Building left with no heat takes owner to court - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Building left with no heat takes owner to court

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Frigid temperatures this week have kept a lot of Chicagoans indoors, but sometimes temperatures "indoors" don't always stay warm.

Chicago ordinances require that landlords provide temperatures of 68 degrees during the day, and 66 overnight.

But when the heat's not on, building owners and landlords can end up in hot water.

In December, residents at 7655 South Loomis complained that their apartments had no heat. They say it happened again yesterday.

City inspectors found temperatures in three second floor units between 54 and 58 degrees, even with space heaters running.

Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel, Steven McKenzie, weighed in on the situation stating, "The owner said he had a contractor out and was fixing it, but he had not fixed it clearly enough to make the repairs necessary to get heat to these units."

The building's owner, Azhar Satti, was summoned to an emergency hearing in housing court, where he promised to have the boiler fixed by Thursday morning.

Satti declined to be interviewed.

If the boiler is not repaired, a court appointed receiver can spend up to $16,000 to get the boiler running. The cost will be charged to the building owner.

" So far this year alone we've had over a hundred and ten cases, impacting one thousand, three hundred plus units. In the city we've had about two dozen receivers, on various buildings trying to repair heat, or help people in those situations, on an average," McKenzie said.

McKenzie said that in an average winter, there are about 300 heat cases like this one, during an extreme winter, there could be 400 or more. Felicia Davis, the city's Acting Commissioner of the Buildings Department, said taking building owners to court helps tenants cope with difficult living conditions.

"I mean, these are families, these are families who need to be able to, kids who need to be able to come home from school to do homework, so we need to make sure that the temperature is in compliance with what the ordinance says," Davis said.

Building owners who repeatedly ignore heating violations can be fined up to $500 a day. Tenants without enough heat should call 311 for assistance.

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