Tenants in low-income housing should expect their landlord to maintain the building and prevent any threats to their life or property. The City of Chicago’s Department of Buildings should be enforcing the rules and regulations of the Chicago Building Code to make sure the property owner fulfills these responsibilities.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Housing Authority has not been performing the rigorous inspections that should be carried out on subsidized housing for low-income families. The property owners of Section 8 buildings could be taking advantage of a system that has allowed dangerous levels of lead to continue in subsidized apartment buildings in the city.
Inspectors have reportedly failed to require landlords to immediately correct issues involving lead paint because it is allegedly not a danger that threatens the lives of tenants. However, lead exposure is toxic to children, and has been proven to cause permanent brain damage. Federal requirements for a building may still allow a child to be exposed to unsafe levels of lead, but recent changes to policies have lowered the allowable amount to the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, the federal acceptable levels of lead in a child’s body were four times higher.
Even though changes to policies may improve the requirements for safety in subsidized housing, some inspectors may not be using appropriate testing measures to identify lead paint, according to reports. In some instances, claims that violations had been corrected have not been resolved through the health department. Meanwhile, property owners are allowed to remain a part of the program, which provides them with taxpayer money.