CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council on Wednesday passed a municipal code amendment aimed at neighborhoods where escalating rents and evictions stemming from COVID-19 are raising fears about gentrification.
The so-called “Fair Notice” measure, passed on a 35-14 vote, raises the notification period from 30 to up to 120 days that landlords must give tenants if they decide not to renew their lease.
The notice period would remain at 30 days for tenants who have lived in their apartment for six months or less, would be raised to 60 days for renters with between six months and three years in the same apartment and four months for those who have been living in their home more than three years.
Aldermen who voiced their objection to the ordinance said it would harm mom-and-pop landlords who own investment properties. The extension, they said, will only encourage “bad” tenants to not pay rent for an additional three months, a time period during which they could also harm the property.
“I understand the administration is trying to avoid a housing crisis for renters. But what concerns me and what has continued to concern me … is that we are shifting the burden on individuals who are in no position to afford carrying a greater burden when their renters cannot meet their obligations,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th).
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) agreed, saying public testimony against the amendment before the meeting swayed him to vote against the ordinance.
“I’m also not terribly sympathetic to developers and big landlords who try to game the system to prematurely eject tenants; I have number of residents my ward who have a studio apartment they rent out as income property,” Reilly said. “My concern is without recognizing their mortgage obligations, we could inadvertently be forcing foreclosures on folks who are otherwise providing space for tenants to live.” Supporters of the amendment said that, while not perfect, it is necessary in a year when the pandemic is causing a crisis for renters.
“The issue of displacement has a real world impact on them,” said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th). That is why we are seeing working families pushed out of these neighborhoods. “Ninety days is very reasonable. It’s basic decency, it’s basic respect, and it will go a long way in this pandemic.”
Wait on Pilsen historic landmark district approved
The council also approved a measure to table a proposal (O2019-3815) that will designate a large area of Pilsen as a historic landmark district. The six-month extension will give the city’s Department of Planning and Development time to work more with the community on concerns. Although voted to approve the measure in committee, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) argued that the landmark district would harm long-time residents who would be hit with exorbitant expenses required to keep their property up to historic standards. On Wednesday he said he was not given enough time to work with the city on the ordinance.
“That sets a horrible precedent. I was forced … to vote on an extension that could have tremendous implication especially with homeowners,” he said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot told him that his concern was invalid considering her administration “spent countless hours trying to engage” him. She also suggested that the six-month extension the council was voting on was precisely to address his concern.
“It is not anything other than to give you plenty of time to be heard … I take great umbrage to the suggestion that you were blindsided or anyone in your community,” she said. “You may not be happy but to suggest this was thrown on you is simply not correct and the record speaks otherwise.”
The council had been scheduled to approve a $500,000 settlement for Charles Green, who alleged that he was sentenced to life in prison based on a coerced confession, but Finance Committee chair Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) held the item so the council could have “more time” to review it. Multiple aldermen objected to the settlement on Monday on the grounds that the agreement would keep decades of Chicago Police Department misconduct records under wraps. Green had sued to make the records public.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), who chairs the council’s Committee on Health and Human Relations, did not bring up for approval an ordinance (SO2020-2827) banning the commercial sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores, saying it would be “held in committee.”
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 9. Among the ordinances the City Council approved are:
- A $4.95 million class action settlement for people whose vehicles were impounded by the Chicago Police Department based on suspected of drug offenses.
O2020-3443 — A proposal by Lightfoot to add extra requirements for developers seeking applying to demolish buildings by implosion.
O2020-3369 — An ordinance proposed by Lightfoot to place new limits on the Chicago Police Department’s vehicle impoundment program.
O2020-2862 — The Fair Notice ordinance, extending the notice period landlords must give long-time tenants before rent hikes or lease non-renewals.
O2020-2254 — An ordinance imposing extra requirements for management of senior buildings during public health emergencies.
O2020-3396 — A six-month extension on a city-imposed moratorium on building demolitions near the 606 Bloomingdale Trail.
O2020-3596 — An ordinance allowing the Chicago Cubs to host night games at Wrigley Field on Fridays and Saturdays.
SO2020-2915 — An ordinance giving businesses a six-month extension to pay their business license renewal fees.
SO2020-3294 — An ordinance to “regulate duties of Chief Procurement Officer regarding electronic directory maintenance requirements for Certification Eligible and Minority-Owned Businesses.”
O2020-3592 — A collective bargaining agreement with the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois, the union that represents Chicago Police supervisors.
O2020-3458 — An ordinance extending the city’s pilot program to create Veteran Business enterprise goals for city contracts.
O2020-1906 — A proposal by Baker Development to convert a former emissions testing facility at 1842-58 W. Webster Ave. in the 32nd Ward into a dispensary.
O2020-3454 — An ordinance requiring roll-up security doors and gates outside ground-floor commercial storefronts to be “clear and non-reflective, allowing views of indoor commercial space or product display areas.”
O2020-1903 — A proposal by John Krenger to open a 4,600-square-foot cannabis dispensary inside an existing three-story building at 1714 N. Damen Ave. in the 32nd Ward.
O2020-1890 — An application by Dispensary 33 to expand its existing operation at 5001 N. Clark St. in the 47th Ward.
O2020-1908 — An application by St. Louis-based Northpoint Development to build a 581,000-square-foot shipping and distribution facility near the intersection of 122nd Street and Burley Avenue in the 10thWard.
O2019-9352 — An application by Sterling Bay to build a 14-story mixed-use office and retail building at 1200 W. Carroll Ave. in the 27th Ward.
O2019-8489 — An application by the nonprofit NHP Foundation to rehab the historic Covent Hotel at 2653 N. Clark St. in the 43rd Ward with 30 low-income housing units, and to build a new 84-unit apartment building next door.
O2019-8491 — An application by the non-profit By the Hand Club to build a new youth center facility at 1830 N. LeClaire Ave. in the 37th Ward.
O2019-7971— A proposal by the Academy for Global Citizenship to expand its Southwest Side campus by building a new two-story academic building at 4930-5004 W. 44th in the 22nd Ward.
O2020-2900 — A proposal by L3 Capital to build a new five-story mixed-use office and retail building at 1012 W. Randolph St. in the 27th Ward.
O2020-3123 — A proposal by G7 Investment to build a four-story mixed-use building with 17 residential units on top of commercial space at 3704 N. Cicero Ave. in the 30th Ward.
O2020-2990 — A proposal by Ambrosia Homes to open taproom for a Lake Effect Brewing in the former firehouse at 4841 N. Lipps Ave. in the 45th Ward, and to build nine new apartments above the existing building.
O2020-2960 — A proposal by Gerald Petrow to build a new three-story restaurant building with a roof deck and outdoor dining at 4202 W. Irving Park Road in the 45th Ward.
to support transformation of vacant former Chevrolet showroom in the 2300 block of South Indiana Avenue into a 200-unit dual-brand Motel 6 and Studio 6 hotel.
O2020-3438 — An agreement with Rose Exterminator Company for cargo fumigation services at O’Hare International Airport.
O2020-2241 — An agreement with the American Heart Association allowing the group to operate an “interactive CPR training kiosk” at Midway International Airport.
A2020-58 — Appointment of Adrian Soto as a member of Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund Board.
A2020-59 — Appointment of Justin DeJong as a member of Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund Board.
A2020-60 — Appointment of Beth M. Horwitz as a member of Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund Board.
A2020-57 — Reappointment of Jose M. Munoz to the Board of the Chicago Park District.