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City releases new ‘Problem Landlord’ list

The city on Tuesday published a new list of landlords who have repeatedly been cited for failing to provide tenants with basic services such as heat, hot water and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The list — compiled by the Department of Buildings — includes 45 problem properties mostly located on the South and West Sides. Those on the list have been found liable in two or more administrative hearing cases within a 24-month period and have three or more serious building code violations.

“Today we are sending a clear message to landlords who fail to provide their tenants with even the most basic safety standards and protections – if you don’t get your act together – you won’t do business anymore in the City of Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement released along with the list.

Problem Landlord List – Map

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The list is required to be published under a city ordinance passed Jan. 21. A father who lost his daughter in a fire last year that killed four children in all testified in favor of the measure. The owner of that building had been cited for a lack of smoke detectors.

The building with the most open violations on the list — 93 total — is at 6441 S. Eberhart in the Woodlawn neighborhood. The owner could not be reached for comment.

Penalties for owners on the list include loss of the ability to obtain business licenses, receive zoning changes, acquire city land or receive financial assistance such as Tax Increment Financing, or obtain building permits not related to addressing their violations. The most serious offenders could have their buildings subject to forfeiture or receivership to third parties who can operate the buildings responsibly.

“Folks looking for an apartment should check and see whether or not a building owner keeps up a property,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Felicia Davis. She suggested renters check the history of individual owners and buildings on the building department’s website.

“When a landlord does not provide adequate living conditions for their tenants, especially during the harsh winter months, it elevates the problem and poses hazardous living conditions,” Davis said. “Our first line of defense is to hold property owners responsible and for maintaining their properties and gain compliance before a tragedy occurs.”

The building department also regularly refers buildings with dangerous and hazardous conditions to the Department of Law to process for Circuit Court for enhanced enforcement. The city currently has 102 active court cases against building owners. The department last year completed a total of 258,027 building inspections and issued 3,362 violations for lack of or non-working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, 1,021 violations for insufficient heat, 3,980 violations for dangerous and hazardous porches, and 789 violations for rodent and insect infestations and 439 violations for lack of hot water, according to a news release.

Renters who want to file a complaint are encouraged to call 311.

Building Code Scofflaw List – Map

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