Naperville’s Housing Advisory Commission listened to the concerns of residents regarding possible regulations on rental properties, including everything from mandating that landlords be licensed, to establishing a required Crime Free Multi-Housing program.
The real purpose of listening to residents was to see how much push-back city officials could expect to get. The more push-back, the less stringent the regulations, and the less push-back, the more stringent the regulations. The bottom line is that rental regulation is coming to Naperville.
On the surface it seems like a good idea, but the more your learn about it, the more oppressive the idea becomes. Government officials have a gift for making bad ideas sound good, simply by how they name or market them to the public. More seasoned readers can remember how tolls would be eliminated once the expressways were built. Or how every dollar gathered from the state lottery would go towards the education budget. Neither happened.
More recently and locally, Smart Meters were supposed to save residents a bundle of money off their electric bills; whatever happened to that promise. Or how about the ridiculous effort to push the electric vehicle concept and charging stations throughout the city. Nothing but crickets on that idea.
So now comes Crime Free Multi-Housing. Who could be against crime-free. Most every other city is doing it, so city officials are feeling pressured to jump on the idea because it’s a revenue generator, similar to red light cameras.
The State of Illinois is in trouble financially, which means there is less money for municipalities, which means they are in trouble. Landlords are property owners are easy targets for municipalities to increase cash flow, and a Crime Free Multi-Housing Program creates a revenue pipeline from landlords and property owners to the city coffers.
Once a renter, landlord, or property owner gets on a municipal Crime Free Multi-Housing bureaucratic bicycle, it’s next to impossible to get off it. Watchdog’s next mid-week posting (Wednesday) will give you an example of what can happen, because it happened to me recently in a Chicago area town.
To fully understand the downside of a Crime-Free ordinance, I encourage you to visit (PovertyLaw.org) and read “The Cost of Being ‘Crime-Free’: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances” by Emily Werth (August 2013)
When the proposed side effects of the medicine are worse than the actual ailment, it’s wise to keep the lid on the medicine.