One of Chicago’s strengths is its diverse housing stock. Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings provide affordable housing opportunities essential to the quality of life for many Chicago residents. The City of Chicago, in partnership with other government and community-based organizations, supports preservation efforts of SRO properties through investment and various financing mechanisms that creates and preserves affordability for low and moderate income households. In December, 2014, the City of Chicago passed the Single-Room Occupancy Preservation Ordinance (City of Chicago Municipal Code Title 5, Chapter 5-15) which requires notification to those who currently live in an SRO property which is being listed for sale and provides information to affordable housing development organizations to provide an opportunity to consider a preservation investment. Notification Requirements.
An SRO building is defined as a building that contains five or more single-room occupancy units and in which at least 90 percent of the units are SRO units. The Ordinance requires that property owners notify tenants in writing 180 days prior to the sale or transfer of the property. The property owner shall also notify the Chicago Department of Law and the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) of the Intent to Sell. The property owner will allow 180 days following the Notice of Intent to Sell for a buyer intending to maintain as affordable housing to tender an offer to purchase the property. The owner of the SRO property shall engage in good-faith negotiations during the 180-day period.
Partnerships to Create and Preserve Affordable Housing
The City of Chicago through DOH will receive the Notice of Intent to Sell from the property owner and will forward contact information to housing development businesses and organizations interested in the preservation of SRO properties. DPD will meet with SRO buyers and existing SRO owners to review financing opportunities that support the preservation of affordable housing. Owners and developers of SRO properties that seek to apply to City of Chicago for financing in order to create or preserve affordable housing shall submit the City’s Multi-Family Loan Application which will be reviewed by DOH for City resources.
As a partner in City efforts to create and preserve affordable housing, The Preservation Compact serves as a link for existing owners and interested buyers to understand financing options that may be available to any preservation application. Staff is available to provide information to SRO owners about available programs and resources to preserve buildings and affordable units. Referrals will be made to funders / lenders, including U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Illinois Housing Development Authority, Chicago Housing Authority, and the Community Investment Corporation / Energy Savers.