The Chicago Sun-Times published a story today explaining that advocates in favor of rent control are going to make the issue a referendum on ballots in the March, 2018 primary elections. I’ve been reporting on this movement this year and this latest tactic is one more attempt by rent control advocates to reverse a state-wide ban on rent control.
The Sun-Times reports that an advocate in support of the referendums, Chris Poulos, indicates that the rent control “…wouldn’t be an end-all, be-all and wouldn’t solve the affordable housing crisis we’re seeing, but it would effectively stop developers and landlords from doubling rents.” The article goes on indicate that “an average rent for an apartment in Chicago is $1,661”.
I don’t know about you landlords reading this blog, but I haven’t seen any of my landlord clients with rents around $1500 suddenly doubling rents to $3000. That would be one heck of a trick! I have, however, seen landlords paying higher and higher utility bills, being forced by the City to hire private recycling services, and the Chicago Board of Education granted the right to directly levy property taxes (so that the Aldermen don’t have to be seen as the bad guys voting for an increase???) along with Rahm’s epic property tax increase passed about two years ago.
Where do tenant’s advocates think that money is going to come from? The idea that the average landlord is a 1%’er living high on the hog while poor, put upon tenants suffer under the heels of the landlord is just plain fiction. It is a hard world out there. Is there a housing crisis in Chicago? Yes. Is it the landlord/property owner’s job to fix that? No. Perhaps a review of the onerous landlord laws (like the security deposit penalties in the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant ordinance) should be made by the powers that be when they analyze why there is less and less rental housing as landlords get out of the business or convert rental units to condos. The landlords I usually represent are just ordinary people who are struggling to make their mortgages.
Unfortunately, the tenant’s rights side of the ledger doesn’t really care about the struggles of those landlords and they don’t hide it. This is summed up in Chris Poulos’ final quote in the Sun-Times article: “This would be one piece of a larger housing legislation that would put people’s needs above the gains of landlords and developers.”
There you have it folks, teant’s rights over property rights. We’ve seen this play out in cities like New York. The tenants basically usurp their landlords. It doesn’t make economic success. Chicago landlords need to seriously consider whether they want to even continue their landlording operations in the City of Chicago (and maybe even the state)!