Industry News

Realtors, builders fight for homeowner choice

Fire sprinkler ordinance can add costs to owning a home

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There is a heated debate in a Chicago suburb over a proposal that would require fire sprinklers in all new homes. The Hickory Hills City Council this week will consider whether to approve the new ordinance, which has stirred protest from Realtor and home builder groups. More than 20 Illinois communities, as well as cities in other states, too, have considered fire sprinkler mandates for new homes, and the proposed laws often pit real estate interests against city officials. Tom Joseph, government affairs director for the West/South Suburban Chicagoland Realtor Association, said the association is not opposed to the option of fire sprinklers in new homes – but it is opposed to a mandate for the systems, which can push up the price of new homes and lead to additional maintenance costs for homeowners. The association argues that a mandate for fire sprinkles can burden home buyers with additional costs, though the association supports those homeowners and builders who freely cho...