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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Developers Face Up To $10,000 Fine For Harassing Homeowners To Sell Under New City Rule

Introduced by Pilsen Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, the ordinance looks to curb "predatory tactics" to get homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods to sell their property.

Houses in Pilsen.
Mauricio Pena/ Block Club Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — Real estate developers will now have to wait six months before contacting homeowners who have previously rejected their offers to scoop up their property under a new ordinance.

On Wednesday, a measure aimed at blocking real estate developers from repeatedly pressuring homeowners into selling their homes passed unanimously in City Council.

The ordinance, sponsored by Pilsen Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), blocks real estate developers from using “predatory tactics to persuade, convince, cajole, pressure, force, harass or otherwise coerce any homeowner to sell their property.”

The measure, which passed the city’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate last week, takes effect immediately.

Under the ordinance, developers and real estate investors are not allowed to contact a property owner by email, phone, in person or written letter within a 180-day period after a homeowner said they are not interested in selling. Those violating the rule would face a fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

“This ordinance protects homeowners — particularly our most vulnerable, including seniors,” Sigcho-Lopez said in a statement.  “It protects families that have been in their homes for generations and often want to stay but feel forced to succumb to the relentless door knocks and phone calls.”

In July, Sigcho-Lopez said he introduced the ordinance after constituents in gentrifying Pilsen reported persistent harassment from developers targeting homeowners. After rejecting an offer, constituents were subjected to building inspections, he said.

“This is not a phenomenon unique to the 25th Ward of course, nor is it new,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “These predatory tactics have been used for years especially targeting gentrifying communities.” 

Co-sponsor Ald. Sophia King (4th) said the city had an “obligation to protect our most vulnerable residents from predatory developers who seek to displace and disrupt longstanding communities.”

A 2016 UIC study found that more than 10,000 Hispanics have left Pilsen since 2000, a 26 percent drop. 

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