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Harsher penalties for Illinois building code violations

Cities and communities across Illinois are fighting against decay and crime, and several of these municipalities are holding landlords responsible. By tightening regulations and penalties regarding nuisance properties, authorities hope to reduce the number of properties used as fronts for drug houses and other types of crime. Owners cited for building code violations may find themselves facing hefty fines and more frequent inspections.

In at least one community, police and city council members are working to enforce new codes to force property owners to keep their buildings in safe and livable condition. The city intends to register every unit of every building and institute scheduled inspections at the expense of the building owners. Currently, buildings are inspected only when someone files a complaint.

Some property owners can expect inspectors to visit annually, but not every property will need such frequent inspections. A building that passes inspection will not be visited again for two years, provided no complaints are filed. Failing to make corrections necessary for a building to pass inspection may result in a property owner facing a fine of up to $750 per violation. If a landlord fails to comply with orders to bring a building to code, authorities also have the option of shuttering the building, even if it is occupied. This policy holds for owner-occupied homes, not just rentals.

While authorities in Chicago and other areas in Illinois certainly have the residents’ best interests at heart when they cite property owners for building code violations, those violations often create a hardship for the owners. Code violations tend to snowball into costly fines and repair expenses, and a property owner may not have the time or knowledge to defend him or herself at an administrative hearing. The assistance of a dedicated attorney has made the difference for many who have been cited for violations. Such an advocate will work to resolve the issue as efficiently as possible.

Source: pjstar.com, “City looks to toughen housing laws“, Michael Smothers, Sept. 1, 2017

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