March 29, 2019 General Info

The Mayoral Runoff is April 2. What Does the Election Mean for Rent Control in Chicago?

The 2019 Chicago mayoral election is days away.  And whether Toni Preckwinkle or Lori Lightfoot is elected as Chicago's next mayor, some Chicagoans will continue to clamor for rent control in certain Chicago neighborhoods.  Where do the candidates stand on the issue?

The State of Rent Control in Illinois

There has been a statewide ban on rent control, officially known as the Rent Control Preemption Act, in Illinois since 1997.  This law prohibits municipalities from enacting any local measures to regulate the rent charged for apartments.  For more on the law, check out our primer on rent control for Chicago apartments.

A growing minority of state legislators led by State Representatives Will Guzzardi (39th-Logan Square, Hermosa) and Mary Flowers (31st-Oak Lawn) have sponsored bills to repeal the Rent Control Preemption Act. They enjoy grassroots support to overturn the ban from a group called “Lift the Ban," And Governor J.B. Pritzker campaigned on a progressive platform that endorsed repealing the law in 2018.

But industry groups including the Chicago Association of Realtors and Chicago Apartment Association have lobbied against the efforts to repeal the ban.  Currently, Rep. Guzzardi's bill, HB 255, which seeks merely to lift the ban and allow for local consideration of the issue of rent control, and Rep. Flowers' bill, HB 2192, which proposes to remove the preemption and divide the state into six regions, each regulated by a locally elected rent control board, are sitting in legislative committee.

The Mayoral Runoff and Rent Control in Chicago Apartments

On Tuesday, Chicagoans will head to the polls to choose between Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle.  Both candidates have outlined complex policy initiatives to address the shortage of affordable housing in Chicago. Landlords might be comforted to know that Lori Lightfoot's extensive policy paper on housing is silent about rent control -- she neither endorsed or opposed, but rather proposed a number of other initiatives to improve housing options for Chicagoans.  Toni Preckwinkle endorses lifting the ban and returning the issue to the control of local governments, but she has not suggested whether she would support a version of rent control in Chicago.  In other words, neither candidate appears to be a strong advocate of interfering with a landlord's choice in setting the rent at whatever the market will bear. 

Domu is neither in favor of nor opposed to rent control for Chicago apartments. It’s obviously important to keep up to speed on the debate, and as Chicago’s largest local apartment listing website, Domu will work to keep landlords and renters informed on updates to this central issue.