Landlords Face $500 Fines For Choosing Bad Tenants

by Chris on August 22, 2011

A new law in Antioch, Illinois means landlords who choose bad tenants could end up paying for it–as much as $500 per day.

Ordinances like this, which target landlords in crime-ridden neighborhoods, are becoming commonplace. In this case, the town’s police chief told a local news reporter that the law could be applied to a variety of crimes including disorderly conduct, drug sales, prostitution, and gun violations.

This places the responsibility on landlords to properly screen tenants, or suffer the consequences.

While it may be impossible to predict which tenants will violate the law, running tenant screening reports, including a criminal background check will allow landlords to eliminate rental applicants who are a bad risk.

In Antioch, if police respond to a property three times within four months, the landlord may be called upon to meet with police and to offer solutions.  The police department will assist landlords in developing a crime abatement plan, according to the report.

Part of that plan will undoubtedly entail evicting problem tenants.  While most state eviction laws allow for the landlord to boot a tenant who commits a crime, if there is any question, landlords may want to have a lawyer put such a provision in the lease agreement.  Still, eviction will take some time, and the landlord will shoulder the expense.

While police have pledged to work with landlords, if the abatement plan doesn’t solve the problem, the landlord may end up in court and the rental property could be “shut down”, or the landlord could be fined $500 each day.

The police chief told reporters he is hopeful individual cases can be resolved short of going to court. 

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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn August 23, 2011 at 5:28 am

Sure, another case of not having the person responsible take responsibility for their own actions. Go after the landlord instead of the low-life scum doing the crime. Makes perfect sense in our society where people have been taught for many years now that if someone does something wrong it’s not their fault.

Keith August 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

I think Dawn has a good point, but as a city councilman and a landlord, I see both sides of this issue. In my town, some (not many) “absent” landlords rent to people who are obviously scumy trouble makers. The responsible residents who get stuck with these people as neighbors really suffer. Eventually the bums quit paying rent and have to be evicted. Then the same type of people move in again. I would NEVER let these people in one of my properties. Now the properties are stigmatized so no one decent wants to live there. I think the landlord does bear some responsibility.

Jimmyd2 August 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I am a landlord and a Code Enforcement Officer and I am with Keith on this one. If you wouldn’t want it living next door to you, do you really have the right to inflict it on the neighbors next door to your rental? I do both credit and criminal background on each person I rent to. The neighbors living near my rentals have my name and phone number and the phone hasn’t rung yet. If you do your homework and rent to responsible tenants it never will.

scott August 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

What ever happened to the saying “commit the crime, do the time”…Now its like..Rent to someone..tennant does the crime..landlord does the time.. ABSOLUTE BS.

Scott August 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm

You know DUI offenses are on the rise too. Why doesnt law enforcement crack down on the car dealers/manufacturers that sell cars to these people that drink and drive??? Are Dawn and I the only ones that think Antioch’s new law makes no sense at all?

Cindy August 28, 2011 at 5:00 am

There is a crime fee lease abatement form you can have your tenants fill out with there application and lease agreement and then give to your local police department.

I have implimented it this year, and copies then go to your local police department.

Will September 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I can see the meaning behind this, but I think it’s a little harsh. I agree with Scott here – while intentions may be genuine, such legislation opens a lot of other dubious doors…

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