Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Why is Lakewood township abolishing the rent control board

I have a Big question: Why is Mayor Menashe Miller and the township suddenly and very quickly abolishing the Rent Control Board?? There was an ordnance in the last township committee meeting it read as follows:

An Ordinance Of The Township Of Lakewood, County Of Ocean, State Of New Jersey, Amending And Supplementing Chapter II Of The Revised General 09-01-16 4 Ordinances Of The Township Of Lakewood, Entitled “Administration”, By Repealing Section 2-49 (Rent Control Board), Inclusive, In Its Entirety.

Which developer/landlord is he working to protect??? There was never even a discussion about this important issue at any previous committee meeting? Why did he quietly sneak in (during summer Bein Hazmanim) at the bottom of last Thursdays Agenda a total repeal of the Township Ordinance requiring a Rent Control Board? How will this help the struggling yungeleit and other hardworking tenants from being exploited by unfair rental practices?
More on this at Yudels blog
See the rental control board section below of Lakewood township:

Section 2-49       RENT CONTROL BOARD.

       2-49.1       Creation.

       There is hereby created the Township of Lakewood Rent Control Board hereinafter referred to as Board, consisting of seven (7) members. Members shall be appointed by the Township Committee and shall serve without compensation. (1971 Code § 2-26.1)

       2-49.2       Eligibility of Members.

       Two (2) members shall be appointed from tenants residing in the Township; two (2) members shall be appointed from landlords owning residential rented property within the Township or from officers, directors, stockholders, partners or agents of any corporation, partnership or joint venture owning residential rented property within the Township; and three (3) members shall be appointed from residents within the Township who are neither a landlord nor a tenant. (1971 Code § 2-26.2)

       2-49.3       Terms.

       Each member of the Board shall serve for a period of one (1) year. (1971 Code § 2-26.3)

       2-49.4       Alternate Members.

       Two (2) alternate members may be appointed by the Township Committee to the Board for a term of one (1) year and shall vote on matters before the Board only in the absence or disqualification of regular members. (1971 Code § 2-26.4)

       2-49.5       Conflict of Interest.

       No member or alternate member shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he or she has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interests. (1971 Code § 2-26.5)

       2-49.6       Removal.

       A member may be removed by the Governing Body for good cause provided a public hearing is held if so requested. (1971 Code § 2-26.6)

       2-49.7       Vacancy.

       If any vacancy shall occur, it shall be filled by appointment as above provided for the unexpired term. (1971 Code § 2-26.7)

       2-49.8       Quorum.

       A majority of the whole number of regular members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum is not present one-half (1/2) hour after the designated time for any meeting, the Chairman or Presiding Officer may declare the meeting adjourned. No decision shall be rendered by the Board without the affirmative vote of the majority of the quorum. (1971 Code § 2-26.8)

       2-49.9       Chairman and Vice Chairman.

       Regular members of the Boars shall annually choose a Chairman and Vice-chairman to preside over all meetings of the Board. In the absence of both the Chairman and Vice-chairman, the majority of the quorum shall appoint a Chairman Pro Tem from the members present. (1971 Code § 2-26.9)

       2-49.10     Powers.

       The Rent Control Board shall have and exercise, in addition to other powers granted herein, all the powers necessary and appropriate to carry out and execute the purposes of the Rent Control regulations, including but not limited to, the power:

       a.     To adopt bylaws governing its procedural operation.

       b.     To supply information and assistance to landlords and tenants to help them comply with the provisions of the Rent Control regulations, including all necessary statistical information of the consumer price index and computation of proper rental increases and tax and service surcharges;

       c.     To remedy violations of the Rent Control regulations by adjusting rentals, ordering rebates or taking any other authorized action to enforce compliance with the Rent Control regulations.

Editor's Note: Refer to Chapter XIV, Rent Control.

       d.     To accept complaints from tenants of illegal rental increases.

       e.     To accept applications from landlords who are seeking rental increase based on hardship, unusual expenses, tax surcharge or other circumstances under which said increase might be allowed after a hearing.

       f.     To reduce rents based on landlord's breach of covenants in lease or implied covenants, such as habitability.

       g.     To adjust rents based on landlord's subsequent change in position caused by law or economic conditions.

       h.     To review applications and investigate complaints if necessary prior to rendering final decisions in any case.
(1971 Code § 2-26.10)

       2-49.11     Hearings.

       The Board shall hold a hearing on each application or complaint properly presented to it.

       a.     The presiding officer or such person as may be designated by the presiding officer shall have the power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas, to compel the attendance of witnesses and production of relevant evidence, including witnesses and documents presented by the parties. The provisions of the "County and Municipal Investigations Law," N.J.S.A. 2A:67A-1 et seq. shall apply.

       b.     The testimony of all witnesses shall be taken under oath or affirmation by the presiding officer or such person as he shall designate, and the right of cross-examination shall be permitted to all interested parties, subject to the discretion of the presiding officer and to reasonable limitations as to time and number of witnesses.

       c.     Technical rules of evidence shall not be applicable to the hearing, but the Board may exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence.

       d.     The Board shall provide for the verbatim recording of the proceedings by either stenographer, mechanical or electronic means. The Board shall furnish a transcript, or duplicate recording in lieu thereof, on request to any interested party at no cost or a reasonable cost if the Board so decides.

       e.     Each decision shall be in writing and incorporated within or attached to a written resolution of the Board. The decision shall include findings of fact and conclusions based thereon.
(1971 Code § 2-26.11)

       2-49.12     Assistance.

       Insofar as may be practicable, the employees and assistants required by the Board shall be recruited from the public officers and employees of the Township. From time to time the Board shall make known to the Township Committee its wants in the nature of services by employees and the Township Committee shall designate which of the employees, if any, shall render this service. (1971 Code § 2-26.12)

       2-49.13     Eligibility to Vote.

       No member of the Board or alternate shall be allowed to vote on a case for which that member has not been present for the full hearing or hearing concerning the case unless the member testifies under oath that he or she has listened to a verbatim recording of the case or read a verbatim transcript of same prior to voting thereon. (1971 Code § 2-26.13)

       2-49.14     Appeals.

       Both landlords and tenants may appeal the decision of the Board to a court of competent jurisdiction according to law. (1971 Code § 2-26.14)

       2-49.15     Hearing Procedure; Time Requirements; Prehearing Conference.

       It is expressly recognized and therefore the intent of this section that landlords are entitled to fair and efficient administrative relief upon filing and application for a rental increase.

       a.     Hearing Procedure; Time Requirements; Prehearing Conference. Within fifteen (15) days after the receipt of a properly filed and completed application for a rental increase, the Attorney for the Rent Control Board may schedule a prehearing conference which may include the landlord, tenants and/or their representatives, for the purpose of ascertaining facts, specifying issues in dispute, providing names and reports of expert witnesses, establishing stipulated facts, and determining whether the application is complete.

       The Rent Control Board shall, within thirty (30) days of the prehearing conference, or within forty-five (45) days of the receipt of a properly filed and completed application for a rental increase, schedule a hearing for the application.

       The Rent Control Board shall, within sixty (60) days following the proper filing of a completed application for a rental increase, render a decision on the application.

       If, due to no fault of the landlord, the Rent Control Board does not render a decision on a properly filed and completed application for a rental increase within sixty (60) days of receipt of same, the landlord shall be entitled to have any rental increase granted on the application, applied retroactively to the first rental payment period thirty (30) days after the filing of the application.
(1971 Code § 2-26.17)




  3. Every town in NJ, save for a few wealthy towns that have no rentals, has a Rent Control Board. Once again we see Mayor Miller and Meir Lichtenstein ( owner of a property mangement company) imposing their personal desires over what is best for our community. Their intentions of giving the job over to a single paid individual is ridiculous. Their assertion that cases can be brought before the county rent control board is comical, since no such board exists. I sincerely hope Menashe and Meir realize they were just caught red handed and will stop this action immediately. And then they should both resign so we can get some good stuff done around here.

  4. This is outright corruption! The rent control board is an "volunteer" board and as government officials they must abide to various ethics regulations. But this new well-connected community advocate is far from a volunteer. He is getting a paid contract! He also is not biund by any of the Government Officer regulations and can decide however he decides to "mediate." What if he has a conflict of interest? Is he required to divulge it under the same criminal penalties a Government Board Member has?? And even if he decides not to get involved and make decisions.. Then what option does a poor tenant have for help? After all, Menashe Miller is revoking the ability for anyone else to decide.. This is a local Lakewood Law. These issues have ALWAYS been decided by the Board. The whole fiasco is so bizarre..

    Again, WHO are these individual Committeemen trying to protect?? Certainely not the tzibbur of bnei torah! I demand an investigation!!

  5. Which developer in town is the landlord for all of the Westgate rental units? What kind of political (or other) connections does the landlord & his partners have with Menashe Miller & Meir Lichtenstein (or Meir's real estate management company)?? It's incredible that these "committeemen" will abolish an entire Government Board just to protect a good "friend." Do they really believe they can quickly sneak this corrupt act before anyone realizes? They're trying to get away with some very shady stuff right under our very noses! People are talking Menashe & Meir.. You're being sloppy...

  6. A few months ago someone took westgate to the board I wonder if it has anything to do with that

  7. This is such a chutzpah! How dare mayor miller and his henchmen steal my rent control protections right under my feet. They asked me and my chaveirim to vote for them and now they try to hurt me! This is so unbelievable.

    Since when does any town shut down a volunteer Board and hire a connected advocate to the job!? Something really stinks here. I just saw the video and I could not believe that menashe miller did the whole first reading in only 25 seconds!!!! Apparently, he wants to sneak this thing through so fast that he hopes no one will notice. Disgusting! Doesn't he care about the thousands of tenants who will be forced to live with the consequences of his reckless action?? Does he not know that his Yom HaDin is just around the corner..

    1. Maybe you you're Chaverim should've listened to Herschel when he spoke about all of this, for years, instead of labeling him a rabble rouser......than you wouldn't feel so betrayed by the smooth talker and his Chaverim.

  8. What's the urgency to REPEAL the Rent Control Board so quickly? Why is Menashe scared to have a referendum and let the tzibbur voice their vote on this critical issue? We all realiza that neither Menashe or Meir or anyone else on the Committee are not tenants, so maybe they just don't care about the poorer tenants and yungelleit.. Not all of us are as well to do as many of theae committeemen. But they are supposed to be representing ALL of us -- not just their rich and connected developer friends!


  10. Did Menashe actually tell the reporter at the Lakewood Shopper that if the low-income advocate from STEPS (solutions to end poverty soon) is incapable of understanding & resolving a more complex rent case then the tenant can go to the "County Rent Control Board"?!! Is he for real?!!!!! THERE IS NO COUNTY RENT CONTROL BOARD. It's unbelievable how low these politicians will stoop -- to the point of making up outright lies!!!

    What other lies have they been spreading and hoping the tzibbur won't fact check.. This is the epitome of reckless governing! Time for them to move on or face some serious legal music!

  11. These guys are terrible. If the VAAD didnt endorse them they would be voted out in a second. Sick sick sick.

    1. Who cares what the Vaad does or doesn't do? Can you not think for your self? Shouldn't a Ben Torah have an Eigene Daas when it comes to politics? Do you have to be told everything?

  12. welcome everyone to such a corrupt world & town we are living in. a pure chillul Hashem for everyone that know who runs lakewood & jews are on the township corrupting everyone from their proper rites & freedoms etc...

    ashamed to be in such a corrupt town

  13. This sounds so outrageous that I need to hear from Miller and co before forming an opinion.

    No I'm not a renter and yes I own rental properties.

  14. Another day, another corrupt act..

  15. Did I hear someone say I N V E S T I G A T I O N ? ? ?

  16. I'm adding this rent control board abolishment to a long list of shady deals menashe has his hand in. How does our Mayor even try to get away with placing this item at last minute onto the bottom of the Agenda? Why couldn't he ask the thousands of tenant constituents in town before voting on this drastic action? It smells worse than a skunk!

  17. This one is probably more on mayer c than menash. Mayor has a management company working for many big landlords in town. He would know better about the rent control board. Did you notice that mayer was missing from the last 2 committee meetings. Let's watch and see how he votes on it next week.

  18. The Second and Final reading to REPEAL the rent control board was already scheduled by Menashe to take place next Thursday, September 15th. Let's make sure everyone we know hears about this.