“Keep Chicago Renting” Ordinance Undergoes Changes to Close Loopholes
On April 13, the Chicago Tribune published an article titled Aldermen make changes to Chicago foreclosure ordinance.
Aldermen make changes to Chicago foreclosure ordinance
A Chicago City Council committee took steps Monday to ensure a speedy turnaround for tenants who are living in foreclosed properties and are entitled to get a new lease or moving assistance under city code.
The housing committee recommended changes to the so-called Keep Chicago Renting ordinance, which requires that new owners of foreclosed rental properties offer new leases with a maximum 2 percent increase or pay $10,600 in moving assistance to each tenant.
Those changes would set a detailed timeline for the new property owners to offer either a new lease or moving assistance, and for tenants to respond to that offer. The entire process would take no longer than a few months.
Diane Limas, a volunteer with the Communities United group that was part of a coalition that pushed for the original ordinance, said her group’s research showed that up to 80 percent of new owners were exploiting “loopholes in the ordinance that have prevented the law from fully working as intended. … Oftentimes, new owners would cut off contact after sending renters the proper notice.”
The timeline requirements should keep that from happening in the future, Limas said. She was one of three housing advocates at Monday’s hearing to praise the proposed changes to the original ordinance, which was passed in 2013.
The changes also would ensure that a relative who was renting under a lease from the person who defaulted on the mortgage would be covered. And the changes would require new owners to either offer a similar rental unit or moving assistance to a renter whose unit was illegally converted to an apartment.
The city does not proactively enforce the ordinance, but it does take action if a tenant calls the city to file a complaint, said Steven McKenzie, a senior assistant corporation counsel for the city. The new owners most often are banks, but sometimes they are other companies or individuals, officials said.
The full City Council is expected to consider the changes Wednesday.
Please click here to view the article online.
Please click here to view Ordinance 02015-1485 (“Keep Chicago Renting”) text [pdf].
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