Updated 01/21/15 – 1:30 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago City Council has approved an ordinance aimed at protecting the tenants of apartment buildings whose landlords chronically fail to address serious building code violations.

Aldermen voted to put heavy pressure on landlords who let building code violations build up unresolved at their properties.

For one thing, the ordinance allows publication of the names of building code scofflaws.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said, more importantly, it would allow the city to step in and make emergency repairs, and bill those landlords.

“We have landlords who continue to accept the rents all the time, but don’t do anything with these violations,” he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said officials would do what’s needed to protect tenants, and publicize scofflaws.

“This was a shot across the bow to get your act together, if you’re going to operate here in the city of Chicago,” he said. “We’ve lost some kids because of bad actors, and we want to clean up the books, and make sure that they are on notice.”

The ordinance was prompted by a fire in Roseland last September, which claimed the lives of four children who were unable to escape, in an apartment building long cited for failing to provide working smoke detectors.

At a committee hearing Tuesday, Eric Patton Smith – whose 7-year-old daughter, Eri’ana, was one of four children to die in a fire that fire – said such help is needed for people who live in rental units.

“Losing a child hurts, regardless how you lose them, but to lose a child and find out that you lost your child simply because someone did not put a smoke detector in, or did not fix a $20 lock on a door to keep a vagrant out is hard. It’s very hard,” Smith said.

There were no working smoke detectors in the apartment building in the 11200 block of South Vernon Avenue. The fire spread from the second floor to the third floor, and four children were unable to get out, due to flames blocking their escape.

The building has since been vacated, the residents have been moved elsewhere, and the building has been boarded up. A judge also ordered the building remain vacant and secured, while the landlord addresses building code violations.

The Fire Department has said the blaze was caused by an open flame in the living room of a second-floor apartment.