Perth Amboy Mayor, Council Betray Tenants Allow Rent Control Ordinance to be Invalidated

Vas, Bermudez and Ramirez

Perth Amboy Mayor, Council Betray Tenants Allow Rent Control Ordinance to be Invalidated

Perth Amboy, N.J. (September 18, 2020) – At a recent Perth Amboy City Council meeting it was revealed that for the past 12 years, all under the tenure of Mayor Wilda Diaz, the Mayor and Council members failed to appoint members to the City’s Rent Control Board in effect since 1983. The City’s Rent Control Ordinance was established specifically to provide protection to Tenants from unfair rent increases. In the absence of a Rent Leveling Board neither Tenants nor Landlords can seek due process or
enforcement of the City’s longstanding law which controls rent increases.

In a recent court filing against the City, Cande Land, LLC sought and received approval from the City by Consent Order for a 100% increase in rents from their Tenants at 263-265 New Brunswick Avenue. Eddie Tejeda, the son of a Tenant at the property whose mother has occupied an apartment there for nearly 30 years spoke at the Council meeting to seek an explanation. He stated that the Tenants were unaware of the City’s decision to allow such an increase without hearing from the Tenants.

“The Mayor and Council’s decision to consent to a 100% increase in rent in the middle of a pandemic without even hearing from the Tenant’s is devastating. Not only does it shatter faith in due process, but it is the ultimate betrayal at a time when residents are seeking openness and honesty from elected officials,” stated Joseph B. Vas.

Vas added, “It’s impossible to believe that for the entire time Diaz has been Mayor, she and all of her Council allies have ignored the very essential protection residents need to survive. Perth Amboy already has the highest COVID-19 rate and highest unemployment rate in Middlesex County, couple that with no rent control and you could see an uncontrollable increase in homelessness. Perth Amboy deserves more
qualified and attentive leadership. You can’t fail at addressing the basic needs of residents and then pretend to care. Action, not words, are what are required at this critical time.”

Further evidence that the Mayor and Councilmembers have been aware of this shortcoming is illustrated in the Court documents wherein the City Law Director, Peter King is referenced as agreeing with Cande Land, LLC’s attorney that the failure of appointing a Rent Control Board rendered the Rent Control Ordinance “no longer valid.”

“For the past 12 years, Perth Amboy Tenants have been misled to believe that rent control protected them from unfair rent increases, while at the same time, consenting to allow large property owners to run rough shot against Tenants who struggle every day to make ends meet. Sadly, now that it is election time Diaz, Irizarry, Pabon, and Caba want us to believe they care or will do something about it. This is the height of political hypocracy! Perth Amboy needs real leadership,” concluded Vas.

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