One year ago, Hoboken voted in the aftermath of a large hurricane. On November 5 people will not have the after effects of a flooded town to deal with when they once again go to the polls to vote on City of Hoboken Public Question No. 1 which asks them whether they want all Hoboken apartments to be decontrolled upon vacancy. This is exactly the same public question as was on last year’s ballot because when the ‘no’ vote won last November 6, 2012, the victory was overturned in court by monied interests, and hence the re-vote. Tenants fought for one year to keep their win, but the judges did not review the evidence efficiently enough and were indifferent to the democratic vote of 16,444 people and decided that their vote win did not matter.
Developers and large landlords have always had the money and power to call the shots in Hoboken. The rent control laws in Hoboken have always insured that the landlords can make a fair return on their investment through hardship rental increases and that they can pass onto their tenants 100 percent of any new tax increases that increased costs or revaluation of property will cause. Tenants can also have any water, sewerage, and capital improvement surcharges tacked onto their base rent each year, which can substantially raise the amount of money that tenants must pay to live in their apartments.
If the ‘no’ vote loses this November, tenants will lose all of their rent control protections. Each and every apartment will be decontrolled upon vacancy. The four unit and less buildings will lose rent control permanently upon vacancy. On the five unit and more, each time a tenant moves out, it is decontrolled. If that tenant stays, then they will have rental increases based on the current rent control laws, but the base rent would now be very high because of the decontrol allowed each time a new tenant moves in. Eventually this will eliminate an affordable housing stock from Hoboken. Ultimately, Hoboken will be home to the very rich and the very poor. A vibrant community of varied incomes of the middle class and diverse cultures and artists will be eliminated.
Please remember the diverse group of tenants that live in Hoboken that have peacefully enjoyed their apartment homes in Hoboken. They don’t want to be forced out because they don’t want to leave. Please assure them of their rental protections and vote “no” again on City of Hoboken Public Question No.1. Thank you.