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New Illinois Law Targets Distressed Condo Buildings

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New Illinois Law Targets Distressed Condo Buildings

This West Loop condo building was more than half empty earlier this year. Potential buyers are struggling to line up mortgages. (WBEZ/Ashley Gross)

Starting January 1st, a new law in Illinois will help cities turn mostly-empty condo buildings back into apartment buildings.

The housing bust has left neighborhoods pockmarked with vacant condo buildings. This new law lets cities petition a court to take over a troubled condo building and then sell it to one buyer to be turned into apartments. Ellen Sahli of the Chicago Department of Community Development says the city lobbied for the so-called distressed condo property law.

SAHLI: Distressed condo buildings include a high number of foreclosures, physical deterioration, absentee owners, squatters, crime, and in some cases, fictitious units or owners. So we really did need to have better tools to tackle that issue.

The department estimates about 180 condo buildings in Chicago qualify as distressed. Sahli says Chicago probably won’t apply the law to buildings that still have owners in them.

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