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State legislator wants to lay groundwork for rent control in Illinois

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State Rep. Will Guzzardi wants to see the Rent Control Preemption Act from 1997 repealed

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Jeff Reuben

Illinois State Representative Will Guzzardi (39th District) is introducing legislation in Springfield that seeks to repeal the Rent Control Preemption Act, a law passed in 1997 that prevents state and city governments from enacting any measure that would regulate or control rent prices on private residential or commercial property, DNAinfo reports. However, with rising rents across the city—particularly in neighborhoods like Pilsen, Uptown, Hyde Park, and Guzzardi’s Logan Square district—the young representative says that it’s time to allow city lawmakers to decide whether or not rent control should be enacted in Chicago.

Guzzardi’s bill, HB2430, which simply states that, “the Rent Control Preemption Act is repealed,” is not a rent control or stabilization measure. Instead, it would lay the groundwork for any future rent regulations on landlords with the repealing of the Rent Control Preemption Act passed by Governor Jim Edgar. However, DNAinfo reports that Chicago City Council member Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) joined Guzzardi at a press conference yesterday to support the effort to repeal the state’s rent control ban.

While there’s no arguing that rent prices in Chicago have been on the rise over the last several years, particularly in areas like Logan Square and Wicker Park and the greater downtown area, reports suggest that the overall cost of living in Chicago remains much lower than other major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Seattle, and San Francisco. Coupled with the fact that Chicago homeowners were recently hit with record property tax and water utility hikes while seeing the nation’s lowest growth in home prices, the possibility for any future rent control measures is something that Chicago property owners and investors will be keeping a close eye on.