Housing Rehab Loans & Grants
Contact: 3-1-1 or 847-448-4311
The Division of Housing Rehabilitation has primary responsibility for the processing of applications considered for funding under the Housing Rehabilitation Program. The procedure for preparing, processing, and approving an application is as follows:
- Inquiries, regarding the program, may be answered by Housing Rehabilitation Specialist. Upon request, any interested party can be sent an application form. Contact 3-1-1 for your request.
- Housing Rehabilitation Staff shall interview applicants and advise them of the design and objectives of the Housing Rehabilitation Program.
- Application forms that are not completely filled out shall be returned with a request for the needed information.
- Staff will receive applications, verify income data, order title searches, obtain credit reports, and other necessary verifications.
- Upon receipt of all necessary documentation, a decision will be made as to the financial eligibility of the applicant(s) and the program category for which they primarily qualify.
- The Rehabilitation staff will then inspect the property and prepare a work list and cost estimate.
- Upon completion of the work list and cost estimate, a loan recommendation will be made to the Director of Community Development. The Director may approve an application that is consistent with the Guidelines.
- The applicant shall sign a note and mortgage, immediately, after approval of the loan. The note and mortgage will reflect the approved loan amount. The note and mortgage will be recorded by the Rehabilitation Division.
- If the applicant is deemed ineligible, he/she will be notified, in writing, as to the reason(s) for his/her ineligibility.
NOTE: Historic Preservation - Any structure designated as a Landmark Building, by the Evanston Preservation Commission, shall be subject to review by that Commission before rehabilitation can commence.
Upon the approval of a rehabilitation case, and notification by the Director, the Rehabilitation Division shall follow the steps listed below.
- Rehabilitation Division and Building Office inspectors visit the applicant’s home and identify code violations.
- The Rehabilitation Division shall prepare a detailed work write-up and costs estimate in which the violations are transferred to the cost estimate, on which code repair items shall be listed and generally described. This is a detailed specification which shall list the manner of replacement and type of material (including dimensions). An estimated price is attached to each item on the written assessment.
- The Rehabilitation Division shall review the cost estimate and work write-up with the homeowner. Changes shall be made, if necessary.
- If instructed to do so by the homeowner, the Rehabilitation Division shall solicit construction bids by utilizing its approved contractors list. Contractors shall be notified, by letter, to submit bids. The contractor shall submit drawings, plans, or other specifications as required to perform the job. Bids must be signed, dated, and itemized by all contractors.
- Contractors who shall not normally appear on the list shall be permitted to submit a bid, but such a bid shall not be awarded until the contractor submits evidence of program required insurances, licenses, bonding, and other credentials.
- Owner/contractors - General contractors and/or owners cannot perform any work personally, including individual trades, except general contractor functions.
- Bids shall be forwarded to the Rehabilitation Division’s office. No formal bid opening process is required. The applicant must obtain a minimum of three (3) proposals from contractors for all work except emergency situations.
Once an agreement has been reached between the homeowner and contractor, a pre- construction meeting between the above parties and the Rehabilitation Division shall be scheduled to review all related construction documents. If both parties are in agreement, contractor and homeowner shall sign and date the accepted bid, in order to verify that the items were reviewed, discussed, and accepted by those parties. If changes are necessary, the contractor shall make the homeowner and the Division aware of the situation accompanied by the proposed costs to cure. The changes, if any, shall be reviewed by the Rehabilitation Division and a change order shall be executed by all parties.
- I. A Rehabilitation Division contract for work, including Federal affirmative action, wage, hiring, and other required documents shall be signed by the homeowner and contractor only.
- II. A separate benefit agreement between the homeowner and City shall be necessary in order to clarify and verify the obligations of the City and homeowner, as the City shall not be party to the homeowner/contractor agreement.
- III. A note and mortgage shall be signed by the homeowner.
- For all contracts of $100,000 or more, the contractor shall obtain a performance bond prior to start of construction. A copy of this bond, as well as the sworn statement, shall be placed in the contract file.
- During the construction process, the City shall conduct progress inspections along with inspectors from the Building Office (plumbing, electrical, and structural).
- Payment to contractors shall be made only after receipt by the Housing Rehabilitation Division of original; lien waivers, sworn statements, pay-out orders, inspection tickets, contractor affidavit(s), and when necessary, paid invoices.
- If the work has been completed satisfactorily, the contractor shall submit a final pay-out order affidavit, and all necessary releases of liens and warranties shall be collected for distribution to the homeowner.
- For work not satisfactorily completed, the City shall issue a “punch-list” (statement of incorrect, or incomplete items) to the contractor. The items shall have to be completed within a specified time period. Once the “punch-list” is completed, the pay-out shall be processed.
- Should a dispute between the contractor and owner arise during the contractor’s one-year warranty period, every attempt shall be made by those parties to reach an agreement. There is no obligation or liability of the Housing Rehabilitation Division in such circumstances; however, the Rehabilitation Division may enter into the negotiations to facilitate an agreement.
- If the homeowner unreasonably refuses to sign the pay-out order, the Rehabilitation Division has the authority to issue and process the pay-out order.
- If necessary, a new note and mortgage shall be signed by the homeowner to reflect any changes in the final contract amount.
- The Rehabilitation Division shall file the note and mortgage and officially close-out the case.
If the General Contractor has consistently exhibited poor workmanship, unethical behavior, or refuses to comply with the requests of the City, or if the contractor falsifies information, files for bankruptcy or if the City has reason to doubt his/her solvency, has insufficient insurance, fails to honor warranty work or has failed to complete or pursue diligently this or any other rehabilitation projects, then that contractor shall be barred from any further rehabilitation work associated with the Housing Rehabilitation Division’s Programs. The contractor shall also be removed from any eligible Contractor’s List, and may, at City of Evanston discretion, be removed from his current project. In that event, any and all financial obligations of the City to the contractor shall be at an end as of the date of termination. The Contractor Debarment shall be in effect for two years. After which time, the contractor may apply to re-appear on the list.
Purpose And Intent
These general physical guidelines for the rehabilitation of existing residential properties have been developed to provide minimum design and construction criteria for the City Rehabilitation Program. These provisions are intended to serve as an aid in carrying out rehabilitation objectives and goals for neglected and run-down properties. The rehabilitation standards seek to address those physical, social, and economic factors which have tended to contribute to neighborhood deterioration.
The City of Evanston Rehabilitation Division Standard Specifications for Construction shall be considered as part of these priorities and general standards.
The purpose and intent of the rehabilitation standards are three-fold:
- To assure improved housing that is livable, healthful, safe, and physically sound, and at the same time is low enough in cost for the present residents of the building to afford.
- To provide a guide to an acceptable minimum level for residential rehabilitation with sufficient flexibility to meet varied local conditions
- To encourage innovation and improved technology for reducing construction and maintenance costs in order that safe and decent housing may be provided to as many City residents as possible.
These minimum rehabilitation standards will be incorporated as part of the City’s rehabilitation program policy. All rehabilitation performed to properties, under the program, shall comply with the existing standards set forth in all applicable statutes, codes, and ordinances relating to the use, maintenance and occupancy of property within the City, including but not limited to the City of Evanston building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire, housing, one and three family dwelling codes, and applicable HUD guidelines: as amended. These code standards are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of these property rehabilitation standards. The following rehabilitation standards may be superseded in whole or in part by the above codes in instances where code requirements are more stringent.
Deviations From Work List
Any and all replacement items shall be of similar size, quality, and shape unless noted otherwise. Medium grade and/or construction grade materials shall be utilized only.
If the owner chooses an item which increases the cost due to but not limited to materials, quality, energy conservation, etc., the difference between the specified cost and the owner’s request shall be borne by the owner.
Residential Rehabilitation Priorities
The following priority system will be used to classify rehabilitation work; this priority system is to be followed in its descending order:
Category A - Health & Safety items
These consist of code violations that threaten the health and safety of residents (e.g., basic structural, mechanical, electrical, heating and/or plumbing systems). If there are insufficient dollar resources available from the City Rehabilitation Program and/or private sources to correct all code violations, those violations that pose the greatest threat to health and safety will be corrected. City staff will determine which code violations are most serious.
Category B - Incipient Code Violations
These items include those elements of the structure which are not in violation of the code but appear to be in a condition that will deteriorate into a code violation if left uncorrected (e.g., hot water heater or boiler of 30 or 40 years of age which may have given some minor problem in the recent past). If sufficient dollars are available to address more than the Category A items, then Category B improvements shall be undertaken to the extent if financial feasibility.
Category C - Energy Conservation Items
These items are directly related to the conservation of energy by upgrading the dwellings thermal protection such as storm windows, storm doors, water saving fixtures, and insulation which may be undertaken if sufficient dollars have been available to address Category A and B items.
Category D - General Property Improvements
These work items constitute improvements which can be made to the property. Examples could include landscaping, sump pumps, etc. Luxury items such as room additions, air conditioning, decks, etc. will not be considered. Staff will authorize which items can be considered property improvements after Categories A thru C have been completed.
Residential Rehabilitation Standards
Attic and Crawl Spaces
Access to attics shall be provided by means of conveniently located scuttles or disappearing or permanently installed stairways. For crawl space, the minimum access opening shall be 18 inches by 24 inches. For attics, the minimum access opening shall be not less than 22 inches by 30 inches with a clear height of over 30 inches. However, if either are to contain mechanical equipment, the access opening shall be of sufficient size to permit the removal and replacement of the equipment, and shall have a means of access provided, i.e., ladder of steps.
The floors of all basement or cellar furnace rooms, or basements shall be covered with a concrete slab with a minimum 3.5 inch thickness. Habitable rooms in basements or below grade, intended for occupancy, shall comply with all Evanston codes and zoning regulations.
Basement and Foundation Walls
All foundation walls shall be able to carry the safe design and operating dead and live loads. Basement and foundation walls shall prevent the entrance of water or moisture into a basement or crawl space area. Cracks in the walls shall be effectively sealed and loose or defective mortar joints replaced. Where necessary, interior or exterior face of the wall shall be damp proofed by bituminous coating or cement parging.
Complete bathing and sanitary facilities shall be provided within each living unit. They shall consist of a water closet, a tub or shower, and a lavatory and provide an adequate supply of hot water to the tub or shower stall and lavatory and cold water to all fixtures. Arrangement of fixtures shall provide for the comfortable use of each fixture. Each installation in a living unit shall be installed in a manner as to afford privacy to the occupant. A bathroom shall not be used as a passageway to/or a habitable room, or exit to the exterior. Each building and living unit, within the building, shall have domestic hot water in quantities sufficient for needs of the occupants. Existing water heaters shall be in good serviceable condition. The minimum storage capacity shall be 30 gallons or the equipment shall be replaced. No water heater shall be installed in any room used or designed for sleeping purposes. No water heater shall be located in a bathroom, clothes closet, under any stairway, or in a confined space with access only to the above locations. All fuel burning water heaters shall be connected to a vent leading to the exterior. All pumps and disposal systems shall operate as designed or the equipment shall be repaired or replaced. The plumbing system and its appurtenances shall provide satisfactory water supply, drainage, venting, and operation of all fixtures. Plumbing systems, including sewers, shall operate free of fouling and clogging, and not have cross connection which permit contamination of water supply or back siphonage between fixtures.
All habitable rooms, hallways, and corridors shall have a ceiling height of not less than seven feet measured to the lowest projection of the ceiling. Variations to these areas and dimensions may be permitted when existing partitions preclude compliance, and the available area or dimensions do not hinder the normal use of the space.
Chimneys and vents shall be structurally safe, durable, smoke tight, and capable of withstanding the action of flue gasses. Existing unlined masonry chimneys, having open mortar joints or cracks, shall be made safe by the installation of a flue liner or corrosion resistant pipe within the interior of the chimney.
All habitable rooms and other appropriate spaces requiring electrical service shall be provided with a system of wiring, wiring devices, and equipment to safely supply electrical energy to proper illumination, appliances, and other electrical equipment. Existing wiring and electrical equipment shall not be a potential source of electrical hazard or ignition of combustible materials, and shall be so determined by the proper authority. Wherever these potential hazards are determined to be present, replacement of existing wiring and/or equipment shall be made. Every dwelling unit shall be served by a main service that is not less than 60 amperes/three wire. Existing facilities that are dangerously overloaded and inadequate to meet the anticipated demand shall be increased. For new electrical work, the appropriate provisions of the National Electrical Code shall be used as a guide for design layout and installation.
Exterior Accessory Structures
All exterior appurtenances or accessory structures, in a deteriorated code violation condition, may be repaired to a safe condition to the extent that funds are available or shall be removed. Such structures include existing porches, entrance platforms, garages, carports, fences, and storage sheds.
Exterior doors shall be furnished with operable keys. All exterior doors and hardware shall be maintained in good condition. All locks shall tightly secure the door.
Foundations and exterior walls shall provide safe and adequate support for all loads upon them, and prevent the entrance of water or excessive moisture. Serious defects shall be repaired and effectively sealed.
To prevent the entrance of water, all critical joints and exterior and roof and wall construction which are exposed, shall be protected by sheet metal or other suitable flashing material.
All floor construction shall provide safe and adequate support for all existing or probable loads and shall be reasonably free of vibration. A suitable surface for finished flooring shall exist or be provided. Finished floors shall be appropriate to the use of space, be in good condition, provide reasonable ease of maintenance, and extended service life. Finished floors in habitable rooms shall be wood flooring, a resilient tile, or sheet material or carpeting over suitable underlayment. Floors, in kitchens and bathrooms, shall be of durable waterproof, non-absorbent material over a suitable underlayment.
Each dwelling shall have a controlled method of disposal of water from roofs, where necessary, to prevent damage to the property and to avoid unsightly staining of walls, etc.
Heating And Ventilating
All heating and ventilating equipment and systems shall be installed so that maintenance and replacement can be performed. Existing mechanical equipment and systems shall be inspected for faulty operation, fire and/or other hazards. Heating facilities shall be provided for each living unit and other spaces that will assure interior comfort, be safe and convenient to operate, be economical in performance and be quiet in operation. Forced air heating systems shall not supply more than one dwelling unit. Each heating system or device shall have a recognized approval for safety and shall be capable of maintaining a performance and be quiet in operation. Each heating system or device shall have a recognized approval for safety and shall be capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit within the living units, corridors, public spaces, and utility spaces where the outside temperature is at zero degrees. No open flame, radiant type space or floor heaters shall be permitted. Appropriate clearances around all heating equipment shall be provided and walls and ceilings protected in an acceptable manner.
Any building or part of a building for which there was no permit for construction or which is determined to be not in compliance with the City of Evanston Building and/or Zoning Codes shall be made to conform to the code to the extent that funds are available, if such non-permit construction is judged to be harmful to the health and safety of the occupants.
Insulation shall be installed where possible in any new walls, attics, crawl spaces when other work is performed. Weather stripping and/or weather-proof thresholds shall be installed around all doors. Insulation and weather-stripping shall comply with the Department of Energy and Housing and Urban Development’s Initiative of Energy Efficiency on Housing.
Provide door for each opening to bedroom, bath, or toilet compartment. Bath or toilet compartment doors are to be furnished with privacy-type locks.
Where painted surfaces are in good condition or show evidence that maintenance has taken place, painting shall not be required. In all cases, it is urged that the homeowner take upon himself the accomplishment of this normal maintenance item. All interior walls and ceilings shall provide a finished surface without noticeable irregularities or cracking, a waterproof and hard surface and spaces not subject to moisture, a suitable base for painting or other decoration and reasonable durability and economy of maintenance.
Each living unit shall have a specific kitchen space which contains sink with counter work space, and has hot and cold running water, adequate space for installing cooking and refrigeration equipment, and for storing cooking utensils.
Light and Ventilation
All habitable rooms shall be provided with aggregate glazing area of not less than eight percent of the floor area of such rooms. One-half of this required area of glazing shall be open able. The glazed area may be omitted in rooms where an approved mechanical ventilation system is provided capable of producing .35 air change per hour. Bathrooms, water closet compartments, and other similar rooms shall be provided with approved glazing, except in the case of artificial light and ventilation as stated above.
Non-Living Space Ventilation
Natural ventilation of spaces such as attics and enclosed crawl spaces shall be provided by opening of sufficient size to overcome dampness and minimize the effect of conditions conducive to decay and deterioration of the structure, and to prevent excessive heat in attics. Exterior ventilation openings shall be effectively screened where needed.
Painting and/Or Exterior Finishing
Exterior surfaces of structures shall be painted and/or waterproofed as required by type and location of existing surface. Repairs or replacements shall be made to defective exterior wall finished materials. Exterior walls should be free of holes, cracks, and broken or rotted finished materials. A protective and decorative finished coating or surfacing shall be required to provide adequate resistance to weathering, protection of finished surfaces from moisture or corrosion, and attractive appearance and reasonable durability.
Partitions, Columns, and Posts
Partitions, columns and posts, and other vertical supports which are to be continued in use shall be free of excessive leaning, buckling, or other defects. All structural members shall be maintained free from deterioration and shall be capable of safely supporting the imposed dead and live loads.
Privacy and Arrangement
A degree of privacy shall be provided commensurate with suitable living conditions by means of the proper location of exterior openings and by the interior arrangement of rooms. Access to all parts of a living unit shall be possible without passing through a public hall.
Roof covering shall be capable of resisting fire appropriate to the type of construction and location, and new installation shall be accordance with nationally accepted standards. All roofs shall have a suitable water-tight and reasonably durable covering free of holes, cracks, excessively torn surfaces or other defects. The placing of new covering over an existing covering shall not take place if two or more layers exist. Replacement roof materials shall be consistent with current technology. Wood shakes, shingles, and clay tile roofs shall not be replaced.
Screens shall be provided for all operable windows. Existing screens, which are to be continued in use, shall be in suitable condition to serve their intended purpose. Combination storm and screen windows and doors shall be furnished where economically feasible.
All exterior stairways must conform to the design requirements of the National Property Maintenance Code as amended as to width, handrails, tread and riser dimensions, etc.
All stairways shall provide safety of ascent, and stairs and landing shall be arranged to permit adequate headroom and space for the passage of furniture and equipment. All living units shall have access to an approved exit. All exit stairways shall be protected at the sides by acceptable railings as per one and three-family dwelling code.
All structural components of the building shall be rehabilitated to a sound and serviceable condition for the expected useful life of the building. Sagging or out of level floors, partitions, stairs, wall, etc., are to be supported and/or braced or rebuilt so as to prevent a recurrence of these conditions. Individual structural members, in a seriously deteriorated condition, shall be replaced.
A careful inspection shall be made of each building and/or accessory structure to be rehabilitated for evidence of actual or potential infestation. Defects, permitting the entrance of vermin, will be addressed with preventive measures. Corrective actions of a professional exterminator may be a qualified rehabilitation expense.
Appropriate paved walks and exterior steps shall be provided. Walkways shall be of a safe level surface. Serious defects shall be repaired or replaced.
The open space of each property shall provide, or shall have provided for the immediate diversion of water away from the buildings and the prevention of soil saturation detrimental to structures and use of the property.
Existing windows and doors, including their hardware, shall operate satisfactorily and give evidence of continuing acceptable service. Defective glass blocking or lifting hardware shall be replaced or corrected. At a minimum, the bottom half of all double hung windows shall operate satisfactorily.
The following guide shall be used to determine the need for repair or replacing window sash, doors, and/or frames:
- Repair if work can be done in place.
- Replace if entire component needs to be removed in order to restore.
- Refinish if only the surface needs work in order to restore same to new condition.
Housing Rehabilitation Standards
All dwelling units rehabilitated with funds provided through the One and Three-Family Housing Rehabilitation Program shall be upon completion, is substantial compliance with the following:
- ICC 2003 International Property Code with amendments, as amended from time to time by the City of Evanston
- Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Minimum Housing Quality Standards
- Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Final Rule on Lead-Based Paint Poisoning.
- Housing Rehabilitation Division Residential Rehabilitation Standards
- All applicable City of Evanston codes and ordinances
Affordable Rents: The City of Evanston uses HUD Fair Market Rents to define affordable rents in its CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program. At completion of the rehab work, rents charged to tenants must be at or below the HUD Fair Market Rents currently in effect.
Fair Market rents for the Chicago metro area for 2010 are as follows:
|Final FY 2012 Fair Market Rents By Unit Bedrooms|
|Final FY 2010 FMR||$745||$853||$958||$1,171||$1,323|
More information is available on the HUD website.
After-Rehabilitation Value: An estimate of the post rehabilitation market value of a property. This value is calculated by adding 50 percent of the proposed rehabilitation costs to the as-is appraised value.
Amortization: The gradual extinguishment of a debt (including interest if any) by equal monthly payments.
As-Is Appraised Value: An estimate of the market value of a property in its existing condition as determined by an appraiser or in the absence of the need for a professional appraisal, an estimation of value by Housing Rehabilitation staff.
Assets: The value of tangible items which are generally considered to be relatively liquid. These include cash, stocks, bonds, CD’s, checking accounts, savings accounts, etc.
Code Violations: Violations of the current ICC 2003 International Property Code with amendments as adopted and amended by the City of Evanston, other current applicable City building codes and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards.
Deferred Title Transfer Loans: Deferred loans are loans made at zero percent interest without monthly payments. The property serves as collateral in the form of a mortgage. When the property is sold or title is otherwise transferred, the deferred loan shall be paid.
General Property Improvements: Work which is not required to bring a structure into code compliance but which generally improves the condition of the property. This work is of a non-luxury nature.
Gross Monthly Income: The applicant’s gross monthly income shall include:
- The applicant’s gross wage earnings, which include, salary, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips, and bonuses.
- Interest and/or dividends.
- Passbook value of equity in the subject property owned by the applicant.
- Net income from business or net rental income.
- Social security, annuities, pensions, retirement funds, etc.
- Unemployment benefits, Workers compensation, etc.
- Alimony, child support, welfare payments.
Housing Expenses: Payments for principal and interest on loans secured by lien on the property, mortgage insurance premiums, hazard insurance premiums, real estate taxes, special assessments, homeowner assessments, and other relevant housing expenses.
Incipient Code Violations: An element of the structure which is not in violation of the housing code but which appears to be in a condition which will deteriorate into an actual code violation in the near future.
Mortgage: A duly recorded encumbrance upon a property.
Owner-Occupant: A person who occupies and will continue to occupy property of which he/she is the legal owner.
Owner Requests: Owner requests are those items which are typically out of the general scope of the rehabilitation standards, and/or any upgrade or modification of techniques or materials other than those normally specified by the Housing Rehabilitation Division. If any cost overruns are due to the upgrade or modification, it will be borne by the owner.
Rehabilitation: The process of reconstructing a usable structure, using modern techniques and materials, which overcomes deterioration and code violations and provides a satisfactorily improved physical condition.
Residential Property: A property used for residential purposes.
Standard Dwelling Unit: A dwelling unit which meets existing minimum housing code standards for habitation. Specifically, a dwelling unit in compliance with the current ICC 2003 International Property Code with amendments, as adopted and amended, and HUD Minimum Property Standards.
Substandard Dwelling Unit: A dwelling unit that does not meet the criteria for a standard dwelling unit. A substandard dwelling unit can be classified as either: 1). Deteriorated unit, i.e., one that is substandard but is structurally sound or able to be made structurally sound and can be brought up to standard condition with rehabilitation; or 2). Dilapidated unit, i.e., a substandard unit that has deteriorated to the extent that it is unsafe, unsanitary, or dangerous to human life, and rehabilitation is not feasible.