Chicago, IL

Rogers Park Tenants Band Together to Unionize, Force Landlord to Address Problems Including Bedbugs

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Tenants claim Winnemac Properties allowed terrible conditions to continue over a year, but management says have aggressively treated bedbugs

In a collective push for improved living conditions, a group of tenants in Rogers Park staged a demonstration demanding resolution to unsafe conditions in their building. Nearly 30 tenants residing at 1154 W. Lunt Ave formed a union and signed a letter addressed to their landlord, Winnemac Properties, highlighting ongoing issues such as mold and pest infestations.

The tenants, organized under the newly formed Lunt Tenants Association, delivered a letter to Winnemac Properties' office, calling for acknowledgment and resolution of maintenance problems persisting for over a year. The letter outlined recurring challenges, including bedbugs, mice, roaches, roof leaks, broken laundry facilities, and alleged disrespectful behavior from management.

Winnemac Properties is now under pressure to provide a written plan within the next 30 days, detailing how they intend to address these concerns.

The tenants emphasized their right to dignified living conditions, stating, "We pay a great deal of money every month and expect to see more of it go toward the upkeep of the building."

Ambrosine Mercer, a tenant in the building, expressed her concern about the deteriorating conditions, remarking that if the situation worsens, residents may have to consider moving.

Joseph Tozer, leasing and marketing director at Winnemac Properties, responded, stating the company is looking into the concerns raised in the letter. He emphasized that there have been no recent requests for communication from the tenants, and outstanding work orders and pest reports are currently minimal.

Tozer further noted that Winnemac Properties, a professional management company with a 25-year history in Chicago, takes tenants' needs seriously. He stated, "This is the first time anything like this has happened."

The tenants' union was formed with assistance from the Chicago Union of Tenants, an organization dedicated to helping tenants understand their rights and navigate issues with landlords. The union aims to collectively assert the rights of tenants and improve living conditions through organized demands.

Derek Eller, an organizer with the Chicago Union of Tenants, emphasized the power of tenants coming together, asserting that collective demands and pressure on management can lead to a better quality of life for renters.


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