no tenants trying to secure windfalls but are you suggesting that some landlord in town is offering some sort of illicit deals to tenants to circumvent the rent control laws? Shame, shame, shame…. As to politicians posting comments for votes…that’s a good chuckle.

There is, of course, NO FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS to this destructive lobbying groups’ initiative so it’s not possible to respond to your request – fundamental fairness – my a$$. But, I’d still love for you to explain how you can be sooo sure that not one financially incentivized person will take advantage of the opportunity to increase their profits? Don’t try to suggest that they won’t because they would go to jail. You know how dishonest you are being about how high the bar is to prove tenant harassment. This is Hoboken, everyone knows that 100s of 1000s of tenants have been displaced in the past few decades so that someone could increase their profits...even burned out of their homes, and you suggest that because no one has gone to jail in the state of NJ, harassment never happens. The Hoboken displacement facts show how incredibly dishonest the comment actually is.

I do actually love your comment about creating incentives for landlords because we all know that the biggest incentive of this destructive initiative is to get the longtime resident tenants out. And I’m, of course, not saying that this guy must have harassed tenants because he is successful, what I said was that 1) there are quite a few residents in town that are familiar with him and his landlord/tenant relationships 2) he owns many many properties and is part owner of two real estate agencies in town, which clearly demonstrates that he stands to enjoy HUGE financial gains should the harmful ordinance pass and, while I was at it I pointed out the fact that 3) he is a developer that is willing to destroy the Palisades Cliffs to make a buck and tacitly demonstrated that 4) he is obviously not some small homeowner should anyone have mistaken him for one.

October 21, 2012
Can you believe this guy? He starts the letter as if he is speaking to Hoboken renters assuring them that they are guaranteed all rent control protections that they currently have “as long as they live in their apartment.” Hoboken citizens, DON’T BE FOOLED, the operative part of his statement is: AS LONG AS THEY LIVE IN THEIR APARTMENT. If Mr. Silverman has his way, that length of time will be very short indeed. He says he is offended that anyone would suggest that he would harass a tenant. Citizens in Hoboken that are familiar with his antics are offended that he would actually put such a misleading statement in writing. This guy is a HUGE landlord in Hoboken who stands to make HUGE GAINS once he gets some of his lower rent tenants out of their units (lower rent meaning any of them that are paying under 2K a month.) He’s got so many tenants that he needs to send a letter to the Hoboken Reporter rather than speaking with them individually. He’s got sooo many tenants he had a full time staff to attend to them. How many apartments does this guy really own in Hoboken? Hundreds? Thousands? Yes, his many many tenants are, in his own words, customers – and I bet he’s hoping he’ll get the chance to replace his existing ‘customers’ with much much wealthier ‘customers’ very soon. Notice how he comes right out with it and states that he wants to attract higher paying tenants? That means tenants paying more than the ones that he’ll get out as soon as he possibly can. Mr. Silverman is also a big time developer.

Here’s a little more background information on Mr. Silverman. He is a partner of Liberty Real Estate AND Gotham Realty. He is also the developer of the Church Hill Estates

Interesting comments on Liberty Real Estate sight in their ‘about us’ section: “We also have a great selection of condos and brownstone buildings. Being in Hoboken and Jersey City for so many years has given us a special relationship with many of the communities apartment complexes. We usually get first choice when they become available.” Yup, first choice on all those recently ‘vacated’ rental properties in Hoboken: How much money is Mr. Silvermen looking to make off of the destruction of rent protections in Hoboken?

And readers might find this letter to the North Bergen Reporter about the destructive that development was to the beautiful palisades cliffs (some interesting comments about the developer – Steve Silverman – in the 4th paragraph)

And some more information on the destructive development in North Bergen where Hoboken’s Quality of Life Coalition weighed in:’s-intent-to-build-stores-among-Palisades-cliffs--?

Mr. Silverman is not the tenants’ friend. He is also not a friend of the small homeowner as his involvement in the development that hacked into the beautiful Palisades Cliffs also demonstrates.

We can tell Mr. Silverman that we want to protect our community, not enhance his future development opportunities. We can show him that protecting our friends and neighbors is the only thing that is fair. On Election Day, Nov. 6th, we all must go to the polls and VOTE NO on Hoboken Public Question Number 2.

October 22, 2012
i guess not its wrong to be a successful business person who provides homes to people who want to live there.

Cherrytree is the example of what's wrong with the tenant position in Hoboken: it stems from the belief that any success a real estate owner has should be attacked. it stems from the belief that if there is an opportunity to harm a real estate owner, that is good for tenants.

that is patently insane. real estate owners and developers were responsible for building the buildings that people live in. if tenants need anyone, it is a person who is willing to take their capital and construct a place for them to live and maintain. why would you set out to hurt that person -- a person who never hurt you?

there is a very disturbing psychology at work there that has no place in the rational world -- a world where people have to weigh information and vote on things. everyone -- come to the debate, visit the websites, and decide who you think makes the most sense. we don't even know who cherrytree is, so we can't possible side with him/her. but you see my point.
October 23, 2012
RonSimoncini, you're just babbling now. No one said it was wrong to be a landlord. Many do say it's wrong to try to do away with the laws that help keep middle and lower class tenants from being driven from their own town so that only the wealthy can live here. Especially by the landlords who have made huge fortunes renting to those tenants. Landlords bought their buildings knowing that rent control was in place and the prices they bought them for reflected that law. Saying they built those buildings makes no sense as rent control only covers buildings built before the mid-1980s and considering most rent controlled buildings were built long before most in this town, landlords or tenants, were born.

There are good and bad landlords. But the people working to overthrow our rent control laws, made in order to protect working people from real estate moguls who would come in and throw out these families so that they can rent to millionaires instead are not heroic.
October 23, 2012

Are you the self styled tenant advocate that makes millions suing landlords for your legal fees for violations of rent control caused by the city's misadministration of the ordinance for the past 25 years?

Perhaps you are a tenant that reached a deal with your landlord and then decides to file a claim anyway 14 years later to secure a windfall settlement that you didn't deserve?

Maybe you are a politician trying to count some tenant votes by pandering to the lowest common denominator and creating a fear campaign against a fair rent control ordinance?

Regardless of who you are, you fail to address the fundamental fairness of VOTING YES ON QUESTION 2. It's fair to protect all tenants as long as they stay in their apartment. it's fair to create incentives to improve real property. It's fair to rebalance the unfair tax burden being thrust on small property owners and all condos that are now covered by this outdated law. All you can say, behind your mask, is gee this guy is successful therefore he must harass tenants.

Stop the class warfare and address the merits of the proposition and it's fairness.

Charles Gormally

Brach Eichler LLC