I moved in with my parents and I have 2 children. I built an apartment in the basement and now the city has

Asked by Jason, Chicago, IL Tue Aug 12, 2008

requested I obtain a deconstruction permit and tare it down to bare brick walls. What can I keep and how can I fight this? There are 2 exits, plenty of windows, bathroom and one small bedroom with a window that opens. Please Help!!!

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Brandon Schu…, Agent, Western Springs, IL
Wed Aug 13, 2008
What City are we talking about here?
1 vote
Cramer, , New York, NY
Tue Aug 12, 2008
Someone finked on you for putting the apartment in. get an attorney.
1 vote
Pamela, , Chicago, IL
Tue Aug 12, 2008
The City of Chicago needs monies in its coffers from permit, parking and related construction fees, etc. You must have known prior to building that permits were required not only because of the monies, but because there are building standards to ensure safety and quality of the materials. I am curious, however, about how the City even learned that you had completed such work. Someone must have contacted the Department of Buildings about you not having a permit.
1 vote
Sj209, Both Buyer And Seller, California
Tue Aug 12, 2008
Eric is right, if you can afford it talk to an attorney. Communication is key. Why did the city get involved? Why were they on the property? Can you call the inspector out for an inspection and talk to him/her, let him/her know you don't mind pulling out sections of the walls, etc for inspection but would rather not entirely deconstruct. The inspector has some leeway.
1 vote
Eric Marcus, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Aug 12, 2008

You need to speak to a real estate attorney right away. I use Nick Jakubco at Jakubco, Richards and Jakubco. He may be able to walk you through your options.

Do not ignore the request. You don't want to mess with the city of Chicago.

Best of luck, Eric
1 vote
Mark Zatz, Agent, Arlington Heights, IL
Wed Nov 12, 2014
You can also look online at the City's website to see what violations specifically were assessed.
Sometimes it is just a matter of taking the stove out from the kitchen area. You may also be able to fight this because it is a related living situation. Best of luck.
0 votes
Accurate Ins…, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sun Apr 29, 2012
Some clarification here.
As a standard, boilerplate practice the City will write up an illegal basement conversion for de-conversion. This however does NOT mean that you have to de-convert. There are options and variables. The City can require you to remove anything that was built without permits. However, if you negotiate with City attorneys and are able to show that what was built is compliant they usually won't play hardball unless you give them a reason to.
If you can get an architect to draw up the space for compliance and get a permit, then you can avoid de-conversion. There are however numerous requirements such as ceiling height, egress, vent and light, electrical, plumbing, heating etc. Zoning also plays a big part.
If you look on your violation list they probably wrote up a 002011 number for plans and permit and a 110 series for the de-conversion. My recommendation is that you hire an attorney to represent you and also an architect or inspector to assess your construction options. I have a good attorney for such matters listed on my website.
You can email me the violation list and I'll take a quick look at it for you. Did they put it in housing court or AH?
Another option is to get rid of the kitchen so it isn't an apartment but just additional occupancy space.
0 votes
Bill O'hara, , Chicago, IL
Tue May 4, 2010
It's too late to worry about how the city found out. You probably don't have to take out the basement. It's the only thing the city knows. A de-conversion order is very common. The inspector does not understand zoning laws or what can make the apartment legal. I'm an architect and I see this all the time. An attorney will not solve this problem. you did this without a permit and the only way to get you off the city's computer, is to get the plans done for the work, like it was new and get the permit. If your ceiling height is at least 7'-6" you can get this unit approved in most cases. Contact an architect and get the plans done and tell the city to leave you alone.
0 votes
Jason, , Chicago, IL
Tue Aug 12, 2008
Addition Info on my Post.!!! My neighbor was running a Plumbing Business out of his home. He had trucks stored in the yard and had 2 garages full of plumbing equipment. I reported him to the aldermans office because every attempt to work something out failed. He was shut down by the city, fined and for a while everything was great and I didn't have to listen to the kids cough because of the Diesal exhaust. So, yup, he called and returned the favor. I know I need permits, I know that and accept the fact that I should have obtained the permits. I never thought I would be forced to remove everything down to bare brick and cement floor. There is a brief history.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more