Chicago heat complaints soar amid brutal cold snap

Roughly 1,600 heat-related complaints have been filed in the city since Dec. 27 when a bitter cold snap intensified across Chicago

Lashauna Wilcoxon said four of her relatives were among those displaced due to their building’s deficiencies against the cold. When the gas heat in their building went out last week, water pipes burst, flooding the basement. 

“The food, the clothing, the furniture, everything was boarded up,” Wilcoxon said. “Basically they were allowed to carry what they could in their hands. You don't realize how blessed you are until you see somebody else going through the struggle and you have to help them firsthand. 
In court, her relatives were promised $1,200 each to help find new homes. To recover that money and whatever is spent on repairs, the city will place a lien on the property and could eventually seize and sell it.  Attorneys said the current owner is a defunct not-for-profit.

City Hall said about 1,600 heat- or hot water-related complaints had come in since last Dec. 27, when the weather turned bitterly cold.

Six of the nine landlords summoned to court said they'd already begun or completed repairs.  Jeanine Darby, whose family rents out only one building, complained her tenant called City Hall when the heat went out, instead of calling her.

“She's never told me about it,” Darby said. “I only found out from yesterday from the court calling me. And, when I found out, I called the heating people. And they came out last night and fixed it.”

In the half-dozen buildings where landlords promised quick repairs, the city said it wants them completed in a day or two