Skokie considers rental registration law for multi-family buildings

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As of today (August 30, 2012), other than a “crime free lease” law, the Village of Skokie does not have many specific landlord tenant ordinances.  That could change by next week.  On September 4, 2012, the Village Board will vote on a proposed ordinance to require licenses for multi-unit rental buildings. Two public hearings have already been held regarding the proposed law and although the law has had its share of critics, the Village Pubic Safety Commission has endorsed the ordinance.

The Village indicates that “Licensing of multi-unit buildings is quite common in the Chicago metropolitan area.”  Well, isn’t that swell?  My mother always used to tewll me that two wrongs don’t make a right.  I suspect that if all of Skokie’s friends jumped off of a cliff, Skokie would too.

The proposed law will require a licensing fee of $25 per rental property (touted by Skokie officials as a bargain compared to other municipalities with similar laws.  The funds will purportedly be used to hire a police officer to assist with the compliance of the law.  A police officer?  Not a building inspector? Yikes.  What’s going on here?  The law will also consist of “landlord training”.  This is starting to sound like a George Orwell novel.  There will also be inspections by “Property Standards and Police personnel” and enforcement of that ridiculous required “crime free lease addendum” (you know, the one that shifts the police department’s job of keeping crime down on to the landlord!).

The law will require that landlord enforce their crime free lease addendum.  To that end, if a crime is committed in a multi-unit building, the proposed ordinance indicates that the landlord will be sent notice of the criminal activity and must then initiate eviction procedures.  Ugh.  Government in action.

Unfortunately, proponents of laws like this hold up the banners of public safety and community improvement in order to make these laws breeze onto the books (who’s not for less crime?).  The trouble is that they place an unfair burden on the landlord.  There’s no other way to say it.  Read the law and see for yourself! There are already laws on the books that require buildings to be kept up to the building code.  There are criminal laws to put criminals in jail.  If you are a landlord or taxpayer in Skokie, be sure to let the mayor and your Village representatives know how you feel about this law.

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