MONTCLAIR, NJ— More than 200 owners of properties in Montclair have signed a petition opposing the rent control ordinance set for a vote during Tuesday's council meeting. They are asking for supporters to call in to the remote council meeting at 7pm.
According to the Montclair Property Owner's Association, owners of nearly 800 apartments in Montclair have committed to a voluntary rent freeze for the next 90 days and requested that the Township Council postpone a pending vote on introducing rent control so that the public can participate in a review of the Ordinance.
The proposed rent control ordinance is on the agenda for the April 7th Council meeting, which will be held virtually with the public only being able to participate by telephone as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Tenants association advocates have pushed back on the idea and are advocating for the vote to progress, as planned. This is an ordinance that they have been working on for months, advocates state.
According to an earlier release, through attorney Charles Gormally of Brach Eichler, MPOA also submitted a legal challenge stating that voting on the ordinance be in violation of Executive Orders 107 and 108, which are designed to prevent such abuses during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Montclair citizens have a long history of applying a very practical rationale—rent control does not create affordable housing—and has avoided rent controls for 47 years,” says Ronald Simoncini.
“The COVID-19 crisis is taking away from the voters the very device they need as a check and balance to bad government. This Ordinance is clearly driven by currying favor with a narrow segment of voters and ignores the impact it will have on the rest of the community. Homeowners will end up paying for this in the form of higher taxes after being deprived of a meaningful chance to be heard on the issue,” he added.
On the petition, they wrote the following:
*Comments from the public on the second reading of ordinances, as well as the Public Comment portion of the meeting, will be conducted remotely. Those who wish to participate should dial in to 425-535-9484 at the start of a meeting. Participants will be put in a queue. The administrator will notify callers using the last two digits of their phone numbers which will be displayed in the system. For example, a caller with the phone number 937-555-5555 will hear the administrator say "number 5-5" it is your turn to speak. The caller will then hear the word "UNMUTE" and will be offered the opportunity to make his or her comment.*
Dear Mayor Jackson and Council members,
The Montclair City Council is considering imposing RENT CONTROL on all non-owner-occupied apartments in Montclair.
For the reasons stated below we are opposed to this proposal:
- The Town Council is overriding TWO referendums in which we said NO to rent control.
- The Town Council is not only doing this over our objection, they are doing it with little to no input from Montclarions themselves.
- Universally, studies have shown that rather than help those in need, Rent Control leads to:
- Decreased affordability for renters
- Decreased supply of housing for renters
- Increased taxes for ALL town residents
- Lower property values for ALL property types
- The pending Ordinance transforms a community of inclusion into a community of division.
- Many people who do not need relief will be subsidized anyway.
- The inevitable reduction of new constriction and improvements will limit this source of increased revenue.
- Rent Control will reduce incentive for rental property owners to maintain or improve properties.
- The result is deterioration of once beautiful properties and urban blight.
- Large increases in property taxes have and will continue to cause homeowners to leave Montclair.
- The Mayor and Council are meant to be the voice of all the people and the expression of our will collectively.
To the Mayor and Town Council of Montclair:
I do not want Rent Control in Montclair