Tag Archives: bias

Chicago Real Estate Statistics: Bias in the Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance

This is part 3 in an series exploring the urban legend that Chicago is biased in favor of the tenant. Part one is here and part two is here.

Where We’ve Been

Remember honey, first we take the keys, then we take the whole building.

"Remember honey: step one, we take the keys, step two, we take him for all he's worth!"

So we’ve explored whether or not the courts are biased in favor of the tenant. The result pretty overwhelmingly confirmed this bias when it comes to joint action eviction cases. While the courts had no problem granting possession back to the landlord, they very rarely allowed the landlord the right to a judgment for the back rent owed. But a biased courtroom is one thing – most eviction cases are not jury trials. The interpretation of the laws rests entirely in the hands of a few judges and attorneys. But what if the laws themselves are biased?  There’s another portion of this whole landlord-tenant thing that can be analyzed. I’ve left it for last because it’s required a very lengthy and subjective dissection of a pretty substantial piece of law.

Is the Law itself biased?

We’re talking about Chicago’s infamous Landlord-Tenant Ordinance today. Since the Cook County Clerk’s site is not reliably linking to it right now, I’m hosting a backup copy of the full CRLTO here for the time being so you can read along. I’ve had to memorize this massive document for my job. I’ve been working for the past 7 years within the constraints of this 30 page document. I’ve never spent quite so much time reading it in depth as I have over the past few weeks.

Now, before we go any further, I am NOT a lawyer. This is a citizen’s interpretation of the ordinance and my reading may be just as faulty as that of the judges & attorneys at eviction court, if not moreso.

For your benefit, dear piggies, I have parsed out every clause and sorted them to get a rough count of how many of these laws are written to protect the tenant from the landlord and vice versa. I have effectively tallied the “score” of the laws on the books. (more…)