Anti-Eviction 'Keep Chicago Renting' Ordinance Passes City Council

By Ted Cox on June 5, 2013 3:30pm 

 Diane Limas of the Keep Chicago Renting Coalition champions an anti-eviction ordinance over "the greediness of the big banks." She's surrounded by Aldermen Ray Suarez, Richard Mell, Walter Burnett Jr., Bob Fioretti and John Arena.
Diane Limas of the Keep Chicago Renting Coalition champions an anti-eviction ordinance over "the greediness of the big banks." She's surrounded by Aldermen Ray Suarez, Richard Mell, Walter Burnett Jr., Bob Fioretti and John Arena.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — The anti-eviction Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance passed Wednesday over lobbying by big banks opposed to paying a $10,000 relocation fee.

"This ordinance is going to save families," said Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) in the City Council session. He acknowledged that aldermen had faced pressure to dilute or defer the measure, adding, "That pressure mainly comes from the banks."

"The banks have been aggressively lobbying our aldermen," said Diane Limas of the Keep Chicago Renting Coalition and the Albany Park Neighborhood Council in a news conference before the council meeting. She decried the "scare tactics" of big banks that suggested it was tantamount to rent control.

The ordinance, which would keep tenants in foreclosed properties at least until the buildings are sold to a third party, is designed to minimize abandoned and boarded-up structures. Under the measure, any mortgage holder would have to pay a $10,600 relocation fee to tenants if it seeks to empty the foreclosed property.

The ordinance passed by a vote of 45-4. Aldermen Matthew O'Shea (19th), Michael Zalewski (23rd), Patrick O'Connor (40th) and Mary O'Connor (41st) voted against, with Ald. Edward Burke (14th) abstaining.

People in the public gallery cheered passage.

The ordinance stewed in committee for months after first being proposed by Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) last summer. Banks and realtors argued against it, and won a reduction of a relocation fee from $12,000 to $10,600, but it eventually passed the Housing Committee.

Illegal evictions in foreclosed properties have led to protests joined by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), an outspoken advocate of the anti-eviction measure, thanked Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his support on the ordinance as well.

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