City council to vote again

By Tyler Vincent

After almost a year of debates, negotiations and ideas, the DeKalb City Council will vote on a second reading of the landlord-tenant ordinance at its meeting Tuesday night.

A meeting of the fact-finding committee will take place at 5 p.m., two hours before the council meeting, to give a final fine-tuning to the ordinance before it is presented to the council. The council will convene at 7 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. 4th St.

The ordinance includes an amendment requiring landlords to give one-hour notice to tenants before entering an apartment, unless in an emergency situation, as well as an amendment that would allow the tenants to hire outside repair work for their rental unit in emergency situations after an attempt had been made to notify their landlords. It also includes references to security deposits and tenants’ handbooks.

The ordinance was introduced late last year by 5th Ward Ald. Patrick Conboy, and former 6th Ward Ald. Aaron Raffel, with help from Don Henderson, director of NIU Students’ Legal Assistance.

The ordinance was met with considerable resistance at first from the landlord community, who felt that they were left out of the initial process regarding the proposal’s drafting. Former DeKalb Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos then commissioned a fact-finding committee including landlords, tenants and NIU law students who participated in drafting the original ordinance.

The committee introduced its findings to the council earlier this fall. The findings were drafted into an ordinance, which passed first reading in front of the city council in a near unanimous vote. First Ward Ald. Andy Small cast the sole vote against the ordinance.

The proposal originally was thought to be passed at the Oct. 22 city council meeting, but was ruled as not legally passed when DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow thought that an absentation vote by 7th Ward Ald. Joe Sosnowski was a vote for the majority on an issue.