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Wagner v. Ligham

Decided: February 8, 1956.

GEORGE J. WAGNER AND PROPERTY OWNERS PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION, INCORPORATED, A CORPORATION OF NEW JERSEY, PETITIONERS,
v.
CHESTER K. LIGHAM, STATE RENT CONTROL DIRECTOR OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT



Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Clapp, S.j.a.d.

Clapp

Pursuant to leave given in the last paragraph of our opinion in Wagner v. Ligham , 37 N.J. Super. 430, 432 (1955), petitioners have taken testimony and submitted it to us.

The testimony establishes that the petitioner, George J. Wagner, is the owner of an apartment house at 301 Broad Street, Newark, containing 16 apartments subject to the operation of the state rent control law and the regulations promulgated by the State Rent Control Director. It further establishes that he has under contemplation the making of applications for rent increases with respect to these apartments. But no proof was adduced which gives us any basis for determining that he has reasonable cause to apprehend injury from any one of the regulations which have been challenged in this proceeding. Cf. Public Service Railway Co. v. Camden , 95 N.J.L. 190 (E. & A. 1920). Moreover, there is no proof at all as to the other petitioner, Property Owners Protective Association, Inc.

Two of the regulations under attack may perhaps have some effect upon a great many applications for a rent increase; and we will therefore pass upon them on the theory that Mr. Wagner could quite possibly be affected by them in connection with the applications for rent increases which he now has under contemplation. We pass on these regulations even though we think he has not adequately established that he is entitled to declaratory relief with respect to them.

We have reference first to Regulations Part II, Article V, paragraph 9(b) (which may be abbreviated Reg. 2-5-9(b)).

N.J.S. 2 A:42-29 authorizes an increase in rent where

"(d) the rent being paid is substantially lower than the rent being paid for comparable dwelling units in the area or subarea."

Petitioners object to Reg. 2-5-9(b) firstly because it limits comparable dwelling units to "controlled units."

N.J.S. 2 A:42-20 authorizes the Director to make such

"reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary:

(1) adequately to effectuate the provisions of this act * * *."

We think it entirely reasonable on the part of the Director to require rentals to be fixed according to the amounts paid for controlled units. If decontrolled units were allowed as a ...


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