What’s Wrong with Chicago Housing

“What’s wrong with Chicago housing.” I was told in the staff room, “is that the landlords can’t get rid of tenants.” A friend of his had a tenant who owed a year’s rent. Legally there was no way to get him to move out. In the end the tenant asked for ten thousand dollars to leave, but settled for five thousand. The landlord considered it money well spent.

Can this story be true?

I had just described my latest housing woes. If a tenant is making noise after ten o’clock the police will respond. Apparently repeated police calls can get the landlord in trouble, so the rumor is the landlords can’t do anything about a tenant until the police have been called. And it’s not considered good form to call the police until you have talked to the landlord to try to resolve it. But these new tenants make noise during the day, when I’m trying to read or prepare for class, and the tenant in the back who works night is trying to sleep. (As soon as she is out the door, the rest of her family thinks it’s party city–but that was last month’s battle.)

My coworker’s friends could find me a good place to live in the same neighborhood where I work, he assured me. (as usual, click to enlarge)

img_3489-green-bay-windows1 img_3459-city-sports img_3461-la-mexicana img_3463-two-story img_3456-pay-phones There are people who would rather leave their buildings empty than rent to the wrong people. A tenant who can pay their rent on time every month is in demand and can find a good situation.

How much? Less than four hundred a month.

And for $400 I could get what, a one bedroom? More than that. I might even become part of an extended family and be invited to parties. (And what do you bet I could get close to becoming bilingual?)

Back at the homestead, one of the other tenants told me she saw the new upstairs tenant–the one causing my current woes–sitting around on the stairs with a bunch of gang-bangers. She says she’s upset–her kids don’t gang bang. There are already gang signs in the alley that weren’t there two years ago.  Now what?  Add to that the beer bottles on the front boulevard and under the porch and the funny incense smell wafting through the building. Mene, mene, …

Last week the landlord assured me he was writing “quiet enjoyment of premises” into all the new leases. But realistically does it matter?  Can a tenant only be evicted for criminal activity? Or at all? Or does a landlord just have to fill an apartment without any regard for what the tenants are like? Should I just be grateful this one doesn’t have eight visitors every hour who stomp up the stairs and stay for five minutes before tromping down the stairs again?

This week I have called the landlord several times already to complain about the noise level from the new tenants upstairs, but today around ten I was awakened with what sounded like a tuba solo shaking every room.  Um pa. Um pa. Sticking my nose out the door I could still hear it from outside the building, but there an entire mariachi ensemble, not just the base line, could be distinguished.  Could this be captured on a little digital camera?  Here it is:

Update:  Curious, here is a conspiracy video with lots of scary low bass notes. And there’s always Holst’s Planets. The Mars movement has some good bass notes; YouTube doesn’t do it justice though. This recording is quite bad, in fact it’s not so much a recording as a digital version, but the low notes have a remarkable vibrational effect.

New update:  My new neighbors are now quiet–after I played the YouTube for the landlord!! Let’s hope it stays that way and that I don’t have to move.

Posted in Illinois. Tags: . Comments Off on What’s Wrong with Chicago Housing