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Normal Town Council approves 12-hour renter notice

Written by on November 7, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – The Normal Town Council approved a 12-hour notice regarding access to rental units during the first council meeting of the month on November 6.

The council approved a 12-hour notice requirement for access to rental units, as part of the addition of division 19 to chapter 25 of the municipal code, which pertains to residential tenant notification. This new ordinance grants renters a 12-hour notice in non-urgent situations, with exceptions for requested repairs, approved entrances and emergencies.

Earlier in the semester, the Student Government Association of Illinois State University had pushed for a 24-hour notice, but the council compromised and settled on the 12-hour notice. Nevertheless, the SGA considers this a significant achievement after pursuing this change for over three years.

Internal Advocacy Director for the Student Government Association Braxton Myers led the charge in securing this approval.

“For years now, leasing agencies and landlords have been intruding into apartments of tenants, often without notice, catching them in the most vulnerable states in their homes,” he said. “This is a business practice that is unfortunately widespread in Normal, especially in student housing, and one that only hurts the tenants that Normal houses.”

Several students shared their concerns about safety, privacy and personal experiences. Their primary worry was that leasing staff were bringing potential tenants through occupied units without prior notice, sometimes giving occupants as little as 12 seconds’ notice.

A member of the public Matthew Tozcko stressed the importance of addressing this issue and stated that to do otherwise would be a “dereliction of duty.”

The council voted 5-2 in favor of the 12-hour notice requirement, with council members Kathleen Lorenz and Scott Preston voting against it. Lorenz believed that the ordinance presented was not well-developed, even calling it “half-baked”. Mayor Koos disagreed, citing the year-long collaboration between the SGA and council staff.

“If this was tabled again, I think you would see even more students show up and even more students show support. Quite frankly this has been an issue we have been talking about for three years with the SGA,” Myers said. “We have talked about this policy extensivity with town council members as much as we could. We have tried our best, and I would even say bent over backwards to try to enhance that communication.”

The Student Government Association’s persistent communication efforts, coupled with their constant pursuit of this resolution, have gained them a significant victory. After years of work, the long-awaited notice will become operational by the end of this month.