The Keep Chicago Renting Coalition, comprised of community-based organizations, unions, and policy groups, with a policy committee spearheaded by LCBH, crafted a new ordinance designed to increase local renter protections and to hold successors-in-interest (primarily banks) accountable to tenants in buildings acquired at foreclosure sale. Since early 2012, the group has actively promoted the adoption of this ordinance, the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO) through meetings with aldermen and other city officials, press conferences, policy reports, and other action intended to draw attention to the problems caused by vacant buildings and displaced tenants.
Protections introduced by the KCRO include an extension of the 90 day protection under the PTFA—shielding renters from the time of a completed foreclosure sale until the building is sold to a third-party purchaser. This ordinance mandates that successors-in-interest to foreclosed properties either offer new or extended leases to tenants in foreclosed properties, or, should they choose to vacate properties, provide $10,600 in relocation assistance per household. This allows renters, even those without a written lease, to remain in their home as long as they comply with their rental agreements, incentivizing banks to collect rent, or sell occupied REOs, keeping them in productive use. The ordinance was passed with overwhelming aldermanic support (a 45 to 4 vote) on June 5, 2013, and is anticipated to go into effect in the fall of 2013.
It is expected that the implications of this ordinance will positively change the landscape of tenant protections—no longer will foreclosure alone be an excuse to vacate properties of renters. As one of the key leaders of the Keep Chicago Renting Coalition and a renter who faced displacement after foreclosure herself, Nancy Enopena of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council states, “the Coalition passed an ordinance that will protect thousands of renting families across the City. This ordinance is so important to renters in Chicago because we now have new rights and protections that will keep families in their homes, and prevent future vacant buildings. Without these protections, renters would continue to fall victim to unjust and aggressive bank eviction practices.”