Two dozen activists delivered a mock “eviction notice” to one of Chicago’s biggest landlords on Friday in protest of what they deem predatory practices against many low-income tenants.
Protesters also called on the Illinois General Assembly to repeal the 1997 Rent Control Preemption Act and institute rent protections statewide.
Pangea Properties, a real estate company, manages more than 12,000 apartments and townhomes in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Baltimore.
Protesters criticized Pangea for being quick to file eviction cases against its tenants, then putting them on expensive payment plans to pay off their debts. Protesters also complained about the company’s fees for simple repairs as well as a flat fee for water and sewage.
“Hey hey, ho ho, these bogus evictions have got to go,” the crowd chanted outside Pangea’s corporate offices in the West Loop.
Asia Teague, a Pangea tenant in South Shore for over eight years, works on a different floor in the building and joined the protest after she heard the chants from her office window.
“I’ve been paying $42.50 for water and sewage costs since July 2017,” she said. “I recently asked them to change two light bulbs in my apartment and they told me it would cost $25, so I decided to fix it myself.”
Teague said she’s twice fallen a month behind on rent for her two-bedroom apartment. Both times, she said, Pangea began eviction proceedings against her.
When Teague arrived at Circuit Court, Pangea lawyers offered her a payment plan that included hundreds of dollars in legal fees.
“They gave me three months to pay off the fees on top of the rent,” she said.
Pangea specializes in taking over large swaths of housing stock in struggling neighborhoods across the South and West side. The company is the Chicago Housing Authority’s largest contractor and collects more than $1 million a month in Section 8 housing vouchers, according to a 2016 Sun-Times investigation.
Several attempts to reach Pangea representatives, including calls and emails, went unanswered.