Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Buildings today announced an increase in home renovations resulting from a Mayoral initiative to reduce technical barriers of rehabilitating residential buildings. Mayor Emanuel’s project permit reforms have made it faster and easier for single-family homeowners to obtain renovation permits. The city has seen a trend of a 20% increase per month in permits for large single-family home renovations in Chicago’s neighborhoods, signaling both investment and ease of process.
“Home renovation projects improve neighborhoods and create jobs for residents in every neighborhood of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This shows that common-sense reforms can spur economic opportunity and encourage even more families across the city to improve their homes while also investing in their neighborhoods.”
In October, Mayor Emanuel announced new process reforms allowing single-family homeowners to obtain renovation permits without special zoning approvals in 30 days or less, decreasing the time to obtain a permit in 2017 by 10 days. Single-family home renovation permits issued have increased to an average of 202 permits per month in 2017.
“The Building Department continues to strive for excellent customer service and assisting homeowners as much as possible in obtaining their permits and investing in the future of their community,” said Commissioner Judy Frydland. "This enables them to complete home projects quickly and safely.”
Another signal that residents are investing in building projects is the increase in permits for simple repair or replace projects, called Easy Permits. In 2017, the city issued an average of 1,102 easy permits per month.
Additional reforms have been implemented for single-family homeowners to clarify and expedite the issuance of permits:
These permitting reforms are part of the Mayor’s ongoing efforts to encourage more single-family homeowners across Chicago to take on home renovation projects while also ensuring those projects are completed safely and in compliance with trade regulations. In February, the City Council approved an ordinance introduced by Mayor Emanuel that further strengthens discipline against contractors and trade professionals who repeatedly violate Chicago building code and licensing regulations. The ordinance gave the Department of Buildings new tools to go after bad contractors, including suspension of permit privileges and license suspension and revocation.