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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Bamb00zle wrote:
A friendly word of warning - be extremely careful “rebuilding” an existing 4-family building. You WILL trigger a requirement to upgrade the fire protection systems in the property.


A reason I say anyone trying to build or rebuild needs to hire a lawyer who practices before the JC zoning and codes bar, not just any clown. There are people who specialize in this stuff, and most importantly, have relationships with the players.

Posted on: 5/9 20:50
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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For a newly constructed, or newly rehabbed 4-family building, the current fire code requires a centrally monitored sprinkler system throughout the entire structure.


Back when I did it, the sprinklers only kicked in if the 4 family building was over 3 stories.

The more annoying aspect was the handicap access requirements. Lots of issues with the Building Department regarding that part.

Posted on: 5/9 18:12
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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MDM wrote:
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Fulop's opponent in the last election ran on a platform of expanding rent control right down to single family homes.


That is why I did not vote for him.

Posted on: 5/9 18:07
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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hero69 wrote:
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brewster wrote:
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hero69 wrote:
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brewster wrote:
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JCBORN wrote:
You can only convert to condos if the building is empty?

I believe you can convert it with tenants, and even sell the unit, though you won't get the same price with a rent controlled tenant as you would vacant.

Quote:

MDM wrote:
If she is in Zone R-1 (most of the Heights is R-1), she could only build a Bayonne Box 2 family. Better off rebuilding the 4 family.

Get the right builder and it will be a new building. I've seen it several times now that they leave a stick or 2 of the original standing as a "grandfathered zoning fig leaf" and basically build a completely new building. One 4 family, they even raised the ceiling height of every floor and doubled the lot coverage.
her building is 4 family....no rent control...bayonne boxes are fugly but i guess they make money...how much to build a bayonne box?


You don't understand, what we're saying is she's better off rebuilding the 4 family completely and give lip service to the zoning.
gotcha. how much does it costs to build a 4 family?


A friendly word of warning - be extremely careful “rebuilding” an existing 4-family building. You WILL trigger a requirement to upgrade the fire protection systems in the property.

Carefully, carefully read both the rehab code, and the fire code, and do NOT believe anyone (including the city building department fire inspectors) who tells you you don’t need to worry. At the end of the job, if you don’t meet the code, they won’t give you a C of O. At that point, you are s**t out of luck and money. You’ll have to tear your beautifully rehabbed building apart to install the mandatory sprinkler system if you want to get a C of O, so that you can sell or rent the property.

For a newly constructed, or newly rehabbed 4-family building, the current fire code requires a centrally monitored sprinkler system throughout the entire structure. Running those lines is no small job in an existing old building that wasn’t designed for it. The sprinkler system needs sufficient water pressure, has to be tested to show the pressure is sufficient, there has to be a sufficiently large supply line (new, big pipes...) into the building, you may need a pump system if the pressure isn’t enough, and on and on it goes.

The Fire department and the fire protection companies aren’t playing. They’re after your money, and in some cases your property.

Posted on: 5/9 17:18
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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hero69 wrote:
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brewster wrote:
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JCBORN wrote:
You can only convert to condos if the building is empty?

I believe you can convert it with tenants, and even sell the unit, though you won't get the same price with a rent controlled tenant as you would vacant.

Quote:

MDM wrote:
If she is in Zone R-1 (most of the Heights is R-1), she could only build a Bayonne Box 2 family. Better off rebuilding the 4 family.

Get the right builder and it will be a new building. I've seen it several times now that they leave a stick or 2 of the original standing as a "grandfathered zoning fig leaf" and basically build a completely new building. One 4 family, they even raised the ceiling height of every floor and doubled the lot coverage.
her building is 4 family....no rent control...bayonne boxes are fugly but i guess they make money...how much to build a bayonne box?


You don't understand, what we're saying is she's better off rebuilding the 4 family completely and give lip service to the zoning.
gotcha. how much does it costs to build a 4 family?

Posted on: 5/9 16:55
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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brewster wrote:
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JCBORN wrote:
You can only convert to condos if the building is empty?

I believe you can convert it with tenants, and even sell the unit, though you won't get the same price with a rent controlled tenant as you would vacant.

Quote:

MDM wrote:
If she is in Zone R-1 (most of the Heights is R-1), she could only build a Bayonne Box 2 family. Better off rebuilding the 4 family.

Get the right builder and it will be a new building. I've seen it several times now that they leave a stick or 2 of the original standing as a "grandfathered zoning fig leaf" and basically build a completely new building. One 4 family, they even raised the ceiling height of every floor and doubled the lot coverage.
her building is 4 family....no rent control...bayonne boxes are fugly but i guess they make money...how much to build a bayonne box?


You don't understand, what we're saying is she's better off rebuilding the 4 family completely and give lip service to the zoning.

Posted on: 5/9 16:46
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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JCBORN wrote:
You can only convert to condos if the building is empty?

I believe you can convert it with tenants, and even sell the unit, though you won't get the same price with a rent controlled tenant as you would vacant.

Quote:

MDM wrote:
If she is in Zone R-1 (most of the Heights is R-1), she could only build a Bayonne Box 2 family. Better off rebuilding the 4 family.

Get the right builder and it will be a new building. I've seen it several times now that they leave a stick or 2 of the original standing as a "grandfathered zoning fig leaf" and basically build a completely new building. One 4 family, they even raised the ceiling height of every floor and doubled the lot coverage.
her building is 4 family....no rent control...bayonne boxes are fugly but i guess they make money...how much to build a bayonne box?

Posted on: 5/9 16:19
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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JCBORN wrote:
You can only convert to condos if the building is empty?

I believe you can convert it with tenants, and even sell the unit, though you won't get the same price with a rent controlled tenant as you would vacant.

Quote:

MDM wrote:
If she is in Zone R-1 (most of the Heights is R-1), she could only build a Bayonne Box 2 family. Better off rebuilding the 4 family.

Get the right builder and it will be a new building. I've seen it several times now that they leave a stick or 2 of the original standing as a "grandfathered zoning fig leaf" and basically build a completely new building. One 4 family, they even raised the ceiling height of every floor and doubled the lot coverage.

Posted on: 5/9 16:08
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Yvonne wrote:
When LeFrak was negotiating with JC, it had strong rent control laws. LeFrak refused to build high rises unless JC changed the laws and it did. New construction has a 99 year free period from rent control so basically, no rent control. That change happened sometime in the 1980s. It is the reason why so many older buildings became condos. In the 1970s many older building in downtown and Journal Square were rent controlled, basically, they are now all condos.
some people certainly know their JC history!

Posted on: 5/9 15:00
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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wow, I thought rent control only applied to older buildings built before 1969(?) containing 5 units or more. So, are you saying that JC could impose rent control on all those high rises?


From what I understand, Jersey City currently does not apply rent control to new construction. However, they could, but the State law preempts the city from doing so until the building is five years old.

Fulop's opponent in the last election ran on a platform of expanding rent control right down to single family homes.
scary! now i see why people vote republican!

Posted on: 5/9 15:00
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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When LeFrak was negotiating with JC, it had strong rent control laws. LeFrak refused to build high rises unless JC changed the laws and it did. New construction has a 99 year free period from rent control so basically, no rent control. That change happened sometime in the 1980s. It is the reason why so many older buildings became condos. In the 1970s many older building in downtown and Journal Square were rent controlled, basically, they are now all condos.

Posted on: 5/9 14:52
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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i have a friend in the Heights who has an old 4 family house...it's in good condition but she keeps wondering if she should tear down and build anew....condos or rentals? thoughts? how much is construction psf?


If she is in Zone R-1 (most of the Heights is R-1), she could only build a Bayonne Box 2 family. Better off rebuilding the 4 family. The extra 2 rents have gone a long way of making my home affordable.. especially during a past period of financial strain.

My building should have been torn down. It would have been cheaper and faster to build a new 4 family.. except zoning didn't allow it.

Posted on: 5/9 14:49
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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wow, I thought rent control only applied to older buildings built before 1969(?) containing 5 units or more. So, are you saying that JC could impose rent control on all those high rises?


From what I understand, Jersey City currently does not apply rent control to new construction. However, they could, but the State law preempts the city from doing so until the building is five years old.

Fulop's opponent in the last election ran on a platform of expanding rent control right down to single family homes.

Posted on: 5/9 14:47
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Did anyone on here convert a rent-control building into condos? Is that an easy process?


FYI, it still doesn't take it off rent control, one owner cannot own more than 4 units or it stay on. Plus you'd get killed by the tax increase! Condo and sell is a better plan. Even better plan is to scrape the typically crappy old building with funhouse floors and crumbling ceilings off the lot and start fresh building modern more valuable condos to sell. A lot of those rent control railroads are pretty awful living spaces, 11' wide, 65' long with windows only at the ends.
i have a friend in the Heights who has an old 4 family house...it's in good condition but she keeps wondering if she should tear down and build anew....condos or rentals? thoughts? how much is construction psf?

Posted on: 5/9 14:36
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Did anyone on here convert a rent-control building into condos? Is that an easy process?


Your big upfront expense will be bribing the tenants to leave. Typically this is 2 to 3 years worth of rent paid once the tenant leaves. Hoboken during the 1980s real estate boom was infamous for incidents of mafia lighting hitting buildings. Nothing gets rent controlled tenants out faster than a fire.

I did one building years ago that I got off rent control: I eliminated the commercial unit, turning it into a 4 family. You can do this with 6 and 8 family buildings as well.. Combine the apartments into huge units. Huge apartments though, especially in a downturn, can be harder to rent.

New construction (unless the state law changed since I less checked) is free from any local rent control ordinance for 5 years.
wow, I thought rent control only applied to older buildings built before 1969(?) containing 5 units or more. So, are you saying that JC could impose rent control on all those high rises?

Posted on: 5/9 14:31
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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This is what I was afraid of. What if you don't get all of your tenants out? You always have 1 or 2 tenants who think they will get $1M to move. You can only convert to condos if the building is empty? Although it is a good idea to combine apartments I think I would have problems converting them back to 6 units once I want to sell them off.


That is the issue. I had the luxury of buying when JC market was dead. The buildings I bought were in such sad shape that the tenants couldn't stay. They were emptied out by closing time. The building I live in, you could look through a hole in the floor of the 3rd floor bathroom and see the basement. Floors were rotted out all the way down.

You don't re-combine apartments. Most of Jersey City is now zone R-1, which limits you to a 2 family Bayonne Box. Grandfathered buildings can reduce units to get closer to R-1, but cannot add units, unless you go for a variance. Expect people to come out of the woodwork to oppose you adding units during the hearing.

Posted on: 5/9 14:15
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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MDM wrote:
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JCBORN wrote:
Did anyone on here convert a rent-control building into condos? Is that an easy process?


Your big upfront expense will be bribing the tenants to leave. Typically this is 2 to 3 years worth of rent paid once the tenant leaves. Hoboken during the 1980s real estate boom was infamous for incidents of mafia lighting hitting buildings. Nothing gets rent controlled tenants out faster than a fire.

I did one building years ago that I got off rent control: I eliminated the commercial unit, turning it into a 4 family. You can do this with 6 and 8 family buildings as well.. Combine the apartments into huge units. Huge apartments though, especially in a downturn, can be harder to rent.

New construction (unless the state law changed since I less checked) is free from any local rent control ordinance for 5 years.


This is what I was afraid of. What if you don't get all of your tenants out? You always have 1 or 2 tenants who think they will get $1M to move. You can only convert to condos if the building is empty? Although it is a good idea to combine apartments I think I would have problems converting them back to 6 units once I want to sell them off.

Posted on: 5/9 13:45
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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JCBORN wrote:
Did anyone on here convert a rent-control building into condos? Is that an easy process?


Your big upfront expense will be bribing the tenants to leave. Typically this is 2 to 3 years worth of rent paid once the tenant leaves. Hoboken during the 1980s real estate boom was infamous for incidents of mafia lighting hitting buildings. Nothing gets rent controlled tenants out faster than a fire.

I did one building years ago that I got off rent control: I eliminated the commercial unit, turning it into a 4 family. You can do this with 6 and 8 family buildings as well.. Combine the apartments into huge units. Huge apartments though, especially in a downturn, can be harder to rent.

New construction (unless the state law changed since I less checked) is free from any local rent control ordinance for 5 years.

Posted on: 5/9 12:29
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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JCBORN wrote:
Did anyone on here convert a rent-control building into condos? Is that an easy process?


FYI, it still doesn't take it off rent control, one owner cannot own more than 4 units or it stay on. Plus you'd get killed by the tax increase! Condo and sell is a better plan. Even better plan is to scrape the typically crappy old building with funhouse floors and crumbling ceilings off the lot and start fresh building modern more valuable condos to sell. A lot of those rent control railroads are pretty awful living spaces, 11' wide, 65' long with windows only at the ends.

Posted on: 5/9 1:29
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Did anyone on here convert a rent-control building into condos? Is that an easy process?

Posted on: 5/9 0:05
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Yvonne wrote:
I just read the ordinance purpose, the return will drop from 6% to 2.5% above the maximum passbook. More building will become condos.
this ordinance is very short-sighted

Posted on: 5/8 21:37
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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I just read the ordinance purpose, the return will drop from 6% to 2.5% above the maximum passbook. More building will become condos.

Posted on: 5/8 20:12
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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I'm glad the councilman brought this up. Hardly anyone knows that we even have a rent control ordinance. By all means we can discuss whether we should have one or whether it would accomplish its goals IF it was enforced. But compared to NYC, where rent control is a widely discussed issue and both the public and real estate professionals are aware of it, Jersey City has not done a good job making people aware of their rights and obligations.


I wish they did adopt the NYC rent control laws. They seem to be a little more reasonable in terms of doing what is best on both sides (LL and tenant). Jersey City's rent control ordinance is much more tenant friendly. If you read what they focus on you will see it is all one-sided. It's frustrating as a landlord. I can see why many convert to condos.

Posted on: 5/6 17:18
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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Hasn't most of the rent controlled properties gone to Section 8 (hence, avoiding rent control)?

Posted on: 5/6 16:34
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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I'm glad the councilman brought this up. Hardly anyone knows that we even have a rent control ordinance. By all means we can discuss whether we should have one or whether it would accomplish its goals IF it was enforced. But compared to NYC, where rent control is a widely discussed issue and both the public and real estate professionals are aware of it, Jersey City has not done a good job making people aware of their rights and obligations.

Posted on: 5/6 15:50
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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what rent control crisis. i see cheap apartments downtown all the time, whenever i pass by realtor offices


Wait, What? Do you understand what rent control is?

Rent control is a government program that places a limit on the amount that a landlord can demand for leasing a home or for renewing a lease. Rent control laws are usually enacted by municipalities and the details vary widely. All are intended to keep living costs affordable for lower-income residents.


I don't believe it is for lower-income residents. That would be Section 8. If you make too much money, then you would not qualify for section 8. Maybe the same should apply to rent-control.
You can make $1,000,000.00 /year and still live in a rent-control apartment. You can live in Florida and still not give up your rent control apartment in Jersey City. These are some reasons why I believe we need to update the ordinance.


Rent Control: yes you can make $1m year and live in rent control. there are no income limits on rent control - all you have to do is find a unit that qualifies. All buildings over xxx years old (I think it's 35 but I could be wrong) with 4+ units are rent controlled. The annual increase is set by the city.

Section 8: restricted to those with low incomes whereby the government subsidizes the rent by paying a portion of it directly to the landlord.

Affordable housing: units set aside for people making xxx% of the AMI. This includes Very low (30%) , low, moderate, and 120%, if I remember correctly. The number ranges based on # of people in the household, but a 1 person household can make up to somewhere in the $70k range to qualify at 120%. https://www.nj.gov/dca/affiliates/coah/reports/incomelimits.pdf

The problem with this conversation is that when (many) downtown residents complain about a lack of affordable housing they aren't talking about the people making $50k (or a family making $90k who has to pay most of their income for housing. What they're really saying is "because I can't afford to live on this block it's not fair." Guess what, if you're making $80k, $200k, whatever, the amount of affordable housing downtown will not impact your housing choice. It's lovely if everyone is just complaining because they're altruistic and are advocating on behalf of their less-fortunate neighbors, but I highly doubt that.
ret control start a 5 and above; not 4 and below


Correct. I said 4+ and I should have said more than four so as not to include four units. I certainly didn't imply four and below.

Posted on: 5/2 12:35
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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JCBORN wrote:
I also like how they say the average rent downtown. Does that average include the new luxury apartment buildings? It would be nice if they can tell us the average rent downtown for a rent-control apartment.


The info from Zillow, Trulia and the Census does not separate new and old buildings.

I don't know the average rent for a rent-controlled apartment -- a hard but potentially not impossible task, but would take a big public-records request. Did not have time to do that before yesterday's press conference.


I would think it is a simple ask. The article said they combed through 1,290 rent records. The information was already in their hands. If you looked at the average of a rent-control apartment I don't believe you would call it a crisis.
If a landlord renovates an apartment the city gets upset that they raise the rents. If they don't renovate an apartment the city calls them out for not fixing anything and accuse them of trying to force people out.

Posted on: 5/2 0:54
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Re: Jersey City Councilperson Reports Rent-Control Crisis Downtown
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NYC. Some of the strongest regulated rent control laws on the planet.
And by the way home to some of the highest rents on the planet and, just recently, hit an all-time high in terms of homelessness.

Go figure.....

Posted on: 5/2 0:45
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I also like how they say the average rent downtown. Does that average include the new luxury apartment buildings? It would be nice if they can tell us the average rent downtown for a rent-control apartment.


The info from Zillow, Trulia and the Census does not separate new and old buildings.

I don't know the average rent for a rent-controlled apartment -- a hard but potentially not impossible task, but would take a big public-records request. Did not have time to do that before yesterday's press conference.

Posted on: 5/1 22:35
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hero69 wrote:
what rent control crisis. i see cheap apartments downtown all the time, whenever i pass by realtor offices


Wait, What? Do you understand what rent control is?

Rent control is a government program that places a limit on the amount that a landlord can demand for leasing a home or for renewing a lease. Rent control laws are usually enacted by municipalities and the details vary widely. All are intended to keep living costs affordable for lower-income residents.


I don't believe it is for lower-income residents. That would be Section 8. If you make too much money, then you would not qualify for section 8. Maybe the same should apply to rent-control.
You can make $1,000,000.00 /year and still live in a rent-control apartment. You can live in Florida and still not give up your rent control apartment in Jersey City. These are some reasons why I believe we need to update the ordinance.


Rent Control: yes you can make $1m year and live in rent control. there are no income limits on rent control - all you have to do is find a unit that qualifies. All buildings over xxx years old (I think it's 35 but I could be wrong) with 4+ units are rent controlled. The annual increase is set by the city.

Section 8: restricted to those with low incomes whereby the government subsidizes the rent by paying a portion of it directly to the landlord.

Affordable housing: units set aside for people making xxx% of the AMI. This includes Very low (30%) , low, moderate, and 120%, if I remember correctly. The number ranges based on # of people in the household, but a 1 person household can make up to somewhere in the $70k range to qualify at 120%. https://www.nj.gov/dca/affiliates/coah/reports/incomelimits.pdf

The problem with this conversation is that when (many) downtown residents complain about a lack of affordable housing they aren't talking about the people making $50k (or a family making $90k who has to pay most of their income for housing. What they're really saying is "because I can't afford to live on this block it's not fair." Guess what, if you're making $80k, $200k, whatever, the amount of affordable housing downtown will not impact your housing choice. It's lovely if everyone is just complaining because they're altruistic and are advocating on behalf of their less-fortunate neighbors, but I highly doubt that.
ret control start a 5 and above; not 4 and below

Posted on: 5/1 14:07
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