The City Council Monday is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would require condominium associations and management companies to tell the city about units being rented out in their buildings.

Staffers in the city’s property standards division say they receive complaints about conditions at some rented condo units — but now often don’t know who to contact to schedule inspections.


The City Council Monday is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would require condominium associations and management companies to tell the city about units being rented out in their buildings.

Staffers in the city’s property standards division say they receive complaints about conditions at some rented condo units — but now often don’t know who to contact to schedule inspections.

The ordinance would also give the city information needed to bill the owners of the rented units for the city-required $20-per-unit rental registration fee.

The city has about 350 condo buildings with roughly 7,300 dwelling units. City staff estimate about 20 percent of those are rentals — which means that, if the ordinance was fully enforced, it could generate nearly $30,000 a year in revenue for the city to help cover the cost of additional inspections.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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10 Comments

  1. Wait a minute. If there is a

    Wait a minute. If there is a current ordinance that requires property owners pay a $20 rental registration fee, then there is a system in place for the city to know about rented property.

    So we(city) are considering an ordinance to enforce an ordinance? Maybe we should create a blanket ordinance that requires the city to enforce its ordinances.

    Property Standards Division simply needs to ask the very efficient Parking Division on how to enforce "ordinances" and the problem will be solved.

    How many complaints does property standards receive anyway? This ordinance will not reduce the behavior or complaints and I question the real net revenue value to the city.

    Let’s get on page with our new city manager Wally Bab’s issue prioritization project which has just been outlined and honed by city staff and city council and all the little issues will fall into place as city efficiency improves..

    1. Condo Rental
      I did not get from the story that there already is an ordinance requiring a $20 registration fee.

      Reply:
      There is such an ordinance. Council adopted it last year as part of its effort to balance the city’s budget, despite many complaints about it from apartment owners.
      They just haven’t had an effective way of identifying which condo owners are subject to the fee requirement.
      — Bill

  2. Make the unit owners

    Make the unit owners responsible not the Association or the Management companies they have more than enough problems right now with forecloses.

  3. Looks like the city building department just wants revenue!
    I doubt there is this big crisis that staff claims. They are just looking for revenue.

    We need to lay off people in the building department since the revenue is down – rather than look at ways to increase them doing non-valued activities.

    I had a good laugh looking at the 8th ward quicktopic some of the residents down there now want the city to issue separate water bills for condos with shared meters, since some of the owners are not paying. Too many people here think the city is going to solve their problems.

    1. Condo Rental Fee
      I’m sure some renters have complaints they want addressed but there is another side.
      Some owners in condos feel they were blindsided by other owners renting out their units esp. to people that do not behave, follow condo rules and offend other owners, e.g. one downtown building where students monopolize the pool, scare other owners out and leave it a mess.
      A recent story in NY(?) where some owners have effectively made their units into hotel rooms–with very short term ‘guests.’ Beside large fees, the city is considering requiring doormen, security guards, substantial insurance increases and other measures.
      BTW the comment made that there is already a fee in Evanston is a surprise and shows the problem of how citizens are suppose to know about these things other than scouring the newspaper constantly.

      1. Condo Rental Fee
        Can you give a reference in the Code to where condo owners who rent out their places are already required to register and pay $20.
        Seems odd the city will enforce this provision but seems to ignore all of the places that violate 6.18.3 (Ord. 15-0-99) “that in no case shall the total occupancy of the dwelling unit exceed two (2) persons per bedroom.” One add I see posted is for 18 people to share a place—how many nine bedroom houses are there ?

        Reply:
        Can’t imagine how you could be searching the city’s online code viewer for the section you cite and fail to find Chapter 8 of Title 5, “Registration of Rental Residential Buildings.” You’ll find the fee schedule at 5.8.4.

        As for your second question, surely you know that the inspection process is complaint driven. How many complaints about overcrowding have you filed, and what’s been done about them?

        — Bill

        1. Condo Rental Fees and creation of city laws
          Did the City do a Cost Benefit [private companies always do so] analysis of the Registration Fee ? If there are 1000 condo rentals, that means $20,000 in revenue. Is that enough to cover the cost of the employee(s) to handle the paper work, do inspections, follow-up with fines/legal, etc.. If not and the City says that can be covered by an existing employee, does that mean that there are extra existing employees and doing away with this and other regulations would save tax payers money ?
          =========================
          As an illustration of laws passed without due consideration, the “..no case..exceed two persons per bedroom..” ordinance. Unless it is buried elsewhere, does that exclude X children per bedroom under Y years of age ? If so I suspect a lot of 1B and even 2B units don’t comply. What about relatives [or others] who live there to care for the children while parents work ? I think occupancy restrictions are necessary bu like other laws are they written carefully and in other cases just to raise revenue or because someone had a spur-of-moment idea and passed a law ?
          ==================
          The intangibles of bad/poorly thought out laws should be considered—loss of citizen goodwill, frustration, time spend learning of and complying, etc.—not to mention higher taxes to administer/enforce.

        2. So Now the House Rental notice will start ?
          With the Council passing the ordinance, I guess the same requirement for houses [fee already on the books] will begin.

          Reply:
          For single family homes that are rented out — yes. They’re already covered by the ordinance. The only issue is whether the city KNOWS that they’re rented out. If it doesn’t know, then it has no way to collect the fee.
          — Bill

          1. House Rentals
            So the Council passes a law to make Assoc. and Management companies responsible to “turn-in” owners but has no idea how to find out and collect from houses ? Have they already started collecting from home owners who rent ? All the apartment buildings in Evanston—already collected since they should be easy to locate and collect from ?
            Or is this just another selective enforcement—don’t know what to do so just go after the easiest fruit. Sounds like a good basis for a suit against the city for discriminatory action.

          2. Condo Owner or Renter the Problem ?
            I think it was stated that one reason for the ordinance was so renters and if necessary the city could know who owns the unit [and now house] and talk to them or take action.
            This information should be easily available anyway—who rents from an owner they don’t know the name of and if all else fails, look at the County Treasurer site or the Evanston Review list of owner by address.
            What I read and hear, the people who really want to know the owner’s name are those who live around the apartment or unit. We read about the parties and noise around NU rental units but I hear from neighbors of the downtown high rises that the students rent in some of them are a real problem—parties in recreation areas and pools and leaving the areas a mess and scaring away the owners.
            BTW are units to have the fee imposed also those owned by parents while their children attend school here—is the effective rental ?
            Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for owner only Condo—but try to get owners [esp. who want to make money off the units even when they live in different cities and even states—these renters will be in deep do-do no matter what ordinance is passed] to vote for that !!

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