Sophia House Testifies Before Jersey City Council

News & Events | November 20th 2019 |

Furman Center Logo over buildings

On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, Furman Center Legal Fellow Sophia House testified before the Jersey City Council’s Rent Control Reform Committee as it evaluates Jersey City’s rent regulations. House’s testimony covered Furman Center research cataloging the diversity of rent regulation ordinances, identifying the decisions and tradeoffs involved in the designing and implementing these regulations. 

Throughout her testimony, House emphasized that in addition to carefully considering the regulations they choose to adopt, jurisdictions must decide how to monitor and enforce these laws as well. She described the outcomes of a recent Furman Center convening of housing policy and administration experts on this subject, which outlined the following principles as crucial to successful housing enforcement efforts: 

  • Charging a single agency with oversight on enforcement
  • Distinct and well-delineated roles for all government and non-profit partners
  • Clear language about tenants’ rights and recourse in leases
  • Landlord outreach and education 

House closed her testimony by noting that there is little empirical research on the effects of discrete components of rent regulation on tenant outcomes and housing markets, encouraging the Council to pair any legislative reforms with rigorous evaluation that will demonstrate the effects of various features of rent regulation. Read her testimony here.

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