Opinion: Multi-Unit License Is Not the Solution

A letter to the editor on this controversial measure proposed by the village.

Editor's note: The following is an opinion and does not reflect Skokie Patch's beliefs on said issue. If you'd like to submit a counter to this article, please email me at georges@patch.com.

As a landlord and member of the Skokie Independent Landlord Association, I speak for the membership when I state we feel that we are being unfairly targeted by the proposed Tenant/Landlord Tax Licensing Program. I have been a resident of this village for more than 50 years. My family continues to reside in Skokie owning both private and rental properties. 

Over the past 50 years I have witnessed many changes.   Demographic changes, income reduction of many residents and the loss of several major employers are the major ones.   These changes are challenging, and require adjustments in the way the village operates, yet the village has continued to operate like the days of old.   Furthermore, they are now looking to shift some of the blame for these changes on the multifamily property owners throughout the village.

A common interest for all residents of the village is a safe and attractive community.   Multifamily property owners and residents strongly desire this as well. Yet, we have witnessed the decline and viability of Skokie over the past 10 or more years, while neighboring communities and many areas of Chicago have gentrified and grown to attract a more vibrant and economically dynamic community. 

The city is proposing an annual license fee on all apartment units, as well as other regulations.  One of the problems with the village proposal is that a yearly license fee is unnecessary and excessive in  light of the already heavy burden of property taxes and the variety of other taxes property owners pay. The fee is proposed to pay for the hiring of an additional police officer. However, won’t all the residents benefit from increased law enforcement? Shouldn’t the cost be equalized and paid for by all of Skokie’s property owners?

The proposed village licensing fee does nothing to address the decline of Skokie’s neighborhoods. The question remains: Why has the tenant quality declined in the village over the last 10 or so years? If Skokie is such a desirable community, wouldn’t it attract more qualified tenants? The independent landlords do not feel that the village leadership has been keeping up with neighboring towns as far as gentrification and upgrading. This village has done little to attract new business and services. The village leadership has done little to encourage sprucing up the appearance of building facades and other infrastructure.

A question for Skokie residents is this: Once one group is targeted by an unreasonable tax, when does the taxing begin to extend to others such as condo or private homeowners?

This proposal will do nothing to eradicate undesirable residents from our village borders. It does not assist multifamily property owners’ speed up the eviction process. It does not regulate HUD, and CHA group homes that currently reside in Skokie. It does duplicate existing laws and regulatory agencies already in practice within Skokie. 

Speaking for Skokie’s Independent Landlords, join our efforts in defeating unfair taxation.  Join our efforts to work  and collaborate with village government toward making Skokie a safe, desirable, and growing community  for all of its residents.  www.skokielandlord.org

Barbara Kenning
Skokie resident, landlord

Previous covearge on Skokie Patch - 

  • Skokie Closing in on Multi-Unit Licensing
  • Is Skokie's Multi-Unit License A Double Edged Sword? 
  • Landlord: 'Village Seems to Think I Should Be The Police Department'
Brian September 28, 2012 at 02:29 AM
That's the best you have? Sure . Why not just take all the evil landlords properties by eminent domain. You and Skokie Voice seem to have figured out how to solve "our landlord problem" Too bad none of you are landlords and that neither of you bothered to include landlords in dialogue. Too bad you both really don't have even a rudimentary understanding of Skokie's new problems or the economics and mechanics of managing rental properties. Too bad you're all so damned politically correct. It's too bad you aren't willing to roll up your shirt sleeves and really fix this problem. With stronger policing, not more. With a park district that needs to understand this is not the homogeneous Judeo-Christian Skokie of the early 50's. I can fix your problems for you too. Harden your properties as the police would have landlords harden theirs. Put burglar bars on your doors and windows, install gobs of glass block windows, buy a large angry dog, don't go out in the evening, carry mace or a bat, always park your car in a locked garage at night, take your valuables and spare check books to your safety deposit box at one of Skokie's zillions of banks, get a home alarm installed, and most of all, cherish what a great place Skokie is to live in and our unmatched diversity. You're welcome. Just trying to be constructive like you. Feel better now that I have solved YOUR problem for you?
Sweetg September 28, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Let's try and get this conversation back on track. The new ordinance calls for the creation of a citizens advisory council. The council is to be made up of landlords, tenants, village representatives and other stakeholders. Unfortunately, the ordinance calls for the council to be created after the fact. I suggest we put this council together first, to create SANE & REASONABLE dialog in order to create a new ordinance that everyone can support. Ideally, the council can go even further and discuss other ways the village and it's residents can work to gether to improve our neighborhoods. We are all interested in the same thing - making Skokie a better, safer community. If you agree, please voice your support for creating this council at www.Skokielandlord.org
Sandrina Roc September 28, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Mayor Van Dusen announced that he's running again. In my opinion we need a change in leadership. Skokie's gotten pretty stale.
Barbarra Kenning September 29, 2012 at 01:57 PM
The Skokie Independent. Landlord. Association. and Skokievoice. have the same goals. Both organizations are made up by long term stakeholders who want to see increased government. responsiveness increased vision attraction. Of business and a safer community.I believe it is time to work with one another in efforts to improve our village. Barbara Kenning


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