Shortly after the 101st General Assembly was sworn in, a legislative advocate for rent control filed a bill seeking the repeal of an act that prevents price controls on rental property.
Illinois Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, who sought rent control in 2018, filed HB0255. The bill synopsis has one line which reads: “Repeals the Rent Control Preemption Act.” As is procedure, the bill has been referred to the House Rules Committee.
The filing was not unexpected. Three legislative bills were filed in 2018 seeking various forms of rent control, but none made it to a vote. A series of state Senate special committee hearings was held in the late summer and fall of 2018 to gain insight into the matter.
The Rent Control Preemption Act was passed in 1997 to protect private property rights. Illinois REALTORS® played a key role in passage of the act, which prevents illinois communities from seeking rent regulation.
Overturning the 1997 ban would allow Illinois’ multitude of local governments to craft policies which would infringe on property rights.
Illinois REALTORS® has been working to make sure lawmakers understand the problems that come with with rent control.
The association has long held that rent control could actually reduce available affordable housing options by forcing property owners to convert apartments to condos. This dynamic has happened in other cities with the restrictive policy.
Rent control would potentially have a serious impact on property assessments. Lower property assessments would result in less property taxes being collected, putting municipal budgets in peril. With decreased tax revenue, policymakers would have no option but to increase property taxes and fees.
The association has noted that imposing rent control would also create a vast bureaucracy, furthering adding to the potential tax burden for taxpayers who would have to pay for it.
Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Greg St. Aubin noted at the Chicago hearing: The rent control policy hurts everyone, not just those seeking affordable housing.