Controlling Rent in Hoboken

Tuesday is election day — and in Hoboken, N.J., there's a referendum on the ballot regarding a new rent control ordinance that has yet to go into effect.

It would allow landlords to raise rent on a rent-controlled apartment, if a tenant voluntarily left the unit before 2006.

Tenants advocates brought the referendum suspending the new ordinance. But Ron Simoncini, a member of the landlords group Mile Square Taxpayers Association, said tenants are over-reacting.

"They say that if you make changes to the rent control ordinance now, you might make more changes later, well the rent levelling office hasn't had a change made to it since 1987," he said.

Under the original ordinance, landlords could be found guilty of overcharging tenants and forced to pay the tenant back rent times three. Simoncini said a judge and the city council both found the original ordinance unconstitutional and ruled in favor of the landlords.

The referendum appears as question 2 on the ballot. A "yes" vote repeals the changes of the ordinance. A "no" vote keeps the change.