A New Tool to Help You Avoid Problem Landlords in Chicago

Problem Landlord List at City of Chicago website

Chicagoans now have access to a useful new tool when looking for an apartment to rent – a list of “Problem Landlords.” The list identifies residential building owners who have been repeatedly cited for failing to provide tenants with basic services and protections, such as adequate heat, hot water, and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The landlords listed have three or more serious building code violations, or have been found liable in two or more administrative hearing cases about their building(s). The list will be updated every six months. This list is available at http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs/supp_info/building-code....

The City also publishes another useful list for tenants to review – the Building Code Scofflaw List. This list (also found at http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs/supp_info/building-code...) identifies residential building owners who have three or more properties that are the subject of active Circuit Court cases and the building code violations remain uncorrected after the second court hearing . This list is updated once a year.

On January 21, 2015, the Chicago City Council approved an amendment of Municipal Code Titles 1, 2, 4 and 13 of Municipal Code Entitled "The Eriana Patton Smith and Coleman/Clark Kids Tenant Protection Ordinance" to prohibit building code scofflaws or problem landlords from doing business with the City and establish fines for violations.

The ordinance provides for a number of penalties to incentivize better conditions for renters, improved maintenance of their buildings and compliance with the Chicago Municipal Code. Identified building owners will not be able to obtain business licenses, receive zoning changes, acquire city land or receive financial assistance like Tax Increment Financing (TIF), or obtain building permits not related to addressing their violations. The most serious offenders, who have already been found liable by a hearing officer or a judge and have failed to comply, could be subject to forfeiture or receivership to third parties who can provide for the life safety and welfare of the residents in their buildings.

The ordinance authorizes the publication of these identified building owners: “The commissioner, in consultation with the corporation counsel, is authorized to create and publish a list of building code scofflaws and a list of problem landlords in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section.”

Is your landlord, or your building, on one of these lists? If so, LCBH may be able to assist you. Everyone deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.