I recently created this chart showing how many buildings, reported as vacant to Chicago 311 (and actually found to be vacant) were either open or boarded. The number of open properties (around 13,600) far outpaces the number of boarded ones (1,544). This info is interesting because Chicago’s vacant-property ordinance requires registration and boarding (and eventually more-intense security measures) for properties left vacant more than 30 days.
There is, then, a bunch of buildings in Chicago that are short-term vacancies or a bunch that are violating city code. My guess is that it’s the latter. The fee for registering a property is $250 (every 6 months), and the property owner is required to buy liability insurance and keep the property maintained. So most people are probably trying to fly under the radar until they get caught. And since city officials typically don’t have any way of telling how long a property has been sitting vacant, the 30-day grace period only starts running from the date they find the property vacant.
So how much money could the city make?