LOGAN SQUARE — Chicagoans in parts of four North Side wards voted overwhelmingly to lift the statewide ban on rent control in Tuesday’s election.
About 72 percent of voters in fewer than 20 precincts in the 1st, 26th, 45th and 50th wards voted to lift the ban, according to Chicago Board of Election results. The ban has been in effect since 1997 thanks to lobbying efforts from realtors.
The rent control question came in the form of a non-binding referendum — a way to let elected officials know how voters are feeling, but does not require action on the part of lawmakers.
Parts of other wards were asked a similar question during the November midterms and the Illinois 2018 primary.
During the November midterms, the 35th, 46th and 49th wards — which include all or parts of Rogers Park, Uptown, Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, Logan Square and Lakeview neighborhoods — were asked about ending the state’s ban on rent control.
A majority of voters in those three wards — 71.55 percent in the 35th, 70.56 percent in the 46th and 66.18 percent in the 49th — voted in favor of lifting the ban.
In the Illinois 2018 primary, voters in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 12th, 22nd, 25th, 27nd, 33rd and 36th wards got to weigh in on the matter. When those ballots were tallied, 75 percent of voters in those wards also voted in favor of lifting the state’s ban on rent control.
Yet the two mayoral candidates headed to an April runoff — Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle — are split on the issue.
Lightfoot doesn’t support lifting the ban.
“I don’t think rent control is the issue we need to be focused on right now,” Lightfoot is quoting as saying in Crain’s.
“We have a huge affordable-housing crisis in the city. In two-thirds of the city (in the past several years), not a single affordable unit has been built,” she added.
Preckwinkle does support lifting the ban, but as only one piece of the puzzle. She said she would also push for other affordable housing initiatives such as the “Development for All” ordinance, which would prevent developers from opting out of paying “in lieu” fees instead of building affordable units on site.
For more on Preckwinkle and Lightfoot’s stance on housing affordability, visit Chi.vote.
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