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After Costly Renovations, Country Club Hills Couple Can't Rent Home They Inherited While Licenses Are On Hold; 'We're Losing Hand Over Fist'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Country Club Hills couple checked all the right boxes to get their property ready to rent. They gutted the home, and made all-new renovations, but when they went to apply for their license they found out the village is not approving any new rental properties, indefinitely.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory looked into the hold-up.

"We don't want to lose the place. I mean, it's the home my husband grew up in. It's the home my father-in-law built," Alyssa Sowles said.

A home once filled with memories, now vacant, which was never part of the plan.

Sowles and her husband inherited the house two years ago, and also inherited a massive project

"We put brand new floors in the whole house," she said. "Painted everything, repaired holes in walls, changed out some appliances."

All in hopes of finding a renter.

In Country Club Hills, the village municipal code requires landlords to secure a license proving the property is up to par. The problem is licenses for first-time landlords have been on hold since July, leaving Sowles "overwhelmed" and in "sheer disbelief."

And stuck with a big bill that includes property taxes, insurance fees, and utility costs; on top of all those initial repairs.

"When you start breaking it all out, we've spent well over probably $25,000 in the last two years," she said.

Add on almost six months of lost income.

"We were looking to rent to a veteran at approximately $1,600 a month," Sowles said. "We're losing hand over fist on this place."

The hardest part for Sowles has been the lack of clarity on when she can receive a license.

"We just want some answers," she said.

The village told her new licenses are on hold until 2021.

"When in 2021 are you really going to open this up?" she wondered.

January 1st? In April, when all licenses need to be renewed? Or is the end date even further down the road?

"Am I going to have to wait until full reopening Stage 5 of COVID? Like, that can be three years from now," Sowles said.

She hasn't been able to get a clear answer.

"We want to make sure we do this correctly, and we want our house to be safe and fully inspected, and we just can't get any help from anybody," she said.

Country Club Hills Mayor James Ford said the village had to make a lot of cuts due to the pandemic, including laying off all but one building inspector to process new licenses.

He couldn't specify when in 2021 new licenses will be issued, and also said right now it's a low priority for his office.

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