Backers of a bill which would repeal a state prohibition on Rent Control sustained a significant setback on Wednesday as the measure failed to get the needed votes to advance.

HB 255, which seeks to repeal the state’s Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997, will remain in the House Subcommittee on Commercial Law of the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee. Four representatives voted against the measure, two voted for and one member abstained. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago.

The vote does not end the quest by proponents of Rent Control to move the bill to the full House Judiciary Civil Committee and ultimately a floor vote in the full House. However, the defeat was significant in that it makes it harder for Rent Control backers to get approval for the bill among the multitude of other legislation which must be considered this week prior to the scheduled committee hearing deadline on Friday, March 29th.

The subcommittee hearing took place in a packed hearing room. Illinois REALTORS® and a host of other organizations including representatives from building trade unions, pointed out that the bill would stifle development of additional affordable housing in the state.

Illinois REALTORS® has argued that the measure would create financial calamity for local governments by reducing property valuations and adding unneeded layers of bureaucracy to oversee Rent Control programs.

The vote was the latest chapter in a more-than-yearlong fight by backers of Rent Control to overturn the 1997 act. Similar bills were filed in last year’s legislative session but failed to advance. A series of special Senate subcommittee hearings was held last fall, and in the current legislative session there have been subject matter hearings on Rent Control.

HB255 is one of several bills which has been filed this year which seek to void the Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997. Other bills seek to overturn the ban on Rent Control, but call for additional steps such as setting up county or regional Rent Control boards.

Illinois REALTORS® has been a leader in the fight against Rent Control. The association has established a website with information, and the organization’s lobbyists have worked for more than a year to kill the legislation through direct lobbying and extensive grassroots efforts.