Landlords Say They Need Protection from Scrap Metal Thieves

Landlords in Illinois have taken to lobbying their state legislature after lawmakers failed to come up with a way to stop the scrap metal thefts that  plague rental properties.

Participants, some of whom are leaders of local landlord associations,  told the local news that a proposed state law that could prevent thefts and ID the criminals involved is fatally flawed because it makes an exception for sales of scrap under $100.

It takes a lot of scrap metal — air conditioners, aluminum siding, copper piping — for a thief to earn $100. Meanwhile, the damage caused in extracting the metals far outweighs the value of the scrap.

The landlords want their state legislators to amend the proposal to account more for small-time theft — the more likely scenario. They say an appropriate law would prohibit cash payments for scrap, and require the seller to supply identification. In order for the law to work, they say, all local governments must get into the act, or thieves will simply take the materials outside of municipal boundaries for a quick cash sale.

The landlords plan to travel to the state capitol to represent their position that the proposed bill doesn’t do enough to stave off the costs of repairing rental properties and replacing stolen appliances.

Interest in the trip was sparked by the Illinois Rental Property Association’s symposium called Landlord Lobby Day, according to the report. Landlords told a reporter that while state legislators say they want to help small businesses, they don’t always understand that landlords are small businesses.

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