Union City moves to place moratorium on rent increases

The ordinance would retroactively apply to March 1

Good news for Union City tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic: city officials are seeking to place a moratorium on rent increases until the end of the crisis.

Recognizing the substantial financial loss many residents will face due to unemployment or closures of businesses, Mayor Brian Stack and the Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance on March 24 that places a moratorium on rent increases during the State of Emergency.

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The ordinance includes a grace period on the moratorium for some time after the State of Emergency has been lifted.

Gov. Murphy declared a State of Emergency on March 9 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, Murphy placed a moratorium on evictions during the ongoing crisis.

A public hearing on the ordinance will be help at the next Board of Commissioners meeting on April 14 at the Islamic Education Center at 4613 Cottage Place at 7 p.m.

Insult to injury

“Following the moratorium on evictions by the governor, we were concerned that residents who are unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic would face additional financial hardships by increased rent,” Stack said. “Residents are facing enough hardships with this virus; we do not need to add insult to injury by increasing their rent and creating more of a hardship for them to overcome.”

If adopted, the ordinance would prevent any rent increases and will remain in effect for no longer than two months following the end of the State of Emergency.

According to Stack, the moratorium shall apply retroactively to March 1.

“Housing security and stability are critical to the public health, and this ordinance is in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare of Union City residents,” Stack stated. “We are facing unprecedented times, and residents need relief wherever possible.”

Union City is the first municipality in Hudson County to introduce an ordinance or similar measure to curb rent increases.

“I have always said that Union City is a close and resilient community,” Stack stated. “We are in this fight together, and we are not giving up.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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