In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, community groups from the Keep Chicago Renting coalition, comprised of 13 labor, community and policy groups successfully worked for passage of the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO). At the City Council meeting on June 5th the city council overwhelmingly supported the ordinance with a vote of 45-4.
The KCRO is designed to increase protection for renters in Chicago. It requires banks to either allow renters in good standing and who pay their rent to stay in their homes; or requires that they pay tenants a relocation fee of $10,600 to leave the building.
The KCRO is designed to meet several goals facing renters and the communities where foreclosures take place. The first goal is to stabilize rental housing by keeping foreclosed renters in their homes. It is hoped that the fees will encourage banks and other entities taking over buildings in foreclosures to keep buildings open and available as rental housing. In the event that a bank chooses to empty a building, the new ordinance will allow eligible renters to receive funds that will enable an easier transition from their housing. The fee also standardizes the “cash for keys” process.
Another important goal was to decrease vacant properties which contribute to blight and crimes in communities. A report by the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, showed a correlation between vacant buildings and increase in crime in communities.
The ordinance was published in July 2013 and will go into effect sometime in September 2013. If you are a renter affected by foreclosure, it is important to contact MTO’s Tenants Rights Hotline to be counseled on how the changes in foreclosure laws will impact your housing rights.
The MTO Hotline is open Monday through Friday from 1-5pm. The number to call is 773-292-4988.
Want to read the full text of the new ordinance? You can find it here: KCR Ordinance