What will Illinois Rent Control Boards Look Like?

Tenants to get upper hand in fixing rents

Would you let your children determine how much allowance they get?  Would Apple let you choose your price for a flashy new iphone?  No?  Well, if the Illinois State Senators (Mattie Hunter – Patricia Van Pelt – Jacqueline Y. Collins, Kimberly A. Lightford, Martin A. Sandoval, Daniel Biss, Kwame Raoul, Antonio Muñoz and Omar Aquino) behind a plan (known as SB3512) to impose state-wide rent control get their way, they’ll be giving tenants the power to set rents.

Here’s how it will work.  Once passed, the law will create a rent control board in each and every county within the State of Illinois.  The board will be made up of nine members.  Two of the members will be tenants from households with earnings that are 60% or less than the median earnings in the county.  Two members will be tenants from households with earnings that are 120% or less than the median earnings in the county.  Two will be representatives of low-income housing advocacy groups.  There are six pro-tenant votes right off the bat.  The remaining three seats will be filled by board “members who own property in the county”.  Did you get that?  Property owners.  The law does not say “landlords” – it says property owners.  So, if you are a tenant’s rights advocate and you own property in the county, you can run for a seat on the board to get anywhere from one to the maximum of three landlords off of the board.

These will be the folks in charge of fixing rents and making decision on waivers of the rent control restrictions for those properties that are governed by the rent control law.  This will be a MAJOR shift in how rents are set state-wide.  Landlords who are not ready to let tenants make these kinds of decisions for them should get involved and talk to their representatives about this issue now.

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