How to Verify a Professional's License in Chicago?
Before you hire a professional in the City of Chicago, ensuring the professional is in compliance with applicable state and city regulations may be crucial to a hitch-free job. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) licenses and regulates over 120 professionals across Illinois. However, city-level registration is also required for some professionals before offering their services within the City of Chicago. These include professionals who offer construction-related services and liquor services, and they are required to register with the Chicago Department of Buildings (DoB) and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), respectively. You can verify a professional's license at the city level by contacting the DoB at (312) 744-3449 or the BACP at (312) 744-6249. You can also verify state-issued licenses online through the IDFPR license look-up portal.
Besides licensing and regulating construction-related professionals across Chicago, the DoB also issues construction permits for various construction jobs, such as building and demolition permits. If you intend to hire a professional for any construction-related job, you should confirm whether or not you need a construction permit by contacting the DoB at (312) 744-3449.
The City of Chicago is organized into 50 districts, with each neighborhood in the city belonging to one of these districts. To represent their interests at the city level, members of each district elect a representative to the Chicago City Council. The Chicago City Council is the legislative arm of the city, and it performs several government functions, such as imposing taxes and regulating public safety within city limits. You can find out what district your neighborhood falls under and who is the district's representative, either through your street address or through the ward map of Chicago.
Although the Chicago City Council does not issue construction or home improvement permits, it regulates zoning changes and land acquisitions across the city as part of its legislative duties. In July 2021, the Chicago City Council sold 50 acres of the city's land to a group of developers for real property development. Besides the projected economic attraction to result from the property development, the Council also imposed certain conditions on developers to ensure the development is of immediate benefit to city residents. For example, the developers are expected to ensure that they employ workers from the local community. Similarly, in April 2021, the Chicago City Council adopted a proposal by Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to amend the City's Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which will generally affect zoning mappings and requirements for acquiring city land. However, this move is also expected to help attract developers to the city, lead to housing developments, and help reduce the city's housing deficit.
The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is the city consumer protection agency that handles consumer complaints in Chicago, and the agency receives consumer complaints through the city's 311 complaint system. The 311 complaint system allows you to report complaints regarding a Chicago professional's or business's unfair or unethical actions online, by dialing 311, or by utilizing the CHI311 mobile app, which is available online on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for Android and iOS devices respectively. Before submitting a complaint, you must first register an account. Subsequently, you can use the same account for future complaints. If the complaint relates to matters of illegality like fraud, you can report the professional or business to the Chicago Police Department by phone at (312) 746-6000, email, or in-person at
- Public Safety Headquarters Building
- 3510 South Michigan Avenue
- Chicago, IL 60653
After filing a complaint, the relevant agency will evaluate your complaint and may proceed with a lawsuit against the professional. Note that such lawsuits are usually pursued on the city's behalf and not as a personal case in your favor. If you seek personal restitution or intend to recover damages from the professional, you can begin civil proceedings at the appropriate court. For matters below $10,000, the appropriate court is the small claims division of the Circuit Court of Cook County serving Chicago. Finally, if you intend to seek personal restitution, it is advisable that you hire the services of an attorney for legal assistance and advice on what to do.