Tuesday, June 26, 2012, at 6pm in the DeKalb city council chambers there is a special joint meeting between the City Council and the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force. The proposed new laws will affect homeowners and renters including those residing in single or multifamily homes. Property owners could be held financially accountable for a disorderly house due to the actions of a tenant or visitor. Investment property owners could lose their license to rent their properties and then be subject to stricter vacant home regulations.
The funds are not available to cover the costs of the new regulations so a new revenue source must be identified and created. Mayor Povlsen has mentioned an increase in property taxes as a revenue source and seems adamant that those costs not be borne by the landlords.
A similar program like this has been on the shelf with city planners for more than a decade. A rental inspection – nuisance ordinance program was proposed some five years ago but it was rejected due to public opposition and budget woes in city finance. Versions are in practice in many communities throughout the United States and are frequent among college towns. Proponents say the increased regulation of residential homes provide landlords, neighbors and municipal government more tools to fight against such things as crime, disorderly conduct, property neglect and neighborhood decay.
Opponents say such regulatory practices raise costs unnecessarily and sometimes prohibitively and can subject property owners to unfair punitive measures.
The DeKalb Area Rental Association has met with the mayor and city council members to provide insight to the affect these regulations might have and express their concerns. The group has produced a weekly radio show mornings on WLBK AM1360 to inform the public and to promote a “reasonable man” approach to some of these regulations.
Tuesday’s special meeting should be highly attended but an important segment of the community will likely not be in attendance. It is a population much of the rules rewriting has to do with. NIU is not in session and most of the students are not in town to participate and be informed of the issues and developments.
How much authority, if any, the new regulations would have on Northern Illinois University is not known. It would seem to be an important question with Northern’s expansion into the residential marketplace.
For more background information read Lynn Fazekas’ related article on CityBarbs.