By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The meetings of Red Bank’s Rent Leveling Board tend to fly under the radar, given the often sleepy agendas. But Thursday night’s meeting looks like an exception.
Lined up for the board’s consideration are three tenant complaints, making for a potentially packed evening for the five-member body.
Two of the complaints hinge on question of whether rent increases imposed at the at Colony House violate the borough’s rent control ordinance.
Three tenants in two apartments at the seven-story Bodman Place building have filed complaints saying that their rents have unjustly increased.
According to board Attorney Gene Anthony, the landlord, listed as Park Ridge, out of Lakewood, offered a move-in discount to the tenants when they entered their leases last year.
Now, the landlord has notified the tenants that the rent will be raised by an amount they believe is out of line with the consumer price index, which is used by borough ordinance to determine allowable rate increases under a borough rent-control ordinance.
Anthony said landlords are only allowed to raise rents by 80 percent of CPI once a year, or, if the landlord supplies heat, 100 percent of CPI.
The increases to the tenants of Colony House are well beyond what’s allowed by CPI, the tenants wrote in their complaints.
“The landlord tried to make up the difference by increasing rent,” Anthony said. “The issue is whether he can do that. The board has to determine what the base rent is and what the allowable increase is.”
The third matter facing the board Thursday is a health issue at Red Bank Terrace on Spring Street.
A tenant says in a complaint that, in addition to a list of structural problems at the apartment, his daughter was hospitalized with a respiratory condition caused by mold.
The mold built up over a period of time following a sewage leak in the wall between two units in March 2010, the complaint says. Correspondence obtained by redbankgreen shows a list of complaints by the tenant against the landlord, Kamson Corp., of Englewood Cliffs, and allegations that many of the degraded conditions peeling paint, cracks, leaks and faulty electric switches were not rectified as of March.
Because the agenda is heavier than usual, it’s possible all three complaints will not be heard, Anthony said.
The board meets at 7:30 p.m. at borough hall.