Study calls for St. Charles to revive rental housing inspection plan
A final draft of a regional study exploring housing needs in St. Charles revived a call for a licensing and inspection program for rental units in the city, a plan that quietly died the last time the city pitched such an idea after opposition mounted.
The licensing and inspection program is one of seven recommendations in a report from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and Kane County. The focus of the free study was determining the need for housing stock in St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva and North Aurora between now and 2040.
St. Charles officials last debated a licensing and inspection program for rental housing and landlords in 2012. The idea was to force landlords to receive training on being good property managers, institute annual inspections to the exterior of rental properties, and create a new method to help landlords evict tenants if there is substantial evidence the tenant committed a serious crime.
But landlords said they didn't want to pay an annual licensing fee or be forced to live within 50 miles of their rental properties in the city. City officials tabled the plan in favor of enhanced communication between landlords and police.
The study recommends revisiting and possibly modifying the proposal to make it more palatable to landlords.
"Licensing and inspections of rental units would ensure that all rental housing in the city is safe for occupants and well-maintained so as to protect the long-term viability of the unit as well as surrounding property values," the study said.
Aldermen had no immediate reaction to the recommendation. They elected to delay adoption of the study as a nonbinding guide for future housing developments in the city.
Other recommendations in the study include:
• Annexing in 103 more acres of land into the city.
• Increasing residential density in the downtown.
• Encouraging programs where local companies would provide financial assistance to employees that would allow them to live closer to their jobs.
• Encouraging more senior-based housing developments.
• Translating the city's website into multiple languages.