RENTERS’ RIGHTS IN CONDO CONVERSIONS – AN UPDATE
On Tuesday, April 19th, the Mayor’s Condo Conversion Task Force met to discuss proposed changes to their report in the latest episode in the now five-year long battle for an ordinance to protect renters and condo buyers during condo conversions.
The Task Force is proposing to change the notification period from 120 days to 180 days. For seniors and those people with disabilities, notification would change from 180 to 210 days. The Task Force also recommends that low and moderate income renters receive relocation assistance. The assistance equals the larger of one month’s rent or $1,500 up to a maximum of $2,500. City officials are still discussing how they will identify renters who qualify for this assistance.
The bill has been close to passing before and we are hopeful it will pass on Mayor Daley’s final City Council meeting. Significant progress has been made; however, there are still obstacles ahead. The next hurdle to clear is for the Housing Committee of the City Council to approve the bill. The Housing Committee’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd, at 10:30am in room 200. MTO is encouraging all renters who have experienced displacement due to condo conversion to attend and testify.
MTO has been working on condo conversion since 2006. In 2006, renters marched through the Hyde Park neighborhood demanding justice for those being displaced by rampant condo conversion. In response, the Mayor convened the Condo Conversion Task Force; however, it failed to meet for a year. Following another demonstration led by MTO, this time at City Hall, the Committee held its first meeting. MTO was able to win a seat for a renter on the committee and has continued to monitor its work.
While there have been many ups and downs, a hopeful conclusion to years of struggle is close at hand. All those interested in attending the meeting of the Housing Committee on May 3rd to testify about their experiences should contact Shirley Johnson at 773.292.4980 ext. 224.