Skokie passes comprehensive rental regulations after near two-year struggle

IAR GAD Howard Handler

The village of Skokie, nearly two years after it was first proposed, adopted a comprehensive rental regulation and crime-free ordinance on Jan. 6. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) and the members of the North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR) were there every step of the way and successfully negotiated a number of key changes with village officials, including:

  • Eliminating a provision that would empower Skokie to sentence real estate licensees to a property management course.
  • Changing the ordinance from “licensing” to “registration” which rescinds the ability of the village to prevent someone from renting their property.
  • Altering a provision that would have required sellers to correct any building code violations prior to sale; the ordinance now allows buyers to undertake the repair (if they post a bond).
  • And much more.

Still, the ordinance is burdensome and flawed. Some components of the new ordinance include:

  • All rental property owners (or their agent) must attend a property management course taught by a police officer with likely no background in property management.
  • All rental properties, including single-family homes, now must undergo a government inspection of the property prior to sale. This is in addition to regular, ongoing inspections of Skokie rental properties.
  • Landlords must begin eviction proceedings if their tenant is allegedly engaged in criminal activity anywhere in the world. The standards to determine if one is engaged in criminal activity is vague, but falls far short of conviction.
  • And more.

NSBAR and IAR have found the ordinance to be needlessly complicated, fraught with constitutional concerns, holds renters to different standards than the rest of the community, and will likely diminish demand for Skokie real estate. A number of other organizations also weighed in against all or various portions of the ordinance, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sargent Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, Open Communities, The Institute for Justice, the Skokie Independent Landlord Association, Housing Action Illinois and the Chicagoland Apartment Association.

To read the ordinance, click here.

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