Suppose if you are sitting on your sofa, in your home, drinking your morning coffee and checking out the mails. Everything is good but suddenly you saw a letter from the city department asking you to pay a fine of 100$ because the smock detector in your tenant’s house is not working. You will be like: “Wait, what?! What does that even have to do with me?!”
Well, whether you are a landlord or a tenant, if you are living in a city such as Chicago or has rented a building there, then knowing the city’s building codes and apartment code violations is very important. Because nowadays, every city has its own specific codes and rules regarding buildings and construction.
And just in case, if the city department found you violate any of them, then they will definitely give you some serious headache. And solving the problems that will arouse because of them is not gonna be easy.
So, it’s always recommended that everyone living in a city such as Chicago be aware of these codes and solve any potential issue before they can trap you in a circle of city administration and court. We all know that the city of Chicago is a complex one, but we do have our ways to get around it.
In this article, we are going to talk about apartment code violations in the state of Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, and others and if in case an apartment code violation took place what can be the penalties plus how to rectify them.
Common apartment code violations
1# Illegal construction and conversion
While there are a lot of apartment code violations, renting an illegally constructed building or converting a building without a permit can be one of the worst ones you can get yourself into.
If you are living in a building that is illegally constructed/converted or you have constructed a building without having the appropriate permits from the city department then your residence is in danger.
Because if someone reports this or the government found out about this then the city department is authorized to demolish the building and charge a hefty fine to the landlord or you may also be deprived of certain common facilities.
In the city of Chicago, any building that has more than four residential units requires having a private garbage container. Because illegal conversions may result in building forfeiting city garbage pick-up.
Most illegal constructions are those that do not follow the fire/electricity/environment safety protocols. So if you are also thinking of converting your basement or attic into a separate apartment to rent without taking the required permits then think again because not only is it illegal under the certificate of Zoning Compliance but it may also pose a threat to the lives of everyone inhabiting it.
But if you still want to rent it out then you need to obtain a permit for the de-conversion of the basement and attic unit.
2# Electrical Safety Violations
A common electric apartment code violation is that landlords don’t remain up to date with NEC’s protocols and with the main being installation of GFCI in all the required areas as mentioned in NEC’s safety code.
According to NEC, every electric switch within 6 feet of a water source should have a GFCI installed. It means that there should be GFCI’s installed in the bathrooms, kitchen, toilet, laundry, basement, garage, and outdoor electrical sockets. Plus, all the GFCI should be of IEC quality and be always in working conditions.
It is also recommended that all the circuit breakers have appropriate markings about which switch they connect to. Because if in case of an emergency if someone (That person may be your guest or tenant) who is not familiar with the house has to shut down the current, he/she should be able to easily distinguished the current circuit breaker.
Every electrical connection should be properly implanted means that they should be properly made either with the help of an electric box or wire connector and covered and should accessible if needed.
And all unused panels should be covered properly with no voids so that no one accidentally put their fingers in them.
If your house or rented apartment lacks any precautions described above then you should fix them as soon as possible because in case you don’t, then your tenants will be allowed to do the fixing themself and cut the expenditure from the rent payment.
And if you chose to ignore the problem then authorities may prohibit people from leaving in there, legally force you to do the repairs and installations and during that period, you have to provide or pay your tenant for another logging.
3# Fire safety and ventilation
Fire safety apartment code violations include having not having a proper emergency exit in multi-story apartments, not having smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every required place or their non-functionality, and not having sufficient ventilation in areas such as bathrooms and kitchen.
It’s been a long time since emergency exits have been made compulsory before giving any buildings or apartments no-issue permits. An emergence exit should be easily accessible and should take people to a predetermined evacuation area ideally outside the building.
An emergency exit should also be always accessible and operable means that an emergency exit can not be blocked, locked, fastened, or obstructed by any means or any time. In case of repairs, it should be done when no one is in the building.
Absence or non-functionality of smoke carbon monoxide directors is one of the most common apartment code violations in Corpus Christi that landlords make. In Corpus Christi, most homes and apartments still use the old 9W battery-powered smoke detector.
While they work perfectly well but in case if you or your tenant forgat to change the batteries then you and the inspection team come then that will be an apartment code violation in Corpus Chisti. This violation is also common in Chicago apartment code violations.
Also, all the smoke detectors should be implanted following IFSS guidelines. There should be at least one detector in every bedroom, hallway, kitchen, and floor.
Many other apartment code violations are also common in the states of Michigan and Illinois
Here is a list of some apartment code violations for which you can go to court:
- Failure to give a copy of the lease
- Paying for utility without a written agreement
- Unfair and deceptive practice
- Entring your apartment illegally
- State apartment code violation and state sanitary code violation
- Failure to provide all required safety and emergency measures
- Cutting off services without proper cause and notice
- Missing or broken exterior vent screens
- Use of Lead paint
- Collapsing ceiling
- Breach of warranty of habitability and bad conditions
How to report an apartment code violation?
It matters not if you are a tenant of the apartment or not if see any apartment code violations or any other violation occurring then you can report the violation to your city department. It is also very easy to file a complaint.
You can easily go to your city’s or state’s website or do an online search for reporting the violations. For example, if you are living in Wheaton you can either file a complaint here online or you can call on 630-260-2050 for Dupage County you can file an online complaint here, and for Chicago, you can either call 311 or file an online complaint here. For apartment code violations in California, the place is here.
It’s really easy to file a complaint you just have to search “report apartment code violation in (city)” and then click on the official website of your city then register your complaint. Before registering your complaint you should have the address of the apartment and details of the violation. The complaint is against the owner of the building.
Who is a co-op building responsible for an apartment code violation?
If an apartment has just one owner, you can easily file a complaint against him/her if you feel that your rights as a tenant are violated. if the city government building inspector thinks that the building needs maintenance then he can send a notice to the owner of the building. But what if an apartment has several people jointly own an apartment.
That is what happens in a co-op apartment. Some people went for co-op apartment because they are more affordable than other such as condo and come with very few nearly negligible responsibility. But it did not mean that there is no one to take responsibility.
Normally in bigger and larger co-op groups there are hired crews or board of directors who are responsible for the maintenance, repairs, and security of the building. And if you ask who pays them then the answer is the tenants/the shareholders of the co-op.
The rent that they pay usually includes the money for repairs and maintenance. Because in a co-op no one owns their unit the responsibility falls on paid crew members or the board of directors