May 20, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot and Department of Housing Introduce Ordinance Extending Notice Period for Non-Renewal of Leases to 90 Days to Provide More Stability for Tenants

New ordinance to provide tenants an additional 60 days to secure new housing when their lease is not renewed, one of the longest notice periods in the country

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Housing (DOH) today introduced a new ordinance that will provide more stability and predictability for Chicago renters by extending the notice period required for the non-renewal of leases from 30 days to 90 days. Establishing Chicago as having one of the longest notice periods in the country, the proposed ordinance would require landlords to give their tenants 90 days notice before non-renewing or terminating a lease. To further ensure residents are protected from housing instability, the proposed ordinance also expands protections for tenants forced to relocate due to renovations or redevelopment.

“This ordinance is the first step towards a more holistic and inclusive housing policy. This ordinance will ensure that Chicago’s residents have the housing stability that they need and deserve, especially throughout this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By providing residents with a longer notice period and compensation when displaced without proper notice, we are further strengthening Chicago’s tenants’ rights and ensuring our residents have the time and resources they need to relocate.”

As part of the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to strengthening tenants' rights and protections, the new ordinance will provide tenants of six months or more an additional 60 days to secure new housing when their landlord does not renew or terminates yearlong or month-to-month leases. This latest measure represents one more step forward to fulfill the City’s fundamental obligation to ensure that every resident in Chicago has access to a safe, affordable home.

“Stable housing is fundamental to a decent quality of life, and housing instability has been shown to be at the root of the cycle of poverty,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “The Mayor is committed to ending that cycle in Chicago. This legislation is the next step toward that commitment.”

In addition to notice period extension, landlords who non-renew or terminate a lease within 90 days of a demolition or substantial rehabilitation that is not required for health or safety reasons will now be required to pay non-renewed tenants a relocation stipend of $2,500. When tenants are displaced as a result of investmentdriven redevelopment, which contributes to the displacement of low-income Chicagoans in gentrifying neighborhoods, this new amendment will require owners to make an investment in their tenant's search to find a suitable new home.

“30 days is simply not long enough for the majority of Chicagoans who rent— including seniors, families, and people struggling to get by—to find a new and suitable apartment and move without disruption or trauma,” Ald. Harry Osterman (48th Ward), Chairman of the City Council Housing and Real Estate committee. “By extending the notice period to 90 days, we are providing more stability and predictability for Chicago renters.”

“We commend Mayor Lightfoot on the introduction of legislation that not only addresses the urgent needs of the community as we battle the devastating impact of COVID-19 but also acknowledges the unsettling nature of a lease not being renewed at any time,” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League and former Mayor of Gary, Indiana. “During a time when uncertainty abounds, the Fair Notice amendment achieves a balance of interests and provide a degree of certainty for all parties.”

The $2,500 payment that tenants displaced by redevelopment would receive is based on standards from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for relocation in use in programs such as Troubled Buildings Initiative (TBI). The payment equates to slightly higher than the median monthly rent for Chicago, which is $2,200 according to the Census American Community Survey.

“With this proposed ordinance, Chicago is further positioning itself as a national leader for tenant protections and stability,” said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward), Vice Chair of the City Council Housing and Real Estate committee. “I applaud the Mayor for these latest measures to ensure tenants have the stability and protections they need to keep a roof over their heads, especially during unprecedented times like today.”

The City’s proposed Fair Notice ordinance represents the latest effort by Mayor Lightfoot and DOH to provide Chicago’s residents, especially low-income families and residents financially impacted by the public health crisis, the stability and protection they deserve. Earlier today, City Council passed an emergency relief package to stabilize affordable housing developments across Chicago and keep thousands of men, women, and children safe and secure in their homes during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

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