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Di Dinnis/MEDILL

Diane Limas and supporters of the "Keep Chicago Renting" Ordinance rallied at City Hall Wednesday to show their support.

Supporters rally for tenants’ rights when homes are foreclosed

by Di Dinnis
Feb 13, 2013


Di Dinnis/MEDILL

The "Keep Chicago Renting" supporters made shirts to show their support.

Sometimes saving your home is more important than going to school.

At least that’s what one 13-year-old decided Wednesday when he joined his family and a score of others at City Hall to lobby for a proposed ordinance that would keep renters from getting kicked out of foreclosed homes.

The youth said his mom told him their house was sold to the bank.
“Some guy in a BMW and fancy suit come to our house and was taking pictures. He said he wanted to find out the occupancy of the building. He wouldn’t tell us what was going on.”

The 13-year-old, who isn’t being named to keep him out of trouble at school, said he’s a member of the student council at a Chicago Elementary School.

Under current law, the bank can evict renters at any time. The proposed ordinance would prevent eviction until the bank has a third-party buyer for property. It also prohibits the bank from raising the rent unless approved by a court, and provides various requirements for notifying tenants that the property has been foreclosed and what the tenants’ rights are.

Diane Limas, a member of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, spoke on behalf of the group.

“The 'Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance' would do two things; prevent law-abiding, rent-paying renters from being evicted when the building they’re living in goes into foreclosure, and to prevent more properties from becoming vacant.”

According to Limas, the ordinance has 44 aldermen supporting it. Supporters want this law passed because they believe vacant buildings contribute to gang activity and violence in their ward.

“Enough is enough,” Limas said. “The urgency to pass the 'Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance' is now. If we don’t pass this ordinance soon, these new vacant foreclosed properties will continue to be used as hotspots for crime. This ordinance is a step in the right direction in preventing vacant properties and violence in the city.”

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) spoke to concerned residents during the rally.

“From what I understand there’s a negotiation right now. There is dialogue going on with the administration about it. I think we’re almost there, but we need to keep pushing because every minute that we mess around so many more houses are getting messed up.”

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) co-sponsored the ordinance that was introduced seven months ago. He is ready to move on the bill.

“We’re the ones out in the community, we’re the ones dealing with this on a daily basis, so we have to bring the reality of what Ald. Burnett talked about to the forefront and say action needs to happen now, we’re not against negotiation, but negotiation cannot be the enemy of getting something done now.”