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Residents Of West Side Building Go Ahead With Rent Strike

Tenants of a West Side building that is in foreclosure are threatening a rent strike. They say the building's furnace was ripped out or stolen, and the building's receiver has not replaced it. (Credit: CBS)

Tenants of a West Side building that is in foreclosure are threatening a rent strike. They say the building’s furnace was ripped out or stolen, and the building’s receiver has not replaced it. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents of a foreclosed apartment building in the South Austin neighborhood have a new receiver, and he is being greeted with a rent strike.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports, in Cook County Housing Court Wednesday, after replacing First Western Properties as receiver, Peak Properties’ Mike Zucker promised to begin repairs next week.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Back at the 32-unit building, at 5141-59 W. West End Ave., tenants led by Pamela Johnson said they have heard similar promised since, and even before, the building was forced into foreclosure in 2008, and have seen little, if anything, done.

“There’s no rent until we see some type of action,” she said. “Once he fixes everything in the building, then he can have his rent.”

They call the rent strike “a dangerous undertaking,” even though they’ve survived thieves who have stolen the building’s furnace, disabled its security and smashed its mailboxes. The roof has holes, some floors are turning soft and mold is evident. Tenants say some of their light fixtures are dangling and sparks fly from outlets.

Johnson says when she was promised a working refrigerator she bought $500 worth of food the day it was to arrive, only to have to put it on the porch and let it spoil.

Peak is the latest receiver to represent BMO Harris Bank, which now owns the building.