When a nearby rental property’s roof was in need of repair, a Belleville Alderman thought the city’s current code enforcement needed more intrusive rental inspections to cure the property’s faults. As a result, the southwestern Illinois city of Belleville recently proposed changing their current rental property inspection ordinance from the yearly annual inspection to requiring a rental inspection with every change of occupancy.
Only after being made aware of the proposal after a newspaper article the same day the vote was being taken, the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI) Government Affairs Committee quickly sprang into action.
Officially opposing the change in frequency, I testified, with REALTOR® members attending in support, that the current ordinance was sufficient in addressing the issues raised by the council.
Our concerns were that getting an inspection at every change of occupancy is cumbersome to property owners, the repeated cost of $60 per inspection would be cost prohibitive to potential investors looking to purchase in Belleville, as well as the cost of the inspections would potentially be passed onto potential consumers. In addition, RASI Government Affairs wanted to make sure council members were made aware of the current tools the city already had at its disposal to take of the problems of the troubled property.
Upon making our case RASI members waited for the council’s vote. When the time came to vote, a motion was raised to table the ordinance for further input by REALTOR® members and other property owners. The motion was made and voted on with a split vote of 8 to 8. Thanks to RASI’s good working relationship with Belleville Mayor Mark Eckhart, the mayor casted his vote to table and allow for more input on the ordinance.
RASI Government Affairs has already met regarding their action plan and will have many members at the next housing committee to offer real life market experience to help the city make the city’s properties better and raise the quality of life for everyone.