CHICAGO (CBS) — Morning after morning, for months, the noise of construction crews working outside her building jolted Kristen Jones awake. After fighting with building management, she finally moved out of town, and is now living across the country.
She signed up to live in the lap of luxury; almost $2,000 a month for her apartment featuring a glistening kitchen, sleek bathroom, and spacious bedroom.
What the former Lakeview 3200 tenant didn’t pay for was months of being shaken out of her slumber.
“I constantly felt like I was on the verge of having a headache,” she said. “Because I’m being sleep-deprived, I would feel sick to my stomach.”
Jones said even though the noise would be gone by the time she’d go to sleep at night, she could still hear it repeating in her head. She also had nightmares about the construction noise, and even woke up one night having a panic attack.
Construction outside Jones’ windows began in November, and is still far from complete.
Jones threw in the towel two-and-a-half months after the work started; she broke her lease, and moved across the country.
“It sounds like you’re at a dentist’s office, like the worst drilling in your life that you could ever imagine, and you’re just stuck there all day,” she said.
The headache didn’t stop after she left.
“It’s like they’ve already knocked me down with this construction, and now they’re just trying to keep kicking me,” Jones said.
She’s talking about building management’s threat to send her to collections. Jones never paid RMK Management her last month’s rent, and withheld some of December’s as well.
“My rent doesn’t say that I’m only entitled to the enjoyment of my home between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. I would never enter that agreement. I assume most people would not enter that agreement,” she said.
The Metropolitan Tenants Organization, a tenants’ rights group, said noise is a gray area for rental agreements. In fact, that word isn’t anywhere in the Chicago residential landlord and tenant ordinance. Neither are the terms quiet, disruption, or construction.
Management at Lakeview 3200 said they held resident appreciation parties to thank renters for their patience.
RMK didn’t lower rents during construction, and still doesn’t plan to.
“It was just not a sustainable, livable place,” Jones said.
The company has since dropped its fight for Jones’ rent money
Jones said building management never told tenants construction would last months.
RMK did not provide CBS 2 with an anticipated end date, but said the work includes renovating a common area, expanding the gym, and adding apartments.