CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 2582 – tough new penalties for landlords who try to cover up code violations that lead to someone’s death. The law, known as the Robb Family Act, creates a new offense “aggravated criminal housing management,” a Class 4 felony.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago) and Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago), is named after a mother and her two daughters who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in January 2000. Although the landlord maintained there were working detectors in Anna Robb’s apartment at the time she and her 9-year-old daughter Elizabeth and 8-year-old daughter Erica died, police suspected the landlord attempted to cover up the crime by installing detectors after their deaths.
“This new law holds landlords accountable for attempting to cover up that their buildings are in such disrepair, it led to someone’s death,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Although the law stems from tragedy, hopefully by increasing the punishment landlords can face, it will help prevent future tragedies.”
Currently, landlords who manage dangerous buildings face the misdemeanor offense of criminal housing management – only repeat offenders face felony charges. House Bill 2582 creates a new offense, criminal house management, to charge landlords with if the condition of a building is determined to be a contributing factor in a person death and the potential offender conceals or attempts to conceal the contributing condition. The Class 4 felony carries a one to three year jail sentence.
“Today, I along with Michael Robb, Anna's twin brother and only surviving family member, and Governor Blagojevich send a strong message to slumlords that if they choose to gamble with the lives of their tenants, the Robb Family Act will ensure that they lose that bet in Illinois,” said Rep. Mendoza.
House Bill 2582 is effective immediately.