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By John Ostapkovich

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A vote is scheduled for tonight in Cherry Hill, NJ on an amendment to a long-standing rent control ordinance.

And while the proposal has some people worried, a township official urges calm.

Cherry Hill has had rent control since the high inflation days of the mid-’70s, says Erin Gill, township director of policy and planning.  It was amended first in 1994 to allow new leases to be set without Rent Review Board input but renewals, even of those non-controlled new leases, would have it.

The current amendment for permanent vacany decontrol would eliminate Rent Review Board involvement in leases that were de-controlled at their outset.

“We’re not doing away with rent control, and we’re not phasing it out in the next couple of years,” Gill explains.  “I mean, this in not what’s happening here.”

Gill says tenants with a rent controlled lease will still be able to keep it.  If they leave, the new tenant would not have rent control at all.

The reason for this change, Gill says, is that under the current system landlords, denied modest annual increases, go for a “hardship increase,” which can be 12 to 15 percent.

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