Monday, January 30, 2012

Attention Landlords: Belvidere proposes new ordinance requiring registration of all landlords

The following ordinance is being proposed by the Belvidere City Council under its new Home Rule rights.





a. This Article is adopted under the City of Belvidere’s Home Rule Authority pursuant to Section 6 of Article 7 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois of 1970.

b. The City Council of the City of Belvidere specifically finds that, according to the 2010 Census, approximately 30% of all residential housing in the City of Belvidere is rental, non-owner occupied housing. The City Council further recognizes that rental housing represents a disproportionate share of the residential housing that has fallen into a state of disrepair within the City. Registration of landlords and enforcement of building and maintenance codes will assist tenants by ensuring a minimum level of habitability within structures while also protecting the property values of surrounding lots. This Article will also assist Landlords by providing additional mechanisms to manage tenants who do not maintain their properties or engage in illegal activities.

22-901. Definitions.

(a) Department shall mean the City of Belvidere Building Department.

(b) Landlord means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other legal entity that owns, operates, maintains or offers for rent any rental residential property within the City. The term shall also include any beneficial owners of an Illinois Land trust holding such rental residential property as well as the trustees of any such trust or members of any such limited liability company

(c) Rental Unit or Unit means any residential structure or dwelling unit intended to be rented or leased for residential purposes including, but not limited to, non-owner occupied single family residences, townhomes and condominiums. In the case of multi-dwelling unit structures (including but not limited townhomes), each individual dwelling unit shall be considered a separate Unit. The Rental Unit or Unit shall include all exterior portions of each lot as well as all common areas.

(d) Tenant shall mean any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other legal entity that rents or leases a Unit from a Landlord for residential purposes. The term Tenant shall also include all those residing in a Unit whether or not they are actual signatories to a lease or rental agreement.

22-902. Registration Required.

(a) No Landlord shall rent, advertise for rent or offer for rent any Unit unless they hold a current and valid Registration Certificate (RC) issued by the Department in the name of the Landlord for the specific Unit. A separate Registration Certificate is required for each individual Unit. Further, no person shall occupy any Unit unless a valid and current Registration Certificate is in effect for that Unit.

(b) Every Owner of every lot upon which is located an occupied or vacant single family dwelling, multi-family dwelling or other structure, unless exempted under this Article, shall register each such lot and/or unit on forms to be provided by the Department. The Department shall issue a RC for each such lot and/or unit upon receipt of an application and the appropriate fee.

(c) It is unlawful for any tenant to reside in a Unit for which is not registered under this Article. It is also unlawful for a Landlord to allow a tenant to remain in any Unit without a valid RC.

(d) Each Unit shall be registered by the Landlord annually. Every Registration Certificate shall expire on April 30 regardless of the date of its issuance.

(e) Each Landlord shall maintain a copy of the rental certificate for each Unit and shall present it upon demand by any City employee or by any tenant or prospective tenant. The Landlord shall keep each Rental Certificate for period of three (3) years after the date it expires.

(f) Hotels, motels, hospitals, and units of local government or governmental agencies and owners who occupy singled family dwellings or duplexes are exempt from this Article.

22-903. Registration Certificate.

(a) Application for a Registration Certificate, and renewal of a Registration Certificate, shall be made on forms provided by the Department. No RC shall be issued unless the rental unit complies with all portions of the City of Belvidere Municipal Code, all City Ordinances and all laws of the State of Illinois. Any statements made by the Owner on such application shall be frima facia proof of the statement in any administrative or court proceeding instituted by the City. Every RC shall identify the total number of residents permitted in the Unit.

(b) No RC shall be issued or renewed until all sums owed the City of Belvidere by the Landlord or in relation to the Unit, including but not limited to, water fees, sewer fees, inspection fees, any fines or costs owed by the Landlord and license fees are paid in full. As set forth in Chapter 114 of the City Code, all water and sewer fees are ultimately the responsibility of the Landlord. The fact that the tenant of a Unit has established a water and sewer account in the tenant’s name shall not relieve the Landlord from the obligation of paying any water or sewer bill when due.

(c) If the Landlord is not a resident of the City, the Application must identify a resident of the City of Belvidere as a local Manager. The Landlord shall authorize the City to make all communications through the Manager and shall authorize the Manager to take any action necessary relating to the operation of the Unit and compliance with City Code. By designating a local Manager, the Landlord is designating the local Manager as his agent for purpose of receiving any and all notices of code violation concerning the Unit and all process in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding to enforce the City of Belvidere Municipal Code concerning the Unit. The Landlord may designate a Tenant as the local Manager.

22-904 Penalties and Remedies.

(a) Each day that a Unit is held or operated in violation of this Article shall constitute a separate offense.

(b) Any person, Landlord or Owner of any Unit, who violates this Article, shall in addition to any other lawful relief, be fined in accordance with Section 1-9 plus court costs and costs of prosecution, including but not limited to the City’s reasonable attorney’s fees.

(c) The provision of false or misleading information on any application for a Registration Certificate shall constitute an offense under this Article and the Landlord and/or other person providing such false or misleading information shall be fined not less than $500.00. It is an affirmative defense to this subsection that the false or misleading information was transmitted inadvertently and without intent to circumvent this Article or any other provision of the Municipal Code.

22-905 Tenant Information.

(a) Every written lease shall inform the tenant of the maximum number of inhabitants permitted in the Rental Unit pursuant to the City of Belvidere municipal Code.

(b) The Tenant shall certify in writing to the Landlord the name of every person that reside (living in the Unit as their primary residence for 15 days or more) in the Unit. The Landlord or local manager shall provide the Department with this information upon demand by the Department.

22-906 Tenants and Leases:

(a) No Unit shall be leased or rented to any person except by a written rental agreement or lease.

(b) Any Landlord or local Manager may utilize a crime free lease addendum within any written lease or utilize a clause similar to a crime free lease addendum. In the event, a Landlord or local Manger utilizes such a clause or addendum, it shall be separately initialed by the Tenant executing the written lease. An example of a crime free lease addendum shall be available, free of charge, from the Department. The purpose of the clause is to make certain criminal activity a material lease violation entitling the Landlord to initiate eviction proceedings under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq.)

22-907 Fees.

The annual fee for a Rental License shall be $25.00, per Unit. The fee is intended to defray the cost of administering this Article.

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