This is a publicly accessible scratchpad of what I’m thinking. As I already said, Chicago should have a rental registry, a database of dwelling units that are rented to tenants, for at least two reasons:

  1. The city can know things about the rental units, including how much they cost, where they are, and if any are vacant and could be occupied if only people knew they were available and how to get in touch with the owner. 
  2. The city can know who the owners are and contact them to issue citations or advise them, or fill out for them, emergency rental assistance during pandemics and other times of necessity.
Who owns and rents each of these buildings, and are they providing a quality apartment to their tents?

Rationale for a rental registry

  • It could improve the quality of housing by forcing renovations when tenants are not making complaints due to the potential for retaliation or eviction.
  • Chicago’s complaint-based inspection system misses a lot of life-threatening situations (Illinois Answers Project, article 1, 2023; and Illinois Answers Project, article 2, 2023)
  • Tenants should be able to know who owns the property they rent. Under the current data regime in Illinois, it’s unreasonable to expect a tenant to know how to look up this information. Of course, someone could use my Chicago Cityscape platform to look up property ownership and transfers.
  • Chicago could put bad landlords out of business (Illinois Answers Project, 2021).

What do you think forms the basis for Chicago to have a rental registry?