Joliet delays vote on controversial single-family rental inspections

A controversial proposal to add all single-family rentals to the city's inspection program was tabled to October by the Joliet City Council on Tuesday.

The delay was decided after the council heard from 28 people speaking about an hour and a half for and against the proposal that some said will save neighborhoods and others said will drive up the cost of rental housing.

Putting all single-family rentals into the inspection program is a debate that some said the city has been having for 20 years.

"We've talked too long," said Larry Lindholm, vice president of the Reedwood Neighborhood Association. "This council needs to act and save the neighborhoods."

The council won't act until at least Oct. 20, the meeting date at which it will take up the inspection proposal again.

Kendall Jackson, director of community development for the city, repeated concerns that the proposal will add 5,100 properties to the city inspection program.

"A program like this does not come without costs. That is staff's concern," Jackson said.

Staff has estimated that the single-family rental program would cost $500,000 a year to run.

Jackson said staff will evaluate how single-family rental inspections will be run at other programs.

Realtors and landlords were strongly opposed to the wider inspections.

Neighborhood groups around the city have pushed for it.

Proponents said more inspections will clamp down on slumlords and problem properties.

Opponents said it will punish small landlords and drive more rental homes into the hands of big companies.

"We have a program already to target and go after those bad landlords," said Eddie Ruettiger, president elect of the Three Rivers Association of Realtors.

Joliet has about 500 single-family rentals in its inspection program because of complaints at those properties.

Councilwoman Jan Quillman, who has been the leading advocate for the wider inspections, made the motion for tabling the vote after saying the program should be approved.

"If we're going to save our neighborhoods and our city, we have to start with this," Quillman said. "I don't know why people are so against it."