Lawmakers move to lift rent control ban in Illinois

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(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers are closer than ever to allowing towns to cap how much landlords can charge for rent.

State Rep. Will Guzzardi’s House Bill 116 repeals Illinois’ statewide ban on local units of government imposing any type of rent control, which is generally known as caps on how much can be charged for a domicile or how much the cost can be increased annually. 

“I don’t think this policy comes at the exclusion of, for instance, additional subsidies to develop more affordable housing stock or to protect the naturally-existing affordable housing,” Guzzardi told the House Housing Committee Wednesday. 

Including Illinois, 33 states ban rent control.

Guzzardi amended the bill to require towns to “take measures to address the economic impact of such an ordinance or resolution upon owner-occupied residential properties of 8 or fewer units.”

It garnered enough votes to pass in the House’s Housing Committee Wednesday.

Opponents of the legislation compared allowing rent control to opening Pandora’s Box.

“The real estate market has finally begun to recover fifteen years after the market implosion,” said Rep. Sam Yingling, a Rockford Democrat and real estate agent. “It’s important to recognize that many of these landlords are not giant, faceless corporations but rather ‘ma and pa’ investors.”

Michael Mini, executive vice president of the Chicagoland Apartment Association and a member of the SHAPE Illinois Coalition, said rent control won’t fix the Chicago area’s affordable housing problem, rather worsen it.

“Price controls on rent negatively impact the housing market by deferring maintenance on existing housing and discouraging the construction of new housing,” he said. 

Guzzardi and others say rent control isn’t a silver bullet, but rather a tool in their mission to more affordable housing. 

Having made its way out of committee, House Bill 116 now heads to the House floor for consideration. 

Politics

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March 24, 2021 at 02:19PM

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