Hoboken Fair Housing Associate was pleased to hear that Mayor Zimmer not only took the position that she will be voting NO on Hoboken Public Question No. 1, but also asks everyone else to join her in voting NO.
HFHA members were also surprised to see a recent viral email allegedly from Hoboken Revolt, an organization completely dormant since Mayor Zimmer has been in office, asking residents to vote yes. It is particularly surprising since more than one of the original Hoboken Revolt steering committee members have advised that they are supporters of rent control and have given small donations to HFHA to support rent protections in Hoboken. There clearly is an indication that this email represents a hijacked email list and not the consensus of the community members that provided their emails in order to get access to a community website over four years ago.
Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA), the organization that sponsored this anti-rent protection ballot question in 2012 and lost that election, also sponsored an election contest in the courts where false evidence of displaced Hoboken voters was submitted to the courts to overturn a legitimate democratic election. MSTA are a group of large-scale developers and real estate interests. They are not concerned with the citizens of the city nor the quality of life, just astronomical real estate prices and huge development no matter what the cost to the city. Sky high rents mean a transient population that doesn’t vote nor care about the city.
The developer/real estate interests that have hijacked the Hoboken Revolt email list neglect to point out the fact that all tenants can be evicted under our current laws and that providing extreme economic incentive to evict tenants puts many of our friends and neighbors at extreme risk. Tenants that live in owner-occupied buildings can be evicted at the end of the lease or within 30 days for tenants on a month to month lease. Tenants in a non-owner-occupied building can be evicted if the landlord says s/he wants to occupy one unit. The tenant in that one unit is thus evicted turning the building into an owner-occupied building so that the other tenant(s) can be immediately evicted at the end of their lease or within 30 days if the tenant is on a month to month lease. Four unit buildings are routinely converted to 3-unit buildings when an owner joins two empty units, putting the remaining tenants at risk of the same immediate eviction and tenants in larger buildings can be evicted through condo conversion. It is disingenuous for the author of this email to suggest that the MSTA sponsored ballot question does not put existing tenants at extreme and often immediate risk.
The often cited assertion that rent control deteriorates property values is not supported by the facts. Recent property sales show that property values in Hoboken are extremely high for all properties, including multi-family buildings.
It is also a fact that many rents in rent controlled properties are already legally at or above market rents. The MSTA initiative is directed at long-term tenants, many who are older and often part of the artists’ community that so many of our elected officials emphatically want to protect. Some of these long-term tenants are the remnants of the Hispanic population in town that was under siege during the years of Hoboken fires.
HFHA does not believe that the good citizens of Hoboken have any interest in returning to a time when a large swath of the population lives in fear of displacement. We will be joining Mayor Zimmer in voting NO and ask that our friends and neighbors send the same message that they already sent last year by voting NO…again on Hoboken Ballot Question #1 on November 5th.