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The Lack of Good Housing

George Skidis

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This question was just posted in the Madison County Rental Housing page on Facebook:  “Why is it so hard to get a decent place here? It’s like buying a house.”


My Answer: As a landlord, here is what I think you may be experiencing. The pandemic and the accompanying eviction moratorium have come close to destroying the smaller mom and pop landlord industry. This includes families which own one to five rental properties.


If the mortgage is $500.00 a month and the tenant pays no rent who owns the home now? Unfortunately for some landlords it is now the bank. This means thousands of fewer homes for rent. Some of those left belong to less than scrupulous slumlords.


The eviction moratoriums have made the good landlords "EXTREMELY" selective on who they rent to. They are only choosing tenants whom they believe can actually pay the rent. Can you imagine that? Wanting the tenants to actually pay the rent and not providing free housing at the landlord's expense! No more taking a chance just to fill a vacancy.


For applicant screening we use a nationwide tenant screening company called  "Rent Perfect". We set the standards we will accept. If you don't meet them, I am sorry but the rules of the game have changed. We have to protect ourselves. That includes not making an exception to the rule for you because the applicant we didn't make an exception for will file a lawsuit.


Many landlords I know are selling their properties and getting out of the business. The main reasons are the vanishing profit margin, a lawsuit crazy world, Madison County jury verdicts and excessive government interference. That doesn't even begin to talk about what is happening in Chicago right now.


The profit margin is currently so slim it isn't worth it for smaller investors to fight the red tape. So as the pool of rental homes shrinks and evaporates you can thank the select group of morons in both in Washington DC and Springfield, IL. They are constantly trying to pass rent control, forcing landlords to rent to unqualified residents and the previously mentioned eviction moratoriums. There is a bill right now in Springfield, IL - House Bill 2775 – If passed it will force landlords to accept Section 8 with no choice. Why would someone become a landlord when they can't have any say in how they run their own business?

If you get a bad landlord, vote with your feet and leave. But don't make every landlord suffer because 1 in 100 landlords doesn't do a good job. If you do there will only be government projects left to live in.

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