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Chicago Board of Realtors, Inc. v. City of Chicago

    Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiffs are property owners that challenged the constitutionality of a city ordinance giving tenants additional rights and landlords more responsibility.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The court analyzed the method in which a serious viable challenge to the new city statute could be challenged.

    Facts. In 1986, the Chicago City Council enacted a Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (the Ordinance) that essentially codified the implied warranty of habitability, as well as established new landlord responsibilities and tenant rights. The Plaintiffs, the Chicago Board of Realtors (Plaintiffs) a group of property owners challenged the ordinance as unconstitutional. The district court denied a preliminary injunction against the ordinance and the Plaintiffs appealed.

    Issue. The issue is whether Plaintiffs could likely prevail on the merits of their constitutional challenge.

    Held. Affirmed. Two opinions were rendered by the court.
    Judge Cudahy ruled that the ordinance was reasonable in light of it’s stated purpose to promote the public health.
    Judges Easterbrook and Posner suggested that empirical data suggested that when the price of rental housing is artificially depressed and the cost to the landlords artificially increased, supply falls and many tenants, usually the poorer and newer tenants are hurt.
    This statute rests the initial costs of the new standards on landlords. This could have the effect of depleting their resources, thus leaving them with little capital to use to the quality of the housing.

    Discussion. The first opinion by the chief judge affirmed the lower court. Judges Frank Easterbrook (J. Easterbrook) and Richard Posner (J. Posner) filed a concurring opinion. The importance of this opinion is to introduce the dilemma of a city attempting to provide affordable housing. The court demonstrated by selecting portions of the ordinance and analyzing them, that the provisions made it harder for landlords to provide affordable, safe housing which benefited a class of individuals who were not the intended beneficiar


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