A group of Chicago tenants living in a single-room occupancy, or SRO, building have scored a major victory in their fight against a private developer.
Twenty former and current tenants at the Rosemoor Hotel, located at 1622 W. Jackson Blvd. on the Near West Side, won a settlement this week against the building's owner and will receive monetary compensation.
Last year, private developer Joe Perillo stepped in as the Rosemoor Hotel's new owner and began construction on the building.
While the building was being fixed up, residents reported having to endure various unsafe living conditions, and the city subsequently shut down the construction work. After that, residents claim the building owner retaliated against them by raising their rent costs, which ultimately forced out many tenants.
Some of the residents who stayed got legal representation from the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing and organized a tenants union.
Last October, a Cook County judge sided with the tenants and granted them a temporary restraining order, which stopped the developer from increasing rents and evicting the tenants.
Elce Redmond, an organizer with South Austin Coalition Community Council, a group that works to unite residents, said Perillo has now agreed to settle with the tenants. The agreement was negotiated on behalf of the tenants by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing.
"The victory at the Rosemoor was due mostly to hard work and perseverance of a few real people that showed true bravery and commitment," Redmond said in a news release. "Most importantly, tenants were able to control their destiny despite having so much stacked against them including being in a city that is just beginning to figure out how to stop the increasing loss of SRO units and where most tenants are unwilling to organize because of fear of retaliation."