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City of Evanston v. Create

OPINION FILED JUNE 3, 1980.

THE CITY OF EVANSTON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CREATE, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD M. FIALA, JR., Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Create, Inc., a corporate real estate broker-lessor (hereinafter referred to as Create), appeals from an injunction issued by the circuit court of Cook County which enjoins Create "from prosecuting or in any way giving further effect to certain clauses contained in certain leases * * * found to be in violation of Chapter 23 1/2 of the Code of the City of Evanston * * *." The sole issue presented for review is whether the City of Evanston may, consistent with its power as a home-rule unit, regulate various aspects of the residential landlord-tenant relationship.

For reasons hereinafter set forth, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

On March 17, 1975, the City of Evanston (hereinafter referred to as the City) enacted chapter 23 1/2 to the Code of the City of Evanston, 1957, as amended, entitled the "Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance" (hereinafter referred to as the Ordinance). The Ordinance was enacted pursuant to the City's power as a home-rule unit. *fn1 The purpose of the Ordinance is embodied in section 23 1/2-1.102, which provides:

"It is the purpose of this Ordinance and the policy of the City of Evanston, in order to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens in the City, to establish rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant in the rental of dwelling units and to encourage the landlord and the tenant to maintain and improve the quality of housing."

On May 24, 1977, the City filed a complaint in the circuit court of Cook County for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that various provisions of Create's lease agreements for certain premises commonly known as 1115-1133 Maple Avenue were violative of the Ordinance. The City requested that the circuit court declare null and void the provisions of the lease agreements which were found to be in violation of the Ordinance and enjoin Create from further violation of the Ordinance. In both its motion to dismiss and its answer, Create alleged that the enactment of the Ordinance exceeded the powers conferred upon the City, as a home-rule unit, by the Illinois Constitution. The trial court denied Create's motion to dismiss the City's complaint, finding that the City's exercise of its home-rule powers did not exceed its constitutional authority. Motions for summary judgment were filed by both the City and Create. The circuit court once again found that the Ordinance was a valid exercise of the City's home-rule powers and entered summary judgment in favor of the City, enjoining Create "from prosecuting or in any way giving further effect to certain clauses contained in certain leases * * *."

I.

The powers of home-rule units are embodied in section 6 of article VII of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. This constitutional grant of home rule to local governments is a major change from the pre-existing scheme of local governmental power. Previously all local governments were required to find authority for their actions in State legislation. Section 6 conferred upon home-rule units a broad range of inherent powers which exist without the need for any action by the General Assembly. Section 6(a) provides that:

"Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt."

Section 6(m) instructs the courts> that these "[p]owers and functions of home-rule units shall be construed liberally." In addition, section 6(i) provides that:

"Home rule units may exercise and perform concurrently with the State any power or function of a home rule unit to the extent that the General Assembly by law does not specifically limit the concurrent exercise or specifically declare the State's exercise to be exclusive."

The mechanism by which the General Assembly may specifically deny or limit the exercise of a home-rule power by a home-rule unit is established by sections 6(g) and 6(h). Section 6(g) provides that:

"The General Assembly by a law approved by the vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each house may deny or limit the power to tax and any other power or function of a home rule unit not exercised or performed by the State other than a ...


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