To the Editor:
As President of the DeKalb Area Rental Association, I was recently interviewed for a front-page story in the Feb. 27 edition of the Daily Chronicle about the City of DeKalb’s Crime Free Housing Bureau (“Growing pains: Crime Free Housing Bureau gets mixed reviews”).
Although the article was essentially factual, I would like to clarify a few elements where points which I made, or intended to make, during the interview, were not included in the article.
First, the communication between police and landlords has greatly improved since the program has gone into effect. This does provide landlords additional tools to better control or evict tenants who violate their lease.
Second, it is difficult to determine the effectiveness of the housing bureau program due to its short duration, lack of baseline information for which to compare, and many items that vary from year to year.
Third, before the program, many code violations were not addressed due to lack of city staffing. But code violations are not just in rental properties, they are throughout the entire community, therefore these additional employees should be paid for by the city’s general fund (not just the landlords).
It was understood when the ordinances were being written that the “disorderly house” and the “building code violation” elements would be equally addressed across the community for both owner-occupied and rental housing. However, all we hear about is the rental property violations.
Finally, DARA strongly supports community success. DARA is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, promotes neighborhood and building watch programs, meets with the mayor and police chief to support our common goals, and we generate ideas and efficiencies such as Code Watch.
DARA also meets with Northern Illinois University administration leaders promoting relationships between NIU and the city, and supporting our common goals of increased enrollment and retention.
DARA promotes safe and affordable quality housing, fair business practices and the preservation of property rights. If you are a landlord, visit our website DARAnow.com and consider joining our association!
President, DeKalb Area Rental Association