Joliet is revamping its rental inspection program, increasing fees in general but most severely for landlords with problem properties.
The new program does not add single-family rental houses to the city’s regular inspection list, which is something neighborhood organizations have been seeking for years.
Neighborhood leaders as well as landlord representatives are expected to be in attendance when the proposed inspection ordinance is reviewed Thursday during a
4 p.m. meeting of the Joliet City Council Land Use and Legislative Committee at City Hall.
The new program could be put in place in June depending on whether it goes smoothly through the city council.
Neighborhood Services Director Jeff Sterr said the new program provides incentives for good landlords by reducing the frequency of inspections at apartment buildings that are well maintained. However, he also said that “it does put a very focused spotlight” on landlords who do not comply with city building and rental regulations.
Noncompliant rental housing will be put on a six-month inspection schedule, rather than getting inspected every two years.
More inspections mean higher costs for landlords because the city charges for inspections.
Sterr said inspection costs for noncompliant landlords could double depending on how many times the city needs to come back to the property, while others may see a 20% increase.
The city will put buildings with a history of no violations or minor ones on a six-year inspection scheduled.
The city will create another category putting properties with good track records on a four-year schedule.
“We know good landlords are an asset,” Sterr said. “We’re not trying to run them out. We’re trying to set standards and raise the bar.”
The new fee structure is expected to generate more revenue.
According to a staff memo for the committee meeting, the new fees “will bring the revenue closer to 50% of the cost of operating the program in lieu of its current 30%.”
Single-family rental homes will not be added to the regular inspection program, although Sterr noted that as in the past single-family rentals are subject to inspections if problems develop.
Neighborhood groups over the years have urged the city to add single-family homes to the regular inspection program, while landlords and Realtors have resisted the attempts.
Sterr said the city does not have not enough inspectors to add single-family rentals.