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Home · Property Management · Latest News : City Attacks Rental Rights
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landlord helpStudents at Northwestern University are being told to move farther away from campus as its host city implements an anti-student housing measure this summer.
The city of Evanston, Illinois has decided to resurrect an archaic law designed to curb brothels in order to quell partying students who annoy the good folk.  It has issued a city-wide prohibition against three or more unrelated persons occupying the same home.

According to news reports, about 500 students came out last week to protest the measure.  Students had called upon their university administration to protect them, but university officials say they will not ask the city to reconsider.

Students expressed concerns that the new restrictions place them in physical danger as they make their way on foot or by bike farther and farther from campus.

Others fear they will no longer be able to afford off-campus housing.  One student complained she can’t enjoy the comfort and security of living with other people because she has no relatives.

Landlords will be forced to lower occupancy, or look to families or professionals to rent units surrounding the campus.

It is not known how the change in the rental market will affect other sectors of the housing market, or how it might affect neighboring businesses.  City officials have said impacts to the housing market are of no concern to them.

As one might expect, students took their beefs to Twitter, where one suggested staging a protest where they are photographed living in boxes on the street, and another that they start a few real-to-goodness brothels, although it’s hard to imagine how that might help the situation.

But students are not the only people affected by this law. Landlords across the city face the financial consequences of having to evict or turn away what may be thousands of student tenants as of July 1 when the law takes effect, and will have to adjust their leasing practices – and possibly rents, accordingly, in rental properties that may have been purchased with student housing in mind.

And while city officials contend that limiting the number of roommates in a rental property is likely to end conflicts with adjoining property owners over student parties in neighborhoods surrounding the campus, they may find this measure alone is not enough.

See Fair Housing “Zero-Tolerance Policy” Netting Huge Awards Against Landlords.

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  • Gary Carlson

    A perfect example of how the lack of ability to enforce a law (disturbing the peace) being broken by the few is addressed by draconian measures designed to punish all.
    Kinda reminds one of the cries for more gun laws, huh? They can’t do their job enforcing the current laws, so they want to disarm and punish every other law-abiding citizen.

  • Gary Carlson

    So, the University “leaders” don’t want to interecede on behalf of the students? The students should remember this in the future when they are alumni and their “alma mater” comes panhandling for support. In the meantime, the landlords and the real estate community should use their influence to drum the responsible politicians out of office. Is this restriction even legal?


    So, depriving students of a basic necessity, shelter, is now within the purview of a municipal corporation? By virtue of the same, they are also interfering in private contracts (blatantly unconstitional; REALLY, reread your federal constitution and it is in there explicitly), and the right of free association.

    This smacks of a huge lawsuit that does not serve the taxpayers of that jurisdiction well. What a dumb, knee-jerk, policy-wonk reaction.

    Don’tcha think if you could do this, other cities woulda done so already, and with success?

  • Stephen

    Abilene, TX has a similar ordinance. Because there are 3 universities in town I thought that the purchase of a couple 3 bedroom duplexes would be good business. I wasn’t aware of the restrictive ordinance. I believe it has negatively impacted my business. My recommendation for the students and landlords in Evanston: Get the ordinance shot down now. It is much harder after it is in place.

  • Karen Cheng

    Student can not live around the campus area- This is a discrimination to students right! They can not live around the campus but them can live in other neighbor hood??? It doesn’t make any sense?
    This neighborhood against student today then they will against kids and eldly people or other races in the furture.
    I strongly suggest all the students and landlord should protest to against this strange restriction. We need to let the school and city and neighborhood know, this is a discrimination issue!!
    Student is our furture! I like to rent house to students.

  • Dan

    Are we not getting tired of big brother dictating what law abiding citizens can and cannot do. We have law enforcement in public schools, body searches to enter government buildings and court houses, Manditory health insurance (by the way if it is illegal for congress to mandate health insurance what does that do for all the states that require auto insurance?). It is time that law enforcement enforce the existing laws and politicians stop writing new ones. There is a saying concerning the protection of our civil rights by our military, Everyone gave something, some gave all, don’t you give it away.

  • For those of you who are not familiar with Evanston it is known as an “upper” class town/suburb of Chicago. Not only is the tuition at NW extremely high so is the rent for what you get. May be the reason so many have to live together to “make a go of it” financially while attending Northwestern. Personally I would live ON campus to have better security, less cost, better accessability to campus functions and bldgs. such as the library, etc. Long story, short if you want to be “in” and live “off” campus/CLOSE
    to then live with LESS friends AND ADAPT to the community. Remember, you are only there for as long as you go Northwestern. You ARE a guest!

  • Rebecca

    Quote Don’tcha think if you could do this, other cities woulda done so already, and with success?

    Athens, GA (University of Georgia) did it years ago.

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