Winter 2019 Edition
A Note From the RPBG President

  Just as we were about to release our Winter newsletter, we learned that Representative Mary Flowers introduced the second Illinois House bill involving rent control, House Bill 2192. This follows the introduction of House Bill 255, which Representative Will Guzzardi introduced last month.

  Due to the outlandish nature of these bills, and the seriousness of the issues at stake, our editor and writer Steve Cain has made rent control and housing affordability the focus of this Newsletter. 

  The Flowers bill is so outlandish that I decided to withdraw my first President’s article and write a new one, addressing the serious challenges from our own government that now face our organization and our members.

  I encourage you to find time to read the articles in this Newsletter, even if over a couple of sittings. More important, consider what you can do to advocate on behalf of the anti rent control position. We need ALL of our members to call or write their elected officials. This is not the time to sit on the sidelines.

  Ironically, if implemented, rent control will diminish the supply of affordable housing; its unintended consequences will benefit some people, but not those whom the legislation is designed to serve.

  With that said, I urge you to consider the views of candidates seeking local office when voting later this month, as rent control would become a municipal issue if HB 255 bill were to pass.


  Mike Glasser, RPBG President
A careful read of State Representative Mary E. Flowers’ proposed Rent Control Act (a/k/a House Bill 2192) is an eye-opener. A highly similar version of this bill was circulated in 2018 by State Senator Mattie Hunter as Senate Bill 3512. Both Representative Flowers and Senator Hunter are Democrats representing areas predominantly located on the South Side of Chicago and in the South and Southwest suburbs. As of the writing of this article, hearings on the proposed bill are scheduled for Thursday, February 14. This is a developing story. The Newsletter will keep a close eye on how this bill fares. Updates in future Newsletters are a certainty.
In the event that this bill is adopted into law, Illinois would immediate transform from a state in which no local unit of government is permitted to enact rent control, to a state in which no unit of local government is not subject to enforcement of a rent control measure that is at least as restrictive as what is proposed in this bill.

While passage of this bill is far from certain, it should serve as a wake-up call to property owners who will surely be surprised to learn how radical this rent control legislation is, and the lengths to which proponents of rent control, both in Chicago and in Illinois, are prepared to go.
Does it even need to be said? Building codes are boring. So, it should come as no surprise that the current effort to re-write them has gotten little attention.

Even now that the process is well underway and Phase 1 is complete, no ribbon-cuttings have been scheduled. Media attention has been limited. And the public’s reaction to this effort? Suffice it to say that short attention spans do not have a lot of band-width for the technicalities and complexities of arcane rules and regulations, much less how they change.
This is all a shame, and for one very simple reason: there are few things currently happening in Chicago that will have a larger economic impact on property owners and developers than the changes that have been made, or that are being considered, to the city’s building codes. For as long as anyone can remember, Chicago has been one of the most difficult places in the country to build. Some of this is due to the heavy hand of bureaucracy and regulation. But much of this is due to antiquated requirements that reflect the priorities of contractors over common sense and consumers.
Something pretty unusual just happened in Minneapolis. In spite of vocal and organized opposition from NIMBY neighborhood groups and individuals, the City Council passed the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan at its December 7th meeting.
What, you might ask, is the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, and why are we talking about it in the Rogers Park Builders Group Newsletter? The 2040 Plan does something no other large, American city has done in recent memory. In one fell swoop, it gets rid of single-family zoning everywhere it currently exists – about three-quarters of all residentially zoned land within city limits.

The new, 2040 Plan will allow the construction of up to three units on lots that were previously reserved exclusively for single family development. In so doing, Minneapolis hopes to increase neighborhood density and foster more housing production across a wider geographic area than previously possible. The city also hopes that this will lead to an increase in the supply of housing at a wider range of price-points since it is cheaper per unit to build three units on a single lot than to build just one. If all goes as planned, the 2040 Plan will make more housing more affordable to a wider range of potential buyers.
As I See It
The State Legislature under Governor Pritzker is in session and, as expected, members of the General Assembly have introduced problematic and short-sighted bills regarding rent control.

I urge you to take the time and read these bills – or at least their synopsis.

House Bill 255, reintroduced by State Representative Will Guzzardi (39th District)looks the same as the same bill introduced in the last session. It seeks overturn Rent Control Preemption Act, adopted in 1997 and lift the statewide ban on rent control.

House Bill 2192, introduced by State Representative Mary Flowers (31st District), similar to SB 3512 introduced last year by Senator Mattie Hunter, seeks to carve the state into six regions, each with an elected seven-member rent control board. Among each board’s duties would be to set maximum allowable rent increases (with no increase allowed to exceed the Consumer Price Index), and it would stipulate the terms under which landlords could terminate leases in order to upgrade the properties.
Chicago is a proud city with an impressive history – it was the fastest growing American metropolis of the 19th Century. It rose from the ashes of the 1871 fire to become bigger and better than before. It is the birthplace of the skyscraper and deep-dish pizza!

But even the most prideful Chicagoan knows that the city has had more than its fair share of challenges. These challenges have multiplied since the middle of the 20th Century, and seem to have gotten even worse since the beginning of the 21st. The most recent evidence of this unfortunate trend comes from a Bloomberg analysis of census data that shows Chicago losing more residents than any other American metropolis. The Bloomberg data shows that an average of 156 Chicagoans are leaving the city each day. It may be that these exiles are looking for warmer weather, better economic opportunities, lower costs or some combination of all of these things.
The year kicked off with as it always does with the latest edition of the Trends Workshop. This was the 16th Annual iteration of this popular event, and it was well attended despite uncooperative winter weather and snow.
This year saw a record number of sponsors, ranging from Silver to Platinum. We would be remiss if we did not name our generous sponsors and thank them for making the evening possible.
Builders Group News
The Rogers Park Builders Group lost one of its finest and most beloved members with the sudden and unexpected passing of Linda Liberatore in January. Linda was a newer member of the group, only joining RPBG in 2012, and only becoming a Director in 2017. But you would not have known it for the deep friendships she forged, and the active and important role she happily took on.
Rogers Park Builders Group brought in four new Directors at the end of 2018 representing a cross-section of the real estate industry and bringing with them new energy and ideas about what the organization is and can be.
Nick grew up in Columbus, Indiana and is the oldest of four siblings. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 2015 with a degree in economics, and began working for Pioneer right out of school. Nick started off as a financial analyst, but quickly rose up the ranks to his current position.
Our Rogers Park Builders Group’s Administrator par excellence, Sheryl Rosenberg, is making a name for herself outside of her part time job handling all of the RPBG’s behind the scenes work.
Verella’s Round-Up
Verella Osborne, President, Legal Document Management, Inc.
Because U.S. criminal and civil laws are separate, a criminal act does not affect a tenant’s civil right to possession of his residence. The first order of business is to confirm the location of the tenant’s incarceration and obtain his inmate number by searching the databases listed below.

A landlord cannot commence eviction proceedings until the tenancy has been breached. Simply being arrested for a crime does not, itself, breach the tenancy. You must have a valid lease in effect with an enforceable criminal activity provision whose language states that no arrest or conviction is necessary and that a breach has been caused by a “preponderance of the evidence.”  

Without this language in your lease, your tenant has to be convicted of a crime before a breach has occurred. This can take years. With the proper language, you may serve a 10-Day Notice for Breach of the lease. However, the CRLTO allows the tenant the right to cure the breach within 10 days, so there must be another criminal act within or shortly after the 10-day cure period to allow you to evict based on that breach.  
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Rogers Park Builders Group encourages and supports responsible residential and commercial property investment, development, and ownership in the Rogers Park community.