Serving Skokie rental property owners, renters and homeowners
SILA HISTORY - Updated January 2014
SILA was created in August 2012, around a serious concern about the Village's proposal to start licensing multi-unit building owners, taxing apartments and legislating tenants. SILA saw a need to both unite area Landlords and educate them on issues regarding public safety and property management, as well as involving them in community issues. SILA founders also realized it was important to open a dialog between Landlords and area residents to address neighborhood concerns.
SILA created this web site, distributed flyers, began posting yard signs and got their concerns out in the local news media. All this resulted in their first victory, in October of 2012. SILA and other vocal Skokie landlords, convinced the Village Board, to table the proposed "Skokie Tenant Tax" so a citizens advisory council (made up of Landlords, Tenants and other interested parties) could be created to have an open dialog around both the proposed ordinance and the greater topics of community safety and quality of life issues. Thank all those that came out to the meetings, spoke up and showed their support.
Through the second half of 2012, the citizens advisory council continued to meet in ernest, with hopes of creating a better ordinance, for a safer and more liveable town. SILA played a major role on the council, filling three of the council seats - at the personal request of the mayor. In early 2013, the council's report was presented to the Village Board, but any decision by the board was postponed until after the 2013 board elections.
SILA chose to not take an active role in the election. Unfortunately, once the elections were over, the Village went back on its promise to the advisory council. With no notice, the Village added the new proposal to the Board's agenda. Fortunately, SILA got wind of this and with only a couple of business days to react, SILA got the word out and distributed copies of the new ordinance. Over 150 residents showed up at the hearing to have their voices heard.
Following the hearing, SILA members talked with a number of village officials from the Mayor and several Trustees to the Village's Corporate Council. The general response was that if we objected to the ordinance, rather than just complaining about it, we should propose something better. So that is exactly what SILA did. SILA rewrote the ordinance so that it not only addresses issues of public safety - at the forefront of everyone's concern - but also encourages economic development of the community. It does away with the mandates and violations of civil liberties that had residents up in arms, while adding rewards for Landlords who use best practices and follow village recommended guidelines (and of course obey all existing laws and regulations) with an official "Certification". You can read the alternative proposal here.
Then, in January 2014, two days after New Years, the Village posted its final revision online and announce the Board would vote on it two days later. It turned out to be one of the coldest days in city history, with the schools closed and the Mayor urging everyone to stay in their homes. Thanks to the support of SILA members, the weather couldn't stop a standing room only crowd from showing up at village hall. The Board limited us to nine speakers at 3 minutes each and promptly voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance (though several board members stated in their vote, that they felt the ordinance was still flawed, but was better than nothing.) More details can be found under Stop The Tenant Tax - Updates.
This vote (not entirely a loss, as a number of concessions were won through SILA's efforts) has not damped SILA's spirit. We will continue to:
Plan future activities and educational events,
Attend Village, Park District and School Board meetings to keep you informed,
Keep Landlords updated as this ordinance rolls out, and
I expect that when the next election rolls around we will take a much more vocal role.
So stay tuned to this site. SILA pledges to continue in its efforts to make Skokie a better place to live and the type of community that others envy.
Visit us on Facebook at Skokie Independent Landlord Association.