The City Council Monday adopted revisions to its nuisance premises ordinance designed to give the city more power to force property owners to get rid of problem tenants and clean up their buildings.

The measure would raise maximum fines from $750 to $6,000 per day and in extreme cases would let the city seek forfeiture of a property to the city.

In a last-minute amendment requested by Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, the aldermen added zoning code violations to a long list of ordinance violations that could trigger enforcement actions.

She said the amendment would help resolve problems caused by illegal basement apartments in some buildings in her ward.

The ordinance can be triggered by two ordinance or misdemeanor law violations within six months or a single felony incident at a property.

The revised ordinance gives the city the option of issuing a notice of violation to a property owner or tenant demanding corrective measures or to immediately begin legal action in circuit court or the city’s administrative hearings division.

Five apartment buildings, most near the Northwestern University campus, one downtown bar and a single-family home in northwest Evanston are currently listed as nuisance premises by the city.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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