As a bitter cold snap continues to grip the Midwest, Chicago officials said Wednesday they have received hundreds of complaints about landlords not abiding by the city’s heat ordinance – and are taking some of those complaints to court.
The City’s Department of Buildings said it has received more than six hundred complaints about cold indoor temperatures.
In the most extreme cases, the law department is taking emergency action and bringing 10 of those landlords to court.
“It’s awfully cold and people and people can die from exposure and we want people to be warm and safe in their homes,” said Chicago Building Commissioner Judy Frydland, adding, “Sometimes the tenants call the city and the landlord at the same time and the landlord gets to it right away. That’s great. We come out, check and make sure it’s on.”
The emergency heat cases filed Wednesday at the Daley Center should allow the court to appoint receivers for the buildings in question who will take over operations, make repairs and use rent money to pay for them.
Those buildings include the South Shore home where Darlene Ford lives. She said she has to boil water to stay warm in her apartment, and though she has some heat, she has to wear a coat inside and sleep in a back room small enough for a space heater to be effective.
“I don’t like it all. I got a head cold. I got to go to work next week. I am furious right now because he is getting paid,” Ford said.
To let tenants know about the City’s heat ordinance, which requires daytime temperatures inside to stay at 68 degrees or above, and night-time temperatures at 66 or higher, Frydland’s department is hanging cards on doors and advising anyone to call 311 if problems persist.