Here is my personal story on what landlords can get away with:
My roommate and I live in Rogers Park (Chicago, IL); from the initial move in date we were promised the basic necessities that apparently are considered an amenity to our landlord. Such as a refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, working heat, the mold and asbestos would be taken care of, the open wires would be fixed, an exterminator, working lights in the shower and the shower doors would be fixed. Our landlord also thinks it’s acceptable to come into our apartment whenever he wants-with out giving a notice. He used to open our bedroom doors without knocking until he opened my roommate’s bedroom door and she was changing- once she yelled at him and threatened to call a lawyer, he then started knocking on our bedroom doors.
The initial agreement was that heat and electricity was all inclusive due to the fact that this is a 5,000 SQFT of industrial space-, which wouldn’t be possible for us to fund ourselves. He has recently moved in a family with children, promising the same things to them. He keeps moving in more and more tenants with no consideration on all of us will be able to live comfortable with each other (there are nine people here and two sets of dormitory style bathrooms, each bathroom include two bathroom stalls and two showers). Because he has moved in more people he’s been complaining about the electricity and gas bills, and now states that he will be removing our stove soon.
Our local authorities have told us that our building is not up to code. Our landlord threatens us with his political connections (even President Obama) into accepting these living conditions. After almost a year we have finally decided to contact tenant rights and to with hold rent until he provides what is expected in a rental agreement. When we told him we would be with holding rent and then the next step would be to contact a lawyer he stated he has the power to padlock us out. We’re really hoping that someone in the city of Chicago will stand-up for the working class people that don’t always have a voice/power to make a difference.
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