Carl was sure he had a right to demand that repairs be made, but he didn’t know how to make that happen. Eventually, he heard about Metropolitan Tenants Organization’s Hotline (773-292-4988) and called seeking help – that was in September 2012. After discussing his situation with a Hotline Counselor, he was counseled that for his next step he might want to consult a lawyer.
MTO referred him to Joan Fenstermaker, an attorney who often represents clients referred by MTO. She drafted a “demand letter” for Carl and sent it to his landlord, asking for the needed repairs to be made and informing the landlord that he would be reducing his rent check until the repairs were complete (following the guidelines that are part of the city’s Residential Landlord Tenants Ordinance).
Twice the landlord refused to accept the demand letter, sent via certified mail. And, instead of sending workers to repair the building problems, the landlord sent an Eviction Notice. Fenstermaker immediately contested the eviction case, claiming it was retaliatory, and demanded a jury trial. The jury agreed, and the Judge threw the eviction case out.