Rent controls are going out of vogue in NJ

November 14, 2011 10:12AM

More New Jersey towns have rent-control rules than any other state in the country, but according to the Wall Street Journal many of those municipalities are moving to eradicate parts of the law.

Last week two cities, Hoboken and Bayonne, voted to soften rent-control rules, with the former limiting the amount tenants can recoup from past overcharges and the latter decontrolling apartments after tenants move out. The state’s controlled units typically have rent appreciations that correspond with the Consumer Price Index, or about 2 percent, per year. In recent years, nine towns have chosen to phase out the laws entirely.

Researchers attribute the change to the need for tax revenue overriding institutions long protected by politics. Higher rents increase property values and generate more taxes for the cash-strapped for counties.

The Journal put a particular focus on Hoboken, where about 8,000 units are rent-controlled, and 17 percent of the city’s 13,267 renters pay less than $750 per month. As the town begins to move away from rent controls, tenant advocate groups are beginning to complain that its becoming a town “for only the rich.” [WSJ]