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As rental prices appear to continue to rise across the country, they seem to have stabilized on a month-to-month (MoM) basis. A recent study evaluated year-to-year (YoY) markets: Windy City residents saw the average cost increase significantly, according to a recent study. Between June 2021 and 2022, Chicago’s 1-bedroom rental rates increased by 21.7%, and 2-bedroom units increased by 11.20%, according to Rent.com.
July’s rental report revealed the majority of the country saw increased rents, while some regions did not. Nationally, rents remained stable month-to-month; however, both bedroom types reflect increases in the double-digits over the past year:
- 1-Bedroom rentals average $1,701. The overall MoM rents decreased 0.1% and increased YoY by 25.3%.
- 2-Bedroom units average $2,048. There was no change in MoM rental rates, but the YoY evaluation reflected a 26.5% increase.
Chicago is the 19th most expensive U.S. city for average 1-bedroom rents at $2,558. Meanwhile, 2-bedroom units cost $3,247, which makes this average the 15th most expensive.
Chicago Housing Problems and Rents Plague Officials and Residents
Once the pandemic-related eviction ban ended in October 2021, “1,866 evictions were approved by judges. Roughly 1,278 households — 42 businesses — were evicted…in Chicago,” according to Guardian Liberty Voice.
Between January 1 to April 30, 201, landlords filed 1,193 evictions.
At the time of this report, current eviction rates for the first six months of 2022 were unavailable. Yet, with the high rents and the pandemic continuing, the Eviction Lab reports the crisis continues to be a concern.
Rent Control Ban
At the height of the pandemic, a coalition of housing activists and organizers requested Gov. JB Pritzker lift the ban on rent control. In addition, they called on him to cancel the prohibition of rents and mortgage control. Notably, two years earlier, the governor indicated his support for repealing the statewide ban.
At the time, he said: “Any future plans for our communities need to include plans for the people already living in those communities.” But during a subsequent press conference, he explained that he could not lift the rent-control ban with an executive order. “That state law can only be repealed by the state legislature.
Nothing seems to have come from this request beyond a March 2021 House Bill 116 that advanced out of committee. If HB-116 passed, it would transform the statewide rent control ban to “allow any municipality’s voters to call a referendum” to repeal the ban, according to Don DeBat for Loop North News.
Excessively Long Waiting Periods for Rental Assistance
Twenty-nine years is an excessively long time for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) to approve a rental assistance application. That was the case for Jeanette Taylor, a single mom of three who asked for help to move out of her family — herself and three children — out of a 1-bedroom apartment they shared with her mother. Taylor, now Alderman for Chicago’s 20th Ward, is working to change this ongoing problem.
I first applied for an affordable housing voucher in 1993.
I finally got a call back in 2004 to tell me my son who just graduated high school couldn’t be on my lease.
Today in 2022 I finally got a letter telling me I made it to the top of the waiting list. I have no words. pic.twitter.com/h0lykVyFcd
— Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor (@taylorfor20th) May 31, 2022
HUD Claims Chicago Violated Civil Rights of Black and Latino Communities
Recently another problem that Chicago must address is not directly related to rents but plays a significant role in the health and wellbeing in Black and Latino neighborhoods which could affect residents’ ability to work consistently.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) completed a nearly 2-year-long study that indicates the city violated residents’ civil rights. HUD asserts the city allowed businesses that emit high levels of pollutants from Caucasian communities into those occupied by Black and Latino Chicagoans. The agency stated these neighborhoods were already overwhelmed with health and environmental disparities, the Chicago Leader reported.
Windy City residents might feel some relief from future increases in rents. In addition to HB-116, which would allow Chicagoans to vote on overturning the rent control ban, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration introduced measures to increase affordable housing and subsidized rent through the CHA and HUD.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Rent.com: A monthly look at average rent price trends across the United States
NPR: She has waited 29 years for housing assistance. Now she is fighting for change; by Amina Kilpatrick
Chicago.gov: Various Housing Measures Introduced to City Council; by Mayor’s Press Office
Block Club Chicago: Activists Call On Gov. Pritzker To Lift The Ban On Rent Control As Coronavirus Continues To Plague Chicago, by Mauricio Peña
NORTH LOOP NEWS: Landlords beware: Revised Rent Control Act is still alive; by Don DeBat