(The Center Square) – As both renters and property owners struggle amid the ongoing pandemic, an association said a proposed measure at the statehouse could reduce the availability of housing in the state.
State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, has House Bill 116 that would lift the prohibition of rent control around the state. An amendment he hopes is approved won’t change anything from where it is today, he said.
“Under the amendment, it would allow by referendum for municipalities to opt themselves out of this statewide preemption and allow themselves to consider ordinances that might constrain in some way a landlord’s ability to raise rent on their tenants,” Guzzardi said.
He said it’s one piece of a puzzle to a housing crisis that includes creating more affordable housing options.
“I think it’s local control. I think it’s democratic control. It’s letting the voters decide how their communities ought to be governed.”
Paul Arena, director of legislative affairs for the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, opposes House Bill 116, and Guzzardi’s amendment, saying it could create pockets of rent-controlled properties within a single jurisdiction.
“I think that in itself is problematic, separate from the concept of rent control not working,” Arena said.
Arena said it’s another in a series of proposed regulations on property owners on top of the ongoing eviction moratorium.
“The legislature has been relentless,” Arena said. “It’s one hostile action towards the housing industry after another.”
Arena said rent control could be beneficial for tenants in the short term, but in the long term, it will decrease property owner investment in upkeep and even lead to fewer available rental options.