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Disparate Impact is a legal doctrine under the Fair Housing Act which means that a policy or practice may be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionate "adverse impact" against any group based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

Why Does It Matter?

September 2014

This fact sheet prepared by Logan Square For All in September 2014 answers questions and provides updates on What’s happening at the Milshire Hotel? What is Supportive Housing? What would it mean for the Milshire? Why is the City considering an SRO Preservation Ordinance? It also includes information on how you can get involved.

This overview provides a fairly comprehensive listing and summary of housing law that define the rights and responsibilities of renters.

June 2014

During the past three years, over half of all U.S. adults (52%) have had to make at least one sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage, according to a new survey of housing attitudes released today by MacArthur. Such sacrifices included getting an additional job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care and healthy foods, running up credit card debt, or moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools.

2013 Foreclosure Report

Chicago’s Foreclosure Crisis: Community Solutions to the Loss of Affordable Rental Housing
June 2014

Since 2009, the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) has chronicled the foreclosure crisis in Chicago and alerted tenant advocates and legislators to illegal evictions, rampant vacant property accumulation, and the overall loss of affordable housing due to foreclosure through the agency’s annual reports.

The following letter was sent on May 23, 2014 to the Illinois members of U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.R. 3543, the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. A similar letter was sent to Senators Durbin and Kirk regarding a similar bill in the Senate (S.1761).

Dear Representative:

The following letter from LCBH's legal director, Mark Swartz, was sent on May 19, 2014 to members of the Illinois House Judiciary Committee regarding HB5395 Amendment No. 3. Swartz was also in Springfield that day providing similar testimony to the committee. Unfortunately, the amendment was approved and the bill passed out of committee.

Dear Representative:

Complaint form (on-line)

This complaint form was created by the City of Chicago, Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection for tenants of buildings with one or more dwelling units including a single family house or condominium unit, and the property is in foreclosure, and the tenant has not received a notice of eligibility for relocation assistance.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2009-2011, 25.1% of enrolled students over that period (about 5.8 million young adults) lived off-campus in non-family households. Best Colleges developed this Student Renter's Guide to directly address the questions and concerns of students renting for the first-time, as well as experienced student renters who want to go about their next rental the right way.

Decent and affordable housing has far-reaching consequences for people’s health, quality of life, and access to opportunities, but these consequences are not always well understood. To inform public debate about assisted housing policy and strengthen policy outcomes, Housing Assistance Matters highlights research and analysis about the need for and benefits of well-managed public and assisted housing.
December 2013

Rental housing has always provided a broad choice of homes for people at all phases of life. The recent economic turmoil underscored the many advantages of renting and raised the barriers to homeownership, sparking a surge in demand that has buoyed rental markets across the country. But significant erosion in renter incomes over the past decade has pushed the number of households paying excessive shares of income for housing to record levels.

In collaboration with community partners, LCBH staff attorneys have prepared a sample bed bug infestation notice and instructions for use. Please read and understand the instructions prior to using this sample letter.

Under the Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance, a tenant who sees or suspects bed bugs in their unit must notify the landlord in writing, within 5 days.

The bed bug ordinance applies to all rental units.

You should copy/paste or re-type the letter and include the date, your name, the landlord’s name, etc. where indicated.

The Housing Wage is a familiar figure to housing advocates. Every year for more than 20 years, NLIHC releases Out of Reach, our report on the Housing Wage: the wage one must earn in order to afford a modest rental home in communities across the country. Advocates can use this information to show Members of Congress, state legislators, and local elected officials the great need for affordable housing and its impact on the daily lives of their constituents.

February 2014

Video from the February 2014 2-day National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) Attorney General Grantee Training is available on www.IllinoisLegalAdvocate.org. Instead of webcasting, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) video recorded the training so the sound and picture are a better quality. ILAO has also divided the training into chapters following the 2-day NCLC training schedule; therefore, you can easily find the sections you want to watch and review. Here are the links to the training:

SquaredAway helps tenants like you solve home-related problems with your landlord in the quickest, most effective way possible.

Refrigerator not working? Bed bugs in your apartment? Have a quick question about your lease? Squared Away makes it easy for you to report and follow-up on the problem.

The City of Chicago, in partnership with tenant and landlord organizations, has formed the Rents Right campaign to educate Chicagoans about the legal responsibilities and rights of renters and property owners. With more than 60 percent of Chicagoans living in rental housing, Rents Right provides landlords and tenants with assistance in meeting their legal obligations and exercising their rights. Rents Right provides mediation for landlords and tenants to resolve disputes in an informal and non-adversarial manner.

This policy brief from the Furman Center and Moelis Institute for Affordable Housing Policy debunks the long-held myth that the influx of households with vouchers causes crime in a neighborhood to increase. Rather, the report finds that housing voucher recipients tend to move into neighborhoods with high existing levels of crime. These findings should reassure communities worried about entry of voucher holders, but also raise questions about whether the Housing Choice Voucher program is reaching its stated goal of helping recipients reach “better” neighborhoods.

Information about tenant rights, leases, landlord duties, security deposits, evictions, and utilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is pleased to announce the creation of 12 videos in American Sign Language (ASL) with English captioning. These videos provide critical legal and practical information in a format accessible to persons who are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing. These videos feature Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing Actors who provide important information related to fair housing and fair lending rights under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Eviction Guide at Cook County Sheriff's website

A Plaintiff’s Guide to Eviction Procedure

This is a guide for plaintiffs (usually landlords) on eviction procedures in Cook County and includes information on filing with the Sheriff, scheduling, etc.