The committee named to revise a proposed rental licensing ordinance softened penalties for over-occupancy violations at a meeting Thursday evening.

The group agreed that landlords should not be subject to a 180-day revocation of their right to rent a property simply because more tenants were occupying the space than permitted by city ordinance.

The vote came after landlords complained that they are powerless to force tenants to leave without a court-ordered eviction — a process that can often take six months or more.

But the committee failed to address the city’s occupancy rules directly — rules that prohibit three or more unrelated individuals from living in the same dwelling unit, regardless of its size.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who appointed the committee, said she wanted to wait to address that issue until after the licensing ordinance was acted on by the City Council.

Tisdahl conceded that now, “the reality is that nothing happens,” when city inspectors discover over-occupancy violations — because of the difficulty of enforcing the ordinance through the courts and the frequent turnover in the student rental population.

The committee is scheduled to hold what is planned to be its final meeting on May 17.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Overoccupancy violations by nonstudents

    I just wanted to say that I am annoyed that the Evanston housing ordinance related to number of unrelated people are living in same apartment seems to have been considered/discussed/reported mainly in relation to college students.

    There are buildings in areas of town that are not necessarily near NU in which there may be an excessive number of unrelated adults (not college students) living in the same unit.

    I have reported a couple of extreme examples of this to the housing department.  I think that those situations also should be considered when considering whether the law should be softened or otherwise changed.  I do not think this is only a town-gown issue.

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