Mayor Lightfoot Announces Cap on Late Payment Penalties for Unpaid Building Inspection Fees

June 25, 2021

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori Lightfoot today introduced an ordinance that would cap the total late payment penalty on unpaid building inspection and reinspection fees at 100% of the original fee, similar to other city fines for parking and camera enforcement tickets. Capping these penalties is expected to reduce staff time spent on investigating, increase collections and, most important, it will help decrease the cost of investment in areas of the city that have been long underserved.”

"Many of our city's outstanding unpaid fees are attached to properties located on our South and West Sides, which already face numerous barriers to investment and redevelopment," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Not only are these fees decades old, but they have also accrued significant penalties that often greatly exceed the original fee amount. By enforcing a cap on these fees, we will be able to alleviate some hardship for residents who were already struggling to make ends meet and give them a chance to get back on their feet."

The cap will apply to late payment penalties on a building inspection fee that is unpaid as of September 1, 2021. Late payment penalties will continue to accrue at the rate of $5 per 30 days until the cap is reached.

The Departments of Buildings (DOB) will continue to work with the Department of Finance on collections of the building inspection fees.

“The overarching goal for our department is to gain compliance on building code violations so buildings are safe for residents,” said DOB Commissioner Matt Beaudet. “Reducing fines helps buildings owners use available funds to repair their buildings not on inflated late penalty fees, a win for both residents and the City.”

In 2020, DOB completed approximately 300,000 inspections.