Is Rent Control Coming to Illinois?

Commentary & Community

Is Rent Control Coming to Illinois?


Rent hikes are a source of loud complaints across Chicago. Some activists think that government should put controls on how high rental increases can go, but state law forbids this. The Democratic candidate for governor wants to lift this prohibition.


Currently, state law does not allow local governments to place caps on rent increases. This prevents Chicago or other cities from enacting rent control. In three city wards, however, activists have placed a measure on the November ballot that would gauge voters’ opinion on rent control. These measures are non-binding, but would indicate whether or not these residents support rent control.


J.B. Pritzker, the Democrat running for governor, would like to repeal the state law banning rent control. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner does not support repeal. His opposition to allowing rent control has likely played a role in preventing serious consideration of a repeal bill in the legislature. A Chicago legislator has proposed the establishment of county boards, controlled by tenants, which would keep rent increases at 4-6% a year for elderly and low-income renters or renters with disabilities.


Supporters of rent control say that it is a way to prevent landlords from pricing out low-income residents in the face of gentrification. They say rent control is a good way to stabilize neighborhoods and promote affordable housing. Rent control opponents say that the use of rent control in cities like New York has demonstrated that it leads to reduced investment in housing and higher rental rates for those not covered by rent control.


Do you think that the government should tell landlords how much they can raise rent?


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