Rent control needs more time — all stakeholders must be heard (Letter to the editor)
We all need to pay attention. The Montclair Township Council is moving forward with rent control using a proposal that is very different than the one they approved two years ago. After meeting with a small group of people who own apartment buildings and a tenant organization, the council is considering implementing rent control over all homes with two or more units that aren't owner-occupied.
We own and occupy a four-family house. We are also landlords for a three-family house. We have not been included in the conversation about rent control. Now that it affects us, we want to have our voices heard.
Rent control has an impact on many Montclair residents, other than the few who recently negotiated an agreement. Carmel Loughman has written in great detail about various problems related to this new proposal. We agree with everything she has written, and are grateful to her for clearly expressing many of our concerns.
There is no urgency, no arbitrary deadline to meet. We should take our time and make sure that all of the materially interested and affected parties are represented in the solution. The issue is not only rent control but how we create and maintain affordable housing.
This may take a year to get really right for Montclair, not for non-residents, and not to simply copy what other towns may have done. Our problems are different than Caldwell and the New York City boroughs. We urge the council to take the time to develop a solution that includes all of us and addresses affordable housing.
Charlee Swanson and Karen DeChino
This post has been updated to clarify the terms of Montclair's proposed rent control ordinance.
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