Pass a Just Cause for Eviction ordinance in Chicago!

Chicago City Council

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What Is It?

The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance brings housing in Chicago a step closer to being treated as a human right, not simply a market commodity. For Chicago's 1.4 million renters, most of whom are people of color, it gives tenants the security of knowing that as long as they remain in good standing with their rental agreement that they have the right to stay in place and not be removed from their home. It takes away a landlord's power to indiscriminately end a tenant's rental agreement without one of the seven specific causes listed in Just Cause. The ordinance applies to all renters, including month-to-month renters and renters with verbal agreements. It presumes that a rental agreement will automatically renew at its conclusion and that a landlord will no longer be able to not renew their tenancy, passively taking away a family's home and community, somewhere they've lived for years or decades.

Under Just Cause, an owner or property manager must have one of the listed causes to remove someone from their home. There are some causes that are considered the fault of the tenant, such as not paying rent, and there are some that are not the tenant’s fault but that are considered reasonable use of the owner’s property. When the reason is to gentrify neighborhoods or where the tenant is not at fault, the landlord will be required to pay a relocation fee to help the tenant safely move and settle into their new home (click here to learn more about Relocation Assistance).

Reasons to end a rental agreement for a good or just cause are:
  • The tenant fails to pay rent;
  • The tenant fails to comply with an important provision of their rental agreement, such as willfully damaging the property or continuously disturbing your neighbors;
  • The tenant fails to renew their lease on substantially the same terms;
  • The owner wishes to move themselves or a close family member into the unit;
  • The owner is converting the unit to a condominium;
  • The owner is required or needs substantially rehabilitate or repair the property;
  • The owner wishes to change the use of the property, including changing it to commercial use or complete demolition.
In balancing a family's human rights to stable and secure house and home against the property interests of a landlord, human rights must come first. Right now, the scales are far out of balance in favor of landlords, and that needs to change. Just Cause for Evictions will do tremendous good in helping to fight the racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism in housing, slow the pace of gentrification, and to generally help keep people in their homes and communities for the long term.

Just Cause is the law of land governing over 10 million rental units nationwide including, for example, the entire states of New Jersey and California, the cities of Philadelphia, Seattle, and St. Paul, and nearly all federally-subsidized housing. Please sign in support to help make Just Cause a part of Chicago's housing laws.


If you'd like to read more about the ordinance and the effects of eviction, please visit our website: http://www.justcausechicago.org

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To: Chicago City Council
From: [Your Name]

We ask that you pass the Just Cause for Eviction ordinance as soon as possible. With the federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of June, we need the reassurance that renters cannot be arbitrarily removed from their homes without cause. "Housing is a Human Right" are words that organizers use to remind people of the fundamental human need for shelter. Until policymakers choose to enact policies like Just Cause for Eviction, people's most basic needs will be at risk of suddenly disappearing without warning.