Serving Skokie rental property owners, renters and homeowners
What's the difference between registration and licensing?
SILA supports registration but not licensing. Even the Community Advisory Council, formed to review and provide feedback on the ordinance, reached a general consensus in favor of registration, over the licensing called for in the ordinance. So what's the difference between registration and licensing? Here's a simple analogy:
You register your car so you can park it in the city. If it's involved in an accident or a crime, they have on file who the owner is and can take action. Registration also allows the city to collect an annual fee towards auto/traffic related expenses such as maintaining roads.
They sell you a license to drive the car, and that permission to drive can be revoked or taken away if you repeatedly break the law and become a danger on the road. A law everyone supports.
The difference here is that your driver's license can only be revoked if you personally break the law and are found guilty. The new ordinance is more like, your car is stolen and the thief speeds away, but rather than taking off after the thief, the police stop you and take away your license to drive for allowing someone to steal your car and (possibly) speed in it.
Landlords don't have an issue with registering and paying a fee (assuming the fee is used wisely and in a manner that serves the people paying the fee - like road maintenance for people that own cars). But this licensing ordinance means that the village can prevent us from collecting rent on an apartment. That is the intent of it - to revoke the right to rent. Not unreasonable if we were breaking a law, but that's not what the ordinance says. It says that if one of our tenants breaks a law - or gets accused of breaking a law or even of being a general nuisance (conviction or proof is not required), we must evict that tenant and their entire family - which often isn't even legally possible - or else we can no longer charge them rent. But the ordinance gives no assistance in evicting the tenant. So the tenant is rewarded with rent free housing in Skokie, while the Landlord is sent into foreclosure. At this point the bank now owns the property, so there is NO onsite management or upkeep, and the tenant continues to squat, rent free, in the apartment.
Meanwhile, this proposal was presented as helping fight crime, when in fact the best deterrent to crime is the owner occupied apartment buildings. Those landlords are the front lines, with a vested interest in maintaining the community and their property values. They are alert to problems before the police are even aware of them. They are the ones watching out their windows and calling the police. But this law penalizes them and will drive many of them out of Skokie and/or out of business.
Landlords realized the flaws in the ordinance immediately, which is why they became so vocal and even volunteered to help rewrite it. It's not about how the ordinance is so onerous; the landlords are not just fighting the fees and bureaucracy. As it is written, it will be disastrous for the future of the Village. The landlords, who have a strong love for Skokie, and a vested interest in it, are fighting an unworkable proposal that is detrimental to the Village and will have the opposite effect than intended. They care so much for Skokie that SILA was born to protect it from this ordinance.
NOTE: In the latest version of the ordinance the Village calls it Registration rather than Licensing, but if you refer to the definition above, you will see that they've just changed the name, not the intent. It is still a revokable license.
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