As deep freeze continues, city puts heat on landlords

Thursday, February 19, 2015
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The city reported a spike this week in the number of 311 complaints from tenants in cold buildings. Now, it's putting the heat on those landlords.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago resident Dianatha Brooks says she can't escape the latest deep freeze because her basement apartment in the city's South Shore neighborhood has no heat.

"No heat. It's right there, everything is off here. This would be the fourth time that I have contacted the new owners. There have been so many owners to this property, to where it's just messed up," Brooks said.

Brooks says the heat went out late Wednesday night, just a day before a dangerous blast of arctic air gripped the area, breaking a 79-year-old record low temperature.

The city reported a spike this week in the number of 311 complaints from tenants in cold buildings. Now, the city is putting the heat on those owners and landlords.

Keva Evans, who lives on the Southwest Side in an apartment building without heat, was brought to tears.

"They supply the heat in the building. At first, the landlord did not want to supply the heat in the building because there's people that are staying in the building that's not paying rent," Evans said.

Evans showed us photos of her apartment, where the temperature hovers around 40 degrees.

She and other tenants from other cold buildings sought the city's help at an emergency hearing Thursday.

One building on South Pulaski that was foreclosed upon has been without heat for weeks, but was just now reported.

"I'm just doing what I can, trying to stay warm, and the courts are doing their best to help me out," said John Czukiewski, a tenant.

"We want to reach out to tenants and remind them to please call 311, so that we can get an inspector out to verify the conditions," said Felicia Davis, commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Buildings.

Residents are reminded to check on neighbors to make sure they have heat during this brutal cold.

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