Troubled Building Initiative (TBI)

The Troubled Building Initiative (TBI) is a tool to help reclaim troubled and abandoned buildings that create dangerous and hazardous conditions for residents, neighbors, and first responders. TBI works with existing owners and lien holders, primarily through the housing court process with the use of receivers and by the acquisition of distressed notes and liens, to prevent these buildings from deteriorating into a state of disrepair which may lead to displacement, the loss of affordable housing, and unnecessary demolition.

TBI uses a coordinated response from multiple City agencies, departments, community partners, and delegate agencies. The program is overseen by the Department of Planning and Development and implemented through delegate agency contracts through a citywide Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

City Agency Participants

  • Department of Planning and Development
  • Department of Law
  • Department of Buildings
  • Department of Family and Support Services
  • Police Department/CAPS
  • Department of Water Management

Supporting Organizations

  • Community Investment Corporation
  • Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Metropolitan Tenant Organization
  • Globetrotters Engineering Corporation
  • Local utilities

Through TBI, the City has acted aggressively to improve and acquire vacant and abandoned structures and turn them into needed affordable housing.

The TBI program began in 2004 with a focus on troubled multifamily rental properties. In 2006, the program expanded to include vacant and abandoned one- to four-unit properties. In 2008, the program grew to incorporate distressed condominiums. Collectively, these efforts have preserved more than 16,000 rental and for-sale units across the City.

How to Get Involved
To report a troubled building, please call 311 or report it via the CHI 311 website or mobile app. 

Developers and homebuyers interested in redeveloping an abandoned property should consider the forfeiture program. Properties preserved through TBI may be eligible for forfeiture process if the property is developed into affordable housing.

Forfeiture is a legal remedy (Pursuant to Section 13-12-145 of the Chicago Municipal Code), which allows the City to file a petition in the Circuit Court of Cook County based on dangerous and hazardous conditions that have not been addressed, and request that the property be forfeited to an eligible third party. The goal of forfeiture is the abatement of criminal activity and blight associated with these nuisance buildings and the preservation of viable housing stock whenever possible.

The forfeiture process is open to all qualified applicants, and private citizens are encouraged to participate. The cost of obtaining a property through forfeiture is essentially the cost of the delinquent taxes plus the cost of rehabilitating or demolishing the building in accordance with the Chicago Building Code. Obtaining a property through forfeiture could be an affordable option for many potential buyers including private citizens, developers, and first time home buyers.

Forfeiture Process for Vacant Buildings


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