On August 25th, 2022, HSPRD filed a class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County representing a group of residents who live at the Ellis Lakeview building located in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood at 4624 South Ellis Ave. The residents claim the property – owned by Apex Chicago LLC and managed by Integra Affordable Management LLC – failed to provide safe and habitable living conditions.
The building receives approximately $145,000 per month from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract, to provide privately owned, safe, secure and affordable (“Section 8”) multifamily housing to low-income families.
The lawsuit shows a building in disrepair, with major issues such as missing, or impossible to reach property managers, extreme flooding, insects and mice, sewage backup into sinks and tubs, and no heat.
“With this lawsuit, we hope to send a message to Apex and other HUD landlords that it’s not okay to make people live in these horrible conditions. They cannot get away with it. We also want to send a message to other HUD tenants, to empower them to fight against terrible landlords.” Said one of the plaintiffs, Karen Harrison.
After Apex Chicago purchased the building in 2019, conditions started to decline. Tenants organized and formed the “Ellis Lakeview Tenant Association,” (ELTA) . With support from volunteers from Tenant Education Network (TEN), ELTA has worked tirelessly since 2019 to improve conditions at their building, including getting HUD and the City of Chicago to take notice.
“The City of Chicago has already taken a number of actions against Apex and Integra, including suing them for building codes violations, and filing a petition in April 2022, to take control of the building away from Apex and Integra and appoint a receiver. Government agencies have fined Apex and Integra more than $700,000 for their management failures. It’s time residents of this building get justice after personally living through years of well-documented neglect,” said partner Elizabeth Mazur of HSPRD, the lead attorney representing the class.