Landlord associations concerned about proposed rental legislation

Landlord associations concerned about proposed rental legislation

February 24, 2022 0 By Kevin Bessler

A bill in the General Assembly has some Illinois landlords fired up.

House Bill 2775 would require Illinois landlords to participate in the federal Section 8 housing program by amending the state’s Homeless Prevention Act, and would also create additional legal defenses for renters who have conflicts with ladlords.

Gideon Bluestein, senior director of Local Government and External Affairs with Illinois Realtors, said the bill is getting support in Springfield because the name is deceiving.

“They titled the bill ‘Homelessness Prevention’ and then they run around and pick up cosponsors based on that,” Bluestien said. “Go to legislators and say ‘Hey, don’t you want to cosponsor my homelessness Prevention bill?’ Well of course, sign me up.”

The legislation would protect renters from discrimination based on income, forcing landlords into participating in Section 8 or the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which is currently optional. Section 8 is rental assistance for low income individuals.

The legislation also would mandate that housing providers who require tenants or prospective tenants to have a certain threshold level of income to subtract any subsidies the tenant receives from the monthly rent before calculating if the income criteria has been met.

“This would specifically mandate participation in any and all programs that are offered to a tenant,” Bluestien said. “So that could be rental assistance programs or might be a private foundation’s program.”

The bill, which has dozens of cosponsors in the House and Senate, resulted in over 300 witnesses voicing support for the measure and around 50 expressing opposition.

Paul Arena, director of legislative affairs at the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, said if the legislation becomes law, landlords statewide will lose control.

“It’s a blank check for government to further control rental properties moving forward, and that’s why it’s so dangerous,” said Arena.

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