In order to ensure the well-being of its citizens, the City of Chicago requires that all building owners follow specific guidelines and adhere to building codes. In the event of a violation of one of the specifics listed in the Municipal Code of Chicago, the City may impose costly fines on the owner of the property.
In some cases, the City may, for a variety of reasons, improperly act when assessing a penalty for a building code violation. If you have been cited for a building code violation in Chicago, the following provides information on how an attorney can help you craft a strong defense in your case. In fact, a recent ruling now requires property owners and corporations to acquire legal representation for administrative hearings.
Refusal of Entry by Occupant
The City of Chicago provides specific defenses that a property owner can employ when fighting a building code violation, all available under Section 2-14-155 of the Chicago Code. Subsection (d) of this specific section provides that a property owner has a defense against a building code violation if a tenant or occupant of the cited building “has refused entry to the owner or his agent to all or a part of the building for the purpose of correcting the building code violation.” If you were refused entry to your own building in the attempt of correcting the violation, this specific defense may be used in your case.
The Fault of the Tenants
If you have been renting your property to tenants and have been cited for a building violation caused by the tenants or other occupants, this can also prove to be a valuable defense against a fine assessed by the City of Chicago. Subsection (c) of the aforementioned section provides that an owner may defend himself or herself by proving that the violation was caused by the occupants or tenants or by anyone who has been evicted from the property “within 30 days of the date of the notice of building code violations.”
The Violation Didn’t Exist or Doesn’t Exist Anymore
The City of Chicago also provides two additional defenses for property owners to protect against fines assessed for building code violations.
Of course, the first defense, provided under Subsection (a) of the same section, is applicable if the building or property owners can prove that the alleged violation actually didn’t exist at the time of the inspection and the resulting notice.
Additionally, the second defense, given under Subsection (b), can be used if the owner has remedied the violation alleged in the notice by the time a hearing is held to discuss the issue. The applicability of this defense depends on the nature of the violation, however, and discussing the issue with an attorney in Chicago can help you understand the specifics.