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Increase in Romeoville rentals spurs tougher housing inspection ordinance

With an increase in home and apartment rentals, Romeoville officials have decided to impose stricter rental inspection rules along with fines for landlords who do not comply.

The original ordinance – which was drafted in the mid 1990s – states that a rental unit must be inspected by the village when a new lessee moves into a property. The new ordinance, approved at the May 2 Village Board meeting, focuses on multiple people living in a rental unit and allows the village to inspect properties when any additional people move in with an existing family or lessee.

The ordinance states that a landlord must inform the village within five business days or sooner of a new or additional tenant at the property. If access to the rental property is not possible because of the failure of the owner to show up, a $50 rescheduling fee may be charged, an increase from $30.

The new ordinance also tightens the rules for the village to take legal action against a landlord who doesn’t comply. While all the trustees supported the new ordinance, some thought it might be difficult to enforce.

 “How will we know when someone moves in,” said Trustee Ken Griffin. “It seems like it will be tough to enforce.”

Village Manager Steven Gulden said it will be the landlord’s responsibility to inform the village, but also added that neighbors can call the village to inform them about new people moving into a rental property.

 The village said the purpose of inspecting a rental property is to protect the public health and safety and welfare of the existing structures. Inspectors examine a variety of things including lighting, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire hazards.

“There are a lot of communities that do this (rental inspections) now,” said Romeoville Mayor John Noak. “We want to make sure that not only the residents living on these properties are safe, but that their neighbors are not left in a situation that is undesirable and can be detrimental to their property values.”

 

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