Landlords Beware: Revised Rent Control Law Still in Force


HB-116 will be a referendum on whether Illinois lawmakers choose to support working class tenants or the wealthy corporate real estate lobby, with small landlords caught in the middle.

6-Dec-21 ?? The battle between tenant advocacy groups and Chicago apartment owners is far from over, with a proposal for ?? and recently modified ?? Statewide Rent Control Act still in effect in the Illinois Legislature.

Under the new House Bill 116, Illinois would move from a state in which no local unit of government is authorized to enact rent controls to a state that would allow voters in any municipality to convene a referendum to remove a rent control ban.

HB-116 was presented by the State Representative Will guzzardi (D-39) on January 13, 2021. It was amended on April 19 and referred to the House Rules Committee. If passed by the Illinois legislature, Guzzardi’s bill would repeal the State Rent Control Act of 1997, a law that prohibits local governments from passing property control ordinances. rents.

If a municipality’s voters pass a rent-control referendum, it could limit the amount a landlord can increase rent at the end of a tenant’s lease, regardless of overspending or the landlord’s financial hardship.

Since there are currently no limits for landlords demanding excessive or unfair increases in residential and commercial rents, Guzzardi (left) said this has led to skyrocketing rents and increasing gentrification of once-stable neighborhoods . in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

While the passage of the highly controversial HB-116 is far from certain, it should serve as a wake-up call to owners, ?? said the owner’s lawyer Mike glasser (right), president of the Rogers Park Builders Group.

Michael glasser

The next floor vote is likely to be a referendum on whether Illinois lawmakers choose to support working-class tenants or the wealthy corporate real estate lobby, with “ma-and-pa” ? owners caught in the middle, say apartment experts.

The first rent control laws in the United States were passed locally in the 1920s. They gained popularity in the 1930s as the economy recovered from the Great Depression and cities saw a influx of workers during World War II. As the cost of housing skyrocketed after the war, with no new apartments being built, New York and other cities introduced price caps and rent freezes.

Expenses exceed income for many small owners

A recent survey by the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance (NBOA), which represents owners of small and medium-sized apartments, found that due to the pandemic, one-third of homeowners are spending more than their income and many no longer have the funds for basic building repairs.

A North Side owner, who manages a family portfolio of about 20 apartments in four small buildings, recently had four furnaces extinguished. The kind-hearted owner rushed to provide portable electric heaters because his furnace repairman said spare parts were out of stock due to the pandemic.

Earlier in the fall, the same owner had to make $ 3,000 in roof, gutter, hallway and stair repairs caused by ice storms and gutter failures last winter.

Due to the town’s rat outbreak, the owner has also added more rodent boxes to all of his properties and more frequent pest control service at a cost of several hundred dollars. He even had to make an emergency call to his pest control company to combat a swarm of wasps that invaded a building. The cost of wasp control was $ 275.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

The beleaguered owner has been hit by 2021 revaluation increases ranging from 38 to 63% on the four buildings in Logan Square, North Lincoln Square and Old Town.

?? We expect huge property tax increases on these properties when the second installment of the 2021 tax bill comes due in the summer of 2022, ?? he said. “Rent increases are going to be mandatory, just to pay off our mortgages.

NBOA says Illinois lawmakers should focus on the real housing crisis. Landlords can no longer maintain their buildings, as so many tenants are unable or unwilling to pay rent during the pandemic.

Nationally, only five states ?? California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York ?? Most Washington, DC, have localities with some form of rent control today.

Last month, voters in Minneapolis and St. Paul approved voting initiatives to allow the Twin Cities to cap rent increases at 3%. Santa Ana, Calif., Capped rent increases in October.

Michelle wu, Boston’s newly elected mayor, has campaigned this year on restoring rent controls, and 59 percent of voters polled support him.

Regardless of Illinois’ proposed rent control legislation, apartment owners and managers argue that the reassessment and Chicago mayor in 2021 Lori Lightfoot ?? s aggressive increases in property taxes ?? combined with significantly higher water and sewer costs and higher garbage costs ?? are forcing landlords to increase rents to maintain low profit margins or simply to break even.

Some apartment building owners in the city’s waterfront neighborhoods are scratching their heads and wondering if they will soon be forced into the rental subsidy business like Uncle Sam.


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