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Proposed Program Would Enable Landlords to Boot Tenants Who Commit Crimes

But a new Illinois law might already make it possible for landlords to evict renters convicted of certain crimes.

St. Charles City Council members need more time and information to discuss a proposal that would requires licenses for and inspections of rental properties in St. Charles.

The Residential Rental Licensing and Rental program would protect the people by ensuring rental properties meet code requirements, prevent overcrowding and preserve property values. According to , the program would accomplish this through a fee-based license for those who own properties and establish required annual inspections of apartments and other rental properties.

In one of the more discussed topics during a Sept. 12 city council committee meeting, the program also would modify ordinances that allow landlords the ability to evict tenants charged with or convicted of crimes.

Landlords and rental property owners would be required to include a crime-free addendum or clause in renter leases. The addition would make “criminal activity” a lease violation and give the landlord the ability to start an eviction proceeding.

This measure wouldn’t necessarily coincide with a conviction of crime. Simply being charged could be grounds for eviction.

And at least one council members thinks the program as proposed doesn’t go far enough.

Ward 3 Alderman Bill Turner said the city needs “a lot more teeth” when it comes to crime and rental housing. He would like the city’s ordinance to require landlords to start eviction proceedings for criminals.

“I want our ordinance to say he has to evict him,” Turner said after Monday night’s Planning & Development committee meeting.

In his ward, Turner receives complaints from homeowners concerned about single-family homes turned into rental property and potential problems with those living in those properties.

St. Charles’ program likely will get more review. Committee members tabled discussion and sent it back to city staff with questions.

Among those was a question about recently signed Illinois law similar to the crime-free addendum proposed. The Illinois statute grants landlords the ability to void leases and evict tenants convicted of felonies or class A misdemeanors.

City staff working on the proposed program were asked to see it would fit with the new Illinois law.

“Why reinvent the wheel when someone has already chiseled it out for us?” said Cliff Carrignan, Ward 3 alderman and committee chairman.

The program is scheduled to return for more committee discussion on Nov. 14.

Updated Editor's Note: Later this week, St. Charles Patch will examine more aspects of the Residential Rental Licensing and Rental proposal, including mandatory rental property inspections and licensing fees.

Scott Dresmal September 13, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Wow! Isn't this the equivalent of "whitewashing" a neighborhood or town? I see lawsuits abounding as renters who are "charged with a crime" are acquitted and suing landlords and the city for evicting them. I would guess more than half the people charged with a crime in the US are acquitted. The Class A misdemeanor in particular is a slippery slope in this day and age. How many of us know of a divorce turned ugly where a spouse claims battery that never occurred? As long as the law says "well, just don't do it again" and "slapping the complainants wrist" this eviction law will be a disaster as false complaints will continue to be filed. I'd also like to know how these landlords are supposed to know who's charges with what crimes? Are they required to follow the Patch police blotter? Let's be real, this law is wanted to eliminate certain groups of people from the town. We've already seen the city play these games on the business side so now lets start working on the residential side.
Bad Idea September 18, 2011 at 07:58 PM
The damage has been done by the landlords of Saint Charles. The dump apartment complexes needed more than just new siding or pretty flowers in front of them. Its about time Saint Charles and its mayor listened to the people surrounding those buildings. To bad it took the rage of residents at those Towne Centre meetings for the town to listen up. We have had enough. Bikes stolen, high crime, mega impact on local schools, decline in property values and just now there is a interest in making landlords responsible. We all sat with our mouths hanging open when or mayor openly supported, more. And more for the person who ownes 469 of those problems. Your way to late Saint Charles. The damage is done and you have lost the trust of the people. The old boys club of Saint Charles is back tracking on there choice to ignore this issue for years. Remember this when you go to vote next year.
Jeff November 14, 2011 at 02:31 PM
So how much will the license cost and will the landlord also have to pony up annually for some sort of inspection fee? Where are the details on that?
Nick Swedberg November 14, 2011 at 03:06 PM
@Jeff—The options for the program will be presented tonight. I'll find out the answers to your questions (if possible). Thanks for asking.

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