Joliet rental regs put off again

Single-family home inspection proposal now to be reconsidered in two months

A proposal to regulate single-family rental housing has been put off again to the frustration of advocates and satisfaction of landlords.

Representatives from both sides spoke at a Joliet City Council committee meeting on Thursday that ended with a split decision to table the proposal for two months.

“As a resident of the city of Joliet, I have waited far too long for this to happen,” said Rena Schultz, reflecting frustration that a vote on single-family rental inspections was put off again.

“Let’s go at it one more time with the right people and see if we can reach some sort of compromise,” said Jeff Vickery, reflecting satisfaction that there will be another attempt to work out a solution with landlords.

Council committees off and on have considered inspection programs for single-family rental homes since at least 2009, when what was then the Land Use Committee took up a proposal that was shelved.

Proposals have rarely made it to the full City Council for a vote. When one did in August 2020, it was tabled amid concerns raised by landlords. The plan was to take it up again in October. But another proposal did not surface until the Land Use and Legislative Committee meeting on Thursday.

The latest plan would have added single-family homes to the city’s regular rental inspection program. Single-family homes now are placed into an inspection program only when they are found to be problem properties.

Landlords also would be required to register the homes with the city at an annual fee of $100 as well as pay an additional $50 fee per rental house.

The fees are designed in part to hire inspectors.

City staff last year advised against starting the program, saying it did not have enough inspectors to cover all the single-family rentals in Joliet.

Councilman Joe Clement raised the staffing issue when he made the motion to table a vote on the proposal for two months, saying he needed more information about the issue. Clement was first elected to the council in May.

“We don’t have the manpower at the moment in Neighborhood Services to do what we’re asking everybody to do,” Clement said. “We can’t even trim our trees.”

The Neighborhood Services Division is the city division that inspects rental housing.

Clement was joined by Chairman Terry Morris in the 2-1 vote to table the matter.

Councilwoman Jan Quillman, who has been on the council since 2005, voted to approve the proposal, which would have then gone to the full City Council for a vote.

“It’s always been a couple of more months, a couple of more months,” Quillman said of the delay. “It turns into a couple of more years.”

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News