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Ordinance helps keep renters in place

Wed, Jun 26, 2013

Abandoned buildings and vacant apartments across the city of Chicago have been given new life. On June 5, the Chicago City Council passed the Keep Chicago Renting ordinance that helps working families remain in their residences, rather than evicting them after landlords’ foreclosure. The last three years have produced 51,972 foreclosed rental units, according to advocates.

Ald. Richard Mell (33rd Ward) introduced the ordinance, which passed with a City Council vote of 45-4. The Chicago Tribune reported that although many of these tenants have been paying their rent on time, they are still being evicted from their homes and displaced.

The ordinance will require the foreclosing bank or mortgage holder to provide tenants with a rent-controlled lease until the property is sold, or pay them a $10,600 relocation fee. The ordinance also provides incentives to banks to help keep people in their homes.

“Renters are the hidden victims in this foreclosure crisis,” said Diane Limas of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council on an Action Now blog.

“We know that vacant, foreclosed multi-unit properties facilitate crime and gang violence in our communities, especially in our communities of color.”

Other supporters included the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Metropolitan Tenants Organization and Organization of the NorthEast.

By Torey Darin
StreetWise Editorial Intern


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