IAR successfully urges changes to Oak Park rental ordinance

In November, the Village of Oak Park introduced an ordinance entitled “Crime Free Housing Ordinance.”

The stated purpose is to help prevent criminal activities in rental housing. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® has faced this kind of proposal several times in recent years. IAR has worked with municipalities to ensure that the new requirements are not a de facto form of punishment of landlords who did not participate in the crime and who could not reasonably be expected to prevent the crime.

The Oak Park proposal establishes a process for the Village to identify “criminal nuisance properties.” REALTORS® recommended the inclusion of an “affirmative defense” for a property owner who could not prevent the criminal behavior of those residing in or visiting the property. We recommended that this provision for an “innocent owner” be applied to Village administrative hearings as well as a case in Court (brought by the Village).

We also recommended other language changes in the proposal to ensure that any owner who works with the Police on a crime prevention measure (e.g. enhanced security on the property, better lighting, etc.) would not be found in violation of the Ordinance. The Village Board concurred with the recommendations we made and on Dec. 9, the revised ordinance passed.

The ordinance also calls for “crime-free” content (i.e. steps to help prevent crime in rental buildings) to be included in the Village’s annual seminar for the Village’s residential landlords. In addition, landlords are required to use a “crime-free” lease addendum with all leases; this would make criminal activity on the property a lease violation and cause for eviction.

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About Mike Scobey

Mike Scobey is Assistant Director - Advocacy and Local Issues. He supervises and coordinates the IAR Issue Advocacy Program which includes the coordination and management of Issue Advocacy campaigns, inside research, outside research and polling, legal analyses of local government proposals and public relations/education projects. He is responsible for the production of educational and advocacy pieces related to the local government affairs program. He also oversees the local Governmental Affairs Director (GAD) program which includes serving as a liaison to the local GADs and other staff on issue development and prioritization and overall campaign design. He provides staff support to the Commercial/Industrial/Investment Committee.

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