As Some Buildings Keep Heat On Amid Summer-Like Temps, Chicago Residents Push For Cooling Ordinance

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As heat and humidity scorched the Chicago area Wednesday, some residents had to work in buildings with no air conditioning.

According to the Chicago Heat Ordinance, from Sept. 15 through June 1, which the city deems as "cold months," landlords with occupants that are unable to control the heat must keep temperatures at at least 68 degrees from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Temperatures can drop to 66 degrees from 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. the next day.

However, there's currently no cooling ordinance in Chicago, meaning building owners are not required to provide air conditioning to residents -- even on days like Wednesday where the high reached 90 degrees.

Chicago residents like Beth Delany say the heat ordinance required her to work her overnight eight to nine-hour day from home in "unbearable conditions."

"It's really hot," Delany said. "It is uncomfortable - hard to stay focused."

She lives on the 13th floor of a high rise apartment complex on Dearborn Avenue. Delany said does what she can to stay cool, like turning on a large fan, closing her vents and blinds, and opening the windows.

"I think temperatures are rising every year," Delany said. "I don't remember it being this difficult."

Delany, like other city apartment-owners, are pushing for Chicago to amend the heat ordinance and add a clause about an air conditioning requirement.

Sidney Saleh-Kurtz, who lives in the same building, moved in a few months ago and is experiencing similar conditions.

"It has been awful - open windows pouring inside," she said.

Saleh-Kurtz works from home and has a dog, who she said has long hair, which doesn't help with the heat.

"I have been trying to keep a fan on him - coolness," Saleh-Kurtz noted.

NBC 5 contacted the management company and the city of Chicago about the heat problem and the possibility of amending the ordinance. The building department did say that nursing homes and other facilities that provide care are required to provide air conditioning.

According to the National Weather Service, the city of Chicago set a new record for warmest temperatures ever recorded on May 11 when O’Hare International Airport hit 90 degrees on Wednesday.

Officials say that Wednesday’s temperatures mark the earliest the city has observed its first 90-degree day in more than a decade.

Chicagoans looking for relief from the heat should head to the city’s lakefront. According to the National Weather Service, readings there are in the low-70s thanks to onshore flow, and that trend is likely to continue in coming days.

Another trend that will continue is Chicago’s heat wave, with temperatures once again approaching record-levels on Thursday and Friday before starting to cool off this weekend.

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