APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
536 N.E.2d 763, 181 Ill. App. 3d 10, 129 Ill. Dec. 713 1989.IL.278
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Harold A. Siegan, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. MANNING, P.J., and CAMPBELL, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE QUINLAN
Plaintiffs in this case filed a lawsuit in the circuit court of Cook County challenging the validity and constitutionality of certain sections of the Village of Mount Prospect's landlord-tenant ordinance. Plaintiffs sought an injunction and such other relief that the court deemed appropriate. After the parties filed memoranda of law and presented oral arguments, the trial court ruled that certain disputed sections of the landlord-tenant ordinance were unconstitutional and invalid. Defendants, the Village of Mount Prospect and various village officers, now appeal from that judgment to this court. We reverse.
On September 6, 1983, the Village of Mount Prospect (Village) amended its "Residential Landlord and Tenant Regulations" by passing ordinance No. 3366 (the Ordinance). The stated purpose of the Ordinance was "to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant in the rental of dwelling units in the Village and to encourage the landlord and tenant to maintain and improve the quality of rental housing within the community." (Mount Prospect, Ill., Ordinance 3366, 23.1801 (September 6, 1983).) The Ordinance applied to rental agreements for dwelling units within the Village of Mount Prospect, with some exceptions. *fn1 Mount Prospect, Ill., Ordinance 3366, § 23.1802 (September 6, 1983).
The plaintiffs here include the Oak Park Trust and Savings Bank (Oak Park Trust), which is the trustee of real estate on which there are 1,048 rental apartments; S.D.M. Realty, Inc. , which is the landlord of the 1,048 rental apartments and the successor corporation to the named plaintiff, Cottonwood Management, Inc.; Salvatore DiMucci, the beneficiary of the land trust and an officer and shareholder of S.D.M.; and Mary Bouris, a tenant of one of the rental apartments contained in the land trust. The defendants include the Village of Mount Prospect, a home rule unit; *fn2 Carolyn H. Krause, the mayor of Mount Prospect; Terrance L. Burghard, the village manager of Mount Prospect; and Carol A. Fields, the village clerk of Mount Prospect.
The plaintiffs filed a six-count complaint seeking an injunction and any other appropriate relief, claiming that the Ordinance was illegal, void, and unenforceable because: (1) it allowed tenants to withhold rent payments for alleged building violations; (2) it allowed tenants to pay the withheld rents to the Village of Mount Prospect, to be held by the Village as trustee of the funds; (3) it allowed tenants to file counterclaims in forcible entry and detainer actions; (4) it required all owners or landlords of multifamily dwelling units located within the Village of Mount Prospect to be licensed; (5) it charged a licensing fee based on the number of rental units; and (6) it allowed landlords to collect the license fee from tenants.
The defendants filed an answer to the plaintiffs' complaint and also filed a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment that the Ordinance was valid. Thereafter, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, but the circuit court of Cook County denied the motion for summary judgment in a written order.
Subsequently, the parties filed memoranda of law with the trial court and the matter proceeded to trial before the court, which was sitting without a jury. At trial, the plaintiffs did not present any witnesses, but the defendants presented Michael Janonis, the acting village manager for the Village of Mount Prospect. In his testimony, Janonis said that the fees charged for the operating licenses did not even cover the expenses incurred by the Village in regulating and inspecting the rental dwellings. Following the testimony of Mr. Janonis and the presentation of oral argument by the parties, the trial court then held that the Ordinance was unconstitutional, and thus, invalid. The court then entered judgment against defendants.
The defendants raise six issues on appeal. In their first issue they argue that the trial court erroneously ruled that the Ordinance's licensing scheme and licensing fee were beyond their police powers, were in reality a revenue raising device, and consequently, were unconstitutional under the Illinois Constitution. The pertinent section of the ordinance provides, in relevant part:
"No dwelling structure shall be operated as a rental multiple-family dwelling structure unless the owner or landlord as defined here-in holds a current, unrevoked operating license issued by the Village of Mount Prospect for the specific named multiple dwelling.
he annual fee for operating licenses for multiple family dwellings shall be $7.00 per dwelling unit. The landlord shall charge the fee to the tenants on such terms as they may agree." Mount Prospect, Ill., ...