We bought homes in Montclair in large part to join a diverse community. We love that Montclair has all different kinds of housing – single family houses, multi-family houses, apartments, condos, owner- occupied and rental houses – which enables people with a wide range of resources and income levels to all call Montclair home. But our Montclair community is changing, and we want to share why fighting for rent control in Montclair can help maintain the community we all know and love.
We believe rent control is critical to keeping Montclair affordable – it’s the right thing to do, so that all Montclair residents can stay in their homes. Additionally, affordability allows for more diversity.
As our town’s current Master Plan explains, “One of Montclair’s unique strengths is its diversity, both economic and social, and there is a danger of losing that diversity due to rising housing costs.” This is already happening.
A few Montclair facts:
Montclair is full of renters, with 42% of all households paying a landlord rent.
- Between 2000 and 2018, the proportion of Montclair renters who paid more than 30% of their income on rent increased from 8% to 43%
- From 2000 to 2019 the number of Black residents declined 26%.
- From 2000 to 2018, the number of upper-income households grew by 29% and lower and middle- income households declined by 14% and 12% respectively.
Montclair has responded to these trends. The town requires housing developers to set aside 20% of new units as affordable, but this has not been enforced across the board.vi Even if all the required affordable units were actually built, that would still only meet a fraction of the affordable housing needs in Montclair.vii Montclair can’t build its way out of our affordable housing problem.
Beginning in 2019, members of the Tenants Organization of Montclair (TOOM) held monthly meetings, organized and advocated. Their work resulted in the Town Council passing a moderate rent control ordinance this April. However, a group of multi-family property owners funded and formed the Montclair Property Owners Association (MPOA) and successfully challenged the Town in court.
Implementation of the rent control ordinance is on pause while the MPOA collects signatures to put the question to a vote on November’s ballot.
What can you do to help Montclair get its rent control ordinance implemented and help maintain the diversity of Montclair?
- Talk to your neighbors and friends about why Montclair needs rent control.
- Visit montclairrentcontrol.org to learn more and sign up to volunteer.
- Email TenantsOrganizationMontclair@gmail.com & Facebook @toomadvocacy to volunteer.
- Attend Montclair Town Council meetings and speak up for rent control.
- Vote for rent control if it appears on the ballot in November!
There is no reason for homeowners to be threatened by rent control. Property tax increases have happened in the past, without rent control, and they will likely continue, unrelated to rent control. Rent control will benefit all of us.
— Louisa Hackett, Liz Perez and Betsy Tessler are longtime Montclair homeowners.