Tenants and Condo Purchasers Win Protections

WBEZ/AP M. Spencer Green


With Mayor Daley overseeing his final Chicago City Council meeting, the aldermen unanimously passed a condo conversion ordinance.  The ordinance represents five years of struggle on the part of tenants, condominium buyers, community organizations and advocates.  This legislation will protect tenants and condominium buyers caught in the instability created by the conversion of rental buildings to condominium buildings.

The roots of this ordinance are found in the condo craze of 2005 to 2007, which ultimately contributed to the mortgage crisis and related foreclosure crisis.  In 2006, renters were being ejected from their homes with minimal to no notice and left those purchasing converted units with few protections against what was often a speedy and poorly implemented conversion process.  Quickly, those victimized in the process, along with their advocates, recognized the need for protections to be put in place.  This outcry resulted in Mayor Daley appointing Alderman Ray Suarez to lead the Condo Conversion Task Force.  The Task Force’s work spanned almost four years and ultimately led to an ordinance that provides renters and condo buyers with critical protections including:

  • Changing the notification period from 120 days to 180 days.  For seniors and those with disabilities, notification would change from 180 to 210 days.
  • 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).
  • Consumer protections for condo buyers.

According to Zakiyyah S. Muhammad, a victim of condo conversion, “I enjoyed fighting for protections for families who rent so that they can avoid the devastation that I encountered.  This ordinance has been a long time coming; when you fight you win!”  MTO celebrates the victory for tenants’ rights and the clear demonstration that tenants, working together, have the power to create change to protect their rights to safe, decent and affordable rental housing.

In another victory for affordable housing advocates, the City Council passed the Sweet Home Chicago Ordinance which allows TIF funds to be used for maintaining affordable housing.

The full text of the Condo Conversion Ordinance can be found here.

Metropolitan Tenants Organization 25th Anniversary Celebration

Deborah Harrington: 2010 Movement Builder Awardee

25 years of raising renters’ voices & community preservation

Please join us to celebrate MTO’s 25th Anniversary!

On Tuesday, May 4th at the Chicago Cultural Center in G.A.R. Hall & Rotunda, from 5:30 to 8:30pm, MTO is hosting a reception. Join us for hors d’oeuvres, wine, jazz and to honor some of our community’s outstanding leaders! MTO will honor Deborah Harrington, former President of the Wood’s Fund of Chicago and Steven Whitman, Ph. D, Director of the Sinai Urban Health Institute. The key note speaker for the event will be Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez.

Mayor Richard M. Daley will serve as the Honorary Celebration Chair and has agreed to issue a proclamation in honor of the occasion.

The following are several opportunities to support MTO and renters throughout the City in celebrating this milestone:

Buy Tickets

Table for 10 – $1,000.00 (limited availability)
Tickets – $100.00/person

Please consider sponsoring a renter scholarship ticket when you purchase some for your agency!

To purchase tickets by credit card on line:

1. Go to the MTO website at www.tenants-rights.org.
2. Under Support Our Work on the right hand side of the page, click on Donate Now.
3. Indicate the amount of your purchase and under Designation, indicate the number of tickets you are purchasing and write 25th Event.
4. Proceed as indicated.

Buy Ad-space in the Program Booklet

  • Full Page…………………………….. $300.00
  • Half Page…………………………….. $150.00
  • Quarter Page…..………………..…. $100.00
  • One Eighth Page…………………… $ 65.00
  • Single Line Mention……………. ..$ 35.00
  • Non-profit special package includes: 2 passes to the event & ½ page ad in Program Book….$300.00

Contact Kathy Cheney-Egan at 773.292.4980 ext. 230 or kathy@tenants-rights.org to purchase your ad or tickets today!

Deadline for inclusion on the print invitation is March 31, 2010. Deadline for ordering ad space is April 16th.