The Housing Advisory Commission is considering requiring registration or licensing of Naperville landlords. Regulations imposed would include mandatory participation in a crime-free program, rental registration and inspections.
The commission took into account studies by police, which show crime prevention programs used by tenants and owners in other cities have helped reduce criminal behavior, a need which was recognized in Naperville.
“It’s my belief that these tenants that are having issues finding places to rent, they know that in Naperville there’s no licensing requirement, so if they put in enough applications, someone will be just like my landlord and will just take the lease and the money and they’ll move in,” said one woman who spoke during public comment.
The proposed changes would include rules limiting the number of calls made to police from one address. But, some worried that the consequences of more calls, eviction of the entire household, could have adverse effects.
“Crime-free housing ordinances, while good intentioned in the context of domestic violence, inappropriately shifts responsibility and punishment to the victim, feeding into the cycle of abuse, that it really is her fault. It further isolates the victim because they’re lifeline is taken away and when they have the courage to call the police they can’t because of fear of conviction,” said Judie Caribeaux, Executive Director of Family Shelter Services.
Currently some properties already use the crime-free program on a voluntary basis.
The commission will consider the public’s input and continue discussion at their next meeting on July 6.
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