A Single Room Occupancy (“SRO”) building is usually a multi-unit housing building that contains units for occupancy by one person. A unit typically consists of a single room. The SRO building typically contains a shared bath, and may also include a shared common kitchen and common activity area.
Is there a federal government SRO program?
Yes. Some SRO projects are federally subsidized. Under the federal SRO program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) provides funding to public housing agencies for the rehabbing of residential buildings that have multiple single room dwelling units.
Does an owner of a subsidized SRO building get assistance from government agencies?
Yes. The housing authority provides Section 8 rental assistance payments to property owners. The rental assistance payment covers the difference between a portion of the tenant’s income (normally 30%) and the unit’s fair market value.
Are there certain requirements that an SRO must meet if it is federally subsidized?
Yes. A list of regulations, and a list of tenant’s rights and responsibilities in federally assisted housing, can be found here.
Is a homeless person eligible?
Yes. In fact, if the SRO project is federally subsidized, the owner of the living facility must give first priority to homeless people when deciding to accept an application.
What rights does a tenant have if their SRO Building is not subsidized by a government agency?
Regardless of whether an SRO building is subsidized, SROs in Chicago are subject to the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance. This ordinance does not allow a landlord to intentionally take away possession from a tenant, threaten to take away possession from a tenant, or try to take away possession from a tenant without the authority of law. This means that a landlord cannot change locks, interfere with utility services in the unit, or remove a tenant’s personal property from the unit without a court order permitting the landlord to do so.
Owners of all hotels, rooming houses, and boarding houses in Chicago are not allowed to lockout any tenants. However, these types of buildings are not included in other provisions of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, unless a tenant in the building has stayed in a unit for 32 or more days in a row, and the tenant has paid monthly rent.