By JOHN T. WARD
After three decades getting a discount, Red Bank tenants could have to pick up full cost-of-living increases starting later this year.
The borough council introduced an ordinance change Wednesday night that would allow landlords to increase rents by the full amount of the Consumer Price Index published by the federal Labor Department.
Since as far back as 1978 or even earlier, local increases have been capped at 60 percent of the CPI rise when a tenant pays for heat, and 80 percent when the landlord does.
The reason for the change, said Mayor Pasquale Menna, is that no one can remember the rationale for the discount, and no paper trail for it exists, leaving it open to a lawsuit.
“If it were challenged, we would not prevail,” said Menna, an attorney who made his political bones as a tenants’ advocate in the early 1980s. “It’s defective.”