8 Aldermen Push for Tenants Rights Law
SUN TIMES APRIL 11, 1984
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
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).