Parts of three Chicago wards voted yesterday to eliminate the statewide ban on rent control, echoing the results of two elections last year in other sections of the city.
An advisory referendum asking whether Springfield should repeal a 22-year-old law that prohibits any Illinois municipality from adopting rent control was on the ballot in 18 precincts in the 1st, 26th and 45th wards, all along the Northwest corridor where neighborhoods have been facing gentrification pressure. In each of those precincts, at least 62 percent of the votes supported lifting the ban.
The 18 precincts marked the smallest portion of the city to vote on the question so far—76 precincts voted in March 2018 and three entire wards in November—but the results were in line with those two elections. In every part of the city where the question has been on the ballot, a majority of voters have supported ending the rent control ban.
“Each time, we win,” said Rod Wilson, executive director of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, a South Side organizing group, and a member of the steering committee of the Lift the Ban Coalition, which has been advocating for shutting down the Rent Control Preemption Act.
“It’s showing that people want this,” Wilson said. “We hope our legislators hear that.”
If Springfield lifts the ban, the next step would be to discuss adopting rent control, either at the local level or in a statewide system. In early February, state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, introduced the most comprehensive rent control legislation yet. Her bill would carve the state into six regions, each with an elected rent control board.