Chicago Needs Proactive Rental Inspections to Protect People’s Health

Chicago tenants have a right to heat!

Last December, as the temperature outside plummeted, the heat in Ms. Payan’s apartment stopped working. In addition to the lack of heat, Ms. Payan also experienced flooding in her apartment. Multiple conversations with the landlord yielded no improvements. In fact, the landlord threatened Ms. Payan that she would have to pay for the repairs.  Ms. Payan contacted MTO’s Healthy Homes Organizer, Angelica Ugarte, for help.

Angelica helped Ms. Payan to use Chicago’s tenants’ ordinance to terminate the lease and avoid paying rent for the last month so that Ms. Payan could have the money to relocate.  The results of this story are rare. Far too many tenants experience retaliation from their landlord and face eviction when they request repairs or take the necessary steps to assert their rights under the law.  Tenants are educated and empowered by MTO to understand the process and challenge abusive practices in their building. There is little accountability for slum landlords to follow building codes or ensure that apartments are in habitable condition throughout the tenancy.

The only way to hold slum landlords accountable is through regular inspections.  Inspections should not wait until a crisis occurs such as the one faced by Ms. Payan.  Chicago needs an inspection program that promotes regular maintenance.  We encourage you to support the proactive inspection program, CHIPP (Chicago Proactive Inspection Program) which is calling for legislation to mandate routine inspection of all Chicago’s rental apartments.  If you or someone you know would like to join our efforts to promote CHIPP, please call (773) 292-4980.

Chicago Needs Proactive Home Inspections!

The Chicago Healthy Homes Coalition (CHHC),  a coalition of renters and advocates, proposes to create a citywide rental housing registry and a proactive healthy homes inspection program. This is a matter of racial and health equity.  No Chicago renter should get sick or die because health hazards, such a lead or a lack of smoke detectors, exist.  No renters should have to live with mold, rats, or use their stove for heat.  We call upon the city to create a citywide program to hold bad landlords accountable and to ensure that all housing is safe, decent and accessible.  

Chicago does not regularly inspect housing for basic safety standards. This means that poor housing conditions can go unaddressed until a tenant makes a report to the city, often after an injury or illness. Proactive inspections will ensure that unsafe housing issues are addressed sooner, fewer people will be harmed or injured, and Chicago’s housing stock will be improved.


History + Background

A little over half of all Chicagoans are renters. The city is also home to higher-than-average rates of water leaks, heating and plumbing equipment breakdown, problems with broken plaster and peeling paint, and sewage disposal issues, according to the National Center for Healthy Housing. In 2019 renters made more than 30,000 complaints for occupied blight and other habitability issues, with most complaints coming from the South and West Side.

Simultaneously, the city does not currently require proactive inspection of rental units. Dangerous conditions are only addressed after a complaint is filed with the City. Minor issues are not addressed and unreported hazards often transition into disasters before a complaint is filed. Complaint-based inspection is additionally inadequate because inspectors often limit the the investigation only to what is reported. Many complaints are also never investigated; inspectors regularly have trouble accessing properties without landlord cooperation. The lack of a rental property registration system exacerbates this problem, as many owners do not have discoverable contact information, particularly when the property is owned by a limited liability company (LLC).


The Consequences

Lead Poisoning: Because over 81% of Chicago’s housing stock was built before the federal government  banned lead-based paint in 1978, most of these buildings, many of which have not been appropriately  maintained, repaired, or renovated, likely contain lead-based paint. Lead is a major neurotoxin that causes lifelong learning disabilities, hearing loss, speech delays, intellectual disability, ADHD, and aggressive/violent behaviors, even at relatively low levels. In many community areas, the childhood lead poisoning rates are more than double or quadruple the city-wide rate: from 4.4 and 5.7 per 100 children in Austin and West Garfield Park, and as high as 7.2 and 7.3 per 100 children in Englewood and West Englewood.

Asthma: Researchers have found excess moisture allows for the breeding of mold, mildew, mites, and  cockroaches, and that cracks allow pests like rodents and bugs to enter the home, all of which have been  linked to greater asthma morbidity and mortality. In Chicago, Black children have twice the prevalence of asthma when compared to White and Hispanic children. 

Societal, Economic, and Educational Harms: Other poor housing conditions, such as presence of rats and cockroaches, missing or malfunctioning necessities (e.g., toilet, stove, windows), and other structural,  electrical, and plumbing issues have been connected to higher  school absenteeism, reduced performance on standardized tests, and cognitive deficiencies in students. 

Fires and Fatalities: Between 2014 and 2019, 140 fires killed 92 Chicagoans. Nearly half of those fires  involved buildings without a working smoke detector. A Chicago Tribune / Better Government Association investigation into fires in the same timeframe found more than two dozen cases in which safety conditions played a role in the fires, but records showed the buildings had not been inspected for five or more years. 

Public Fiscal Costs: Chicago’s inability to address dangerous housing conditions is expensive to the public. Very conservatively estimating that just one-half of Chicago’s 1,376 lead-poisoned children in  2017 required special education, Chicago therefore spent roughly $7.5 million to $15 million per year in additional instructional costs for those students alone. Other studies corroborate that every dollar spent to prevent lead poisoning saves hundreds of dollars in the form of greater earnings and reduced taxpayer-funded health  care, special education, and law enforcement costs.

In  2018, Chicago’s Office of Inspector General found that our current complaint-based system permitted safety and health hazards to go unaddressed for longer than the law allowed. A follow up report in 2019 gave the City recommendations to improve inspections.


Our Solution

CHHC is proposing a three-year pilot to begin the transition from Chicago’s ineffective and dangerous complaint-driven inspection system to a proven proactive rental inspection and rental registry program. 

The pilot includes three major components: 

(1) healthy homes inspection of all residential rental properties  in two select community areas; 

(2) a citywide residential rental registry

(3) community outreach to  educate and engage tenants, landlords, and other stakeholders. 

The program is designed to be budget neutral, as it will be funded by registration fees paid by landlords. It  will be implemented by a project manager hired by the city, in collaboration with the Departments of  Housing, Buildings, and Health.


Healthy Homes Inspections. The City will develop a healthy homes inspection program to be used citywide and pilot the program in two community areas—one high-need and one mixed-need. The pilot’s healthy homes inspections will incorporate nationally-recognized principles of healthy homes,  including that they be dry, clean, safe, contaminant-free, well-ventilated, thermally controlled, well maintained, and accessible.

Rental Registry. As part of the pilot, the City of Chicago will establish a citywide residential rental registry, to be managed by the Department of Housing. All landlords will be required to register their rental  properties with the City annually, paying a registration fee and providing some basic information about the property.

Repair Grants for Small Landlords. The rental registry fees would go into a fund that prioritizes grants for small landlords who own 6 or fewer units to make necessary repairs. This will encourage landlords to participate in the program.

Community Outreach. Because community buy-in and support is critical to the success of the pilot, the  City will involve key stakeholders in the community at all stages of pilot development and implementation by creating a community advisory board to assist with oversight and evaluation at the  end of the pilot. The City will also hire inspectors and other City personnel from pilot  communities, which will help to ensure that the pilot is implemented equitably and with the needs of the community in mind.  

9 Potential Solutions to Keep Chicagoans Safer From FiresBetter Government Association



To evaluate the pilot project, the City will hire an independent professional who is a healthy housing expert. This individual will design and implement a robust evaluation, collecting and analyzing both qualitative  and quantitative measures. 

Quantitative Measures: Identified hazards; hazards remediated; cost to the City; cost to landlords; training needs; number of inspections/inspectors; frequency of inspector success in property entry; estimated fiscal benefits for the public; financial and health  benefits for impacted households.

Qualitative Measures: Qualitative measures will include open-ended interviews with inspectors,  community stakeholders, advocates, landlords, and tenants about their experiences during the pilot. 

The evaluation will also use the inspection data to identify common housing hazards that are not considered  violations under Chicago’s Building Code and make recommendations for possible amendments. The  evaluator will additionally ascertain compliance with the rental registry requirements, to inform potential  incentives and penalties to ensure compliance.

**Read our full white-paper here.**



Take Action!

We need City Council to implement this project. Call your Alderman today and demand they support Chicago Healthy Homes!

Join the Coalition! Sign up to be a sponsor.

Another Eviction Prevented

Lead poisoning has been in the headlines ever since the Flint water crisis brought national attention to the problem. Chicago is grappling with its own lead poisoning crisis, which is hitting our youngest residents the hardest. Imagine if you found out your child had lead poisoning. No parent wants to receive that type of news. Now imagine that your two youngest children – twins – have elevated lead blood levels.

A deteriorating window frame with chipping and peeling paint with a distinct alligator pattern (which usually indicates the presence of lead based paint) inside Ms. W’s apartment.

This is how we first met Ms. “W”. After a local health clinic discovered her children’s elevated lead blood levels, Ms W contacted MTO, and a Healthy Homes organizer conducted a visual inspection at her home. The deteriorating plaster walls had started to disintegrate. Half of the window frames had chipped, peeled, and cracked paint. A subsequent inspection by the Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed the assessment – there were high levels of lead in the entire unit

Over the course of the next few weeks, MTO’s Healthy Homes Organizer provided a letter of support, collected visual documentation of the unit conditions, and shared resources for emergency housing assistance. While Ms. W. explored her options she received more devastating news, her three other children – all under the age of six – had also been poisoned. Now, her landlord was trying to evict Ms W and her family. When an unlicensed worker attempted to remediate the lead without proper safety protocols in place, MTO was able to get a city inspector to stop the illegal abatement, which was further harming her children. Ms W was partnered with a pro-bono lawyer to fight the eviction. While Ms. W. awaits to hear about a new apartment to move to she has expressed immense gratefulness for MTO’s assistance in her advocacy for safe and healthy housing.

But Ms. W wouldn’t have to experience any of this if Chicago had a proactive rental inspection program. The Chicago Healthy Homes Inspection Program (CHHIP) is a campaign lead by MTO to create just that. Hazards like lead, mold, pest infestations, and other asthma triggers can and should be caught before they become a crisis. The current building inspection system is a complaint-based service provided by city inspectors. This means that tenants hold the burden of requesting proper maintenance, property owners can neglect buildings without regular code enforcement, and families are forced to relocate or live with egregious conditions affecting their health. In today’s economy, moving is not always a viable option. We believe that the City should initiate a proactive inspection program that could identify home-based health hazards before they poison our children.

Lead Hazard sticker that was placed on door after formal lead inspection by the city of Chicago’s Department of Public Health.

Chicago’s lead poisoning crisis is silently harming our youngest and most vulnerable residents. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says, “no levels of lead is safe for anyone”. The CDC wants to eliminate lead poisoning in children by the year 2020. If Chicago wants to get serious about achieving this goal, we need to address the substandard housing that exists in our city and make lead prevention and remediation a priority. Our children’s lives are at stake.

MTO is excited to announce our continued partnership with the Chicago Community Trust through a 2nd year of being awarded CCT’s Housing + Health grant. Because of our supporters we are able to assist more Chicago renters and children with housing-health issues and organize for equitable solutions and policies that promote safe, healthy, and decent affordable housing for all. After all HOUSING is a HUMAN RIGHT! 

If you or someone you know is in need of information about their rights as a renter or in need of assistance from our Healthy Homes Team contact MTO’s Tenants’ Rights Hotline, M-F; 1pm-5pm at 773-292-4988 or visit our offices M-Th 1pm-4:30pm.

The question is, how do we become better allies?

Today is International Women’s Day. On this day, women all across the world receive praises that go unsaid the rest of the year. It’s also a day for women like myself to reflect on what it means to be a woman, and how to stand better in solidarity with other women. Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the women that I’ve met throughout the years as a Healthy Homes Organizer and the struggles they’ve had to face. The story of Ms. May sticks out in my mind.

I first visited Ms. May this past January, to take a look at the peeling paint in her home and talk about how to prevent lead poisoning. When I arrived at the home, it immediately became clear that the situation was much worse than I had initially thought. There was ice on the staircase and a broken faucet, which had gone unchecked for nearly a week. That resulted in a giant ice rink near the house – a clear and present danger to Ms May. Inside the house, there was mold on the kitchen and bathroom walls and holes in the foundation. There were rat droppings from an infestation that had been inappropriately handled by her landlord, with serious consequences.

Last October she asked her landlord to deal with the rat problem. The landlord, instead of hiring an exterminator, had brought an unqualified person who ended up leaving a bag of rat poison pellets on top of the dining table.  Her three-year-old daughter confused the brightly colored pellets for cereal and ended up ingesting some. Fortunately, the quick actions by Ms May resulted in a full recovery for her little girl. I bring this particular story up, because my initial reaction was to judge. How could someone leave rat poison on the table? How could she not realize that a young child might be attracted to the brightly colored pellets?

It took me a few minutes before I checked myself and realized that situations like this were never that simple, and it usually was not the fault of one person. Ms May had done the best she could given her circumstances. It was her landlord who should have made the repairs, promptly and efficiently. But that did not happen. The exploitation of low-income tenants, in particular mothers and caretakers is something far too common in the housing market. Women in these situations more often than not have to take on the burden of child-rearing and making ends meet. Adding substandard housing further increases that burden, and the health consequences from inadequate housing are severe. We can’t make every home safe, but we can support the people living there.

So the question is, how do we become better allies? How do we, as fellow women, lessen the burden of so many other Chicago women like Ms May? You can begin to stand in solidarity by calling your alderman and supporting the Chicago Healthy Homes Inspection Program that is designed to enforce building code standards and protect renters from health hazards. A move from the current building inspection system will help us prevent another story like Ms May’s and helps us in the effort to create safe housing for all. Healthy and thriving lives start at home, which is why every family should have safe, decent and accessible housing!

This story was written by Angelica Ugarte, Healthy Homes Program Organizer

We Know How To Stop The Epidemic Of Lead Poisoning. Why Aren’t We?

We know exactly how to eliminate lead hazards to keep children safe. Yet federal regulations that are supposed to protect families in any kind of housing, public and private, have lagged far behind current scientific research and mean thousands of children across the country are being poisoned by their homes.leadquote1-816x432

In fact, it’s just as common for families in run-down private homes in Chicago to be faced with the prospect of lead poisoning, a reality John Bartlett, executive director of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, sees firsthand. The poor families who call [MTO’s] hotline are often forced into unbearable choices in private housing. Preventative measures are even rarer in private housing, as inspections aren’t required at all. As a result, parents often have no idea what they’re moving into. “The question becomes, is it better to have a home or not,” he said. “Do you end up in a shelter situation or do you take what you can get? Tenants lack the resources to go anywhere else, but they also lack the resources to stand up to the landlord,” Bartlett said. And they might risk getting kicked out of their home rather than an actual fix.

“Oftentimes landlords, instead of wanting to get rid of the lead, want to get rid of the tenant,” he continued. That’s a particular problem in private housing, where the protections against wrongful evictions are weaker. Some cities and states have instituted proactive rental inspection programs, which require housing to be checked at regular intervals, rather than waiting for a resident to make a complaint. That not only means that lead hazards are hopefully abated before poisoning becomes an issue, but that tenants who might fear taking action against landlords don’t have to shoulder the burden.

That proactive approach is what Bartlett has been pushing his city of Chicago to adopt. His group wants the city to mandate inspections every five years to catch lead hazards before children become poisoned. “If you’re not going out and pre-inspecting things, then kids move in, and they get poisoned.”

Click to Continue Reading the Full Article…

How a Pro-Active Inspection Program Will Address Lead Poisoning

substrate damage window sillMonica loves spending time at home with her family. Unfortunately, her home has not always been a safe place for her children to grow and develop. Monica’s two year old son, Kyle, was diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels due to the presence of lead in their apartment. Despite her landlord’s assurance that he fixed the problem, repeat testing revealed that Kyle and each of his seven brothers and sisters had dangerously high blood lead levels.

Concerned about her children’s wellbeing, Monica immediately began looking for a safe place for her family to live. At the same time, Monica’s doctor at Erie Family Health Center contacted the Health Justice Project, a medical-legal partnership between Erie Family Health Center and Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where an advocate was assigned to her case. Monica wanted to make sure her family could move into healthy housing without losing the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher that helped pay their rent. To help Monica break the lease and keep her voucher, the Health Justice Project worked with an Erie Family Health Center Nurse Practitioner to submit a reasonable accommodation request to the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). The request, which was approved by CHA, allowed Monica to transfer to an apartment where the children’s growth, neurological development, and endocrine systems would not be compromised by the presence of lead. flaking-paint-window

During the course of representation, the Health Justice Project uncovered that routine property inspections do not include lead assessments. This means that families housed through CHA programs could be approved to move into housing that presents lead poisoning risks like in the home Monica and her family were occupying. To ensure the health of Monica’s family, the Health Justice Project secured a Lead Hazard Home Test from the Chicago Department of Public Health in Monica’s new home. Test results showed no threat of lead exposure in the new apartment and Monica and her children were able to move in immediately.

When the Health Justice Project advocate called Monica a few weeks later to check in, she immediately noticed a change in Monica’s demeanor, “Every time I had spoken to her before, she sounded stressed and worried and preoccupied. But this time, she was really happy about the situation because she was finally in her new place and she knew that lead wasn’t a hazard anymore.” Unfortunately, Monica is one of the many tenants who experience the negative health effects caused by unsafe and unhealthy housing in Chicago. Lead poisoning causes irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system development, which may result in learning disabilities, behavioral problems, developmental delay, seizures, and comas. Ultimately, these health conditions can lead to other social implications including academic failure, juvenile delinquency, and high blood pressure.

If Monica’s home had been inspected prior to their move-in date, her children could have avoided the lead exposure altogether. Instead, because of a lack of healthy housing policies, she and her children were exposed to dangerous levels of lead for years. Many cities across the United States are adopting best practices to avoid the health-harming effects and social implications of unsafe housing. We want Chicago to join in to help create and maintain a healthy housing stock for all our communities. The Chicago Healthy Homes Inspection Program is an initiative designed to enforce building code standards which will protect renters from health hazards in their home. To protect your own family, and other families from the negative effects housing can have on their health.

Read more: Chicago Healthy Homes Inspection Program (CHHIP).

Read more: How A Proactive Inspection Program Will Address Asthma

Sign the CHHIP Petition


If you are having Healthy Homes issues in your apartment, contact MTO’s Hotline for assistance at 773-292-4988, or notify your landlord directly online at Squared Away Chicago

If you would like to join the CHHIP campaign, contact Sheila at 773-292-4980 ext 231, or via email at



Presentation: The New Bed Bug Ordinance and You

This Thursday, we will be joining the Midwest Pesticide Action Center to relate the recent changes in Chicago’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance related to controlling bed bugs. On December 23rd, the city of Chicago passed a new Bed Bug Ordinance.

Join us and find out how to navigate this recently-enacted bed bug ordinance. Designed to help both tenants and landlords control bed bugs in a timely way, the ordinance will impact every rental unit in the City as well as condominiums.

In addition, the workshop will cover basic knowledge of bed bugs, how they spread, and what can be done about it. Attendees will also participate in a hands-on activity where they will make their own simple bed bug monitoring device!

Thursday, February 13, 2014 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd

If you would like to register to attend this free event, click HERE!


Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance



Section 2-112-160 of the Municipal Code of Chicago is hereby amended by inserting the language underscored and deleting the language struck through, as follows:

2-112-160 Commissioner – Enforcement powers and duties. The commissioner of health shall have the following powers and duties:

(a) Public health related powers and duties:

(1) To enforce all the laws of the state and provisions of this Code in relation to matters pertaining to the public health and sanitary conditions of the city;

(2) To enforce all regulations of the board of health or any other federal, state or local authority with power to make regulations concerning the public health;

(3) To cause all nuisances affecting the health of the public to be abated with all reasonable promptness;

(4) To determine when a disease is communicable or epidemic, and establish quarantine regulations whenever it is deemed necessary

(5) To enforce section 4-4-332. Article VIII of chapter 7-28 and all other code provisions applicable to bed bugs. (Omitted text is unaffected by this ordinance)


Chapter 4-4 of the Municipal Code of Chicago is hereby amended by adding a new Section 4-4-332, as follows:

4-4-332 Bed bugs.

(a) It is the responsibility of every licensee under this title 4 to provide pest control services when an infestation of bed bugs is found or suspected on any licensed premises. Everv licensee shall maintain a written record of the pest control measures performed by the pest management professional and shall include reports and receipts prepared bv the pest management professional relating to those measures taken. The record shall be maintained for three years and shall be open to inspection by the departments of health, buildings, and business affairs and consumer protection.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any licensee under this title 4 which provides sleeping accommodations for hire or rent for transient occupancy by guests to rent, hire, or otherwise provide, any such sleeping accommodation in which an infestation of any bed bugs is found or suspected, unless an inspection by the pest management professional has determined that no evidence of bed bugs can be found and verified.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply: “Pest management professional” has the same meaning ascribed to that term in section 7-28-810.

“Transient occupancy” means any occupancy on a daily or nightly basis, or any 1 part thereof, for 30 or fewer consecutive days.


Chapter 5-12 of the Municipal Code of Chicago is hereby amended by adding a new Section 5-12-101, and by adding the language underscored, as follows:

5-12-040 Tenant responsibilities. Every tenant must: (a) Comply with all obligations imposed specifically upon tenants by provisions of the municipal code applicable to dwelling units, including section 7-28-850: (Omitted text is unaffected by this ordinance)

5-12-101 Bed bugs – Education. For any rental agreement for a dwelling unit entered into or renewed after the effective date of this 2013 amendatory ordinance, prior to entering into or renewing such agreement, the landlord or any person authorized to enter into such agreement on his behalf shall provide to such tenant the informational brochure on bed bug prevention and treatment prepared by the department of health pursuant to section 7-28-860.


Chapter 7-28 of the Municipal Code of Chicago is hereby amended by adding a new section 7-28-370, as follows:

7-28-370 Disposal of furnishings, bedding, clothing or other materials infested with bed bugs.

(a) No person shall place, discard or dispose of any bedding, clothing or other materials infested with bed bugs on the public way or in a refuse container or dumpster located on the public way, except when such bedding, clothing or other material is placed in or near the person’s refuse container or dumpster for pick-up as trash and the bedding, clothing or other material is totally enclosed in a plastic bag and labeled as being infested with bed bugs.

(b) No furnishing, bedding, clothing or other material infested with bed bugs shall be recycled.

(c) For purposes of this section, “bedding” has the same meaning ascribed to that term in section 7-28-810.


Chapter 7-28 of the Municipal Code of Chicago is hereby amended by adding a new Article VIII Bed Bugs, Sections 7-28-810 through 7-28-900, as follows:

Article VIII Bed Bugs.

7-28-810 Definitions. As used in this article, the following terms are defined as follows:

“Bedding” means any mattress, box spring, foundation, or studio couch made in whole or part from new or secondhand fabric, filling material, or other textile product or material and which can be used for sleeping or reclining purposes. “Commissioner” means the commissioner of public health.

“Dwelling unit,” “landlord,” “rent” and “tenant” have the meaning ascribed to those terms in Section 5-12-030.

“Multiple rental unit building” means a building which contains hwo or more rental units. A “multiple rental unit building” does not include a condominium or cooperative building.

“Pest Management Professional” means a person who:

(i) is licensed, registered or certified by the State of Illinois to perform pest control services pursuant to the Structural Pest Control Act. 235 ILCS 235:

(ii) has attended courses or undergone training for the proper method for the extermination of bed bugs; and

(iii) follows National Pest Management Association Best Practices for the extermination of bed bugs.

“Rental unit” means any dwelling unit which is not owner occupied and is held out for rent to tenants, including any single family home held out for rent to tenants.

7-28-820 Bed bugs-Nuisance. Bed bugs are hereby declared to be a public nuisance subiect to the abatement provisions of this chapter.

7-28-830 Bed bug infestation-duty to exterminate.

(a) In any rental unit in which an infestation of bed bugs is found or reasonably suspected, it is the responsibility of the landlord to: (1) provide pest control services by a pest management professional until such time that no evidence of bed bugs can be found and verified: and (2) maintain a written record of the pest control measures performed by the pest management professional on the rental unit. The record shall include reports and receipts prepared by the pest management professional. The record shall be maintained for three years and shall be open to inspection by authorized city personnel, including but not limited to employees of the departments of health and buildings.

(b) In any multiple rental unit building in which an infestation of bed bugs is found or reasonably suspected, it is the responsibility of the landlord to: 1) provide pest control services by a pest management professional until such time that no evidence of bed bugs can be found and verified within the building or portion thereof including the individual rental units; and (2) maintain a written record of the pest control measures performed by pest management professional on the building. The record shall include reports and receipts prepared bv the pest management professional. The record shall be maintained for three years and shall be open to inspection by authorized city personnel, including but not limited to employees of the departments of health and buildings.

(c) A landlord shall provide the pest control services within 10 days after: (1) a bed bug is found or reasonably suspected anywhere on the premises; or (2) being notified In writing by a tenant of a known or reasonably suspected bed bug infestation on the premises or in the tenant’s rental unit.

(d) The extermination of bed bugs shall be by:

(1) inspection, and if necessary, the treatment of the dwelling unit on either side of the affected dwelling unit and the unit directly above and below the affected dwelling unit. This pattern of inspection and treatment shall be continued until no further infestation is detected; or

(2) any other method approved by the commissioner in rules and regulations.

(e) A landlord may not knowingly terminate a tenancy, increase rent, decrease services, bring or threaten to bring a lawsuit against a tenant for possession or refuse to renew a lease or tenancy because the tenant has in good faith:

(1) complained of a bed bug infestation within the tenant’s rental unit or the premises in which the tenant’s rental unit is located to a competent governmental agency, elected representative or public official charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, health or similar code;

(2) complained of a bed bug infestation within the tenant’s rental unit or the premises in which the tenant’s rental unit is located to a community organization or the news media:

(3) sought the assistance of a community organization or the news media to remedy a bed bug infestation within the tenant’s rental unit or the premises in which the tenant’s rental unit is located;

(4) requested the landlord to provide pest control measures for a bed bug infestation as required by a building code, health ordinance, other regulation, or the residential rental agreement: or

(5) testified in any court or administrative proceeding concerning any bed bug infestation within the tenant’s rental unit or the premises in which the tenant’s rental unit is located.

If the landlord acts in violation of this subsection (e), the tenant has a defense in any retaliatory action against him for possession and is entitled to recover possession of the rental unit or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, may recover an amount equal to two months rent or the damages sustained by him, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorneys’ fees. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all security and interest recoverable under Section 5-12-080 and all prepaid rent. In an action by or against the tenant, if there is evidence of tenant conduct protected herein within one year prior to the alleged act of retaliation, that evidence shall create a rebuttable presumption that the landlord’s conduct was retaliatory. The presumption shall not arise if the protected tenant activity was Initiated after the alleged act of retaliation.

7-28-840 Condominium and cooperative buildings-plan for treatment of bed bugs.

(a) No later than 90 days after the effective date of this section, the governing association of a condominium or cooperative building shall prepare a pest management plan for the detection, inspection and treatment of bed bugs in the building. The plan shall include the provisions of section 7-28-830(c).

(b) The governing association shall maintain written records of anv pest control measures in the building performed by a pest management professional retained by the governing association and any report prepared by the pest management professional. The plan and records shall be: (1) maintained either on-site in the building or at the property management office: (2) maintained for three years: and (3) open to inspection upon request by authorized city personnel, including but not limited to employees of the departments of health and buildings.

(c) Every owner of condominium unit or a lessee with a proprietary lease in a cooperative shall immediately notify, in writing, the governing association of any known or reasonably suspected bed bug infestation in the presence of the unit or cooperative, clothing, furniture or other personal property located in the unit or cooperative, and cooperate with the governing association in the control, treatment and eradication of bed bug infestation found or suspected to be in the unit or cooperative.

(d) For purposes of this section the following definitions apply:

“Condominium unit” or “unit” has the meaning ascribed to that term in section 13-72-010.

“Cooperative building” means a building or buildings and the tract, lot, or parcel on which the building or buildings are located and fee title to the land and building or buildings is owned by a corporation or other legal entity in which the shareholders or other co-owners each also have a long-term proprietary lease or other long-term arrangement of exclusive possession for a specific unit of occupancy space located within the same building or buildings.

“Cooperative” is an individual dwelling unit within a cooperative building.

“Governing association” means the board of managers of a condominium homeowners’ association or the board of directors of a cooperative building.

(e) The commissioner shall prepare and post on the health department’s publicly accessible website a sample plan for the detection, inspection and treatment of bed bugs for the governing association of condominium or cooperative building. The sample plan shall set forth the best practices for the detection and treatment of bed bugs in such buildings.

7-28-850 Tenant Responsibility.

(a) Within 5 days after a tenant finds or reasonably suspects a bed bug infestation in the presence of the tenant’s dwelling unit, the tenant shall notify, in writing, the landlord of any known or reasonably suspected bed bug infestation in the presence of the tenant’s dwelling unit, clothing, furniture or other personal property located in the building, or of any recurring or unexplained bites, stings, irritation, or sores of the skin or body which the tenant reasonably suspects Is caused by bed bugs.

(b) The tenant shall cooperate with the landlord in the control, treatment and eradication of bed bug infestation found or reasonably suspected to be. in the tenant’s rental unit. As part of that cooperation, the tenant shall:

(1) not interfere with inspections or treatments:

(2) after reasonable notice in writing to the tenant, grant access at reasonable times to the tenant’s rental unit for purposes of bed bug infestation inspection or treatment:

(3) make any necessary preparations, such as cleaning, dusting or vacuuming, prior to treatment in accordance with any pest management professional’s recommendations: and

(4) dispose of any personal property that a pest management professional has determined cannot be treated or cleaned before the treatment of the tenant’s dwelling unit.

(5) prior to removing any personal property from the tenant’s dwelling unit, safely enclose in a plastic bag any such personal property while it is being moved through any common area of the building, or stored at any other location. The personal property shall remained enclosed in a plastic bag until such time that the property is either properly disposed of or treated and no evidence of beg bug infestation can be found and verified.

(c) Prior to inspection or treatment for bed bug infestation, the landlord shall send a written notice to the tenant of the rental unit being inspected or treated, which advises the tenant of the tenant’s responsibilities under this section and sets forth the specific preparations required by the tenant.

(d) This section shall not apply to any tenant of an assisted living or shared housing establishment, or similar living arrangement, when the establishment is required to provide the tenant assistance with activities of daily living or mandatory services. In such cases, the landlord will be responsible to make the necessary preparations, such as cleaning, dusting or vacuuming, of the tenant’s rental unit prior to treatment in accordance with any pest management professional’s recommendations. For purposes of this subsection, the terms “assistance with activities of daily living,” “assisted living establishment.” “mandatory services” and “shared housing establishment” have the meaning ascribed to those terms in the Illinois Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act. 210 ILCS 9/10.

7-28-860 Sale of secondhand bedding.

(a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

“Act” means the Illinois Safe and Hygienic Bed Act. 410 ILCS 68/1.

“Bedding.” “manufacturer.” “renovator.” “rebuilder.” “repairer.” “sanitizer.” and “secondhand material” have the meaning ascribed to those terms in section 410 ILCS 68/5 of the Act.

“Secondhand bedding” means bedding that is made in whole or part from secondhand material or that has been previously used or owned.

(b) Every manufacturer, renovator, rebuilder. repairer and sanitizer of bedding whose product is sold in the citv shall comply with the Act.

(c) Every person who sells at retail any secondhand bedding shall post in a conspicuous location nearby the secondhand bedding a written notice in English. Spanish. Polish and Chinese that the bedding is made in whole or part from secondhand material or was previously owned or used.

(d) Every person who sells at retail any secondhand bedding shall provide to the purchaser of such secondhand bedding a written notice in English, Spanish, Polish and Chinese that the bedding is made in whole or part from secondhand material or has been previously owned or used.

(e) Every person who sells at retail any new or secondhand bedding shall inspect all material for soiling, malodor, and pest infestation, including bed bugs, prior to use, sale or distribution of the bedding. If any material in the bedding appears to be soiled, malodorous or infested with pests, the person shall not use, sell or distribute such bedding. If the bedding is infested with bed bugs, the person shall dispose of such bedding and material in an enclosed Plastic bag and labeled as being infested with bed bugs.

7-28-870 Public information. The commissioner shall prepare and post on the health department’s publicly available website:

(a) a brochure containing, at a minimum, the following:

(1) a statement that the presence of bed bugs in any building or dwelling unit is a public nuisance:

(2) information on how to detect the presence of bed bugs;

(3) information on how to prevent the spread of bed bugs within and between buildings:

(4) a statement that tenants shall contact their landlord as soon as practicable if they suspect they have bed bugs in their dwelling unit; and

(5) contact information as to where people can obtain more information: and (b) information relating to licensing, registration or certification by the State of Illinois to perform pest control services.

7-28-880 Rules. The commissioner of health and the commissioner of buildings shall have joint authority to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this article.

7-28-890 Enforcement.

(a) Inspectors from the departments of buildings and health shall have authority to inspect the interior and exterior of buildings, other structures, or parcels on which a building is located for bed bug infestation and when any evidence is found indicating the presence of bed bugs at that site and to report such evidence to the appropriate commissioner.

(b) This article may be enforced by the departments of public health or buildings. In addition, the department of business affairs and consumer protection shall have the authority to enforce section 7-28-860.

7-28-900 Violation-penalties Any person who violates this article shall be fined not less than $300 nor more than $500 for the first violation, not less than $500 nor more than $1.000 for the second violation within twelve-months of the first violation, and (3) not less than $1.000 nor more than $2.000 for the third or subsequent violation within such twelve-month period. Each dav that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense to which a separate fine shall applv.


This ordinance takes effect 180 days after its passage and approval.