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Legal • September 24, 2009

Hoboken rent control ordinance found unconstitutional, group announces

Hoboken rent control ordinance found unconstitutional, group announces By Ken Thorbourne/The Jersey Journal September 24, 2009, 2:18PM In a ruling that could alter the landscape of rent control regulation in Hoboken, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Shirley Tolentino ruled yesterday that the city's Rent Leveling Office has applied some rent control laws in an arbitrary and capricious manner, the Mile Square Taxpayers Association announced today.

The case pertains to a single building, but establishes precedent that could apply to hundreds of city property owners, according to the group.

At issue was the Rent Leveling Officers' shifting policies regarding the filing of "vacancy decontrol forms."

In this particular case, the property owner failed to file the form but kept rent hikes within the Rent Leveling Office's so-called "Legal Rent Calculation." But because the form wasn't filed the Rent Leveling Office disallowed the increase.

"The failure of the City to correct the systemic problem that is caused by decades of arbitrary administration of the Rent Control Ordinance has eroded the vitality of its multi-family rental properties and caused many owners to convert properties to condominiums in an effort to avoid the intolerable situation," said Charles Gormally, attorney for the Mile Square Taxpayers Association.

City officials could not be immediately reached to comment. 

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