Crime free housing plans to continue

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RANTOUL — Monday night, landlords found out how they could enforce a program to make their buildings safer.

This program has people sign a paper that says if they commit a serious crime, they will get kicked out.

It was spear-headed by the mayor and Rantoul’s police chief, but some different faces were in charge of this meeting.

That’s because the police chief, Erman Blevins, stepped down on Friday. This was in large part his project.

The mayor said if this passes, whoever is the new police chief will still be in charge of overseeing it.

So far, the Village of Rantoul board and the police department have embraced Crime Free Multi-Housing.
 
Some landlords, like Stan James, are warming up to the idea as well.
 
“I hope it works. I hope it helps. But in the end, it’s got to spread everywhere,” said James.
 
“It’s really important. I think you can see tonight that it builds a relationship between the tenant, the landlord and the rental agency as well,” said Rantoul mayor Chuck Smith.
 
But what about the new police chief?
 
Blevins pushed for the program.
 
But now that that he’s gone, Smith says the new police chief is going to have to go along with it.
 
“This is an initiative that’s going to be an ordinance by the Village of Rantoul, and they have to be enforced,” said Smith.
 
That ordinance calls for a new page on a lease agreement.
 
Anyone who lives in a Rantoul apartment complex will have to sign it, agreeing to keep crime out before they come in.
 
Otherwise, they can be evicted.
 
Landlords learned of all this at the meeting, but they had a lot of questions, because they said there are still some key details that need to be worked out.
 
“I think there has to in my mind be more leeway for the landlord because a lot of times when you go to court, judges go by the lease. Sometimes there’s circumstances when they’ll side with the tenant even though the tenant’s wrong,” said James.
 
Police said in response to concerns like these, they’ll make sure everything is clear and ready to go on all ends before May.
 
The program starts by only requiring this for multi-housing units, in other words, apartment complexes, because they make up 60% of rental housing in Rantoul.
 
Single unit landlords can volunteer to adopt the program, and they will be given everything they need to enforce it.
 
The village board will vote on the ordinance at their meeting February 14th.
 
It that passes, the lease addendum will be added, and will go into effect when new leases are signed in May.
 
Mayor Smith told us he feels confident this will pass.
 

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