With Help MTO Resolves another Lockout. 

Ms. Bueno is a Pilsen resident. She became unemployed because of COVID-19.  The landlord turned hostile and refused to negotiate a fair agreement, which would take into consideration her financial hardship. Instead, her landlord started harassing her. She called MTO to report the landlord shutting off her lights and gas. 

A utility shutoff is a lockout, according to the City of Chicago Municipal code, so we instructed her to follow the City of Chicago’s lockout reporting procedure. She made a complaint to 311 and called the Police.  The officers did not take the matter seriously and claimed the situation was a civil matter.  As happens all too frequently, the officers did not follow the CPD Special Order #SO4-01-03

It took a while for Ms. Bueno to get a miscellaneous police report from the police and a building code violation.  She was able to get her utilities restored though this did not last long.  

The utilities did not stay on for long.  She called MTO again about another light shutoff and this time the landlord locked the breaker room access. We partner with the Chicago Tenants Movement (CTM) in order to create a more proactive response to lockouts. CTM sent a volunteer response team that included an electrician. The team was able to enter the breaker room and restore Ms. Bueno’s lights. The Chicago Tenants Movement response team took action when CPD and DOB would not. We need to push for proactive solutions to lockouts here in the City of Chicago.

Ms. Bueno is one of many stories of lockouts occurring in Chicago. Since the Eviction Moratorium began in March 2020, MTO has received reports on 574 lockouts. In a normal year, MTO receives about 250-300 lockout reports.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only multiplied the already existing housing crisis here in Illinois. The lack of consequences from the police and building department allows bad landlords to continue the illegal lockouts as a way to dance around the Eviction Moratorium. As the housing crisis escalates, we encourage you to join us in pushing resolutions to lockouts. Contact Javier Ruiz at javierr@tenants-rights.org to become part of the solution.

Introducing “Eviction Chronicles” – Chapter 1

What does the reliance on eviction say about our society? Every day we hear stories from the tenant’s perspective of a housing market gone horribly wrong. The result is trauma and harm to thousands of Chicago’s working families. The stories are not black and white. They are about life, good and bad habits, eccentricities, prejudice, and privilege. The following articles are the real life stories of Chicago tenants. We invite you to read, think about and debate why there are some 25,000 evictions are filed annually in Chicago. Is there another way? 

Chapter 1 – “Ms. Cat”

MTO first heard from the senior who hotline staff affectionately refer to as “Ms. Cat” in 2018.  Ms. Cat had just received a 10-day notice for violating the lease provisions around pets. She had two cats of her own, and often fed the numerous alley cats outside her apartment.  Ms. Cat can be a bit cantankerous at times. She loves her cats, they’re her family.  She was so concerned about the alley cats well-being that one day she left a trail of cat food from the alley to her apartment. 

However, others in the apartment considered the cats – and her actions – a nuisance. The cat food was attracting rats. Yet, Ms. Cat either would not or could not (as she put it) abandon her cats.  They were her life. Unfortunately, her landlord didn’t attempt to talk to her about a solution, and instead moved to evict her. With her home and housing subsidy in jeopardy, Ms. Cat was able to secure an attorney. For several months the landlord, Ms. Cat and her attorney negotiated. In the end, our senior who is living on SSI had to leave her subsidized unit as a part of deal to avoid eviction.

Ms. Cat’s story does not end here. Ms. Cat’s next destination was a homeless shelter that did not allow pets.  Every night Ms. Cat would try to sneak the cats into the shelter. Management found out and then the notices came.  Management served her with an eviction notice. In one conversation with Ms. Cat, she said, “I would rather be homeless than to give up my cats.”  With that in mind, Ms. Cat decided to leave the shelter and move to an SRO (Single Room Occupancy Hotel).

She then moved into an SRO, which is often a last resort for many of Chicago’s most vulnerable residents. Within a couple of months of moving, Ms. Cat was again running into problems with the owner and her neighbors. Her lease allowed two cats, but she was still trying to sneak more into her unit. Neighbors complained of an odor.  Ms. Cat said, “it’s not the cats, it’s me.  I can not help that I am incontinent.  It’s a condition I can’t control. It’s like cancer.  You wouldn’t evict someone for having cancer.”  The owner served Ms. Cat with a 30-day notice to vacate. Rather than fight the eviction notice , Ms. Cat decided to move in with friend. The expectation was that this would be for a short time. She was desperately looking for housing she could afford. 

With an eviction filing on her record and limited income, her housing choices were extremely restricted. Several months have passed since Ms. Cat last called. We reached out to her, but her cell phone has been cutoff. We also await her next call.    We hope that Ms. Cat has found stable housing and is getting the help that she needs. 

But her situation begs an important question: why is eviction always the first resort?

Eviction Prevention Program keeps Chicago senior housed

Out of Chicago’s 77 community areas, Auburn Gresham (highlighted in the map above) sees the 4th highest rate of evictions. (source: eviction.lcbh.org)

Ms. Daniels had lived in a modest Auburn Gresham apartment building for over two years. And things had been going relatively smoothly for the retired senior. That all changed one day when Ms. Daniels came home from the Doctor’s office to find frost on the inside of her windows. Her heat was not working. She talked to her neighbors, who reported they too had no heat. She called her landlord, who never even showed up. Ms. Daniels didn’t want to cause problems, but she really needed her heat turned on. She is diabetic and was undergoing cancer treatment at the time, so the lack of heat was complicating her health. 

Ms. Daniels called 311 to report her lack of heat, among other problems, like a leaking roof and holes in the exterior walls. Instead of sending someone to fix the problems, her landlord showed up and told her and her neighbors that they had to pay more rent or leave. They asked why, and the landlord told them if they want repairs they would have to pay up. This type of retaliation is harmful and immoral, but all too common for tenants who call MTO’s Tenants Rights Hotline. And that’s just what Ms. Daniels did when her landlord started refusing to accept her rent checks.

After calling and speaking with a Hotline Counselor, Ms. Daniels was connected with MTO’s Eviction Prevention Specialist (EPS). Because Ms. Daniels’ landlord had already filed an eviction against her, the EPS knew time was of the essence, and knew that while Ms. Davis had a “good case”, it could be very difficult for her to win it on her own. She would need an attorney. With this in mind, the EPS fast-tracked Ms. Daniels case to the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing (LCBH). MTO and LCBH have formed a partnership to combat the eviction crisis, deploying a new joint intake form and streamlining the referral process. LCBH swiftly accepted Ms. Daniels case, and represented Ms. Davis in court, not only winning the case, but also sealing the public record. 

Today, Ms. Daniels is safe and recovering in a warm apartment – without the stain of eviction on her record – thanks to fast action and an Eviction Prevention partnership that works to address evictions proactively at their earliest point. Evictions are a scourge to our communities, deepening poverty and segregation, and must be addressed head on if we want to bring justice to Chicago’s working class communities and begin to solve the housing crisis that affects so many of Chicago’s families. 

If you or anyone you know is facing the threat of eviction, please call MTO at 773-292-4988.

A Home for the Holidays, and Beyond

Caroline, a 73-year old retiree living on the western edge of Humboldt Park, is so grateful for MTO’s new Eviction Prevention Collaboration.  Caroline lives on Social Security.  On the third Wednesday of each month, she receives her SSI check and pays her rent.  Unfortunately, Caroline ended up in the hospital recently and suddenly couldn’t pay the rent.  Caroline informed her landlord that the rent was going to be late.  The landlord agreed and told Caroline could pay the late rent in installments.

When Caroline went to make her next payment, the landlord suddenly refused the rent and gave her a 30-day notice to vacate her home of the past 5 years by the end of December. The landlord further threatened her by telling her she was going to start showing the unit the very next day.  Frantic and not knowing what to do, Caroline called MTO’s Eviction Prevention Collaboration.  MTO’s case manager suggested that she talk with the landlord before writing a letter. The landlord said no, and told her to just “get out.” With help from MTO’s case manager, Caroline wrote a letter which reiterated the verbal agreement between they had made.  The landlord did not respond to the letter.  The case manager suggested she write one more letter and try paying rent when her next check arrives. 

This time the landlord accepted the rent.  Caroline was ecstatic.  There would be no court case. The sheriff would not be coming to her home. She would still have a home after the holidays.  You can make sure that Caroline and others like her continue to have a home by donating to MTO.

Every year there are more than 25,000 evictions filed in Cook County.  Many more are evicted outside of the court system. Thousands of tenants are displaced.  Their lives disrupted.  Their communities destabilized.  With your financial help, MTO can help stop evictions.  Donate now.

“How-To” Guide – Dealing with Extreme Cold

Landlords in Chicago must heat residential buildings to at least 68 degrees during the day and 66 degrees overnight (from September 15 to June 1). 

If you are unable to resolve a heating problem with your landlord, call our Hotline between 1-5PM, M-F at 773-292-4988. You can also send your landlord a 24-hour notice using Squared Away Chicago.

It is vital to know your rights and to look out for the homeless, elderly, and your most vulnerable neighbors during extremely cold weather.

  • If you are worried that your pipes might freeze, leave the tap dripping overnight to ensure they do not freeze. Also, put a towel under your door to help keep the heat inside.
  • When it snows, make sure to clear off sidewalks for the elderly, disabled and young children in strollers. For snow removal assistance, call 311 or click HERE
  • Keep extra hats, gloves and scarves with you when you’re on the move. Your extra gloves might save someone’s fingers from frostbite.

Call 3-1-1 to:

    • Request a well-being check for someone suffering due to extreme weather
    • Report inadequate heat in a residential building (inspections can take up to 3 days!)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Anytime you call 311, get a reference # so you have a record of your call!

The Chicago Park District has designated 62 Field houses as warming centers for the remainder of the Winter. Click here for locations.

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) operates six Warming Centers during work weekdays when temperatures dip below 32 degrees. DFSS Warming Centers are not open on weekday holidays unless specifically indicated. Additional facilities are opened as needed including Senior Centers, libraries, and Park District buildings, so it is important to call 3-1-1 for info concerning Warming Center locations during off hours and on weekday holidays. The centers below are open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday (but hours may be extended during extreme cold.)


 Garfield Center (Open 24/7)
10 S. Kedzie Ave.

Chicago, IL 60612

Englewood Center
1140 W. 79th Street

Chicago, IL 60620

King Center
4314 S. Cottage Grove
Chicago, IL 60653

  North Area 
845 W. Wilson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

South Chicago
8650 S. Commercial Ave.
Chicago, IL 60617

Trina Davila
4357 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639

Friendly Reminder: Heat requirements start Sept 15; end June 1

We would like to remind everyone that starting September 15th the heat should be turned ON.  Heat minimum requirements are from September 15 – June 1.  The minimum heat requirement for residential units is: 68 degrees between 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and 66 degrees from 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Chicago tenants have a right to heat.
Chicago tenants have a right to heat.

Chicago Building Code Chapter 13-196-410 states that:  Every family unit or rooming unit to which heat is furnished from a heating plant used in common for the purpose of heating the various rooms of the dwelling shall be supplied with heat from September 15th of each year to June 1st of the succeeding year so that the occupants of a family unit or rooming unit may secure, without such undue restriction of ventilation as to interfere with proper sanitary conditions, a minimum temperature of 68 degrees at 8:30 a.m. and thereafter until 10:30 p.m. and 66 degrees at 10:30 p.m. and thereafter until 8:30 a.m. averaged throughout the family unit or rooming unit.

If you have no heat:

  • Call 311 and ask for a building inspectionor make an online request here.  Write down the Service request number for your records.
  • Notify your landlord using Squared Away Chicago. If your landlord does not respond, click “Escalate” and send 24-hour notice.
  • After sending notice, print it & send by certified mail, keeping a copy for yourself.
  • Visit our Heat & Essential Services FAQ page for more information.
  • Call MTO’s Tenants Rights Hotline – 773-292-4988 – to speak to a counselor for help.

Stay warm, Chicago.  Exercise your rights – housing is a human right!


Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO)

What is the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance? 

The City of Chicago enacted the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Property Ordinance, commonly known as the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO), in response to the harmful effect of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on renters in Chicago. The ordinance aims to keep renters in their homes by requiring new building owners to offer bonafide tenants a lease renewal or $10,600 in relocation assistance. You can view the full text of the ordinance by scrolling down or clicking here.

The KCRO Requires New Owners to Serve Tenants with Written Notice of Change in Ownership    Notice of change in ownership must be provided within 21 days after a person becomes an owner or within 7 days of determining the tenant’s identity. Notice must be delivered to known tenant or household member 13 years or older or mailed. In addition, notice must be posted on the primary entrance of each foreclosed property . Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-040(a),(b)

The Ordinance requires that the notice be given in English, Spanish, Polish and Chinese. The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) has translated the notice and those translations may be used by owners to inform their tenants in accordance with the law. The notices can be downloaded by clicking here.

The KCRO Requires Notice Before the Owner Can Collect Rent
Until the owner serves notice under § 5-14-040, the owner cannot collect rent or terminate a tenant’s lease for failure to pay rent. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-040(c).

The KCRO Requires Owners to Renew or Extend Leases or Pay Substantial Relocation Assistance
The Ordinance requires the owner of a foreclosed rental property to either:

  1. offer the Qualified Tenant a renewal or extension of their lease with a rent increase of no more than 2%; or
  2. pay the tenants a relocation fee of $10,600 within seven days of the Qualified Tenant vacating the unit. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-050(a).

If the owner elects to offer a lease, the owner must continue to offer renewals or extensions (with rent increases of no more than 2% per year) until the owner sells the property to a “bona fide third-party purchaser.” Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-050(g).

What Tenants Are Entitled to Protections Under the Ordinance?
The Ordinance protects “Qualified” tenants who have a bona fide (valid) lease or rental agreement. The definition of a bona fide lease or rental agreement includes all agreements, whether written or oral, as long as:

  • The tenant is not the mortgagor, or the child, spouse, or parent of the mortgagor;
  • The lease or tenancy was the product of an arm’s-length transaction; and
  • The rent required under the lease or tenancy is not substantially less than fair market or is subsidized by the government. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-020.

In other words, leases entered into with children, parents, or the spouse of the former owner; leases where both parties did not negotiate in their own best interest; and leases with substantially less than fair market rent are not considered bona fide, and tenants without bona fide leases are not qualified tenants under the Ordinance.

Which Property Owners Are Subject to the Ordinance?

  1. any person who acquires ownership of a property pursuant to a judicial sale of a foreclosed rental property, after the sale has been confirmed by the court and any special right of redemption has expired; or
  2. mortgagees that acquire ownership of a property through foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-020.

Which Property Owners Are Not Subject to the Ordinance?

  1. an owner of a foreclosed rental property who was the owner prior to the effective date of the Ordinance;
  2. a person appointed as a receiver and issued or assigned, a Receiver’s Certificate; or
  3. a bona fide not-for-profit in existence continuously for a period of five years immediately prior to becoming the owner of the rental unit and whose purpose is to provide financing for the purchase or rehabilitation of affordable housing. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-030.

If an owner fails to comply with § 5-14-050 (Tenant relocation assistance), the qualified tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the relocation assistance fee. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-050(f). Penalties for violation of the KCRO are significant enough that LCBH expects substantial compliance.

NEED ASSISTANCE? Call the LCBH’s free Tenants in Foreclosure Help Line: 312-784-3507 or call our free Tenants Rights Hotline, Monday-Friday between 1:00pm – 5:00pm: 773-292-4988.

To find out if your building is in foreclosure, click here and follow the step-by-step instructions.


The “Keep Chicago Renting” Ordinance

Section 1. Title, Purpose and Scope.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Keep Chicago Renting” ordinance and shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its purposes and policies. It is the purpose of this ordinance, in order to protect, maintain, and improve foreclosed rental property, preserve rental housing stock, mitigate losses to area property values, and avoid neighborhood destabilization due to foreclosure, to prevent vacant foreclosed residential buildings and preserve tenancies in these properties. Except when this ordinance conflicts with the statutory or regulatory provisions governing federal housing subsidy programs, including, but not limited to, public housing and project-based Section 8 housing operating pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq., the provisions of this ordinance shall apply to and regulate ei;er3′ foreclosed property in which occupants hold possession of dwelling units. The rights, obligations and remedies established by this ordinance shall be cumulative and in addition to any others available at law or in equity. Nothing in this ordinance shall affect a landlord’s obligation to provide notice of termination of tenancy as required under applicable laws governing actions for possession.

Section 2. Definitions.

Whenever used in this ordinance, the following words and phrases shall have the following meaning:

(a) “Dwelling unit” means a structure or the part of a structure used as a home, residence or sleeping place by one or more persons who maintain a household, together with the common areas, land and appurtenant buildings thereto, and all housing services, privileges, furnishings and facilities supplied in connection with the use or occupancy thereof, including garage and parking facilities; except that this ordinance shall not govern dwelling units described in Subsections 5-12-020 (b) and, (c) of this Code.

(b) “Foreclosed property” means any property for which legal and equitable interests in real estate were terminated by a foreclosure action brought under the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law (“IMFL”), 735 ILCS 5/15-1101 et seq.

(c) “Foreclosing owner” means a person or entity, or an agent acting on behalf of a person or entity that holds title in any capacity, directly or indirectly, to a foreclosed property and either (1) was a mortgagee who was a party to the foreclosure or is the subsidiary, parent, trustee, nominee or agent; or (2) is the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

(d) “Occupant” means any person in lawful physical possession of a dwelling unit in all or part of a foreclosed property and as described under Sections 1223 and 1508.5 ofthe IMFL.

(e) “Tenant” means a person entitled by written or oral agreement, subtenancy approved by the landlord or by sufferance to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others, as defined by the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”) in Section 5-12-030 of this Code.

(f) “Bona fide third party purchaser” means a person or entity that is not a foreclosing owner and purchases the foreclosed property from the
foreclosing owner.

Section 3. Eviction of Occupants Prevented; Exceptions.

A foreclosing owner may not maintain an action for possession, except in accordance with this ordinance or unless a binding purchase and sale agreement has been executed and is in effect for the purchase of the dwelling unit by a bona fide third party purchaser.

Section 4. Notice Requirements.

Within 21 days of taking title to foreclosed property, a foreclosing owner must notify in writing all occupants of dwelling units of the real estate using the text provided in subsection (d) of this section. This notice must be printed in English and Spanish in no less than 14 point type, on paper at least eight and one-half inches by 11 inches in size.

(a) Service requirements shall be satisfied i f the foreclosing owner has (i) posted this notice in a prominent location in the building; (ii) mailed this notice by first class mail to each unit; and (iii) has made an attempt to personally serve an occupant of each unit in the building.

(b) The Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHED) shall make available for distribution, both in print and in an easily printable format on the department’s Internet website, the following notice in English with a Spanish translation that may be used to satisfy the notice requirements of this section.

(c) Compliance and Curing Noncompliance. For purposes of collecting rent or maintaining an action for possession as described in Section 5, a foreclosing owner may cure a failure to timely provide notice by providing the notice more than 21 days after the transfer of title. Curing the notice deficiency, however, shall not waive any occupant’s right to remedies as described in Section 8 of this ordinance. Additionally, a foreclosing owner shall have no right to collect back rent that accrued during the period of time that the foreclosing owner was not in compliance with the notice requirements of this section.

(d) Text of Notice Provision:


City of Chicago law requires that we provide you this notice informing you of your rights as occupants of [INSERT PROPERTY ADDRESS]. This property is now owned by [INSERT NAME OF FORECLOSING OWNER]. The former owner of this property no longer owns the property because the property was foreclosed. Chicago law protects your right to remain in your home after a foreclosure. [NAME OF ORDINANCE AND CITATION]. This law protects all occupants, even if you do not have a written lease. The law states that you cannot be evicted just because your building was foreclosed. You do not have to pay the new owner any rent owed before the due date provided in this notice. You can only be evicted if you do not pay rent starting on the due date provided in this notice, if you commit a crime or allow someone you know commit a crime in your home, if you damage your home, or if you refuse to let the new owner inspect your home and make necessary repairs. You can only be evicted after the new owner of this building files an eviction claim in court and you are given a chance to defend yourself in front of a judge. You can only be removed from your home by personnel of the Cook County Sheriffs office with an order from the court. Your rent cannot be raised unless the new owner of this building files in court and you have had a chance to defend your current rent in front of a judge. The former owner of this building has no right to collect rent since the former owner does not own the building anymore. You should now pay your rent to the new owner of this building: [INSERT NAME, ADDRESS, AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE FORECLOSING OWNER, THE BUILDING MANAGER, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FORECLOSURE OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR COLLECTING RENT]. Please pay your rent on the [INSERT DAY] of each month by [INSERT METHOD OF TRANSMISSION]. You are not responsible for paying any back rent owed prior to the due date provided in this notice. The new owner of this building must maintain the property including making sure the building and your unit are safe and secure, removing trash and debris, and exterminating any vermin. The owner must also make sure that heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas and plumbing services are all available. For maintenance issues and emergencies, please contact [INSERT NAME, ADDRESS, AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE FORECLOSING OWNER, THE BUILDING MANAGER, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FORECLOSURE OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR COLLECTING RENT]. If you do choose to move, you are entitled to collect your security deposit from the new owner of this building. If the new owner of this building tries to evict you, raise your rent, refuses to return your security deposit, or fails to maintain your building, you may be eligible to collect damages. Please contact a lawyer, a legal aid or housing counseling agency, or the Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS) legal aid hotline at (312) 738-9200 to discuss your rights.

Section 5. Right to Possession.

Except as described in Section 3, and except when state or federal law provides an occupant with additional or superior rights, a foreclosing owner shall have the right to maintain an action for possession of a dwelling unit against an occupant only after complying with the notice requirements of Section 4 and:

(a) thirty days have passed, an occupant has failed to pay rent, and the landlord has complied with all the applicable notice and cure periods governing eviction for nonpayment of rent, including, but not limited to, those provided by the RLTO and the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq. (“Forcible Entry and Detainer Act”) (hereinafter “FEDA”); or

(b) an occupant has failed to cure a breach of the lease agreement or other tenant responsibility as described in Section 5-12-040 of this Code and the landlord has complied with the applicable notice and cure periods governing eviction for breach of lease or tenant responsibilities, including, but not limited to, those provided by the RLTO and the FEDA; or

(c) an occupant violates Section 9-118, 9-119 or 9- 120 of the FEDA, and the landlord has complied with all other applicable notice and cure periods
required under these statutes; or

(d) thirty days have passed, an occupant’s bona fide lease or other rental agreement has terminated, and the foreclosing owner, by written request, has offered a lease under the same terms that were in effect at the time that the foreclosing owner took title, and the occupant has rejected that offer.

Section 6. Increase of Rent.

After complying with the notice requirements of Section 4, a foreclosing owner shall be entitled to recover rent. A foreclosing owner shall not charge an occupant of a dwelling unit a rental amount above that which the occupant had been paying for use and occupancy of the dwelling unit prior to foreclosure
without leave of court. The court may allow an increase of rent if, in an action brought by a foreclosing owner, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the current rent is below market rate and an increase of rent is necessary to operate, manage, and conserve the dwelling unit. In the event that the foreclosing owner and an occupant of a dwelling unit agree to a rent increase for that dwelling unit, the foreclosing owner is excused from the requirements of this section as to that dwelling unit. Nothing in this section shall alter the terms of any lease agreement.

Section 7. Misrepresentation of Right to Possession.

It shall be unlawful for a foreclosing owner:

(a) to willfully or negligently misrepresent, by written or oral statement, the rights of the occupant or foreclosing owner regarding rightful possession of the dwelling unit;

(b) to withhold essential services, as defined under Subsection 5-12-110(f) of this Code, except that this ordinance shall also prohibit actions taken against occupants; or

(c) to interrupt occupancy as defined under Section 5-12-160 of this Code, except that this ordinance shall also prohibit actions taken against occupants.

Section 8. Defenses and Remedies.

If a foreclosing owner acts in violation of this ordinance, the occupant shall have a complete defense against the foreclosing owner in any action for possession. If an occupant in a civil legal proceeding establishes that a violation of this ordinance has occurred, the occupant shall be entitled to recover
$5,000.00 in damages or actual damages, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Each violation of this ordinance shall constitute a
separate offense.

For more information or assistance, contact our Foreclosure Organizer, Saul Garcia at 773-292-4988 ext 247 or at saul@tenants-rights.org

LIHEAP enrollment begins Nov. 1

LIHEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) is a block grant program that provides financial assistance for energy costs to low-income households.   The program will begin open enrollment starting Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011 for winter energy service and operates until funds are exhausted.  Illinois residents have the option between 2 programs:

– Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) helps income-eligible households in the form of a one-time benefit payment to the utility companies applied directly to the energy bill.

– Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Percent of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) helps income-eligible households in the form of monthly payments to the utility companies based on utility usage and monthly income.

To find the nearest intake site click here.  Appointments fill up quickly so arrive early/on time  to avoid rescheduling.  Be sure to have all of your information ready.

To apply, you will need the following:

  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day period prior to the application date.
  • A copy of current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if energy directly paid for).
  • A copy of rental agreement (if renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.
  • Proof that household received TANF or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or SNAP, if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Income Guidelines are as follows:

Family Size                                                  Annual Income

1                                                                       $21,780

2                                                                       $29,420

3                                                                       $37,060

4                                                                       $44,700

5                                                                       $52,340

6                                                                       $59,980

7                                                                       $67,620

8                                                                       $75,260

*Remember that using the stove for heat is NOT SAFE.


Alternative Electricity Provider Info

ARES Electricity Deregulation


Tenant Choices

If tenants receive their own electricity bills, they can make their own decisions about switching to an alternate provider. NOTE: Tenants should ask new providers if they accept LIHEAP.* Blue Star does NOT work with LIHEAP.

Real Time Pricing

Before checking with other ARES providers, you should explore Real Time Pricing (www.thewattspot.com). Many households will pay less with this program.

Tenant and Owner Considerations Before Choosing an Alternate Provider

1.  Consider Real Time Pricing. If you work and are not at home during the day, you will likely save more money with this program. See above for information.

2.  Check if the company is registered with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Check http://www.icc.illinois.gov/utility/list.aspx?type=are

3.  Check the company’s per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate: is it less than 7.921 cents/kilowatt-hour. Right now, Com Ed’s rate is 7.921 cents per kWh. That rate is expected to decrease slightly next year, so if the ARES you are considering has a rate just under 7.921 plus additional fees (see #3 below), you may want to reconsider.

4.  Check for fees, and whether rates are fixed or variable.

Fees: Check for monthly fees, fees for start-up, early termination, etc.

Variable v. fixed rates: If companies charge variable rates, there is no way to know what they will charge month to month.

Contract term: If Com Ed’s rate does decrease in the near term, you do not want to get stuck with a higher rate for several years.

5.  Always check your bill to make sure your provider is the provider of your choice. Sometimes providers switch your bill without your permission.

6.  If your unit or building uses an electric heat system DO NOT SWITCH.  You will get better discounts through Com Ed.  Ask your landlord if you are not sure.

Good resources:

ICC website:    http://www.pluginillinois.org/ , or call the ICC at 1-800-524-0795

CUB website: http://www.citizensutilityboard.org/ciElectric_cubfacts_alternativesuppliers.html , or call CUB at 1-800-669-5556

* LIHEAP clients should also consider the new Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), which allows LIHEAP clients to pay a percentage of their income, receive a monthly benefit towards their utility bill, and lower their overdue bills for every on-time payment they make by the bill due date.  http://www.ildceo.net/dceo/Bureaus/Energy+Assistance/Illinois+LIHEAP/ .