JERSEY CITY, NJ - Although the Jersey City council introduced a rent control ordinance at its May 6 meeting, a second stricter ordinance authored by Councilman James Solomon will be introduced at the May 18 meeting that would include additional properties not currently regulated under existing rent control.

Both ordinances seek to establish a rent freeze until Aug. 1 in order to help renters cope with job loss and other issues as a result of COVID-19. The ordinance introduced on May 6 largely followed existing guidelines which includes properties that rent up to four units.

The new ordinance, as previously reported,  will include these smaller properties, unless one of the units is occupied by the building’s owner. The ordinance also imposes additional reporting requirements for landlords. The effort is part of Solomon’s ongoing advocacy for the city’s renters, currently standing at 71 percent of the population, which has also included urging the Fulop Administration to dedicate $2 million of the $3 million expected to be raised through a COVID-19 relief fund to be dedicated to those that fall under the average median income.

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Councilman Richard Boggiano said he was concerned about the impact this would have on smaller property owners, who may also face tax increases and other issues.

Ron Simoncini, Executive director of the Jersey City Property Owners Association which represents 8,000 property owners in Jersey City, spoke at the virtual meeting, saying his organization does not oppose some of the provisions included in the second ordinance but is concerned about the lack of language to indicate when landlords will be allowed to raise rents once the emergency is over.

“We need to know when we can raise rents if we are able to,” he said. “We recognized the need to have protections and believe in support programs where they are needed.”

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