CHICAGO (CBS) — Imagine being told you have one day to pack up and move out. That was the message for dozens of people living at the Sheffield House Hotel in Lakeview.
A notice was posted inside until a CBS 2 News crew got there.
When CBS 2’s Mai Martinez started asking questions, that sign came down, but people living there filled her in on what it said.
“Right now, I’m sort of like, see I’m packing up most of my stuff,” said resident Keith Jackson. “I’m packing up my stuffed animals, my clothes, my blankets.”
Jackson was packing up all his belongings after getting a notice from the new management at Sheffield House Hotel, stating:
“Please remove all your belongings from the unit and vacate the building no later than 1 p.m. on July 29, 2011.”
The eviction notice said the building will be undergoing “heavy demolition and construction work,” effective Friday.
Jackson said he got that notice Thursday morning, giving him little more than a day to pack up and move out.
“No notice before this,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s not enough time.’ I didn’t know what to say or what to do.”
Jackson wasn’t alone. Dozens of other weekly and monthly residents at Sheffield House were scrambling to find new places to stay.
“This type of place, you don’t sign no lease. So it’s not like you’re under a contract and you’re really committed. It’s a hotel, so what can you expect. It’s a day-to-day, if somebody decide to sell it, they going to sell it,” Leonard King said. “They could have went about it in another way and let people know, but they didn’t.”
Many said they fear they’ll soon be homeless.
“I’m just out here because I don’t have no family or nothing, you know,” George Watkins said, adding that he has no place to go, “not with this little money right here.”
As for where he slept, Watkins said “it’s embarrassing to say what I did last night. You know I just went and had coffee from different restaurant. Normally I don’t’ do nothing like this. I always had an apartment to live in.”
“How are people supposed to move out and just pack up, and if you don’t have a place to go or nothing like that, right?” Michael Schmiegel said
Schmiegel has lived at the Sheffield House for most of his adult life – 25 years – and he’s devastated to have to be moving.
“I’ve got to go one step at a time,” he said.
Residents at the Sheffield House said that many people have already moved out, but eviction attorney Rich Magnone said it’s illegal for the management company to force tenants out of their units without giving them more notice. He said that, generally a week or 30 days notice is required, based on whether they were weekly or monthly renters.
The management company for the hotel, Sheffield I, LLC, didn’t return repeated calls for comment.