CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and neighborhood groups teamed up Wednesday to fight against companies they claim are trying to deceive renters and even board up the foreclosed buildings where they still legally live.
About two dozen people marched on ChiProperties Inc. Wednesday morning. Renters say they’re scared by tactics used by companies like ChiProperties.
The company sent out a notice to North Side renter Luis Islas saying he, his wife, and three children had “48 hours to contact our offices to make arrangements for a move out.”
The letter threatened, if Islas did not contact ChiProperties “immediately,” the sheriff’s office would come to the apartment building “with a locksmith, change the locks and escort you off of the property regardless of your personal belongings.”
Dart called the notice “outrageous.”
“Is it too much to say let’s give them enough time so they can get transportation, get a way to get their stuff out of there, find a place to live? How about a place where the kids can then get back into school?” Dart said. “This is insane what we’re talking about. These people know what they’re up to.”
He pointed out that, by law, renters who live in foreclosed buildings have to be given 90 days notice, which the Islases had not been at that time.
Islas said, two weeks after a 90-day notice arrived, a board-up company showed up and was going to board up the building with his family still legally living there.
“This company, and banks, they think they can do whatever they want, but it’s not right,” he said.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said he wants renters to be able to stay in foreclosed buildings until there are new buyers. He’s among aldermen who are backing a Keep Chicago Renting ordinance.
Dart has told ChiProperties to stop illegally posting deceptive notices.
“This is wrong. People have rights, and the rights need to be followed, and the people involved with this, they know this. I’m so tired of this,” he said.
Dart said he would also like to hear from anyone else who might be going through a similar predicament, so that he can go after the responsible companies.
ChiProperties would not provide a response to Newsradio. Newsradio got inside the building at 1512 N. Fremont where ChiProperties is located and after repeatedly knocking on the door, a woman twice shouted “Go away.” When a man did answer the door and saw the Newsradio microphone, he immediately slammed the door shut and locked it.