Some Tenants to Get More Notice Before Evictions Under New Law

Video: Aldermen discuss new rules on evictions and more on “Chicago Tonight.” With Alds. Matt Martin (47th Ward), Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward), Maria Hadden (49th Ward) and Harry Osterman (48th Ward). Watch part one of our discussion here.

Long-term renters would get more notice before they could be evicted without cause under a measure approved Wednesday by the Chicago City Council.

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Fourteen aldermen voted against the measure backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has repeatedly said 30 days’ notice was not nearly enough time for a single person, let alone a family, to find a new place to live and move.

A majority of aldermen who voted against the measure said they feared it would hurt small landlords by forcing them to wait longer to evict tenants, and could contribute to a much-feared wave of evictions in the wake of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new law, tenants who have lived in the same unit for more than six months but less than three years would have 60 days before they could be evicted. Those who have lived in the unit for more than three years would get 120 days before they could be evicted. Tenants who have lived in a unit for less than six months would have just 30 days before an eviction, the same period required by current law.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), who voted no, said 120 days was too long to force a landlord to wait to evict a tenant.

However, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) said the measure simply ensured that landlords operated with “basic decency.”

“Thirty days is not enough time for working people to find a new home,” Ramirez-Rosa said.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th Ward) said he hoped the new law would send a message to “greedy developers.”

The new law includes a requirement that landlords allow tenants to pay back missed rental payments and court fees up until the eviction order is finalized by a judge. The current law gives tenants five days to pay back rent — after that, landlords can move to have them evicted.

City officials said that provision would give tenants a needed “second chance” and reduce evictions.

In addition, the measure removes a requirement included in the initial proposal that would have required owners of buildings with more than six units who evict tenants to renovate or demolish the apartment to pay a one-time fee of $2,500 to their soon-to-be former tenant.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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