NJ town acts to help landlords lower rents

The News Leader

February 12, 2010 1:44:50 PM PST
Rents have been falling as landlords try to fill vacant apartments during these tough economic times. But some owners of rent regulated apartments in North Bergen, New Jersey, were worried that because of rent control regulation, once they lowered the rents they wouldn't be able to raise them when the market recovers.A few months ago landlords began to approach the town, telling of their fears about being stuck with low rents. The township's attorney Herbert Klitzner knew the government had to do something about it.

"It's mutually beneficial," he said. "The rent control guidelines were put in place to regulate how much a landlord could increase rents. It was never intended to deal with rate reductions."

The Board of Commissioners amended the ordinance, allowing landlords to drop rates and later raise them back up after the lease was up.

Angie Sanchez, a realtor with Century 21, says people are losing their homes and looking for rentals more and more, but can't necessarily afford a lot. "I think that's great," she said.

Yury Carrero, who has be been renting in North Bergen for years, said "It's a great deal to help people right now because they are losing their jobs, or having a lower wage to keep a job."

Klitzner, the Township attorney, said he wouldn't be surprised to see other municipalities follow North Bergen's lead.