Chicago takes landlords to court over lack of heat; women’s shelter shuts down

CHICAGO -- As the cold snap keeps Chicago within its grips, the city is taking landlords to court over heating violations.

Since Saturday, the city's 311 center has received more than 600 complaints from tenants who having problems with their heat.

On Thursday, city attorneys asked a judge to restore the heat to buildings owned by nine landlords who are not complying with Chicago’s heat ordinance which requires that apartments be heated to 68 degrees during the day, and 66 degrees at night.

City inspectors said one building, a women's shelter in West Englewood, was just 20 degrees inside.

WGN’s cameras were at Clara’s Place at 63rd Street and Paulina Street in the fall of 2013. Back then, the landlord was behind in paying its Peoples Gas bill. On Thursday, the city put the nonprofit shelter and transition home into an emergency receivership.

The seven families living there will be relocated using federal funds and money the city takes in on liens and fines.

Lashauna Willcoxoe’s brother and his family are one of the families had to leave.

“The households were boarded up including the food the furniture everything is boarded they were allowed to caring what they could carry in their hands,” she said.

The original landlord had medical issues and turned the property over to a family member who didn’t show up for court.

The city also stepped in for a landlord who owns a building at 6600 South Marquette and at the 8800 block of South Yale. A senior citizen there had no heat for several days.

City attorneys said most landlords step up and make the repairs before they are fined.