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December 2015

Rental housing is home to a growing share of the nation’s increasingly diverse households, but even with the strong rebound in multifamily construction, tight rental markets make it difficult for low- and moderate-income renters to find housing they can afford. As a result, the number of cost-burdened renters set another record last year. Addressing the challenge of affordability in a time of rising overall demand will require greater efforts from both the public and private sectors to expand the range of rental housing options.

The City of Chicago has created rules addressing the April 2015 amendments to the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance. The rules developed by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection address the tenant information disclosure form and a summary which clearly explains a tenant's rights and obligations. The rules developed by the Department of Building address hazardous units. Both are attached here.

There are certain cases when a utility company cannot shut off your service. In these situations, if they disconnect a service, they must restore it.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. The FTC created this guide to help people who need to dispute errors on their credit report.

A interactive webpage which educates on issues related to tenants living in foreclosed buildings.
English / Spanish

The primary goal of John Marshall’s Fair Housing Legal Support Center is to educate the public about fair housing law and to provide legal assistance to those private or public organizations that seek to eliminate discriminatory housing practices. John Marshall's Fair Housing Legal Clinic was established in 1993 by co-founding Professors F. Wills Caruso and Michael P. Seng, and is one of the few law school clinics in the U.S. devoted exclusively to fair housing training and enforcement.

April 2015

This handout, produced by the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, provides an overview of housing discrimination in both English and Spanish.

The Problem Landlords List: The Problem Landlords List identifies residential building owners repeatedly cited for failing to provide tenants with basic services and protections, such as adequate heat, hot water, and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Those on the list have been found liable in two or more Administrative Hearing cases within a 24-month period and have three or more serious building code violations. This list is updated on a biannual basis.

November 2014

On Monday, November 10, 2014, LCBH's Legal Director provided testimony in support of the Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance to the Committee on Housing and Real Estate.

Mr. Chairman; Members of the Committee:

My name is Mark Swartz. I am the legal director of Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing is an Ally of the Chicago for All Coalition and supports the Substitute Ordinance as submitted.

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.