City Orders Landlord to Screen Tenants

by Chris on January 23, 2012

A landlord in Joliet, Illinois lost control of his rental property because he failed to screen his tenants.

His former tenants caused such a ruckus–including a shooting at the property, that the city effectively revoked the landlord’s rental license, according to a news report. Police insisted the landlord attend training on how to screen tenants before anyone else moved in.

Despite the order, the landlord leased the property to new tenants, but the city forced them out. The newspaper reported that the new tenants lacked the income to rent another property, and ultimately moved in with relatives.

Joliet has a strict rental licensing program which requires an application and building inspection before the landlord can rent. The inspection program applies to properties where police or fire fighters have been called to the property for disturbances. The city maintains extensive records on each property in conjunction with the licensing program.

In addition to undergoing inspections, landlords in Joliet must take steps to prevent crimes by providing new tenants with these disclosures:

That the city prohibits the use of the rental property for illegal activities or in such a manner so as to constitute a public nuisance.

That it is a public nuisance and a crime to use the rental property for the playing of loud music, the making of loud mechanical sounds or other noise that unreasonably disturbs other persons.

That it is a public nuisance and a crime to use the rental property for drug-related criminal activity, prostitution, the illegal use of alcoholic beverages, the unlawful discharge of a firearm or other illegal activities.

That it is a public nuisance and an ordinance violation for the tenant to allow garbage, animal waste, inoperable motor vehicles, junk or debris to accumulate on the rental property or to cause the rental property to be in an unsanitary condition.

That the tenant is responsible for illegal and nuisance activities that occur within or upon the rental property whether these activities are conducted by the tenant, the tenant’s family, a guest of the tenant or any other person allowed on the property by the tenant.

That the owner has the right to terminate the tenant’s lease and evict the tenant from the rental property if the tenant allows the property to be used for illegal activities or in such a manner so as to constitute a public nuisance or if the tenant allows the rental property to be used for drug-related criminal activity, prostitution, the illegal use of alcoholic beverages, the unlawful discharge of a firearm or other illegal activities.

These disclosures can be included in the lease or in a separate letter, but in either case, must be signed by the tenant. The landlord must then submit a copy to the city.

The landlord who lost his certificate of occupancy has since agreed to conduct tenant background checks, and to provide lease agreements that include the crime-free addendum, according to the report. It is expected that he will regain control of his property next month.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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