Logan Square tenants go to court to fight eviction by new owners

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dozens of residents in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood say they are being forced from their homes.

They went to court Monday to fight evictions brought by a developer that purchased two buildings and then notified renters that they had to move out.

It's a situation that is happening in other neighborhoods.

Elisa Santos and her family have rented their two-bedroom Logan Square apartment for 13 years. But earlier this year, Skokie-based Barnett Capital bought their building and gave them 30 days' notice to find a new place to live.

"They came to us in January right after New Year's, and they served us the papers saying that we had to be out by the end of February. Middle of winter, it's freezing, how are we supposed to look for an apartment?" Santos said.

Santos and other residents in her building connected with the Autonomous Tenants Union in Albany Park and other groups to get help and fight their case.

"This is all over the city, we've had cases against them in Albany Park, Little Village, Pilsen, here," said Julia Duerst, organizer, ATU. "To sum it up in one word would be displacement."

ATU says in this case, Barnett Capital failed to notify the tenants of change of ownership within the time frame specified by law. On Monday, the organization, alongside other affected Logan Square residents, were in court filing a jury demand.

"This is a support network that is being just destroyed by the fact that they are being forced to move," said Duerst.

The jury demand will buy Santos and other residents time as the two sides try and work toward a possible settlement deal. But she says their reality is still the same - new developments and rising rents are forcing her family and others out of the city.

"We've been here for 13 years, how are you going to tell us that we have to leave our neighborhood? And take my kids out of their school that they've been going to for six years. That's all they know," Santos said.

We reached out to Barnett Capital. But they have not responded to our request for comment.
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