Judge to Dismiss MPOA Lawsuit; Rent Control Ordinance on Hold Until Feb. 19

Members of TOOM celebrating earlier this month.

Montclair, NJ – The Township of Montclair announced Tuesday that Superior Court Judge Jeffrey B. Beacham stated he would sign an order dismissing the lawsuit brought against the Township of Montclair by the Montclair Property Owners Association. The ruling would end the Association’s challenge to the Township’s rent control ordinance.

Judge Beacham agreed to stay the order until February 19 when the Montclair Property Owners Association will argue that the judge should reconsider his ruling.

According to the Township, Montclair Property Owners Association attorney Charles Gormally stated the Association’s members wanted to hold off the effective date of the ordinance so that landlords could raise rents by more than 10 percent on vacant apartments before the ordinance could take effect.

“Enacting common sense rent control is important to maintaining the diversity of our township,” said Mayor Sean M. Spiller. “We are pleased that we moved one step closer seeing it become an attainable goal.”

A hearing will be held on February 19 on the motion for reconsideration.

Tenant Organization of Montclair (TOOM), who advocated for rent control, are still celebrating the victory.

“We continue to celebrate the fact we have a historic ordinance in place.” says TOOM’s Toni Martin. “The judge dismissed the lawsuit, and we are certain he knew what he was doing. Meanwhile, MPOA continues to try and maneuver to delegitimize tenants’ rights and destabilize Montclair’s diversity.We stand firm, and keep the faith that fairness will always prevail in our town.”

Montclair said yes to rent control when the Town Council voted for the ordinance on April 7, 2020, but an injunction that kept the ordinance from going into effect since April 17, 2020 was terminated Friday.

The ordinance, introduced at the March 10, 2020 council meeting, has had a long history of being discussed in Montclair, with efforts by William Scott, chairman of the local NAACP’s Housing Committee, and Tenants Organization of Montclair (TOOM), whose members spoke out passionately at council meetings, often attending with large groups of residents to make their presence known.

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