CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of tenants at an Aurora apartment building will be locked out by Monday, as the city forces their landlord to repair a bevy of code violations that have left their building unsafe.
Many of those tenants are still searching for new homes, after only learning about the order to vacate this week.
According to documents provided by the city, building inspectors ordered the building at 480 Garfield Ave to be vacated on July 1, due to a laundry list of code violations. However, city documents indicate building management told tenants they could stay in the building without fixing the code violations, or obtaining an occupancy permit from the city.
Inspection records from the city reveal inspectors found several code violations this summer, including:
• A lack of working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors throughout entire building;
• No working fire alarm system;
• Various electrical violations;
• Missing entrance/exit lighting;
• Missing or damaged panic hardware on stairwell and hallway access doors;
• Damaged locks on front and rear doors;
• Missing self-closing doors at corridor entrances and stairways;
• Damaged ceiling tiles;
• A fire hazard from plywood and particle board placed on stairwell railings and walls;
• Missing fire extinguishers.
According to records provided by the city, an administrative hearing officer on Thursday determined some or all of the violations have not been fixed, and the property is not in code compliance. The locks on the building will be changed on Monday, Sept. 9, and tenants must be escorted by management to retrieve any personal belongings inside.
Another hearing on the code violations has been scheduled for Sept. 12.
Like dozens of other tenants in the building, Ricky Damper was packing up his things to move elsewhere on Wednesday.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “I’m very angry.”
Many tenants say they were not warned until Monday that they’d have to be out of this complex by Sept. 9. Some said they never got the official warning.
“Someone told me, I didn’t get no email no text no nothing,” another resident said.
Residents paid their rent for September and have not received information about getting refunded.
The City of Aurora says back on June 12, a basement flood damaged electrical gear, resulting in a fire.
The owner tried to repair the former YMCA-turned-apartment complex after the damage, but it was not enough.
The building department says, on August 2, fire officials posted the building as unsafe. Days later a sign announcing it was unlawfully occupied was added; and, on Aug. 29, the fire alarm and smoke detectors were found not working.
The city said no one should have been living there from mid-June on.
“The signs been up about a month,” a resident said.
The building department says the complex has seen multiple violations over the last couple of years, from trash to the elevator not in compliance.
A letter to tenants says the property owner will pay for a hotel stay through Monday, but dozens continue to look for a more permanent place.
“I have somewhere to go, but ain’t nothing like having your own place, you know?” a resident said.
The property owner has refused to comment.