Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

New Dawg Pound President, Corey Crombar, stands next to former Dawg Pound President,
Dylan Chambers April 13, 2024 at Saluki Stadium Suite in Carbondale, Illinois.
Corey Crombar named Dawg Pound president 
By Carly Gist, Staff Reporter • April 15, 2024

A new era is beginning for Saluki Athletics. With current Dawg Pound president Dylan Chambers graduating, the group has found its next leader:...

The solar eclipse reached its totality at 1:59pm in southern Illinois April 8, 2024 in Carbondale, Illinois.
Looking Down: Observing the solar eclipse through shadows
By Mo Collar, Staff Reporter • April 10, 2024

Rather than looking up at the sun through glasses, many could observe the progress to totality through shadows on the ground. A solar eclipse...

The band Lone Howl plays on stage together during the Total Solar Eclipse Festival.
Shawnee Cave hosts music festival in celebration of total solar eclipse
By Carly Gist, Staff Reporter • April 10, 2024

One hundred feet under the highway, live music blared so loud concertgoers could feel it in their chests. Surrounded by a lawn of fake grass...

Arbor District residents take a stand against slumlords at city council meeting

A+building+in+the+middle+of+construction+within+the+Arbor+District+that+is+on+West+Cherry+Street+in+Carbondale%2C+IL.+The+building+has+caution+tape+surrounding+the+front+of+it.+February+17th%2C+2024%0A%40SimShardPhotography+%0A
Simeon Hardley
A building in the middle of construction within the Arbor District that is on West Cherry Street in Carbondale, IL. The building has caution tape surrounding the front of it. February 17th, 2024 @SimShardPhotography

Social media in the Carbondale area is often flooded with complaints about landlords and housing units with mold, falling fixtures and even, occasionally, issues with raw sewage backing up in bathrooms. Many housing owners around town have a reputation for being slumlords.

The people of Carbondale gathered Tuesday Feb. 13 at 6:00 pm at the City Council meeting at Carbondale to give their opinions on the proposed Rental Agent Licensing ordinance. It is designed to help the city enforce housing codes, according to a press release from the

Arbor Disctrict Neighborhood Association.

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In the 1970s, the city made several programs to motivate landlords to comply with the standards set by the city including mandatory inspections added in 1994. When that didn’t work, the Arbor District workers enforced the rental registration program made in 2007.

The press release says, “In spite of regular inspection (except during COVID), some landlords have found ways to avoid bringing their properties up to code.”

Renters, landlords, and supporters of both sides attended the meeting to get a chance to share their takes on the proposal and how the city should move forward with it.

Gregory Holthaus a member of S.I. Property Management told the council the problem lies with  illegal landlords not doing their jobs accordingly. He said it’s very important for people to understand the difference between license law and who can legally manage a property.

“There’s people such as myself that are here today, there’s been a lifetime of investment in the city of Carbondale and to have people that can register today with the city of Carbondale and become the point person, the central point of contact for the city, is very troubling me,” Holthaus said.

Holthaus said a look into the history of “repeat offender” landlords are the ones renting out their properties illegally.

Attorney at the Southern Illinois Law Center Jonathan Kibler represents landlords in the Carbondale area and said, “There are already many laws on the books. Taking a closer local eye at the enforcement could be the key to obtaining the results that you want, without perhaps overburdening the landlords.” 

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Kibbler said he understood landlords might not get sympathy, but regulating them more will further increase costs on their side.

SIU student and Carbondale renter Victor Ludwig spoke to the council about how the problem is the bad landlords who benefit from not doing their job according to the law.

“If you’re a diligent landlord who follows the law, you have nothing but benefit from this because you’re unscrupulous competitors will be burdened out of existence,” Ludwig said. “If you’re acting unscrupulously, if you’re breaking the law, if you’re breaking ordinance, you have no right to be doing what you do as a landlord.

Ludwig said it is very important to prioritize good landlords with Carbondale being a college town, but there should also be things put in place to protect tenants also.

“I feel that the city should step in to add additional mechanisms by which it can…enforce measures that protect all the tenants here because the tenants don’t have lawyers,” Ludwig said.

Ludwig said he has had to deal with a roach infestation in his apartment for the past eight months and says it’s not just his apartment but the entire building.

“I can’t leave a single thing out for longer than five minutes when I cook and can’t leave the kitchen because I don’t watch the pan. I have to watch water boil so that I can live safely and happily and healthy,” Ludwig said. “Now I’m moving out of Carbondale because I can’t find a place to live to be that safe.”

He doesn’t want to leave, he said, but living outside the city and buying a house somewhere cheap enough is the only way he’ll feel secure in his living situation. The city needs to be focused on giving the people someone clean to live.

“How many times would I have to call the city to make that work? How many lawyers will I have to hire to get that to the court?” Ludwig said. “How bankrupt do I have to be to actually have a livable house?”

Adam Ashby, another man who came to support renters, said many landlords are outpricing residents, leading to homelessness in the area.

“Whenever you have landlords that hoard housing like this right, and they hold it at a set price that most people cannot afford, that is what drives homelessness,” Ashby said. “Being a landowner is a privilege, it is not a right.”

Ashby said he believes that some bad landlords enjoy hoarding this housing, forgetting what their control does to the people.

“If you were not going to provide people with livable and affordable housing, you do not have the right to be a landlord. It is an economic position,” Ashby said. “It’s a job, okay. And I believe that part of the responsibility of that job is providing safe, adequate and affordable housing to everyone.”

 

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