In the News

News from around the web on issues affecting renters.

Chicago SRO legal battle infested with bedbugs

With the Milshire Hotel closing, does the door shut on bedbugs?
Chicago SRO legal battle infested with bedbugs: RedEye

At one point in the legal battle between residents of a Logan Square single-room occupancy building and the landlord who wanted them out, residents actually used bedbugs as a weapon in their argument to stay put.

You Thought the Mortgage Crisis Was Over? It's About to Flare Up Again

You Thought the Mortgage Crisis Was Over? It's About to Flare Up Again: New Republic

We are nearly eight years removed from the beginnings of the foreclosure crisis, with over five million homes lost. So it would be natural to believe that the crisis has receded. Statistics point in that direction. Financial analyst CoreLogic reports that the national foreclosure rate fell to 1.7 percent in June, down from 2.5 percent a year ago. Sales of foreclosed properties are at their lowest levels since 2008, and the rate of foreclosure starts—the beginning of the foreclosure process—is at 2006 levels.

Future of affordable housing unclear after SRO tenant deals

Future of affordable housing unclear after SRO tenant deals: SunTimes

In a bid to preserve his home in Logan Square’s bug-infested Milshire Hotel, Fred Bartels testified before the City Council just last month in favor of a city moratorium on converting or demolishing single-room occupancy and residential hotels.

On Friday, Bartels was making plans for what he could do with the $4,000 he will receive in exchange for moving out of the Milshire by Sept. 2 as part of a settlement between tenants and the building owner.

Milshire Hotel residents settle with management

Residents of the beleaguered Milshire Hotel agreed Wednesday to move out by 5 p.m. Sept. 2 in exchange for $4,000 per unit and a promise that owners of the single-room occupancy building will not attempt to collect back rent.
"I can't wait to get out of there," said Jennie Morales, who said she has lived at the Milshire off and on for 21 years and does not have solid plans for somewhere to move next month. "I'm glad it's over."

The tale of the two-flat

Skip the skyscraper! The most interesting building in Chicago is tied to its neighborhoods and its working class.
The tale of the two-flat: WBEZ

Most older U.S. cities have a signature kind of building. In Brooklyn it’s the brownstone, one standing shoulder-to-shoulder to the next. In Philadelphia, newcomers and visitors are struck by the distinctive row houses.

What about Chicago? Well, it’s a city known for its skyscrapers, for sure. Outside of downtown, though, you won’t find soaring steel and glass. In the neighborhoods, it’s wood, brick and stone. The real workhorse of Chicago’s built environment is the modest, ubiquitous (yet fascinating) two-flat.

Gentrification, urban displacement and affordable housing: Overview and research roundup

The cost of renting a home has increased throughout the United States in recent years, most notably in urban areas. According to an April 2014 analysis by Zillow Real Estate Research, between 2000 and 2014 median household income rose 25%, while rents increased by nearly 53%. The analysis also found that residents of Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and New York paid the highest portions of their income on rent — in Los Angeles, the figure was 35%. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers housing to be unaffordable when its costs exceed 30% of a family’s income.

Narrowing Illinois’ affordable housing gap will require multiple approaches

Narrowing Illinois’ affordable housing gap will require multiple approaches: MPC Connector

As Illinois continues its slow and uneven recovery from the depths of the housing and economic crisis, the state’s next governor faces a number of challenges to ensure all Illinois residents have access to decent and affordable homes and thriving neighborhoods. Front-runner candidates Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and businessman Bruce Rauner (R) will address some of these challenges at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Annual Luncheon on Aug. 28 in Chicago.

Apartment repossession law has offered no bite

Apartment repossession law has offered no bite: Chicago Tribune

Almost 11 months after an ordinance took effect to protect tenants in foreclosed, repossessed rental buildings within Chicago, no enforcement tickets have been issued or fines assessed against building owners.

One reason is that some of the banks taking possession of properties are following the ordinance by offering leases to qualified tenants or evicting others and providing them with the required relocation assistance of $10,600 per unit.

Report: High Housing Costs Persist For Millions Of Americans, Renters Hit The Worst

Report: High Housing Costs Persist For Millions Of Americans, Renters Hit The Worst: Progress Illinois

The U.S. housing industry saw some progress in 2013 due in part to increased housing construction as well as rising home prices and sales, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Opinion: Study Shows City Needs More Equitable Housing Plan

Opinion: Study Shows City Needs More Equitable Housing Plan: NBC

Chicago is often called a city of neighborhoods. Yet a new study out of Harvard shows that certain city neighborhoods—especially if they’re considered “too black”—don’t receive the same level of investment and gentrification other, less black neighborhoods routinely enjoy.

Using Google Street View to scour thousands of Chicago streets for signs of gentrification, researchers from Harvard found that:

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