The number of calls to Evanston’s city landlord-tenant hotline reporting eviction concerns dropped 44% in the first seven months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

But reports from the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, which runs the hotline under a contract with the city, indicate that the number of complaints about apartment maintenance issues increased 154%.

And the latest report, presented Tuesday night to the city’s Housing and Community Development Committee, showed that complaints about disturbances — presumably mostly caused by other tenants — increased by 71%.

The number of tenants seeking advice about how to get out of their lease early increased by 22%, as did the number of more general questions about lease issues.

An MTO representative told the committee that calls came from 183 people during the first seven months of this year.

Assuming each call represented a different rental household, that means someone in just over 1% of Evanston’s estimated 14,525 rental households has called the hotline during that seven-month period.

Some raised questions in multiple categories, so the total number of issues tabulated was 264. That count of issues raised grew from 230 during the same period last year.

The MTO tracks issues it deals with in a dozen different categories, but the five mentioned above account for more than 90% of the total issues raised so far this year.

Next month the Housing and Community Development Committee is scheduled to review proposals for a major rewrite of the city’s landlord-tenant ordinance.

Proposed changes include limits on the grounds under which a landlord could evict a tenant that landlords say would amount to the city rewarding bad tenants.

A WBEZ report published last month indicated that Evanston saw 53 evictions during the 20 months ending in May 2023.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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