State of the Renter in the City of Chicago

The Hotline has served as MTO’s eyes and ears into the lives of renters. Since its inception in 1994, the MTO Hotline has fielded more than 150,000 calls, carefully collecting information and tracking data on housing issues. In collecting this data, Hotline counselors have spent thousands of hours listening to the stories told by Chicago’s renters. The story of renters in Chicago is that they are increasingly facing unpredictability in the rental housing market, financial stress, and deteriorated living conditions. Their lives are and have been in tumult for years.
– John Bartlett, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization

Above is an except from the State of the Renter report issued by MTO in 2009. For too long, the needs of renters – invaluable investors in our communities – have been marginalized in favor of a policy that focuses only on homeownership. Renters have been regarded as transient occupants rather than stakeholders. MTO recommends a national housing policy that balances homeownership and rental housing. Policy makers have failed to recognize the importance of a stable rental housing market and certainly have an insufficient understanding of the issues facing renters.

An executive summary of the State of the Renter report can be found here. For the full report, click here. We always welcome feedback. Please feel free to leave comments or questions in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

Testify about Your Experience as a HUD Subsidized Renter

Wednesday, June 30th will be your chance to voice your concerns to Mr. Ed Hinsberger, Chicago Multifamily HUD Director, and Mr. George Gilmore, HUD Neighborhood Coordinator.

HUD Subsidized Renters are invited to attend a HUD Townhall Meeting. This meeting is for property-based Section 8 Chicago HUD Subsidized tenants only.

When: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Time:   1:00pm till 3:00pm
Where: Access Living
115 W Chicago Ave

The Metropolitan Tenants Organization along with Access Living are providing tenants of subsidized housing a platform to address their concerns regarding maintenance and management of HUD subsidized buildings.

For more information please contact:

Metropolitan Tenants Organization
Farid Muhammad
773.292.4980 x 236
faridm@tenants-rights.org

or

Access Living
Deidre Brewster
312.640.2100 x 132

MTO Celebrates 25 Years: Photos

MTO Celebrates 25 Years of Raising renters voices and community preservation!

On May 4, 2010, friends, supporters, and staff members from across the years gathered at Chicago’s Cultural Center to celebrate MTO’s 25th Anniversary.  The occasion served as an opportunity to present several Chicagoan’s with MTO’s first Movement Builder awards.  This year’s awardees were Deborah Harrington, former President of the Wood’s Fund of Chicago, Steven Whitman, Ph. D, Director of the Sinai Urban Health Institute, and Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez.

We are grateful to our sponsors for making this event possible.

Silver Anniversary Sponsors
Bank of America
Universal Management Services, Inc.

Celebration Sponsors
Dolores and Paul Bernstein, Attorney at Law
LISC/Chicago New Communities Program
Dan Starr, Attorney at Law

Advocate Sponsors
California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc.
Crossroads Fund
Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC
Laurie R. Glenn, Thinkinc.
Arthur S. Gunn, MST. CPA
David Morris, Attorney at Law
National Equity Fund
Melinda Power
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

In-Kind Sponsors
Community Media Workshop

If you were unable to join us, below are some glimpses of the evening’s festivities. You still have the opportunity to support our 25th Anniversary by clicking here and designating your gift as “25th Celebration.” Thank you.

Lawyers, Low-Income Housing & Other Resources

This is an informational resource list. None of the following organizations have affiliation with the Metropolitan Tenants Organization.

Legal Organization Referrals

Evictions (tenant must be low-income)

Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing …………..312-784-3527

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (serves Spanish speakers)………………..…312-332-1624

Chicago Legal Clinic (retaliatory eviction only) (serves Spanish speakers)………773-731-1762

Advice before court or to get an extension to stay:

CARPLS Advice Desk Room 602, Daley Center located at Station 7 – Pro se defendants only

Kent Law School Advice Desk Room 602, Daley Center – Pro se defendants only

Illinois Legal Aid Online Pro Se  www.IllinoisLegalAid.org  www.AyudaLegalIl.org

Tenants in CHA or HUD housing or on a Section 8 program

LAC (must fit under income guidelines)…312-341-1070

(unit conditions ONLY)……………….312-229-6093

Cabrini Green Legal Aid……..312-738-2452

Security Deposit Defense

Chicago Legal Clinic (deposit must be $2500 & over) ($30 1st visit & court)….773-731-1762

Cabrini Green Legal Clinic (income guideline & $20.00 fee)……….312 738 2452

Lawyers Committee for Better Housing……(312) 784-3527

Tenants over 60 years of age

Chicago Department on Aging………312-744-4016

Tenants with Disabilities And Seniors

Mayor’s Office for People with disability up to age 59 ……….312-744-6673

Legal Clinic for the Disabled and seniors (must receive referral from Chgo. Dept. Of Aging)……. 312-908-4463

Center for Disability and Elder Law (they also cover legal issues beyond Tenant/Landlord)………312 376 1880

Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)…………………………………………………………………..773-769-0205

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Chicago HELPLINE………………………………………………….312-563-0445

Tenants living in Logan Square or surrounding neighborhoods:

Micah Legal Aid……… …….773 463-6768

Tenants living in or around Uptown area 60640

Uptown People’s Law Office (Eviction Defense Only) ………… ………773-769-1411

Suburbanites with questions

CARPLS (Cook County, serves Spanish speaking tenants too)…… …..312-738-9200

Open Communities (North & Northwest Cook County Suburbs)…847-501-5760

Prairie State Legal Services DeKalb & Kane………..630-232-9415

Du Page……… ..630-690-2130

Kane………….…630-232-9415

Lake & McHenry………847-662-6925

Will………………815-727-5123

Peoria…………….309-674-9831

MTO Lawyer Referral List

PRIVATE ATTORNEYS

Aldon Patt (security deposit) ……….312-641-0885

Brian Gilbert (eviction, security deposit, and consumer defense)….872-216-4615

David Morris (security deposit, affirmative RLTO, class actions, retaliation, lockouts, illegal entry, trespass, and utility theft if $3000 or more is owed to tenant) Chicago, Mt. Prospect, Oak Park and Evanston………………312-986-3200

Hall Adams (bed bugs, must demonstrate via paper trail that the bed bug issue has occurred)……………….. 312-445-4900

Joan Fenstermaker (security deposit, retaliation, foreclosure, illegal lockouts and illegal late fees)…….312-371-6473 or http://givemebackmydeposit.com/

John Norkus (security deposit, unit conditions, evictions, consumer)…312-600-7457

Joseph F. Vitu    ……….312-726-2323 (building conditions, personal injury)

Susan Ritacca …………… 872-222-6960

Philip J. DeVon…………… 773-217-8481 (security deposit, illegal lockouts, conditions)

Michael A. Childers (security deposit, other legal advice)………..312- 641-1900 (speak or leave message with Beverly Hadley)

Mike Radzilowsky (primarily evictions)   …………312-986-0600

Morgan Cook (tenant-landlord law, debt collection defense)…………………….312-880-7215 or www.legalmcfirm.com

Paul Bernstein (security deposit).…1-866-769-2892

William Moore (security deposits, affirmative RLTO) ……………….. 708-268-3495

Chicago Bar Association (for other Attorney referrals)…………….312-554-2001
(Free Legal Advice every 3rd Saturday of the month & no income guidelines.)

Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission………….…. (312) 565-2600

Government & Other Resources

Ameritech Reverse Directory (to find landlord address)…………411

CEDA (weatherization program for low income)……………800-571-2332

Center for Conflict Resolution (Mediation)……………312-922-6464

CHAC Fraud Hotline…………………………..800-533-0441

CHA………………………………312-935-2600

Chicago Dept. on Aging + (disabled & tenants over 60)…………312-744-4016

Chicago Department of Childhood Lead Poisoning….(312) 747-5323

Chicago Dept. of Community Development……………………………311 or 312.744.5000

Chicago Housing Authority (CHA Housing and Sec. 8)…………312-742-8500

CHA Hotline (for complaints about CHA management)……………………1-800-544-7139

Circuit Court Clerk’s Office (to find out if you’re being sued)…………312-603-5030

Citizen’s Utility Board (complaints about utility bill)…………..…800-669-5556

Condo Owners………. 312-987-1906

Cook County Recorder of Deeds (Sale of Property Info)………312-603-5050

Cook County Sheriff’s Eviction Unit…………….312-603-3365

Cook County States Attorney Consumer Fraud………..312-814-3000

Department of Consumer Services (sec. deposit & utility theft complaints) …312-744-4090

Department of Human Services (emergency shelter)………312-746-5400

Eviction Court…………………..312-603-6486
Or cookcountyclerkofcourt.org (full docket search)

For Building Inspections & Emergency Rental Assistance…………..311 or 312-744-5000

HOME (Seniors needing help moving) …………..(773) 921-1332

MTO Hotline* – Tenants Rights …. 773-292-4988 (M-F, 1-5pm)

HUD Complaints about Section 8 Counselor……………….312-353-6236

HUD…………………………..312-353-7776

IL Commerce Commission (regulates utility providers)…………800-524-0795

Independent Police Review Authority (to file complaint against police) ……………… 312-745-3609

Lakeside CDC (condo owners)……………………..773 381 5253

LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)………..312-795-8800

Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly (social support for the elderly)…………312-455-1000

Pro Se Court, Rm 602, Daley Center (for claims up to $1500)……….312-603-5626

Rental Assistance & Utility Assistance………311 or 312.744.5000, ask for short term help

Shriver Center (victims of sexual & domestic assault)………….……..….312-263-3830

Small Claims Court (for claims between $1500 to $5000) .Civil Division…..312-603-5145

United States Postal Service……………………………….800-275-8777

Discrimination

Access Living (disability 226-1687TDD-hearing impaired)………312-640-2100

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law………312-630-9744

Commission on Human Relations (all discrimination complaints)…312-744-4111

Illinois Department of Human Rights (Fair Housing Division)………………..312-814-6227

John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal clinic…………312-786-2267

Latinos United (referrals and trainings)………….312-226-0151

Foreclosure

newschicago.org or cookcountyassessor.com (to get PIN # of the property, then call recorder of deeds)

Recorder of Deeds……………………………………312-603-5050

(Give them PIN# to see if apt. has a case #, if it has a case number call Chancery Court 312-603-5133)

Neighborhood Housing Services (landlords facing foreclosure)…………….773-329-4010

Tenants in foreclosure (income guideline & costs)

Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (referral must be faxed).……312- 784-3507

(Statewide)……………………….855-207-8347

Low-Income Housing Resources:

www.ILHousingSearch.org

Bickerdike Apartments (low-income housing)…………………………………………773-227-6332
– Provides housing for low-income tenants.

Chicago Housing Authority…………………………………………………….. …….. (312) 742-8500
– The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal housing rental assistance program. It allows low-
income families to rent good housing in the private market. The voucher program pays a portion of their rent each month directly to the property owner or manager.

Cook County Housing Authority…………………………………………………………(312)542-4728
– Provides access to decent, safe, and affordable housing to low and moderate income individuals, families,
elderly and/or disabled within suburban Cook County.

Earthly Women Corp. ……………………………………………………………………..708 822 3786
– Serves women and single parents.

East Lake Management & Development Corp…………………………………..……..312.842.5500
– Offers affordable housing to tenants throughout the chicagoland area.

Habitat Corp……………………………………………………………………..…….….(312)527-5700
– Provides housing for low-income tenants.

Heartland Alliance……………………………………………………………………..….312- 660-1300
– They build and advocate for safe, high-quality housing and supportive services for people experiencing
homelessness, poverty, or chronic illness.

Hispanic Housing Development Corporation………………………………………… (312) 602-6500
– Provides housing for low-income families and the elderly.

Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)………….……. 773-921-3200
– Committed to improving the quality of life for Chicago’s low-income elderly, Housing Opportunities and
Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) helps seniors remain independent and part of their community by
offering opportunities for intergenerational living and by providing a variety of citywide support services.

Housing Opportunities for Women…………………………………………….………(773) 465-5770
– Their goal is to help homeless women and children exit the homeless shelter system as quickly as possible
by providing rental subsidies to secure permanent housing. They also offer employment services.

IL Housing Development Authority……………………………………………….…… (312)836-5200
– Help create and fund affordable housing programs across the state.

Mercy Housing Lakefront Office………………………………………………………….312.447.4500
– To create stable, vibrant and healthy communities by developing, financing and operating affordable,
program-enriched housing for families, seniors and people with special needs who lack the economic
resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities.

Landlords seeking assistance

Chicago Rents Right…….………………312-742-7369

Spanish Coalition for Housing…………773-276-7633

Community Investment Corporation……………312 258 0070

or via email (preferred): taft.west@cicchicago.com

Neighborhood Housing Services (landlords facing foreclosure)…………….773-329-4010

Resources for Homeowners:

Partners In Community Building, Inc…………….312.328.0873
– Financial Literacy, Credit Repair, Other services

Translation Services:

Chinese American Service League (Translation, Southside)…………………312-791-0418

Chinese Mutual Aid (Translation, North side)……………………………………773-784-2900

Polish American Association……………………………………………..773-282-8206

Resources for writing letters or other areas of support (citywide)

LIFT- Chicago Uptown Office…………………………773-303-0700

LIFT- Chicago Pilsen Office……………………………312-994-8387

Illinois Laws

Foreclosure (Right to Possession) Law: Public Act 095-0262

Illinois Condo Conversion Ordinance

Illinois State Preservation Ordinance

Illinois Code of Civil Procedure – Eviction – Sets out in detail the procedures and methodology of eviction court cases.

Condo Conversion Proposal

“New” Illinois Condo Conversion Law – Outlines a tenant’s rights and a developer’s responsibilities in converting rental property into condominiums for purchase.

Illinois Rent Concession Act – Statute requires disclosure of all rent concessions in leases so that potential buyers, etc. are not misled or deceived by secret and undisclosed concessions made by landlords to tenants.

Illinois Rent Control Preemption Act – State law provides that no local government like Chicago can regulate the amount of rent charged by landlords for residential and commercial property.

Illinois Rental Property Utility Service Act – Complex statute relating to the regulation of charges to tenants for utility services. The main provision relates to a tenant paying for common areas of a building and in such event, the court may treble the damage award when the court finds that the landlord’s violation of this Act was knowing or intentional. The tenant may also recover costs and fees, including attorneys fees, if the amount awarded by the court for utility service is in excess of $3,000.

Illinois Residential Tenants’ Right to Repair Act – Gives tenants the right to do certain repairs to their apartments and to deduct such payments, with proper documentation, from their rent. The state statute falls short of tenants’ rights under The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.

Click here for a sample Illinois “Repair and Deduct” letter

Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act – Protects tenants in the State of Illinois from a landlord failing to renew a lease when the tenant has complained to a governmental agency about building code violations and the need for repairs. The state statute falls short of tenants’ rights under The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.

Illinois Safe Homes Act –  Allows the victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking to terminate their lease by proper notice to the landlord. Also, changing locks is also provided for in this new law.
Safe Homes Act of Illinois (Domestic Violence)
Safe Homes Act Violence Against Women Flyer (English) (Spanish)
Safe Homes Act Violence Against Women Brochure (English) (Spanish)

Illinois Security Deposit Interest – Provides for the payment of interest on security deposits where the number of units in a building or in a complex of buildings exceeds 25 in number. If the failure is WILLFUL then damages are due to the tenant equal to the amount of the security deposit plus attorney’s fees. The state statute falls short of tenants’ rights under The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.

Illinois Security Deposit Return Act – For all properties of 5 units or more, provides for the return of the tenants security deposits. If the amount is not refunded in a timely fashion and/or if inadequate documentation of deductions is present, then damages equal to two times the amount of the deposit may be imposed. It provides for the liability of the seller and buyer of residential property as to security deposits of tenants. The state statute falls short of tenants’ rights under The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.

Illinois Landlord and Tenant Act – Statute providing that landlord may NOT exempt themselves from payment of damages to a tenant due to negligence of the landlord.

Illinois Tenant Utility Payment Disclosure Act – Allows owners to pass along utility charges made under a MASTER billing arrangement provided the tenant gets certain information in writing as to the formula used to assess such costs to individual units and so that there is no excess charges passed along to occupants of separate units.

Public Act 095-0262 – This law sets out the rights and procedures to be followed during a foreclosure (Right to Possession).