About 25 landlords came to the Joliet City Council on Monday to show opposition to a plan to expand inspections for single-family rental homes.
The council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a proposal to add an estimated 5,100 single-family rentals into the city's inspection program.
Single-family homes now go into the inspection program only if the city gets complaints on them. About 500 are in the program now.
"This proposal is a solution in search of a problem," said Jon Scholtes, representing the Three Rivers Association of Realtors.
Realtors and landlords contend the program will drive out small landlords because of increased regulations and fees, leading to houses being bought up by large rental companies more prone to the problems Joliet is trying to avoid.
"I don't know why we need to have another program when we already have one," said Burneva McCullum, chair of the Real Estate Committee for the South Suburban Region Black Chamber of Commerce.
Advocates of the program say it will help the city control problem rental properties.
Quinn Adamowski, a Joliet resident and former president of the Cathedral Area Preservation Association, said efforts have been made for 20 years to put single-family homes into the inspection program.
"No one has articulated what the costs are to landlords and renters," said Adamowski, noting the proposed inspection fee is $100.
Fees may have to go up to pay for the program, which is estimated to cost $500,000 a year, said Kendall Jackson, director of community development for Joliet.
"It would be a major budget increase for a program like this," Jackson said, noting the city does not have the staff now to inspect all single-family homes. Single-family homes would be added to roughly 10,000 rental units Joliet inspects now, he said.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman, however, said the city needs to move beyond the current complaint-based system because neighbors, especially elderly ones, are afraid to file complaints.
"A lot of our neighborhoods have a lot of older folks who are scared to death to go out of their homes," Quillman said