8 Aldermen Push for Tenants Rights Law

SUN TIMES APRIL 11, 1984

By Harry Golden Jr.

An ordinance allowing apartment renters to repair defects and deduct costs from the rent was urged by eight independent alder­men yesterday.

At a City Hall press con­ference, aldermen led by David D. Orr (49th) said they will press for a new Tenants’ Rights Ordinance in the City Council Friday.

The legislation would permit a tenant to correct a violation of building, health or safety codes in an amount up to $200, or half a month’s rent, if the land­lord disregarded a formal complaint for 14 days.

The Orr package of amendments to the city code also would permit ten­ants to cancel leases of ne­glected properties.

Orr said several members of the City Council major­ity bloc, whom he did not identify, have assured him they will support the legis­lation. The package is sub­stantially the same as one

davidorr-tenants
David Orr

introduced by a citizen group in 1982 and left to die in committee.

The proposals also would outlaw leases that waive rights already given ten­ants by state and city laws and would prohibit evic­tions as punishment for complaining to government agencies or the media.

Also, the package would forbid a security deposit greater than 45 days’ rent and would require that ten­ants get names and ad­dresses of owners or their agents.

Moreover, the legislation would require landlords to give two days’ notice, ex­cept in emergencies, to in­spect apartments. Tenants could reduce rent pay­ments to compensate for lost living space after fire or other damage.

Landlords could not re­gard apartments as aban­doned unless rent is over­due, the tenant is absent for 21 days and the tenant has given no written notice of intention to stay.

Orr said similar legisla­tion has worked well in Ev­anston since 1979.

Joining Orr in backing the program were Alder­men Bobby Rush (2nd), Lawrence S. Bloom (5th), Allan Streeter (17th), Wil­liam c. Henry (24th), Ed H. Smith (28th), Danny K. Davis (29th) and Martin J. Oberman (43rd).

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