Chicago renters demand change to city building safety enforcement, Illinois Answers Project finds

City currently has no way of tracking landlords

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Saturday, September 23, 2023
Chicago renters demand change to city building safety enforcement, Illinois Answers Project finds
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Chicago has no way of tracking landlords and does not require rental units to be inspected regularly resulting in sometimes deadly consequences.

Chicago renters are calling on the city's building department to bolster safety regulations.

Currently, Chicago has no way of tracking landlords and does not require rental units to be inspected regularly. Homes are checked for safety upon construction, but otherwise city inspectors only visit to respond to complaints from tenants or neighbors. The result is that many warnings go unheeded by the city, sometimes with deadly consequences.

The Chicago Healthy Homes Ordinance is a potential solution, that would pave the way for the city to track apartment landlords and conduct periodic safety checks. Tenants' advocates are trying to keep attention on the legislation, as higher-profile progressive priorities take up the city's attention.

Chicago housing organizers have pushed for a pilot program that would require proactive safety checks to make sure rental homes have met basic standards: working smoke detectors, adequate heat and cooling, free of mold or lead paint. City officials have pushed back, saying the city lacks the ability or infrastructure to change.

Illinois Answers Project looked into this issue, and examined how another U.S. city has made improvements in building safety regulation. You can read more at illinoisanswers.org.