* From Lift the Ban…
The Lift the Ban Coalition applauds members of the Illinois House of Representatives’ Housing Committee for voting to pass HB116 (Chief Sponsor Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-39) out of the committee during a hearing on March 24.
HB116 would lift the 1997 Rent Control Pre-Emption Act, allowing Illinois’ municipalities to choose to enact rent control, a policy that limits the amount a landlord can raise rent at the end of a tenant’s lease and has been proven to stabilize communities by keeping families in their homes. The upcoming floor vote will be a referendum on whether Illinois’ Democrats choose to support working-class renters of color or the wealthy corporate real estate lobby.
Since 1997, the ban has prevented any Illinois city from stabilizing rents through rent control. Half of all renter households in Cook County are “rent burdened,” paying more than 30% of their income on rent [source]. There is no legal protection against a landlord raising a tenant’s rent by any amount.
“In these trying times, our state legislators should give local municipalities every tool that’s possible to stabilize and protect Illinois residents,” said Rod Wilson, executive director of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center. “Protecting renters should take precedence over protecting the real estate lobby and their price gouging of renters.”
The Coalition looks forward to continued collaboration with legislative allies including State Senator Robert Peters (D-13) to pass this legislation, and will continue the fight to bring rent control to Chicago and communities across the state.
* Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance…
Declining rent collections and rising rent arrearages are threatening the stability of neighborhood housing, and instead of finding ways to support this crucial industry, state legislators today advanced a measure that will further threaten housing.
Throughout the entire pandemic housing providers have exhausted their resources to operate and keep their buildings open despite many tenants unable or unwilling to pay rent. Instead of focusing on this problem, the Illinois House of Representatives Housing Committee passed legislation allowing for rent control throughout the State. In cities across the world, every major study has shown that rent control has actually harmed renters by reducing the supply of affordable housing and boosting rents for first-time renters. Rent control encourages housing providers and their bankers to exit markets where these measures are in place. In short, rent control makes housing more scarce and more expensive.
A recent survey conducted by the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance (NBOA), which represents smaller to medium sized housing providers, revealed that due to the pandemic one-third of smaller housing providers have expenses exceeding their revenues. In other words, these neighborhood housing providers, who provide the bulk of housing in region, no longer have the funding for basic building repairs. The following can be attributed to the NBOA:
“Legislators should be focused on the real housing crisis right in front of us which is property owners can no longer maintain their buildings as so many of their tenants are unable or unwilling to pay rent. Policy makers at the state and local level should focus on how the pandemic has forever changed housing before they enact new policies.”