MONTCLAIR, NJ — Montclair’s rent control ordinance has endured, township officials say. On Friday, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Beacham ruled in favor of the Township of Montclair in a lawsuit with the Montclair Property Owners Association (MPOA).
The suit had sought a referendum election to repeal Montclair’s new rent control ordinance. An injunction has kept the ordinance from going into effect since April 17. It terminates Friday. Montclair town officials issued a statement about the ruling and what it means:
“Beacham upheld Municipal Clerk Angelese Bermudez Nieves’ determination that the petition and supplementary petition filed by the MPOA were insufficient, thereby ending efforts to place the rent control ordinance on the ballot. The ruling will allow the township to implement the rent control ordinance and establish a comprehensive program of rent regulation.”
The Montclair Township Council originally approved the ordinance on April 7.
“The township acknowledges the Montclair Tenants Organization and other tenants and landlords who actively supported the township during the past several months,” municipal officials stated. A spokesperson for the MPOA provided a statement about the ruling to Patch:
“Based on the clerk’s actions and lack of action, any cynical governmental body can reject any petition on the basis that they don’t like the way an online signature looks. The petitioners met and exceeded any reasonable burden by documenting its collection process and even having voters certify their intent. As a result of the clerk’s refusal to confirm their intent in signing the petition, the petitioners offered the court the option of calling the signatories as witnesses. We definitely were deprived of the right of petition, and whether that was a result of the incompleteness of the executive order or simply a rigging of the review, this is decision is going to be appealed.”