Changes are in store for Oak Park condo owners, which will almost triple what it costs per unit to inspect a building.

Starting in June, the Village of Oak Park will send bills to the 298 condo buildings in town, charging an annual inspection fee. Earlier this year, the village board agreed to hike the cost from $3.50 to $10 per unit.

The letters will also ask condo associations to provide contact information for every unit currently being rented out. Oak Park has always had an ordinance requiring the inspection of rented condos, but the village has had difficulty identifying them, said Tammie Grossman, housing programs manager.

“It’s almost impossible to keep tabs on which units are rental if we don’t have a way for people to report that to us,” she said.

Oak Park previously sent out bills for inspection fees every other year, but that will increase to every year in June, starting next month. Inspections are done on odd years for odd-numbered buildings and even years for even-numbered buildings, according to Grossman.

The village doesn’t inspect inside condo units because it requires permission from owners, which most deny, says Chief Property Inspector John Ross. But they can inspect rented condos.

Oak Park has seen an increase in complaints of overcrowding in rented condo units. It’s important to keep an eye on overcrowding, he said, because of the strain it puts on a building’s plumbing, electricity and other amenities.

“After a load gets to be so much, they start to break down,” Ross said. “The worst ones are sewers. The mechanical systems just can’t handle all the people that are trying to be put into these places.”

Grossman believes most owners will welcome the increased enforcement.

“It’s basically a good way for us to have updated contact information and provide a service that we said we were going to provide,” she said. “I think most condominium associations would welcome us inspecting their rental units.”

CONTACT: mstempniak@wjinc.com

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