8 Aldermen Push for Tenants Rights Law


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

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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