City’s rising rents to only get worse after tax increase

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CHICAGO – For many families in Chicago, the price of rent is reaching an unbearable high.

Mayor Emanuel’s massive property tax hike might just be enough to force many renters out as landlords pass the increase onto their tenants.

One and a half million people rent in the city of Chicago.  That’s slightly more than those who own.  The average price to rent a one bedroom apartment in Chicago is about $2000 dollars a month, but usually you see those prices in Lincoln Park, the West Loop or the Gold Coast.  Now, other neighborhoods that just a few years ago were less costly have seen rent prices skyrocket, which is forcing out thousands of working class families.   And nowhere is this happening more in the city than on the northwest side.

Logan Square has become one of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods.   Home to an eclectic mix of independently-owned businesses and fine dining, more and more Chicagoans are choosing to move here every year.   When demand goes up, so does the price.  And in Logan Square, renters are seeing a huge jump.

Patricia Padilla grew up in Logan Square and lived with her parents in a one bedroom apartment.  They paid about $600 dollars a month.  In 2014, their building was bought by a developer.  Her family was given a 30 day notice to leave, or they would have to pay double the rent they were paying.

“All they said was, ‘Either you find a new place, or you stay here and pay the high rent,’” she said. “We were scared, we were worried, we were furious because that had been our home for 13 years.  My parents working paycheck to paycheck.  It was really upsetting to see that.”

Her story has become all too common on the northwest side

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa says the statistics in 35th Ward are staggering.

“In the last 10 years, in Logan Square, we’ve seen 10,000, mostly Latino and working families, pushed out of the community by rising rents,”  he said.

According to a recent ward report, in just one year rent has gone up 11.6 percent in Avondale, 9.9 percent in Logan Square and 6.3 percent in Irving Park. And that’s just the average. In many cases it’s much higher.

It’s difficult to say exactly how much the tax hike will affect renters once it’s phased in by 2019, but analysts say the Northwest Side will likely be hit the hardest with rent in some neighborhoods going up by more than $1200 dollars a year.  That’s a big jump for a family making less than $50,000 dollars.  Alderman Rosa says he will push for the construction of more affordable housing.  In the meantime, hundreds of working class families may have to find another neighborhood.