Hoboken mayor urges council not to move to make appointments to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board


HOBOKEN– According to a press release from the city, Mayor Ravi Bhalla is asking the city council to reconsider its intention to transfer appointment authority of three full rent board members and two alternates from the mayor to the city council based on a legal analysis provided by corporation counsel.
Corporation counsel notes that the city council’s proposed actions related to the Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board violate New Jersey State statutes.
The quasi-judicial nine-member Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board is comprised of residents and tenants. It hears cases such as those of landlords who are applying for a hardship exception to the city’s long-term rent control laws, which keep rent increases to a few percents each year.
During the last council meeting, the council approved five out of the seven mayoral appointments to the board, not including residents Warren Hall and Heath Urban whom Bhalla resubmitted for consideration at this week’s special council meeting, which will take place on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m.
“State law is very clear about how appointments should be made to boards,” said Bhalla in the release. “Any decisions made by board members who are improperly appointed calls into question the validity of determinations made by the Rent Board. I hope that the Council will reconsider their actions and provide their advice and consent regarding the nominations of Mr. Hall and Mr. Urban, two highly qualified appointees who I know would serve our community well.”
According to a March 5 memo from the city’s law department to the council, the new ordinance which would allow the council to appoint members to the board is in violation of the Faulkner Act.
A March 12 memo from the mayor to the council states, “On March 5, the Law Department submitted a legal memorandum advising you that the City Council does not have the legal authority to unilaterally appoint members to the Rent Control Board … Despite the March 5th legal memorandum, this Ordinance is still on the March 15, 2018, City Council Agenda, along with a series of resolutions wherein the City Council appears to be illegally attempting to appoint Rent Control Board members. These items should be removed from the City Council agenda, as you have been advised that you do not have the legal authority to take such actions.”