Article III. Buildings Hearings Division


2-14-150 Buildings Hearings Division.

(a) The department of administrative hearings shall operate a system of administrative adjudication of violations of building code provisions.

(b) The system shall be operated within a buildings hearings division created within the department of administrative hearings.

2-14-151 Definitions.

As used in this Article III, unless the context requires otherwise:

(a) "Building code" or "building provisions of this code" means (1) Titles 13 and 14 (excepting Chapters 13-72, 14-4 and 14-46); Chapters 2-22, 5-4, 7-4, 7-28; Article III of Chapter 11-4; Chapter 11-8, 15-8 and 15-12 and Article 1 of Chapter 15-16; and all other provisions of this code establishing or relating to construction, plumbing, heating, electrical, fire prevention, sanitation, zoning or other health and safety standards relating to structures (except to the extent authority for enforcement and administration is conferred exclusively on a department or agency other than the department of buildings or on an officer other than the building commissioner); (2) "building code" shall also include the provisions of Section 8-4-090.

(b) "Building inspector" shall mean any employee of the city whose duties include the inspection or examination of buildings or other structures in Chicago to determine if building code violations exist;

(c) Building owner" shall mean: (1) the legal title holder or holders of the realty containing a building or other structure; (2) the beneficial owner or owners of an Illinois Land Trust if legal title is held by such a trust; (3) the purchaser under any real estate installment sales contract if such a contract exists; (4) any person or entity registered as an owner pursuant to Chapter 13-10 of the Municipal Code of Chicago; (5) a person who contracts with the federal government or any of its agencies, including without limitation the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to care for vacant residential real estate; (6) a person who has management authority over real property; or (7) for purposes of proceedings involving alleged violations of Section 8-4-090, any person who owns, manages or controls the applicable premises.

2-14-152 Service of notice to building owner.

(a) The date for a hearing to adjudicate a building code violation shall not be less than 30 days after the violation is reported by the building inspector in non-emergency situations; the date for the hearing in emergency situations may be scheduled in accordance with Section 2-14-074.

(b) Service of a notice of violation and/or notice of hearing to adjudicate a building code violation may be made upon any person liable for the violation under this code, or his or her registered designee for service under Chapter 13-10 of this code by: (i) personal service; (ii) first class or express mail or overnight carrier to the designee and address registered with the city under Chapter 13-10 of this code; or (iii) first class or express mail or overnight carrier to the residence or place of business of the person liable for the violation, if service under subsection (b) (ii) is found to be undeliverable or if the building or structure is not registered or subject to registration under Chapter 13-10 of this code.

If service cannot be made under subsection (b) (i), (ii) or (iii) above, service on the owner may be made by posting a copy of the notice of violation or notice of hearing on the front entrance of the building or structure where the violation is found, or if the property is unimproved or fenced off, by posting a copy of the notice of violation or notice of hearing in a prominent place upon the property where the violation is found, not less than 20 days before the scheduled date of the hearing.

2-14-154 Rights of occupants.

No action for eviction, abatement of a nuisance, forcible entry and detainer or other similar action, including but not limited to increase of rent, decrease of services and refusal to renew a lease, shall be threatened or instituted against an occupant of a building or other structure because such occupant has in good faith agreed to testify or testified at an administrative hearing before the Department of Administrative Hearings or has complained of a building code violation to the landlord, to a government agency, public official or elected representative, or to a community organization or news medium. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any rights or defenses available to tenants or other occupants under other city ordinances or applicable law.

2-14-155 Defenses to building code violations.

It shall be a defense to a building code violation adjudicated under this article, if the owner, manager, person exercising control, his attorney, or any other agent or representative proves to the administrative law officer that:

(a) The building code violation alleged in the notice did not in fact exist at the time of the inspection resulting in the notice;

(b) At the time of the hearing on the issue of whether the building code violation does or does not exist, the violation has been remedied or removed. This subsection (b) shall not create a defense to a person or entity that is an architect, structural engineer, contractor or builder who has been charged with a violation of Section 13-12-050 or Section 13-12-060 of this Code. However, for violations of Sections 13-196-400 through 13-196-440 of this Code, it shall be a defense under this subsection only where the violation has been remedied or removed within seven days of service of notice of the building code violations as provided under Section 2-14-152;

(c) The building code violation has been caused by the current building occupants, or the most recent occupants who have been evicted within 30 days of the date of the notice of building code violations, and that in spite of reasonable attempts by the owner, manager, or person exercising control to maintain the building free of such violations, the current or evicted occupants to caused the violations;

(d) An occupant or resident of the building has refused entry to the owner or his agent to all or a part of the building for the purpose of correcting the building code violation.

This section does not create a defense to a person who has been charged with encouraging or permitting illegal activity on any premises in violation of Section 8-4-090 of this code, or with a violation of Section 13-124-140, 13-124-150 or 13-124-170 of this Code.

2-14-156 Separate hearings on the imposition of fines and other sanctions.

If the administrative law officer issues a final determination of liability as to a violation of the building code but finds that the liable party has already begun to correct the violation proved, the administrative law officer may, in his or her discretion, schedule a separate hearing on the imposition of fines or other sanctions for a date no later than 30 days from the date of issuance of the final determination of liability, unless the administrative law officer finds that good cause has been shown that a longer period is necessary. The administrative law officer may order a reinspection of the property to verify code compliance and the extent of any corrective measures prior to hearing on the fines or other sanctions.