Keep Chicago Renting

"Keep Chicago Renting"

After two years of organizing renters living in foreclosed apartment buildings, Communities United (formerly Albany Park Neighborhood Council) in coalition with 12 other community, labor, and policy organizations passed the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance on June 5, 2013. The new law that passed with a 45-4 vote out of Chicago's city council requires banks that take over rental buildings following foreclosure to either act as landlords and let rent-paying tenants stay in their homes, or pay a relocation fee of $10,600 to the families they displace. This makes Chicago the second largest city in the U.S. to implement this type of protection for renters living in foreclosed buildings.

Communities United (formerly Albany Park Neighborhood Council) has been at the forefront of efforts to address the foreclosure crisis as it impacts renters and its organizing exemplifies how the story of a few families and a community’s response can be translated from a local victory into county, state and national policy.

Communities United has been working since May 2008 with the tenants of a 7-unit building on Spaulding Ave in Albany Park whose owner falsely presented the units as condos, secured almost $2 million in mortgages from 7 different banks and fled the country, leaving the tenants at the mercy of the lenders as the units were foreclosed on one by one.  Three years later, as a result of Communities United organizing, all of the tenants are still paying rent in their apartments and are in the process of finding a new owner to keep the building as long-term affordable housing. 

Communities United has also secured additional victories as a result of this organizing:

  • Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart instated a temporary moratorium on foreclosure evictions and later issued a policy requiring banks to provide affidavits that they have given proper notice to tenants before any eviction could occur
  • Communities United (formerly Albany Park Neighborhood Council) partnered with other organizations to secure the creation of statewide and national policy changes which would ensure that a tenant’s lease survives a foreclosure, or in cases in which a tenant has no lease, that they are given 90 days notice before they have to leave their home

 

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our affordable housing work, please contact Charisma Thapa at [email protected] or at 773-583-1387

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