Streator plans to pursue noncompliant landlords of rental inspection program

City manager says these properties are believed to be in the worst shape

Streator City Hall

After six rounds of a planned seven-round rental inspection process, Streator city officials said 81% of rental properties were in compliance with the rental registration program.

But it’s the non-compliant properties where the city will turn its attention.

The Streator City Council agreed Tuesday to pursue the 368 noncompliant properties, believed to be owned by 197 landlords, even if it meant involving aggressive measures, such as administrative search warrants.

The city started its rental inspection program in fall of 2019 requiring landlords to register rental units with the city at least every three years. Registered properties were inspected using a two-page checklist made available to landlords on a point-based system to determine if they are hazardous and need reinspection. The idea was to bring the city’s living quarters up to code and make them habitable.

City Manager David Plyman said Tuesday the noncompliant properties are believed to be in some of the worst shape.

“We want them to be brought up to minimum standards,” Plyman said.

Building Inspector Joe Scarbeary said some of the noncompliant rental units have life-safety issues, citing examples of not having smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, visible mold, or plumbing and electrical issues.

City Engineer Jeremy Palm said 465 rental units have permits filed, 75 properties have been registered as vacant, 698 properties were found to be or have become owner-occupied, 42 properties were found to be occupied by a relative in a no-rent situation, 76 properties were found to be in a contract-for-deed situation, 191 properties were vacant lots, 24 properties have been demolished and 357 are registered with the La Salle County Housing Authority or Stough Senior Group, which conduct their own inspections. In total, 2,377 properties have been categorized or registered through the six rounds.

Palm said the city plans to send out final inspection letters and continue inspections by Jan. 15. The city hopes to have its inspections completed by March 1.

This spring and summer, city staff plans to work with its attorney to pursue the 197 landlords of the 368 non-compliant properties.

While the rental inspection program was supposed to be good for three years, rather than request the compliant landlords to reregister at this time, city officials want to round up those who have not complied.

“We feel before moving on, we think it’d be unfair to ask those who have already registered and followed the rules to have to do so again, before we put our effort into those who are not complying,” Plyman said.

Palm said he would have an update on the rental inspection program in September for the City Council.