Glen Ellyn is following the lead of several other suburban communities by considering policies to regulate the quality of multifamily rental properties.
Officials say there are roughly 1,700 rental units in Glen Ellyn and some have been affected by issues such as pests, mold, a lack of fire and smoke alarms, and poor maintenance.
"We believe there are ... some apartment complexes that have code violations and are not at the standards that we think our residents deserve," Village Manager Mark Franz said.
Franz said the village needs to do more research into its options and receive more input before pursuing any new policies.
As it stands, officials said, the village learns about most problems in rental properties through resident complaints.
The village cannot conduct inspections inside rental units unless it receives permission from the renter or the owner, or there is a building permit for the dwelling, according to village documents. The fire department already conducts annual inspections of common areas.
Village board members were presented with a few options to consider at a Monday workshop but took no action.
One possibility the village could consider is a rental housing licensing program that would require multifamily rental properties to get a license so they can rent units.
That would allow the village to enforce safety and maintenance standards and inspect individual units, officials said. Such a proposal would exclude condos, townhouses and houses.
The licensing program could include a "crime-free housing element," officials said, that would require renters to sign a lease addendum that outlines the criminal activities that are not allowed. Residents who violate the agreement could lose their lease.
Another possible feature of crime-free housing is training from the police department for rental property owners and managers in issues such as fair housing and gang awareness.
The village also could consider a nuisance abatement ordinance, which means properties deemed nuisances could be cited and ordered to remedy any problems.
A survey conducted by the DuPage Mayors & Managers Conference indicates Addison, Bolingbrook, Hanover Park and Woodridge already require owners of multifamily residential properties to register and get a license to operate.