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February 26, 2014

A Federal Housing Discrimination Complaint has been filed against the City of Granite City on behalf of the Landlords of Granite City.

A Federal Housing Discrimination Complaint has been filed against the City of Granite City on behalf of the Landlords of Granite City. As landlords we are being targeted by Granite City because, in the words of city officials, "We don't want to turn into East Saint Louis". We are required to identify our properties with 'rental stickers' to easily identify our properties to city inspectors on 'drive by' inspections. How many times have you been cited for minor infractions when the owner occupied homes nearby or even next door are overlooked?
Have you been approached by neighbors who say, "I hope you don't rent to blacks or Mexicans"?
Have you been cited for having weeds in your fence when the house two doors down has a small forest growing in the alley or in their fence row?
We have to pay the city an 'inspection fee' of $250 before being allowed to rent a property. Owner occupied do not.
Have you been sent a letter because your tenants are driving a car with expired plates.
Do you see a pattern here? If you have similar complaints, we urge you to call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-765-9372.
Several years ago we took pictures of seventy five run down homes in Granite. We fully expected at least half of them to be rental properties. EVERY SINGLE ONE WAS OWNER OCCUPIED!!
All of us are heavily invested in this town and I, for one, am tired of my property values going down because city officials are letting owner occupied properties run down to the point where no one wants to live next to them.
The basic law of economics is supply and demand. When you have little demand, prices will fall. I have invested almost 30 years, a LOT of money and a lot of sweat in this town and it really breaks my heart when I hear out-of-towners tell me how run down the town is getting. One house they almost always mention is on the 2300 block of E 23rd, a main thoroughfare. They laugh about the decrepit RP Lumber siding wrap that has been on that house for over 10 YEARS! Yeah you guessed it, Owner Occupied. If that were a rental the city would have red tagged it years ago.
--Lewis Simpson
The City of Granite City has filed their response - denying everything.
We have been contacted by an attorney from the Equal Housing Opportunity Council who wishes to talk to landlords who own property in Granite City about any grievances you may have with the City of Granite City concerning violations of fair housing. These violations may be for the targeting of renters for extra enforcement of ordinance violations, unfair evictions for crime free violations etc.
Please bring as much documentation as you can. We are meeting on February 26. We will keep membership informed of progress.

January 2015©