Hoboken grapples with potential rent increases

New Jersey city has among the highest rents in the nation

<p>(Getty Images)</p>

(Getty Images)

Hoboken, New Jersey, is among the myriad municipalities in the state grappling with how to handle rent increases.

First, the city, which has some of the highest rents in the country, is considering filing a test case in state court to determine how much of a rent increase would be considered too high under state law, Patch.com reported.

A state law provides that rent increases on all units cannot be “unconscionable or unreasonable,” a vague standard that is open for interpretation, the outlet said.

The city is mulling whether to file for an injunction in state court — on behalf of tenants in a luxury building who are facing rent increases of 25 percent or higher — seeking clarification on the definition of “unconscionable and unreasonable.”

Precedent, according to the outlet, indicates that the number has been pegged at 25 percent, but advocates are still seeking clarity on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Hoboken City Council delayed a vote last week on a local ordinance — the other law that governs rent increases in the city — that would permit landlords who cut their rents during the pandemic to a one-time hike on rent-controlled units, Patch said.

The increase would be permitted either during a lease renewal or if a new tenant moves into a unit, NJ.com reported. If passed, landlords would not be able to ”bank increases” by raising rents for the multiple years they didn’t increase them during the pandemic, thus preventing sharp hikes. 

Still, the proposed measure has drawn fire from landlord and tenant groups, with tenant advocates saying there is still no cap on how much rent can be increased.

​​“[Tenants are] locked in, even if they wanted to leave for whatever reason, and now the city council wants to pass an ordinance that’s going to pretty much ensure massive increases,” Tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick told NJ.com.

But landlords also were not thrilled with the proposal, saying a provision that, among other things, permits tenants to challenge a landlord’s rent calculation with city officials is too burdensome.

“All of these owners are in for an administrative nightmare,” Ron Simoncini of the landlord group Mile Square Taxpayer Association told NJ.com. “These are real people who own real property, who have to provision housing for real people, and they’re being treated as though this is all just some big ideological concept. It’s not.”

The median rent in Hoboken is nearly $3,800 a month, a $460 increase over the same time last year, according to Zillow.com.

Hoboken is far from the only city dealing with rising rents.

New York City’s rent board last week voted, over vocal objections, in favor of 2 to 5 percent rent increases on one-year leases on stabilized units and a 4 to 7 percent increase on two-year increases. 

Separately, the body approved freezing rents on stabilized hotels. 

While a far cry from the possible 8 percent increase on one-year leases and 16 percent hike on two-year terms initially discussed, the proposal was still criticized by landlords and tenant advocates.

“Any increase in rents right now will have crushing consequences for tenants already battling a historic affordability crisis, post-pandemic inflation, and a looming recession expected to hit later this year,”Adriene Holder, chief attorney of the civil practice at the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.

Landlords, however, noted that the proposed increases aren’t high enough.

“With most buildings approaching 100 years old, the city’s rent-stabilized housing stock is on the brink of an insolvency crisis,” said Michael Tobman, director of membership and communications at the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group. “The RGB’s own data doesn’t lie: Costs increased dramatically and rent revenue declined.”

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e court to determine how much of a rent increase would be considered too high under state law, Patch.com reported.

A state law provides that rent increases cannot be “unconscionable or unreasonable,” a vague standard that is open for interpretation, the outlet said.

The city is mulling whether to file for an injunction in state court — on behalf of tenants in a luxury building who are facing rent increases of 25 percent or higher — seeking clarification on the definition of “unconscionable and unreasonable.”

Precedent, according to the outlet, indicates that the number has been pegged at 25 percent, but advocates are still seeking clarity on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Hoboken City Council delayed a vote last week on a local ordinance — the other law governing rent increases in the city — that would permit landlords who cut their rents during the pandemic to a one-time hike on rent-controlled units, Patch said.

The increase would be permitted either during a lease renewal or if a new tenant moves into a unit, NJ.com reported. If passed, landlords would not be able to”bank increases” by raising rents for the multiple years they didn’t increase them during the pandemic. 

Still, the proposed measure has drawn fire from both sides, with tenant advocates saying there is still no cap on how much rent can be increased.

​​“[Tenants are] locked in, even if they wanted to leave for whatever reason, and now the city council wants to pass an ordinance that’s going to pretty much ensure massive increases,” Tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick told NJ.com.

But landlords were also not thrilled with the proposal, saying a provision that, among other things, permits tenants to challenge a landlord’s rent calculation with city officials is too burdensome.

“All of these owners are in for an administrative nightmare,” Ron Simoncini of the landlord group Mile Square Taxpayer Association told NJ.com. “These are real people who own real property, who have to provision housing for real people, and they’re being treated as though this is all just some big ideological concept. It’s not.”

The median rent in Hoboken is nearly $3,800 a month, a $460 increase over the same time last year, according to Zillow.com.

Hoboken is far from the only city dealing with rising rents.

New York City’s rent board last week preliminarily voted, over vocal objections, in favor of 2 to 5 percent rent increases on one-year leases on stabilized units and a 4 to 7 percent increase on two-year increases. 

Separately, the body approved freezing rents on stabilized hotels. 

While a far cry from the possible 8 percent increase on one-year leases and 16 percent hike on two-year terms initially discussed, the proposal was still criticized by landlords and tenant advocates.

“Any increase in rents right now will have crushing consequences for tenants already battling a historic affordability crisis, post-pandemic inflation, and a looming recession expected to hit later this year,” Adriene Holder, chief attorney of the civil practice at the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.

Landlords, however, noted that the increases aren’t high enough.

“With most buildings approaching 100 years old, the city’s rent-stabilized housing stock is on the brink of an insolvency crisis,” said Michael Tobman, director of membership and communications at the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group. “The RGB’s own data doesn’t lie: Costs increased dramatically and rent revenue declined.”

— Ted Glanzer

Hoboken grapples with potential rent increases

New Jersey city has among the highest rents in the nation

<p>(Getty Images)</p>

(Getty Images)

Hoboken, New Jersey, is among the myriad municipalities in the state grappling with how to handle rent increases.

First, the city, which has some of the highest rents in the country, is considering filing a test case in state court to determine how much of a rent increase would be considered too high under state law, Patch.com reported.

A state law provides that rent increases on all units cannot be “unconscionable or unreasonable,” a vague standard that is open for interpretation, the outlet said.

The city is mulling whether to file for an injunction in state court — on behalf of tenants in a luxury building who are facing rent increases of 25 percent or higher — seeking clarification on the definition of “unconscionable and unreasonable.”

Precedent, according to the outlet, indicates that the number has been pegged at 25 percent, but advocates are still seeking clarity on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Hoboken City Council delayed a vote last week on a local ordinance — the other law that governs rent increases in the city — that would permit landlords who cut their rents during the pandemic to a one-time hike on rent-controlled units, Patch said.

The increase would be permitted either during a lease renewal or if a new tenant moves into a unit, NJ.com reported. If passed, landlords would not be able to ”bank increases” by raising rents for the multiple years they didn’t increase them during the pandemic, thus preventing sharp hikes. 

Still, the proposed measure has drawn fire from landlord and tenant groups, with tenant advocates saying there is still no cap on how much rent can be increased.

​​“[Tenants are] locked in, even if they wanted to leave for whatever reason, and now the city council wants to pass an ordinance that’s going to pretty much ensure massive increases,” Tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick told NJ.com.

But landlords also were not thrilled with the proposal, saying a provision that, among other things, permits tenants to challenge a landlord’s rent calculation with city officials is too burdensome.

“All of these owners are in for an administrative nightmare,” Ron Simoncini of the landlord group Mile Square Taxpayer Association told NJ.com. “These are real people who own real property, who have to provision housing for real people, and they’re being treated as though this is all just some big ideological concept. It’s not.”

The median rent in Hoboken is nearly $3,800 a month, a $460 increase over the same time last year, according to Zillow.com.

Hoboken is far from the only city dealing with rising rents.

New York City’s rent board last week voted, over vocal objections, in favor of 2 to 5 percent rent increases on one-year leases on stabilized units and a 4 to 7 percent increase on two-year increases. 

Separately, the body approved freezing rents on stabilized hotels. 

While a far cry from the possible 8 percent increase on one-year leases and 16 percent hike on two-year terms initially discussed, the proposal was still criticized by landlords and tenant advocates.

“Any increase in rents right now will have crushing consequences for tenants already battling a historic affordability crisis, post-pandemic inflation, and a looming recession expected to hit later this year,”Adriene Holder, chief attorney of the civil practice at the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.

Landlords, however, noted that the proposed increases aren’t high enough.

“With most buildings approaching 100 years old, the city’s rent-stabilized housing stock is on the brink of an insolvency crisis,” said Michael Tobman, director of membership and communications at the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group. “The RGB’s own data doesn’t lie: Costs increased dramatically and rent revenue declined.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

e court to determine how much of a rent increase would be considered too high under state law, Patch.com reported.

A state law provides that rent increases cannot be “unconscionable or unreasonable,” a vague standard that is open for interpretation, the outlet said.

The city is mulling whether to file for an injunction in state court — on behalf of tenants in a luxury building who are facing rent increases of 25 percent or higher — seeking clarification on the definition of “unconscionable and unreasonable.”

Precedent, according to the outlet, indicates that the number has been pegged at 25 percent, but advocates are still seeking clarity on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Hoboken City Council delayed a vote last week on a local ordinance — the other law governing rent increases in the city — that would permit landlords who cut their rents during the pandemic to a one-time hike on rent-controlled units, Patch said.

The increase would be permitted either during a lease renewal or if a new tenant moves into a unit, NJ.com reported. If passed, landlords would not be able to”bank increases” by raising rents for the multiple years they didn’t increase them during the pandemic. 

Still, the proposed measure has drawn fire from both sides, with tenant advocates saying there is still no cap on how much rent can be increased.

​​“[Tenants are] locked in, even if they wanted to leave for whatever reason, and now the city council wants to pass an ordinance that’s going to pretty much ensure massive increases,” Tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick told NJ.com.

But landlords were also not thrilled with the proposal, saying a provision that, among other things, permits tenants to challenge a landlord’s rent calculation with city officials is too burdensome.

“All of these owners are in for an administrative nightmare,” Ron Simoncini of the landlord group Mile Square Taxpayer Association told NJ.com. “These are real people who own real property, who have to provision housing for real people, and they’re being treated as though this is all just some big ideological concept. It’s not.”

The median rent in Hoboken is nearly $3,800 a month, a $460 increase over the same time last year, according to Zillow.com.

Hoboken is far from the only city dealing with rising rents.

New York City’s rent board last week preliminarily voted, over vocal objections, in favor of 2 to 5 percent rent increases on one-year leases on stabilized units and a 4 to 7 percent increase on two-year increases. 

Separately, the body approved freezing rents on stabilized hotels. 

While a far cry from the possible 8 percent increase on one-year leases and 16 percent hike on two-year terms initially discussed, the proposal was still criticized by landlords and tenant advocates.

“Any increase in rents right now will have crushing consequences for tenants already battling a historic affordability crisis, post-pandemic inflation, and a looming recession expected to hit later this year,” Adriene Holder, chief attorney of the civil practice at the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.

Landlords, however, noted that the increases aren’t high enough.

“With most buildings approaching 100 years old, the city’s rent-stabilized housing stock is on the brink of an insolvency crisis,” said Michael Tobman, director of membership and communications at the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group. “The RGB’s own data doesn’t lie: Costs increased dramatically and rent revenue declined.”

— Ted Glanzer