NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The city’s Rent Control Board is replenishing its ranks after three members recently tendered their resignations and the November meeting was canceled for lack of a quorum.
The City Council passed a resolution at Wednesday’s meeting appointing Derrick Braxton as a tenant representative and Samuel Beson as a student representative.
Braxton's term runs through Dec. 31, 2020, Beson through the end of 2019.
Although board members are appointed by Mayor Jim Cahill and serve on a volunteer basis, they provide an important service to the city – especially considering that most rental units in New Brunswick are regulated by city ordinances.
According to the city’s website, the Rent Control Board during its monthly meetings has the power to hear and decide all applications for rental increases and complaints of wrongful increases. The board’s rulings “shall be deemed final unless overruled through the appellate process of the courts.”
The board consists of five regular members and there may be up to two alternate members appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council, according to the city’s website.
Rent Control Administrator Maria Cody said that board is designed to have a member representing the city’s homeowners, another representing its landlords and another representing its tenants. One member is also appointed to represent the city’s students and is typically a Rutgers or Middlesex County College student. The other members can represent any of those categories.
Tiffany N. Gathright resigned in a Sept. 9 letter addressed to Cody. In the letter, she explained that she had to relocate to care for a family member. Since Rent Control Board members must live in the city, she had to resign. In the letter, Gathright stated that she had been on the board since March 2016.
Daria Martin resigned in an Oct. 22 letter addressed to Cody. The student representative of the board cited health reasons for resigning.
Board vice chairman Brandon Kaplan offered his resignation in a letter dated Nov. 7. According to the letter, he had accepted “a professional role that requires my disaffiliation with any approved government positions.”
Later in the letter, Kaplan stated that although he is “excited for my new job, it is with some large degree of sadness that I depart as vice chair. The Rent Control Board’s work is incredibly important to New Brunswick. It supports economic justice for the vulnerable, cohesion of the social fabric of the community and accountability for those who would seek to use their advantages in life to harm or exploit others.”
Cody said at least three members of the board must be present to have a quorum. The board’s October meeting was canceled because it had nothing on the agenda.
She said that the board will sometimes mediate disputes outside of meetings.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17 at City Hall. A tenant complaint regarding 104 Richardson St. is on the agenda.
Cody said there is still an opening on the board for a landlord. The landlord must live in the city. Although positions on the board are appointed by the mayor, any landlord wishing to join the board can email Cody at firstname.lastname@example.org.