Crackdown May Be Coming On Vacant Buildings

CHICAGO (WBBM) — The deaths last month of two Chicago firefighters in a roof collapse may result in a tougher law regarding vacant buildings.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports, Ald. James Balcer (11th) has introduced a proposal, which would allow owners of vacant buildings to be jailed for up to six months if its determined code violations lead to death or injury.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports

The goal, Balcer says, is to enhance current laws that require owners of abandoned buildings to make repairs and take steps to prevent people from getting inside.

Firefighters Corey Ankum and Edward Stringer were killed in the building at 1744 E. 75th St., which had once housed the Banner Laundromat and Dry Cleaners.

It was later discovered that the most recent time city inspectors looked at the building, they found 14 code violations and said building owner Chuck Dai had failed to maintain it “in a structurally safe and stable condition.” Two code violations related to the roof, including failure “to maintain roof in sound condition and repair.”

Under current law, building owners can only be fined up to $1,000 for violations.

  • E Taylor

    I’m just sorry that it took the deaths of 2 firefighters, just before Christmas, to get SOMEONE to act. Vacant buildings are a hazzard, as well as eyesores to any area. I hope the City Council acts swiftly on this.

  • john doe

    Its a burning building. the roof is bound to collapse after a while.

  • Joe Black

    That is just not fare to owner,s. I used to own buildings on the so. side and I got to point that I just gave up. As fast as I fixed things tenents broke them again and again and to make matters worse they didnt pay there rent. Thanks to the one sided laws in cook county where tenents can distroy your propery not pay rent get free legal services to drag out the eviction process as a landlord your out thousands of dollars and they get away with it then then city comes down on the owner for what has been distroyed by these sub human animals. Until the law becomes fair to both sides and the sheriff dept. gets off there butts to enforce judges orders in a timely manner this will be the reality there. Face it these propertys are investments and unless people pay there rent landlords cant paiy there bills or fix the buildings and when they get to the point that they give up and board up the building how many times do really expect them to keep going back and securing these things when people keep breaking in to steal or get off the street for what ever reason. If they board it up and secure the building once then it is up to the police to keep the bumbs out at that point. The whole system needs a overhaul. Lets start putting the blame on the people that cause the problem not always the landlord/ owner .

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