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Rent control bill filed by Illinois House representative

Source: Bigstock

A Chicago lawmaker has introduced legislation to do away with state prohibitions on rent control.

Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, represents areas in and around Logan Square, where he says property values and rents are driving people out of the area. (The bill text is here).

Rent control in Illinois was outlawed in 1997. A rent control policy limits how much money can be charged for housing, and has been seen by some as a way to keep people from being pushed out of highly desirable areas.

But, as a Sun-Times editorial points out, rent controls have unintended consequences. The policy can eliminate financial incentives to build new housing units and for some landlords, to improve existing units.

As the editorial states:

Rents for some apartments hold steady while rents for others shoot up to make up the difference when the demand is high. An illegal black market develops as one renter quietly tries to pass an apartment along to another renter — sometimes demanding a kickback — without the landlord catching on.

The editorial notes that encouraging affordable development strategies makes sense. For example, locating a apartment or condo complex near public transit hubs can ensure people have easy access to the city’s core, and may reduce the need for parking places which in turn drives down development costs.

As of Wednesday, the bill had been assigned to the House Rules Committee.

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