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The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

If there is a written or oral agreement where the landlord agrees to provide or pay for any water, gas, or electric service the landlord must pay for the services to make sure they are available to the tenant throughout the term of the lease, and must pay the utility company in a timely manner so as not to cause any interruption in service.

LCBH and the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) have created a Fair Housing webinar series funded as a partnership project by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The webinars are available as online videos that can be accessed at any time on the website of Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO). The webinars will educate the public on their fair housing rights and provide information for housing providers on their responsibilities under fair housing law.

LCBH in conjunction with the Fair Housing Education Consortium (FHEC) provide trainings that cover major fair housing issues and are designed to educate stakeholders and the general public about fair housing law under federal law as well as the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Audience: Renters, landlords, community based organizations, housing advocates, tenant counselors, social service providers, and attorneys

To schedule a Fair Housing Training for your organization or to request more information contact: fairhousing@lcbh.org.

November 2013

This webinar provides a review of new protections for tenants living in foreclosed buildings. The training covers both the amended Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law (IMFL) as well as the new Chicago Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Properties Ordinance, more commonly referred to as the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO). The seminar is led by LCBH Legal Director, Mark Swartz and LCBH Program Manager, Patricia Fron.

Audience: Attorneys, law students and legal advocates

Our Tenants in Foreclosure Advocacy trainings provide comprehensive information on the laws protecting renters in foreclosure, in addition to guidance on searching public records for foreclosure information, and tips for counseling renters in foreclosure. Trainings are tailored to the needs of the audience whether they are social service providers, housing advocates, community organizers, or attorneys. Attendees will be provided with training and advocacy materials such as our tenants in foreclosure brochure and guide to looking up foreclosed buildings.

Our Tenants in Foreclosure workshops are designed to directly engage renters in communities throughout Chicago and Illinois. The workshop covers renters’ rights and responsibilities during foreclosure and the laws protecting renters after a foreclosure sale and the conclusion of the foreclosure case. Staff will answer renter questions and provide one-on-one foreclosure counseling to renters in need of more individualized consultation.

Audience: Renters and other interested community members

An hour-long overview of the eviction process and applicable state and local laws. The presentation provides an in-depth look at the stages of the eviction process and possible defenses and counterclaims that can be raised on behalf of tenants. This training has been approved for 1.0 MCLE credit hour.

Audience: Attorneys and law students

To schedule an Eviction Defense Training at your firm or in your community or to request more information please contact us at probono@lcbh.org.

An hour-long overview of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Chicago. The presentation covers the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO), evictions, illegal lockouts, and retaliation but does not go in-depth on any one topic.

Audience:Non-attorneys (renters, housing advocates, social workers, etc.)

To schedule a Renters’ Rights and Responsibilities training in your community or to request more information contact: Victoria Ogunsanya at vogunsanya@lcbh.org.

The Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO), formally known as the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Property Ordinance, requires that written notice be served on tenants. Notice of change in ownership must be provided to all occupants of a foreclosed property within 21 days after a person becomes an owner or within 7 days of determining the tenant’s identity. Notice must either be mailed or delivered to known tenant/household member 13 years or older. In addition, notice must be posted on the primary entrance of each foreclosed property. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-040(a)(b)

This brochure provides an overview of renters' rights and responsibilities for Illinois renters (not in Chicago) living in a foreclosed building.

Chicago renters should view our Chicago version of the brochure.

This brochure provides an overview of renters' rights and responsibilities for Chicago renters living in foreclosed buildings.

Illinois renters (not living in Chicago) should view our statewide version of the brochure.

The purpose of this guide is to help Cook County renters determine if their building is in foreclosure.

There are three (3) Cook County government websites to visit. Each website provides an important piece of information. All the information provided by these websites is part of the public record and you will not need an account or login to access any of this information.

Where in the foreclosure timeline is your building? If you have questions or concerns about your apartment building being in foreclosure, you can ask your landlord. You should also do research on your own to find out about the status of your building. This one page sample foreclosure timeline can help you get started.

In response to the effect of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on renters, the City of Chicago enacted the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Property Ordinance, commonly known as the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO). This amendment to the Chicago Municipal Code went into effect on September 24, 2013 and only impacts properties in the City of Chicago.

Insecure in Your Own Home

What It Means To Rent in Illinois - Findings and Recommendations from the Illinois Renters Survey
January 2006

The goal of the Illinois Renters Survey was to understand the experience of renters in Illinois in order to determine how best to improve the landlord-tenant relationship and, ultimately, the quality of life for Illinois renters.

Three-hundred and ninety-six Illinois residents from across the state responded to the survey. The typical respondent lived in an unsubsidized property that was not owner-occupied. They had a family size between two and three and made $10,000 per year or less. Over 80% of tenants paid their landlord a security deposit for their rental unit.

Locked Out

Barriers to Choice for Housing Voucher Holders
June 2002

For over 20 years, the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Inc. (LCBH) has been the premier public interest law firm specializing in housing law and policy in Chicago. LCBH’s mission is to increase the availability of safe, decent, and affordable housing for people of low and moderate income in the City of Chicago through legal and public advocacy and community education.

No Time for Justice

A Study of Chicago’s Eviction Court
December 2003

Residential landlords and tenants participate in contractual relationships in which the landlord provides habitable housing and tenants pay their rent on time. Although the success of these relationships is essential to the health of the community, tens of thousands end up in court each year. In 2002, 35,799 cases were filed in Chicago’s forcible entry and detainer courts, most being landlord and tenant disputes over nonpayment of rent. Eviction courts exist to protect tenants from wrongful evictions and potentially violent confrontations with their landlord.

Vacant Properties

A Haven for Crime in a City Plagued by Violence
April 2013

On an average day in Chicago last year, seven reported crimes took place in vacant properties. This constitutes a 48% increase in the number of crimes reported in Chicago’s vacant buildings between 2005-2012. After foreclosure banks and lenders often empty rental buildings of law-abiding, rent-paying families, resulting in scores of new vacant buildings. As a result, there has been an astronomical increase in the number of vacant properties in Chicago at the same time that crime in vacant buildings has been on the rise.

2009 Foreclosure Report

Chicago Apartment Building Foreclosures: Impact on Tenants
April 2010

The foreclosure crisis has received close attention; however, there is insufficient examination of how this crisis has negatively affected tenants who rent units from landlords facing foreclosure. Particularly in urban areas with large rental populations, the impact of foreclosure on tenants has the potential to destabilize entire communities. Tenants are the invisible victims of foreclosure—they are often uninformed of their buildings’ foreclosures, frequently face severe violations of their rights, and consequently lose their housing stability.