Supporters Of Rent Control Hit Roadblock In Springfield, But Vow To Keep Up Fight Against ‘Powerful’ Real Estate Lobby

“The real estate lobby is very powerful,” Guzzardi said. “It is going to take a long, hard slog to beat these guys.”

PUBLISHED ON APR 1, 2019 8:39AM CDTDOWNTOWN PRIMARY CATEGORY IN WHICH BLOG POST IS PUBLISHED

Heather Cherone@HeatherCherone

DOWNTOWN — Despite high hopes fueled by the election of a supportive governor and Democratic supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate, supporters of the push to lift the ban on rent control in Illinois are regrouping after a significant setback.

HB 255, authored by state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), which would repeal Illinois’ 22-year-old Rent Control Preemption Act, failed to make it out of the Commercial Law Subcommittee of the Civil Judiciary committee — dimming its prospects considerably.

Guzzardi said the bill’s defeat was not unexpected.

“The real estate lobby is very powerful,” Guzzardi said. “It is going to take a long, hard slog to beat these guys.”

Two members of the subcommittee voted to advance the bill while four members voted no.

Guzzardi said he would work with other Democratic lawmakers to figure out if there is another way to advance the bill before the session ends.

Two other bills focused on rent control are also stalled in the General Assembly. HB 2192, sponsored by State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), would not only repeal that 1997 law, but also establish six elected rent control boards around the state, which would regulate rent prices for different regions in Illinois, provide for tax credits to incentivize landlords to improve their rental properties and allow tenants to seek certain damages from landlords. A similar bill has been filed by freshman State Rep. Aaron Ortiz (D-Chicago). 

Flowers and Ortiz agreed to push Guzzardi’s bill this session, Guzzardi said.