St. Charles inching closer to rental property crackdown

St. Charles inching closer to rental property crackdown

 
 
Updated 11/14/2011 10:42 PM

Residents who appear to be guilty of a crime and landlords who don't maintain the outside of properties are not welcome in St. Charles' latest attempt to clean up rental properties.

After some resistance from local landlords and real estate agents, a majority of aldermen back a residential licensing and inspection program that would require landlord licensing and training for the first time. Lease agreements would also include a crime-free addendum.

 

That addendum would give landlords the authority to evict tenants if evidence suggests they are guilty of a crime anywhere, regardless of an actual criminal conviction.

City officials would begin regular, repeated inspections of the exteriors of rental properties for the first time.

Aldermen began discussing a residential licensing and inspection program in September. City police and staffers approached aldermen with the idea because crime and property code violations occur much more frequently at the city's 3,426 rental units.

The version of the proposal that has the most support right now would involve an initial cost of $6,500 and a new annual administration cost of $74,800.

But new fees for inspections could see the city turn a profit from the program. Landlords and perhaps ultimately tenants would pay from $25 for a condo unit to $1,200 for apartment complexes of more than 250 units.

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Landlords and real estate agents told aldermen Monday night they'd like to have more input on the program. City staffers said there is no need to create a task force of landlords to get that input because landlords could contact the city with questions or suggestions.

Aldermen ordered a draft ordinance to tweak and vote on within the next two or three months.

Alderman Ray Rogina was the lone "no" vote on moving forward with a framework that includes exterior inspections and no landlord task force.

"I still think that is the missing link before we move forward," Rogina said of a task force.

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