Raritan Borough Councilman Armhizer Introduces Rent Stabilization Proposal

The 53-Page Proposal includes an Introduction to Rent Stabilization / Rent Control, a Municipal Comparison of more than 100 other New Jersey towns with Rent Stabilization Ordinance’s currently in place, a Needs Assessment, a Model/Recommended Ordinance, outlines the (recommended) creation of a Rent Stabilization Board, and provides guidelines regarding its potential Implementation and Execution.
The Recommended Rent Stabilization Ordinance includes Three Major Components:
1. Rental-Unit Price Stabilization / Lease Increase Limitations- Establishes that at the termination of a lease term or periodic tenancy, no landlord may request or receive an increase in rent greater than 4% of the Base Rent Component in the event the landlord does not supply heat for the housing space and 5% of the Base Rent Component in the event the landlord does supply heat for the housing space.
2. Eviction Control Measures / Tenant Protections-
o Refusal of Landlord to Rent or Relet (a landlord shall not refuse to rent, relet or rerent housing space or terminate a landlord-tenant relationship except for just cause as defined in the Ordinance)
o Notification to Tenant of Rent Increases (Landlord must Notify Tenant prior to any and all Rent Increases)
o Notice of Tenants Rights (Landlord must properly notify tenant of Rights)
o Deficiency in Standards (Tenants may challenge present value of Dwelling if lease-outlined services/amenities fall below standard)
o Maintenance of Landlord Services (Landlords must uphold the maintenance of lease-outlined services AT ALL TIMES)
o Unauthorized increases shall be void (effective following Board creation- Review Board will determine on an as-needed basis)
3. General Control Measures: (Definitions, Exemptions / Exceptions, Retroactivity, Rent Components, Etc)
If passed, the Ordinance will become the first piece of General Legislation to ever outline the Stabilization of Rental-Unit Price’s and implementation of Eviction Control Measures in Raritan Borough history.
Context:
The State of New Jersey currently has no statewide rent stabilization laws in place. However, any municipality within the State of New Jersey may adopt an ordinance stabilizing rent increases and implement eviction control measures. With there being no state-wide rent control laws in New Jersey, landlords and apartment developers are essentially free to increase rent at whatever rate they deem appropriate unless the local government has imposed its own Rent-Stabilization Laws and Ordinances.
Some states such as California and Oregon have recently implemented statewide mandates / guidelines for their municipalities regarding rent stabilization / rent control. With there being no state specified guidelines for localities to model their Rent Stabilization Ordinances from in New Jersey – Local Governments are left with the responsibility (and freedom) of developing, implementing, and enforcing their own rent-stabilization / rent-control laws and guidelines. [CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS APPLY]
The introduction of a Rent Stabilization Ordinance would allow the Borough to better ensure the affordability of housing for new incoming residents, implement tenant protections for all previous/existing residents, and help the Borough Price-Stabilize our fast-growing rental market in a time of increased new development. I have also proposed the creation of a Rent Stabilization Board in order to better monitor, assess, and manage the rental market growth that is projected in Raritan in the oncoming years.
Many municipalities along the Raritan Valley Line / Throughout central Jersey currently (as a result of increased development, increased population, and fluctuating rental market prices) meet a lot of the applicability criteria for the introduction of a rent stabilization ordinance. Specifically, municipalities within Somerset County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Warren County, Hunterdon County, and Union County. I have begun meeting with leadership from other towns and it appears that many municipalities are suffering from the same issues as Raritan Borough- that is- overdevelopment and a lack of housing affordability.
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