Letter: Rabbonim need to control rent prices in Lakewood

I read the stories on TLS last week about the rent increases going on in Lakewood.

I, as a renter, am one of those affected by the craziness going on. For the last few years, I was paying the same price, and as of this coming September, my landlord will be raising rent by over 40%. It really is out of control.

Even if it’s not a legal issue, I (though I’m no Rav) truly believe there must be a Halachic issue with this. I’m basically being forced out and will need to find a cheaper place out of town. There’s no way it could be Muttar for a landlord to suddenly force a tenant out by raising the rent this much.

I think it’s time all Rabbonim in Lakewood get together to put rules in place for the town.

Thank you.

My name doesn’t matter, my idea does.


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  1. For the last few years you were paying the same price?! Of course the landlord can make up for all that missed time by raising 40%! If he didn’t need the money the last few years and now he does, your landlord shouldn’t be losing out now by not being able to raise the rent to current standards. Be thankful for the last few years that you were underpaying.

    • There’s only one solution to this problem & that is for the township to approve multi story highrises so that thousands of new apartments can be built. BMG is in the process of getting 500 apartments built on the land bought from Georgian College. Another 2000 apartments are needed ASAP to make rent affordable here. Our children won’t be able to live in this town if rents remain this high. I happen to be a landlord but I don’t want my children to be priced out of Lakewood. There’s not much our Rabbonim can do about this, there’s much the Township can do. Start contacting our elected officials & urge them to set aside land for apartment buildings.

  2. If the “Frum” landlords were to care about halacha they would ask a Rav like my landlord did. 5% increase was the Psak. Its disgusting how many people claim to be frum but do things like this.

    • I asked a dayan and was told I can go to full market rate. As a pshara, I only increased by half of the increase that I could get now. As a owner occupied home, I am not subject to the 5%. And when rates dropped a few years ago, my tenant threatened to leave if I didn’t drop the rent by $200 (a 20% decrease). You can’t have it both ways.

  3. If you feel your rent increase is beyond reasonable, you can legally withhold the difference, and he can take you to court for nonpayment but it’s upon the landlord to prove that the increase is reasonable.

    • You clearly have no clue what you’re talking about, and i truly hope nobody listens to your terrible advice, or they will end up on the street, with an eviction on their record.

  4. I can not wrap my head around this line of thinking. What makes a tenant entitled to below market rent. Maybe the Rabonim should control the prices of milk, gorceries, tuition, healthcare etc. Wake up we are all facing the rising costs of living aka inflation. A landlord is entitled to get fair market value for his apartment. If you cant afford the market rent move out. why does a landlord have to subsidize your cost of living. Why if someoe has a title of “Landlord” does he lose his rights to collect market rent. Democrats created this narrative that landlords are rich and have to subsidize tenants.

  5. Dear renter,

    I do hear your dilemma, and I don’t know if your raise needs to be 40%. However I will tell you that my taxes will be going up 300 dollars a month this coming year. I would love to not raise you, but unfortunately me not going into foreclosure benefits my family.

    Your landlord

    • We can all thank our committeemen for raising our property taxes. Especially after all the new expenditures they approved for themselves earlier this year.

    • How low were you paying until now??

      If you were raised 70% and you still arent moving out, you were clearly paying well below market rent until now.

      • I was paying market rent until now. I have no issue with raises, and in fact was willing and on board with a more than 10-15% increase considering the market, but what’s going on is out of control. I’m not moving, because we’re am I going to move to?

        Keep in mind that those of us who have been living in basements for several years already have tuition/similar high costs as homeowners. If I could afford a house, do you think I’d stay- or better don’t you think I would have bought a while ago?

        To be clear, aside from the Choshen Mishpat side of this- which is far from clear that this okay, what about the menchlichkeit? Is there no chiyuv to act in accordnace with basic manners to not do that to someone?

        BUT putting that all aside- that’s why I signed my name “crisis”. My main point is not about whether it’s right or wrong; my point is that this is a boiling crisis which nobody seems to be seriously recognizing or addressing.

        Anyone who responds to this letter and the first reaction is to attack us tenants as “freeloaders” looking for cheap rents is clearly missing the point. This is a crisis for us and we’re desperate.

  6. If a landlord didn’t raise the rent for a few years that’s his loss & doesn’t give him the LEGAL right to raise the rent above a small (5-10%) & he’s not able to kick out the tenant either, so putting halacha aside it’s not legal.

    • If the 5% number even applies here, (it doesn’t legally apply to private homeowners,) it’s cumulative, meaning he can raise it 5% for each previous year in which he did not raise the rent.

    • You are wrong. Look at the rent control laws (In a case where the tenant is entitled. Which is seldom). You may raise up to 4yrs worth of raises (20-26%) if the landlord didn’t raise during that time.

    • I Don’t think that is true, I think that you can raise it yearly by the set amount or every few years by that amount. however, if your rent is 1200 lets say and the limit is 5 percent, if you don’t raise it the first year you cant raise it 10 percent the next year, rather its 5 percent of 1200 and then 5 percent of the new rent.

      • Right. And cumulatively that is more than 20%.
        Year 1- 1,000
        Year 2 No raise (could have raised 5% to 1,050
        Year 2 – No raise (could have raised 5% to 1,102
        Year 3 – No raise (could have raise 5% to 1,157
        Year 4 – Raise 4 years at once to 1,215.
        A 21.5% increase from 1,000
        And tenant is much better off than had they been raised in earlier years and paid more all this time.

  7. Leave rabbanim out of it. If you have a shaila, ask a rav. If you have a dispute abt the rent, go to a dayan. Or din Torah. They can help u make a pshara. Stop creating more problems for everyone else, and stop
    entangling rabbanim, who are busy with real issues, into this issue.

  8. I’m a tenant who is also being affected by this. I live on a fixed income and have gotten a raise in salary of only 7%. How am I supposed to afford a rent increase of 50%? I rent because I can’t afford to buy. So for everyone kvetching about “market rent”, the other side is that frum families shouldn’t have to choose between taking tzeddakah and living in a frum neighborhood. I doubt the Eibishter wants landlords to be doing this so that they can make more money. Their mortgages that they have a fixed rate on haven’t changed unless they bought the house very recently.

    • But their grocery cost have changed, and clothing cost, and literally every other cost has changed. So if they can make up the difference by raising their rent good for them

      • I noticed you said “clothing cost”.
        Option A:
        Buy top of the line clothing, super fancy, really really good quality, and of course a famous name brand and of course this type of quality is really expensive–but money is no issue here- I can raise the rent and buy anything I want.
        Option B:
        Buy very nice clothing and super great quality but without those famous name brands that make it really expensive and you won’t have to raise the rent sky high. Maybe ask a Rav, if your tenant can’t afford the rent increase, maybe a portion of it can be deducted from Maaser money. That is a real special Mitzva to help a tenant survive and not to throw him out.

        • Clown!!!
          Everything has gone up across the board. The same company clothes you purchased a year ago cost more today. Secondly what about groceries and tuition and all the other things that have gone up for the landlords…
          Cmon man…

    • living in a frum neighborhood? there is a big usa with a lot of frum communities, do you know your landlords bank account, maybe he has expenses that you don’t know about and why should he take from tzeddakah?

  9. I agree 1000%. 2k for a 3 bedroom basement apartment that’s not even brand new. Where should all the newlywed kollel couples live??? How should they afford to stay in kollel. Parents can possibly give a little more as far as support but they can’t foot the 2k rent. Most people have tuitions and possibly more children they’re supporting or making chasunas. How is this feasible? Where should the Kollel couples move to? should they all go to work? The Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshiva should have stepped in last year before it skyrocketed thru the moon. Same is with the housing prices….

        • It’s one thing if someone just bought a home for $1m+ and needs to rent out the basement for $2k to cover his mortgage. It’s another story if the landlord still has his low mortgage from 15 years ago and is increasing the rent on his current tenants from $1200 to $2k just because that’s the ‘going rate’

          • Who cares what his mortgage rate is?
            Costs have gone up on everything in life.
            And who said basement rentals should be a chesed? If i can get more for something i have why shouldnt i?

  10. At the end of the day if you raise your tenants rent more than halachcally allowed you will have to give a din v’cheshbon. To raise it retroactively is just being a chazer its your problem you didn’t raise it or that u gave a 2 year lease. There’s a 5th Shulchan Orech as they say it’s called mentchlichkeit. You can raise the rent but be a mentch about it.

  11. don’t like to be a pessismist. But for the Rabbonim’s directives to be effective, they have to be unanimous and the community will have to follow the guidelines.

  12. Please keep in mind that property tax goes up every year. And house insurance just went up now about 50%. So when property tax and insurance goes up so does the mortgages payments.

  13. Its not a matter of leaving Rabbanim out. As frum yiddin we always listen to Rabbanim. Their are some major Frum communities (eg. Kiryas Yoel) that have some sort of rent control in place and it works in favor of both the landlord and the tenant.

  14. The whole housing situation in Lakewood and surrounding has gotten out of hand.
    As a renter, BH my landlords have been kind and have not fallen into the trend of raising rent. However they do want to possibly sell and then I have a huge dilemma.
    It seems that the new “going rates” for rent are way above anything that I guarantee 50% or more of Lakewood can afford. I work and my husband works and there is no feasible way to afford in the $3000-$4000 range per month by the time we pay our basics including tuition.
    We don’t vacation and we don’t shop much at all.
    I am at a loss as to how anyone is actually affording this.

    Yet ppl are telling me $3000s is the low range.

    So basically I may also be forced out of town while BH my children are doing well in school and we really don’t want to have to leave.

    Ribono shel olam helps….
    I’m not sure what everyone supposed to do.

    We absolutely should NOT just accept it as the new norm though because it’s not ok.

    Maybe we need some gevirim to build houses and sell them for cheaper and rent them for cheaper.

    How does any learning or working family that pays tuition etc afford to even buy a house without defaulting these days.

    I’m simply not understanding the numbers.

  15. To all those who say, “what does this have to with Rabbonim?”:
    The Am Ha’artzus is just rampant here. Of course we have precedent for Rabbonim getting involved in keeping prices down! (Though, they may not always be REQUIRED to do so.) See sugya Bava Basra 89-90
    And to see the extreme lengths that Chazal went to in order to brought prices down, see: Sukkah 34b, Pesachim 30a, Mishna Krisus 1,7 amongst others.
    And there are MANY gemaras which speak VERY derogatorily of those who inflate prices. (See Megilla 17b which says that the reason for the ninth beracha of Shemone Esrei is against the ones who raise prices and are “wicked”!)
    Yes, each situation is unique, but DEFINITELY, they used to involve Bais Din in the process.

  16. I’m sorry for you and hope that you can find a new home at a decent price really soon.
    As a landlord whose expenses went up like crazy, you’re right: I do wish that my tenant would leave and I can get a new tenant that would pay the going rate. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to kick out tenants in NJ if it’s not for my personal space, and I therefore am left with no choice but to raise the rent so I can afford my taxes and insurance.

  17. Shame on you for your comment that should never have been written nor printed. You now have a din of a “musser”, and that is 100% clear halacha (which the 5% increase is clearly not)

  18. Why are you all picking on the “landlord”? Why don’t you apply your made-up “halacha” of nothing greater than 5% when you fill up your car with gas, or with your electric company, or school where you send your children that raised everyone astronomically due to inflation?
    Are you paying only 5% more when your purchase your new car or for your new car lease?
    The landlord has an asset called an apartment and he is entitled to make what ever he can on that asset.
    You expect the jewelry store to sell you a watch at 5% more than he paid for it if the value of gold went up dramatically? Surely not.
    The problem of housing is universal (rent in E”Y is sky-high as it is in any other Yiddishe neighborhood). It cannot be solved by blaming the landlord.
    Wake up and smell the coffee.

  19. Its crazy i pay 3k and i have a nice appartment but even for that money they cant stay quiet upstairs!!!! they make an insane amount of noise!!!!! Hey landolrd I know exactly which kid you like and which child you pick on!!!! I know when your shalom bayis is good and I know when its bad!!!! we hear everyting down here!!!! so take your money that i give you every month and fix your “sound proof” that you promised me is upgraded!!!!

  20. ppl paid over a million dollars for their house the mortgage will have to be covered by charging their renter. can blame the builder that also needs to put bread on his table

  21. The difficulty with rent is that you can’t just go somewhere else. You’re somewhat stuck were you are. It costs to move and it costs to lose your neighbors. So its just not mentchlech for landlords to raise prices so fast. Getting Rabbanim to control rent is ridiculous. Their power should be left for upholding the halachos of the Torah not upholding low rent for people who want to pay less. If anything it’s the Rabbanim that started the attraction to Lakewood(i.e. BMG), they are the ones that increased the demand. Let them move out and those who are in Lakewood for them will move with them, those that are here for the Gashmiyus(or other reasons) will stay. Less demand, less rent. Solved.

  22. This is all part of an atheist agenda. Everyone is suffering. There are shortages and rising expenses all over. Tragedies abound, Lo Aleinu. Only Hashem can help. We’re too emotional, we can’t think clearly, fear has gripped us like a plague. As hard as it gets we must be kind to each other and try to help each other and share in each other’s burdens as much as we can.

  23. Just FYI – there are no rent control laws in place for a private house and basement. Rent control is only for commercial spaces, meaning 4 units or more. Your landlord can legally raise you whatever he wants.
    Hatzlacha Rabbah

  24. What’s going to happen that eventually landlords will outprice themselves and have empty basements. And the foreclosure business will be booming.
    You can only bleed people that much.
    Pigs get slaughtered.
    I am a landlord and have been working with my tenant to what we both feel is fair.

  25. Who decided that this is the “going rate” anyways?? Are basements really worth that much? All it takes is a few people who are willing to pay crazy prices and the next thing you know you can’t find a small basement in Lakewood for under $1800

  26. One is cordially invited to pray to Bore’ Olam for floose for whatever he/she needs & Bore’ Olam can respond with a resounding no. May all of klal have an easy, meaningful and safe fast, Biezrat Hashem.

  27. The solution is not for our Parnasim and Rabbanim to invent rent controls, which has been tried in E’Y(Sanhedria Murchevet)and did not succeed and any Bais Din(meaning, the “takana” by Rabbi A was not able to stop Mr. B charging Mr. C. however much he wanted).
    The solution is for the Parnasim and Rabbanim to work to create a community within 2 hours driving distance for the thousands, yes thousands of couple priced out of Lakewood.
    They can get BMG or Mir involved or do it as a grass roots thing.
    Raise 4 million dollars to open a small cheder and bais yakov, housing will be a 2k a month mortgage and the money saved willl be well more then the new 1k a month kollel raise. This seed money will save the yeshiva system as the way it is, any family starting in Kollel WILL NEVER AFFORD A 1,000,000 HOUSE IN LAKEWOOD!

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