From Paul Arena
The Rockford Apartment Association
The city proposed to expand the law that requires landlords to register. The original law required properties that were rented, in whole or in part, to register. The city proposed to expand the requirement to property where you let someone occupy it.
Here is the definition of what type of property needs to register from the original ordinance and this definition remains the same in the draft amendment:
“Dwelling unit means any structure or part of a structure used as a home residence, providing living facilities for one or more persons, including provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation, including, but not limited to apartment units, boarding houses, rooming houses, emergency shelters, mobile home spaces, public housing, subsidized housing and single and multi-family dwellings.”
We interpret that to mean all residential property.
Here is the definition of “let” from the draft amendment. I have bolded words for emphasis.
“Let/Let for occupancy is to permit, provide or offer possession or occupancy of a dwelling unit, by a person who is not the legal owner of record thereof, pursuant to a written or unwritten lease, agreement or license, or pursuant to a recorded or unrecorded agreement of contract for the sale of land.”
A dwelling unit is a structure or any part of a structure. A room in a single family home is a part of that structure. A person who is not on the title of the home, occupying a room with an unwritten agreement appears to require registration.
The city may have written this overly broad and not intend to enforce it as the language permits but last year Rockford moved all ordinance enforcement from the courts, before an impartial judge, to code hearings.
That means a city employee makes the accusation of a violation, a city employee determines guilt and imposes the fine, and the city collects the fine as revenue they keep.
In a one sided system like that, having language that is abundantly clear is important.