Mt. Prospect may toughen crime-free housing laws

 
Updated 12/15/2011 4:17 PM

Mount Prospect is looking to toughen its Crime Free Housing ordinance and landlord-tenant regulations, which allow landlords to evict tenants responsible for creating a public nuisance.

Proposed changes outlined this week include modifying the ordinance so that the violation need not occur on or in a rental property, but anywhere in the village.

 

Another change would address the frequency of offenses. If individuals linked to a rental unit commit two violations, and one of them is a felony, it would be grounds for eviction.

Police Chief John Dahlberg said that the changes are being suggested in reaction to a variety of offenses committed in the village, including prostitution, burglary, felony theft, aggravated battery in relation to gang activity and felony criminal defacement of property.

"Criminals are mobile. We all know that," Dahlberg said. "If you're a criminal, it's not something you decide to do on any given day. That's your lifestyle. So when they visit other properties, they take those offenses with them and they offend on other properties."

The Crime Free Housing ordinance has been in place since 2007. Under the measure, a landlord who fails to act after three public nuisances in a unit or six violations on a multifamily property could lose the license to rent properties in the village.

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Mount Prospect police Cmdr. John Wagner said Thursday that evictions have taken place under the ordinance, but he was unavailable to provide specific numbers.

The village first enacted a set of landlord-tenant regulations in the early 1980s and was the second municipality in the state to do so.

"I know there was a lot of pushback originally, but I think most that went in skeptical and negative about it came out very positive, and all have said they learned a lot," Village Manager Michael Janonis said.

Landlords have been getting better tenants and ridding themselves of bad ones, while overall the housing stock in the village has improved, he added.

The proposed changes will receive further review at a future village board meeting.

• Daily Herald staff writer Matt Arado contributed to this report.

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