March 22, 2017

The Chicago Rent Control Bill Explained

Have you heard that the state representative from Logan Square is hoping to make rent control a possibility for Chicago?  Here’s what Chicago landlords need to know about the bill (HB 2430):

  1. Currently, Chicago Landlords Can Raise The Rent At The End of the Lease. Many major U.S. cities have rent control—which means that local laws regulate or prohibit the raising of rent. But Chicago is not among them. While Chicago’s Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance provides many protections to renters, it does not shield renters from landlords who wish to raise the rent at the termination of the lease (whether annual or month-to-month).                                                                    
  2. Illinois law currently prohibits cities from enacting rent control. Illinois passed a law in 1997, called the Rent Control Preemption Act, that prohibits municipalities from enacting, maintaining, or enforcing measures that control the amount of rent charged for leasing residential property. Unless this law is repealed, Chicago’s City Council cannot enact local rent control. HB 2430 aims to do just that. The bill says, in its entirety: “The Rent Control Preemption Act is Repealed.”                                                                       
  3. Rents are rising quickly in Logan Square, Pilsen, and Hermosaand residents are clamoring for protection. In neighborhoods including Logan Square, Avondale, Pilsen, Hermosa and Hyde Park, rents are rising so quickly that some long-time residents are being pushed out. State Representative Will Guzzardi, who represents Logan Square in the General Assembly, argues that rent control is a protection against the excesses of the free market, not unlike the minimum wage. State representatives from Belmont-Cragin, Berwyn, Cicero, Urbana, and Oak Park have co-sponsored the legislation.​                             
  4. What is the process for enacting rent control? Representative Guzzardi’s bill must pass both houses of the General Assembly and be signed by Governor Rauner – or, if vetoed, be supported by 3/5 of both houses—in order to become law. Then, Chicago’s city council would have the option to submit a rent control bill to Mayor Emanuel.​                                                           
  5. What are the chances that Chicago landlords will be subject to rent control anytime soon? The bill is facing stiff opposition from the Chicagoland Apartment Association and the Illinois Association of Realtors. Critics of rent control argue that it detracts from the availability of quality low-income housing because it discourages landlords from investing in maintenance or improvements. With CPS and the state so hungry for property tax dollars, other affordable housing initiatives would likely face fewer political hurdles than would rent control. 
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