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Chicago Landlords Are Being Taken To Court By The City Over Lack Of Heating Complaints

The City of Chicago is clapping back at landlords who aren’t maintaining adequate utilities particularly heat and water during this bitter cold snap.  Apparently they’ve received a large amount of complaints regarding the heat and other utilities or lack thereof.   City representatives reported they are focused on the emergency calls they received due to the extreme cold temps.

Clara’s Place was ordered be closed due to its inhabitable condition and the women who were seeking refuge at the popular shelter had to find other means out of the frigid cold.

Read more as reported by the Chicago Tribune:

Photo Credit: ABC7Chicago (Twitter)

For years, LaShauna Wilcoxon’s relatives had lived at Clara’s Place, a nonprofit shelter for abused or homeless women in West Englewood.

But after years of financial struggles and allegations of financial mismanagement, the building was ordered vacated last Friday during a cold spell after city inspectors found no working heat and temperatures in the building in the 20s. A Cook County judge on Thursday appointed a receiver to fix burst pipes that left several feet of standing water in the basement.

The closure left families struggling to come to grips with how the West Englewood United Organization, founded by Clara Kirk, could have left them stranded during the cold snap. City officials said Kirk had a stroke last year, and the board of directors for the nonprofit had dissolved. An adjoining shelter called Clara’s House closed last year.

“She’s received awards, accolades on the national level — how did you let this happen and not forewarn your tenants, not give them any type of notice of what was to come?” Wilcoxon said.

Chicago is on its way to tying a record for one of the longest cold snaps in more than 50 years, and resident complaints about lack of heat in their buildings have soared, city officials said. The city logged 1,575 complaints since Dec. 27 and has completed 1,272 inspections, a spokesman said.

Only the worst cases are brought to an emergency court call held twice a week before a housing court judge who can order heat be immediately restored, said city Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel Steven McKenzie. Nine cases were brought before Judge Patrice Ball-Reed on Thursday. Landlords stepped up in seven cases and agreed to make repairs, and the judge appointed receivers in two.

“Right now we’re focusing on the emergencies because of the wicked cold,” said Commissioner of Buildings Judy Frydland. City ordinance requires landlords to provide heat from Sept. 15 to June 1. Apartments must be heated to 68 degrees during the day and 66 degrees at night.

Complaints come in not only for broken furnaces or boilers but also because one or more utilities have been shut off, she said. Even though utility companies aren’t allowed to turn off gas and electricity in the coldest months, sometimes tenants will get by through the fall and not complain until the bitter cold arrives, she said.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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