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.
Montclair Local’s Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.
Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email email@example.com, or mail “Letters to the Editor,” PO Box 752, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer’s name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.
Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by the Sunday prior to publication to be eligible for use in any Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.
Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our “Town Square” banner. “Town Square” essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least seven days prior to publication.