As you know I have been a long-time staunch supporter of rent control as an important means of protecting Montclair’s diversity and ensuring this community remains welcoming and affordable for tenants. So, I am delighted to share the great news that, due to the dedicated efforts of many, Montclair is ready to adopt a new rent control ordinance. We have a deal that works for tenants, landlords, and the Township.
This has been a long and often contentious process. But I have been steadfast in my belief we could negotiate a resolution that works for everyone which is why I worked hard to keep the dialogue moving forward even at the toughest moments. Knowing there were so many along the way trying to undercut a deal, it was important to stand with tenants and stand firm that there would only be a deal if all parties agreed.
The agreement reflects needed protections for our tenants while making sure owners’ interests are respected. The ordinance creates a path forward with a Rent Control Board that will be the backbone of implementation and oversight. These volunteer board members will be a balanced cross section of Montclair stakeholders as set forth in the ordinance. We will have a Rent Control Officer and a formal complaint system, all part of making sure we create lasting change in our community.
The agreement reached also provides significant savings on the township’s legal costs. The Township will save 60% on legal fees. Additionally, the MPOA has agreed to give back half of the township’s remaining portion of legal fees to create a rental assistance fund.
This was a critical piece of the agreement we reached this week that protects our taxpayers as well. With this agreement, we will not have to continue to fight this out in the courts, which is a victory for all.
My commitment to rent control extends back to my days before becoming Mayor. I was proud to help lead the fight to pass the first ever rent control ordinance with my colleagues from the last Council.
As Mayor, my position has been clear, firm and consistent. My determination included my strong belief that if we came together as a community, we could reach an agreement. That is why I focused my energy on making sure negotiations continued that ultimately resulted in the agreement.
Today we stand poised to pass a new ordinance that reflects the hard work and commitment of the Tenants Organization of Montclair and the Montclair Property Owners Association and their willingness to work together for the betterment of our community. Congratulations to both. I am grateful to the stakeholders who were not distracted by those seeking to undermine or circumvent their hard work.
This agreement sends a strong and clear message to all our residents and all those looking to live here that we are a town that values diversity, opportunity, fairness and partnership.
I look forward to working with my colleagues on the council to move this ordinance so that we can celebrate these commonsense protections for residents, affirm our commitment to diversity and preserve the Montclair ideal.
Mayor Sean M. Spiller