López lives in a three-flat in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. An ex-girlfriend lives on the first floor. She’s the one who invited López to move into the basement space last year. She was a legitimate tenant, but now says she doesn’t know who to pay rent to. No one in the building has paid any rent or utilities since the landlords moved out more than a year ago.
A deed filed with Cook County shows that one of the nation’s largest banks foreclosed on the property months ago. A county court summons also names that bank and alleges 10 building-code violations. The squatters asked us not to report the bank’s name.
from Chicago Public RadioI heard this on the way to work this morning. This situation apparently has repeated itself throughout the city -- disappearing landlords leaving the buildings with tenants and questionable status. It's much easier and less sketchy than breaking into an abandoned home. If this is a common occurrence in certain neighborhoods, perhaps a squatter and support network could be developed to ensure that if steps are taken by absentee landlords to claim property, an organized effort could resist evictions and make tenant claims to land and homes something more permanent.