Rep. Chris Welch, introduced Illinois House Bill 4778 back in February of 2014, in an attempt to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act, which would mean big changes for property managers and the tenant screening community. If the legislation passes, additional restrictions will be enforced on property managers throughout the state.

The Chicagoland Apartment Association (CAA) is in strong opposition of the bill, which if passed, would mandate that landlords could not charge more for an application fee that exceeds the property manager’s actual out-of-pocket costs to enter into a lease. Nor could property managers who collect application fees make any misrepresentation to the applicant about current or future availability of the unit the lessee is attempting to rent.

Additionally, HB 4778 would require the property manager to disclose in writing, specific grounds that led to the denial and provide a copy of any information obtained from a third party that contributed to the decision of denying the applicant tenancy.

Should a property manager violate any of the provisions introduced in HB 4778, they become liable to the lessee for the application fee, a civil penalty of up to $200 and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

According to the CAA, the association strongly opposes the bill in its current form and has been working with advocates and other opponents of the legislation, such as the Illinois Association of Realtors and Illinois Rental Property Owners Association in an attempt to find “common ground” pertaining to the application fees process.

Last action was taken on the bill March 28, when it was re-referred to the Rules Committee. For more information about Illinois HB 4778, please click here.

Written By: Laura Mowry

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