A number of housing provider groups in Illinois are pushing for a negative vote on legislation that would require landlords to participate in the federal Section 8 housing program by amending the state’s homelessness prevention law. -shelter.

House Bill 2775 is described as a homelessness prevention bill by many Illinois lawmakers, but groups representing landlords, including the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, have strongly opposed the measure.

The bill was read before the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday in the presence of various housing organizations to give their opinion.

Paul Arena, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association (IRPOA), explained why they are against the legislation.

“Section 8 is designed to be a voluntary program,” Arena said. “This bill requires you to sign a lease with the Housing Authority. It’s their lease and it’s non-negotiable and there are provisions in that lease that we oppose.”

Committee Member and Illinois State Senator Donald DeWitte, R-St. Charles said the bill still needed work.

“Realtors don’t think the state should use our fair housing laws to compel participation in a government program that even many developers still have trouble with,” DeWitte said.

The bill establishes provisions that ensure there will be no discrimination based on a tenant’s income or source of income. This would then require landlords to participate in the Section 8 housing program.

Owners who refuse will face stiff penalties, according to the IRPOA.

Much of the debate has centered on the forced implementation of the Section 8 housing program. Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, said that so far the two sides will not could not meet because of this problem.

“Opponents indicate they like the vast majority of the bill and care about that one thing, but we still seem to have that fundamental disagreement,” McConchie said.

Arena echoed McConchie’s thoughts on the nature of the disagreement.

“What we said was if they added a sentence to the bill that said ‘nothing here should be construed as requiring a landlord to sign a non-negotiable contract, addendum, or lease,'” said Arena. “Just this sentence.”

The bill made it through the Senate Executive Committee by a vote of 11-6. The Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, Illinois Realtors and Illinois Manufactured Housing Association all oppose the bill.

In October, advocating for the bill, the Access Living group said the measure was necessary as people struggle to find housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tenants with non-traditional sources of income have historically been unfairly excluded from communities due to [source of income] discrimination,” the group said in a policy stance. “This pandemic has escalated the problem to such an extent that it can no longer be ignored.”