Rockford Apartment Association, Rockford Area Realtors oppose two ordinance proposals

July 16, 2014

Staff Report

The Rockford Apartment Association and Rockford Area Realtors would like to inform the public of their concerns about two proposed ordinances introduced in the Rockford City Council’s Codes and Regulations Committee.

First, the proposal of prosecution of general ordinance violations in a code hearing instead of circuit court:

• The proposal would allow the city to accuse a citizen, judge the citizen’s guilt, and impose a fine without any impartial oversight. This proposed system has the potential to be abused to increase revenue to the city.

• To appeal an unfair fine, a citizen must file a lawsuit against the city. The filing fees to challenge an unfair fine are the highest in Winnebago County. The procedure is so complex that an attorney is necessary. The cost to defend against an unfair fine is often higher than the fine itself.

Second, a proposal to amend the Residential Quality Support Ordinance. The administration of Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) unilaterally has proposed to remove all provisions in an ordinance just recently passed by city council that were intended to provide support to owners of rental property. Those provisions had been endorsed by a committee that included citizens. This proposal:

• Removes the Advisory Housing Board that was intended to offer mediation to nuisance situations. The goal of the Rockford Apartment Association and Rockford Area Realtors is to attempt to correct disruptive behavior.

• Opens the door to government-forced evictions and other unreasonable expectations often imposed on housing providers.

• Removes the requirement that the property owner be notified of police calls to a property. This provision was the reason cited by the city for registering contact information.

The Residential Quality Support Ordinance was passed by the council on a 10-3 vote in January 2013. It was never fully implemented. Before the ordinance has been given a chance to work, the Morrissey administration has proposed to remove the provisions that were negotiated to gain acceptance of members of both the Rockford Apartment Association and Rockford Area Realtors.

Contact Rockford Apartment Association President Paul Arena by phone at (815) 243-2924 or e-mail at ArenaCnst@charter.net or Conor Brown at (815) 319-0943 or e-mail at cbrown@iar.org for additional information.

From the July 16-22, 2014, issue

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