Can Tenants Sue Their Landlord Based on the Public Nuisance Ordinance ?

In O'Donnell v. Barach, 1 Ill. App. 2d 157, 116 N.E.2d 912 (1953) (absence of handrail) and Turner (inadequate lighting), plaintiff-tenants sued their defendant-landlords alleging claims for statutory nuisance for injuries incurred in private apartment buildings. In resolving these cases, the O'Donnell and court implicitly acknowledged the existence of a private right of action under the nuisance ordinance. In O'Donnell, plaintiff's complaint, alleged defendants' violation of the former handrail ordinance. O'Donnell, 1 Ill. App. 2d at 158. The court was called upon to determine whether the ordinance applied retroactively. In finding the ordinance retroactive, the court invoked the public nuisance ordinance, which declared that "every building or structure constructed or maintained in violation of any of the building provisions of this code is hereby declared to a public nuisance." O'Donnell, 1 Ill. App. 2d at 160. The court affirmed the jury's finding in favor of plaintiff.