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Housing

Inspections in C-U: The processes, requirements and penalties

Unit inspections

Urbana inspectors examine each interior floor of an apartment unit to check for working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They check that windows have screens and can be opened and that doors are in good condition and have proper locks. 

Inspectors also test all electrical outlets for proper functioning and examine the wiring system to make sure it meets standards. 

In addition to these common items, inspectors look for any dangers, such as rodent or insect droppings, leaks or flooding, plumbing problems and heating and air conditioning. 

Shelley Smithson/ An apartment at 209 W. Green St., C. This unit was condemned by Champaign City inspectors following a complaint by a tenant last year. The landlords received over $15,000 in fines for previously renting condemned units in the building.
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Housing cases in Champaign can drag on for years

CHAMPAIGN -- In some housing cases in Champaign, landlords have been granted years to make repairs and have not been fined, according to city housing records and a Sept. 3 property maintenance report.

“It’s not always easy,” Assistant City Attorney Laura Hall said of the housing inspection and enforcement process. If it were, “we wouldn’t have cases that start in 2006 and end in 2009.”

A tenant at 613 W. Church St. filed a complaint with the city in June 2006, noting that the carpet was dirty and the ceiling above the stove was sagging, according to city housing records.

The News-Gazette/This rental property at 1311 N. Clock St. has code violations that date back to 2007.
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Inspection programs differ vastly in Champaign, Urbana

CHAMPAIGN -- Champaign and Urbana both have rental housing inspection programs, but the two are markedly different.

The News-Gazette/ A rental property at 613 W. Church St., C. One property violation case at this address has continued since June 2006 as the owner has still yet to install a required bathroom.
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City involved in tenant-landlord dispute over moldy apartment

CHAMPAIGN -- Alveta Henderson struggled with homelessness for 10 years.

Some nights she slept in her van while her two younger children stayed at Crisis Nursery in Champaign.

Henderson’s homelessness was sometimes due to domestic violence situations or living beyond her means, but she blamed it mostly on work or lack of it.

“There was no job or a job not paying enough,” Henderson said

A single mother, she sporadically lived in a women’s shelter for up to two months at a time. At one time, she moved into a house in Champaign, but it was later condemned because it had raw sewage in the basement, among other problems.

The News-Gazette/ Alveta Henderson, holding the City of Champaign's reinspection notice,inside the two-bedroom apartment she shares with her eight-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter at Roundbarn Apartments in Champaign, Ill on Nov. 30, 2009
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A look at inspection practices in Bloomington-Normal

CHAMPAIGN -- The profile of Bloomington-Normal closely mirrors that of Champaign-Urbana.
They are twin cities that boast a major university – Illinois State University, which has an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students.


Bloomington has 73,026 residents, and Normal has 52,056, compared with Champaign’s 79,389 residents and Urbana’s 39,641 inhabitants, according to 2008 Census estimates.

The News-Gazette/Clay Baier, housing inspector for the city of Urbana, inspects a single-family home in Urbana on Nov. 30, 2009. Urbana's rental inspection program is similar to that of Bloomington-Normal.
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'Deplorable' conditions in county apartment complex

RANTOUL -- Taking a step inside the home of Adam C. Douglass and Rayna Jeske in the Cherry Orchard apartment complex reveals another world.

The kitchen gas stove is lit to produce some heat due to a broken furnace; a section of the living room floor appears ready to fall through; a bucket has been placed beside the toilet to collect leaking water; what appears to be mold is growing on the ceiling, and roaches scurry everywhere.

Two beds are set up in the living room for their two children because their bedroom is too cold. The furnace doesn’t work for need of a belt.

The family wants some help from their landlord but said it is not forthcoming. And it appears there is little anyone can or will do about it.

The News-Gazette/Adam C. Douglass shows where the bathroom floor is rotting out due to toilet leaks at Cherry Orchard apartments.A bucket has to be placed beside the stool to catch the water.
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Rental facts at a glance

For more information, click below:

 

Cost: An overview on how much rent can be in Champaign County

Among neighboring counties, fair market rents rank the highest in Champaign County, according to 2010 federal housing data.

The News-Gazette/Champaign firefighters responded to a fire at this unoccupied rental house located at 410 E. Church St., C. on Nov. 29, 2009. The property was condemned in September.
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Renter seeks help after house fire

CHAMPAIGN -- A family whose house was seriously damaged in an electrical fire Monday say they cannot afford to rent a new home because their landlord refuses to return their deposit or refund the remainder of January’s rent.


Trinidad Morales’ family – which includes her husband, 2-year-old daughter, pregnant sister, brother-in-law, and 1-year-old nephew –is now sleeping in a friend’s living room. Morales’s other two daughters were visiting their sick grandmother in Mexico when the fire occurred and cannot return to Champaign until the family finds a new place to live.

The News-Gazette/Trinidad Morales, 25, stands inside her house Thursday afternoon that was damaged by smoke and water after a fire at the three-bedrom rental house in Champaign on Monday. Morales and her family are struggling to find a new place to live as the landlord has yet to refund any rent or deposit money.
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