Joliet REALTORS® and landlords packed a land use committee meeting Wednesday and pled with the Joliet City Council: “Stop discouraging investment in the city.”
A small group of city council members are intent on passing ordinance changes that would license all landlords, vastly increase fees on property owners and mandate government inspections of all rental properties in Joliet.
Local Governmental Affairs Director Gideon Blustein asked the council members, “When the vast majority of property code violations are for owner/occupied housing, why would the city council consider spending $5 million dollars on a government boondoggle that only targets rentals? The council is basically trying to pass a tenant tax that will harm tens of thousands of renters in the city.”
REALTOR® Karen Robertson explained to the council how property investors pay more in property taxes (with no homestead exemption) and have higher fees than owner/occupied for many services such as water. When the council increased rental property water rates, Robertson said she lost money on rental properties. She stressed that landlords are already paying a premium to invest in Joliet.
REALTOR® and property manager Tanya Rand told the council her properties rarely have problems, except for minor violations which are quickly fixed. Since the system seems to be working for rental properties like hers, and most complaints are about owner/occupied properties, she facetiously asked why the council isn’t recommending inspections of every home in Joliet?
“You have a room full of people who every day make it their business to invest in Joliet,” said Blustein. “Let’s get down to business and work together to beautify and market Joliet as a place people want to call home.”
Despite the strong showing from opponents, the council will still consider new rental regulations in the coming months. Blustein said area REALTORS® must redouble their efforts to help educate local governments about the importance of property investment.