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The List

It is fair to say that property owners and developers feel increasingly under siege, both in Chicago and across Illinois, with the flood of legislation that has been proposed or passed at all levels of government in recent months.

A group of RPBG members decided to try to document this legislation to see how bad it has become. When we were done, even we were surprised to see just how long and, frankly, ugly “The List” has become.

We cannot even say for sure that this list is comprehensive. The fact is, an ever expanding number of politicians at the city, county and state levels have almost been tripping over themselves, trying to find new and ever more creative ways to restrict our businesses and grant new benefits to tenants.

A hallmark of many of these proposed pieces of legislation has been the invention of ever more expansive views of tenants’ rights and the protections they are owed.

Needless to say, these rights and protections are almost always at the property owners’ expense. Even the very definition of “rental” and “owner” housing is being blurred. If current trends continue, renter and owner housing will be almost indistinguishable – the only difference being that renters will have many of the benefits of owner housing, but other than the payment of rent itself, none of the costs. Even the payment of rent is being challenged with the “cancel rent” movement – just one example of this dangerous trend.

This article need not be long. “The List” speaks for itself (click the images to view a PDF):

* 1: Eliminates the "in-lieu" fee. Increases affordable set-asides in new construction to as much as 30%, lowers income eligibility to as little as 20% of AMI.

* 2: More restrictive measures to preserve affordable housing in Woodlawn and prevent displacement, including 30% "affordable" in new developments in "pilot zone." This ordinance was rendered inactive by the "Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance" - see below.

* 3: Allows tenants unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 a 12-month grace period following the lifting of the Governor's Stay-at-Home Order.

* 4: Requires owners of large senior buildings to conduct wellness checks and provide additional services during a declared "health emergency."

* 5: Amends RLTO, to require as much as 120-day notice for non-revewal and rent increases and gives tenants a one-time "right to cure" in eviction cases up to final judgment.

* 6: In effect until 60 days after the Governor and Chief Judge lift the eviction moratorium and requires property owners to negotiate in good faith with tenant for seven days following expiration of 5-day notice before filing for eviction.

* 7: Would require property owners to provide tenants with "refrigerated air" when the outside temperature reaches 84 degrees or the heat index reaches 80 degrees.

* 8: Bans demolition of 2 and 3-flats in area surrounding 606 Trail; has been extended through Jan. 2021.

* 9: Would require demolition fee equal to 10% of the value of each "lost affordable unit" in the 606 Trail area and other, wide-ranging, city-wide requirements pertaining to recycled materials resulting from a demolition.

* 10: Limited to Woodlawn neighborhood. Sets aside as many as 30% of units in housing developed on City-owned land to families earning as little as 30% AMI; offers financial assistance to landlords who set aside for 30 years at least 20% of their units to families earning as little as 30% AMI; gives tenants in buildings 10 units or more the right of first refusal to buy their building before their landlord can sell.

* 11: 15-year plan for preserving affordable housing in Woodlawn approved by CPC.

* 12: Changes tenant-screening process, requires two-phase review process for criminal background checks. Can only consider prior convictions after conditionally approving the applicant and then only consider convictions from the past three years. If any convictions found, housing providers may decline the applicant after engaging in an “individualized assessment” to ascertain if the prior convictions render an applicant “a demonstrable risk to the tenants or to the property.”

* 13: Extends the reach of Chicago’s CRLTO to all portions of suburban Cook County that do not specifically opt out of it. The proposed Ordinance expands on the RLTO by further restricting late fees and owner occupied six flats or less are no longer exempt.

* 14: General Administrative Order prohibiting evictions during COVID-19 emergency, now extended through August 22.

* 15: Moratorium on evictions, now extended through Aug. 22.

* 16 & 17: Would remove State ban on local Rent Control legislation, did not advance out of Subcommittee, will be reintroduced in 2021.

* 18: Original proposal called for "cancellation" of rent and mortgage payments until statewide unemployment levels returned to near pre-COVID levels. Later amended to extend cancellation for 180 days following the lifting of the eviction moratorium.

* 19: Tenants entitled to have their lease renewed so long as they comply with terms of their current lease. The housing provider can recover their apartment only under limited exceptions and then must pay tenant a $10,600 "relocation fee."

* 20: Requires apartment building owners applying for city subsidies to maintain a 97% occupancy rate and set aside 20% for "medically vulnerable households."

Download a PDF version of The List here




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