My name is Shane Desautels and I have been a tenant of the Flamingo Building in Hyde Park Chicago for over 6 years.
After signing a 2 year lease on September 1, 2011 , TLC Management took away services and amenities that were part of our rental agreement. These services included a 24 hour door attendant, 24 hour maintenance, management office hours 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Sunday, and the ability to pay our rent on site with a debit card with no charge. We were also assured that this building did not allow dogs. These services were advertized in the Flamingo Brochure, the Flamingo Resident Guide, the Orientation Letter that came with our lease and they were advertized on the Flamingo website as well as other websites (www.apartments.com , www.rent.com , www.forrent.com , www.move.com )
The Flamingo leasing agent, Gini Galligani, said and did everything to ensure tenants that these services were part of our rental agreement. We were also told that by signing a 2 year lease we would receive a free cruise ship vacation or an equal cash reward.These services were promised to us and were used to influence our rental decision.
On December 9, 2011 TLC Management took over ownership of the Flamingo.
Then TLC fired our door attendants, and announced they would no longer provide the service of a 24 hour lobby attendant, but this would be replaced with a directory key pad system. We came here for the high level of personal service and security that a lobby attendant provides by greeting our visitors and calling us to ask permission before any visitors are allowed into the building. When TLC took away a 24 hour door attendant they also stopped monitoring security cameras in the building.
Then TLC cut lobby office hours and closed the office on Sunday. The office was opened 7 days a week from 8:00am to 6:00pm.
Then TLC began charging a 3% fee to pay our rent with a debit card. Part of our rental agreement was being able to pay oiur rent with a debit card, on site and for no charge
Then TLC said they would allow dogs in the building. We moved here because it did not allow dogs.
Then TLC cut maintenance hours. We had 24/7 maintenance. Now if you have a maintenance issue after 5:00pm or on Sunday the issue is not given any attention unless they consider it an emergency.
We believe that this is a violation of the Chicago Tenants Rights Ordinance. Rental agreement is defined by the Chicago Tenants Rights Ordinance, section 5-12-030(g) Rental agreement means all written or oral agreements embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit.
On December 10, I started The Flamingo Tenants Rights Organization. Our first meeting had over 45 people. If services were not restored tenants were within their rights to give TLC Management a 14 day notice to return services or that tenants would then have the right to deduct money from their rent to reflect the decreased value of living in this building without these promised services. This is covered under The Tenants Rights Ordinance, section 5-12-070 (d) Failure to Maintain. Several people including myself sent 14 day notices to TLC informing them of our rights and that these services must be restored. After giving TLC a 14 day notice I begin deducting 250 dollars a month from my rent each month until services would be restored.
After 3 months of putting our security at risk, TLC gave into pressure from tenants and our supporters and returned our security door attendants. However, we are still fighting for the return of all services that were a part of our rental agreement when we signed our lease.
TLC Management filed for eviction against me and at least one other tenant. This was following our starting a tenants rights organization and after having rightfully deducted money from our rent. We believe that this was retaliatory conduct by the landlord and also a violation of the tenants rights ordinace. I am currently fighting this in court.
I have filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General and with the Cook County State's Attorney asking them to investigate TLC for Fraud. TLC took away services that were part of our rental agreement. These changes would have directly affected our decision to live in this building and the amount of money we would pay in rent and they should have been disclosed to us before we renewed our lease.
TLC Management should be held accountable for rental agreements made with their tenants and for such obvious fraudulent practices.