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Home » Chicago Laws, Chicago-specific Guide, Rental Laws

Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

last updated on November 23, 2010 – 11:17 AM310 comments

This Ordinance applies to residences within the city of Chicago only. Please see the Exceptions to the RLTO to ensure the law applies to you.
For tenants in suburban Chicagoland, please click here for the law as it applies in your town.

For specific advice on your situtation, you can call our free tenants rights hotline at 773.292.4988 Monday – Friday, 1 – 5pm or email your question to us here.

CHAPTER 5-12
Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO)

5-12-010 Title, Purpose And Scope.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance”, and shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its purposes and policies.

It is the purpose of this chapter and the policy of the city, in order to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish the rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant in the rental of dwelling units, and to encourage the landlord and the tenant to maintain and improve the quality of housing.

This chapter applies to, regulates and determines rights, obligations and remedies under every rental agreement for a dwelling unit located within the City of Chicago, regardless of where the agreement is made, subject only to the limitations contained in Section 5-12-020 This chapter applies specifically to rental agreements for dwelling units operated under subsidy programs of agencies of the United States and/or the State of Illinois, including specifically, programs operated or subsidized by the Chicago Housing Authority and/or the Illinois Housing Development Authority to the extent that this chapter is not in direct conflict with statutory or regulatory provisions governing such programs. (Prior code § 193.1-1; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7198; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, March 31, 2004, page 20938 )

5-12-020 Exclusions.
Rental of the following dwelling units shall not be governed by this chapter, unless the rental agreement thereof is created to avoid the application of this chapter:

(a) dwelling units in owner-occupied buildings containing six units or less; provided, however, that the provisions of Section 5-12-160 shall apply to every rented dwelling unit in such buildings within the City of Chicago;

(b) dwelling units in hotels, motels, inns, bed-and-breakfast establishments, rooming houses and boardinghouses, but only until such time as the dwelling unit has been occupied by a tenant for 32 or more continuous days and tenant pays a monthly rent, exclusive of any period of wrongful occupancy contrary to agreement with an owner. Notwithstanding the above, the prohibition against interruption of tenant occupancy set forth in Section 5-12-160 shall apply to every rented dwelling unit in such buildings within the City of Chicago. No landlord shall bring an action to recover possession of such unit, or avoid renting monthly in order to avoid the application of this chapter. Any willful attempt to avoid application of this chapter by an owner may be punishable by criminal or civil action;

(c) housing accommodations in any hospital, convent, monastery, extended care facility, asylum or not-for-profit home for the aged, temporary overnight shelter, transitional shelter, or in a dormitory owned and operated by an elementary school, high school or institution of higher learning; student housing accommodations wherein a housing agreement or housing contract is entered into between the student and an institution of higher learning or student housing wherein the institution exercises control or supervision of the students; or student housing owned and operated by a tax exempt organization affiliated with an institution of higher learning.

(d) a dwelling unit that is occupied by a purchaser pursuant to a real estate purchase contract prior to the transfer of title to such property to such purchaser, or by a seller of property pursuant to a real estate purchase contract subsequent to the transfer of title from such seller;

(e) a dwelling unit occupied by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in or about the premises; and

(f) a dwelling unit in a cooperative occupied by a holder of a proprietary lease. (Prior code § 193.1-2; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, pages 7198 — 7199; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, September 4, 2003, page 7130)

5-12-030 Definitions.
Whenever used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

(a) “Dwelling unit” means a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home,
residence or sleeping place by one or more persons who maintain a household, together
with the common areas, land and appurtenant buildings thereto, and all housing services,
privileges, furnishings and facilities supplied in connection with the use or occupancy
thereof, including garage and parking facilities.

(b) “Landlord” means the owner, agent, lessor or sublessor, or the successor m interest of any of them, of a dwelling unit or the building of which it is part.

(c) “Owner” means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to property, or all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises, including a mortgagee in possession.

(d) “Person” means an individual, corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association or any other legal or commercial entity.

(e) “Premises” means the dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part, and facilities and appurtenances therein, and grounds, areas and facilities held out for the use of tenants.

(f) “Rent” means any consideration, including any payment, bonus, benefits or gratuity, demanded or received by a landlord for or in connection with the use or occupancy of a dwelling unit.

(g) “Rental agreement” means all written or oral agreements embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit.

(h) “Successor landlord” means any person who follows a landlord in ownership or control of a dwelling unit or the building of which it is part, and shall include a lienholder who takes ownership or control either by contract, operation of law or a court order. However, a “successor landlord” shall not include a receiver pursuant to a court order.

(i) “Tenant” means a person entitled by written or oral agreement, subtenancy approved by the landlord or by sufferance, to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others. (Prior code § 193.1-3; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings November 6, 1991, page 7199, Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, May 12, 2010, page 91084)

5-12-040 Tenant Responsibilities.
Every tenant must:

(a) comply with all obligations imposed specifically upon tenants by provisions of the municipal code applicable to dwelling units;

(b) keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses as safe as the condition of the premises permits;

(c) dispose of all ashes, rubbish, garbage and other waste from his dwelling unit in a clean and safe manner;

(d) keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenants as clean as their condition permits;

(e) use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, in the premises;

(f) not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person on the premises with his consent to do so; and

(g) conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
(Prior code § 193.1-4; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771)

5-12-050 Landlord’s Right Of Access.
A tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit:

(a) to make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements;

(b) to supply necessary or agreed services;

(c) to conduct inspections authorized or required by any government agency;

(d) to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, workmen or contractors;

(e) to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective tenants 60 days or less prior to the expiration of the existing rental agreement;

(f) for practical necessity where repairs or maintenance elsewhere in the building unexpectedly require such access;

(g) to determine a tenant̓s compliance with provisions in the rental agreement; and

(h) in case of emergency.

The landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant Except in cases where access is authorized by subsection (f) or (h) of this section, the landlord shall give the tenant notice of the landlord’s intent to enter of no less than two days. Such notice shall be provided directly to each dwelling unit by mail, telephone, written notice to the dwelling unit, or by other reasonable means designed in good faith to provide notice to the tenant. If access is required because of repair work or common facilities or other apartments, a general notice may be given by the landlord to all potentially affected tenants that entry may be required. In cases where access is authorized by subsection (f) or (h) of this section, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit without notice or consent of the tenant. The landlord shall give the tenant notice of such entry within two days after such entry.

The landlord may enter only at reasonable times except in case of an emergency. An entry between 8:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. or at any other time expressly requested by the tenant shall be presumed reasonable. (Prior code § 193.1-5; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771)

5-12-060 Remedies For Improper Denial Of Access.
If the tenant refuses to allow lawful access, the landlord may obtain injunctive relief to compel access or terminate the rental agreement pursuant to Section 5-12-130(b) of this chapter. In either case, the landlord may recover damages.

If the landlord makes an unlawful entry or a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner or makes repeated unreasonable demands for entry otherwise lawful, but which have the effect of harassing the tenant, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, or terminate the rental agreement pursuant to the notice provisions of Section 5-12-110(a). In each case, the tenant may recover an amount equal to not more than one months rent or twice the damage sustained by him, whichever is greater. (Prior code § 193.1-6; Added Council Journal of Proceedings,
September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7202)

5-12-070 Landlord’s Responsibility To Maintain.
The landlord shall maintain the premises in compliance with all applicable provisions of the municipal code and shall promptly make any and all repairs necessary to fulfill this obligation.
(Prior code § 193.1-7; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771;
Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. 02010-3654)

5-12-080 Security Deposits.
(a) (1) A landlord shall hold all security deposits received by him in a federally insured interest-bearing account in a bank, savings and loan association or other financial institution located in the State of Illinois. A security deposit and interest due thereon shall continue to be the property of the tenant making such deposit, shall not be commingled with the assets of the landlord, and shall not be subject to the claims of any creditor of the landlord or of the landlord’s successors in interest, including a foreclosing mortgagee or trustee in bankruptcy. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1), a landlord may accept the payment of the first month’s rent and security deposit in one check or one electronic funds transfer, and deposit the check or electronic funds transfer into one account, if within 5 business days of the acceptance of the check or electronic transfer, the landlord transfers the amount of the security deposit into a separate account that complies with subsection (a)(1). (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(3) The name and address of the financial institution where the security deposit will be deposited shall be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the written rental agreement signed by the tenant. If no written rental agreement is provided, the landlord shall, within 14 days of receipt of the security deposit, notify the tenant in writing of the name and address of the financial institution where the security deposit was deposited. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

If, during the pendency of the rental agreement, a security deposit is transferred from one financial institution to another, the landlord shall, within 14 days of such transfer, notify the tenant in writing of the name and address of the new financial institution. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1), a landlord shall not be considered to be commingling the security deposits with the landlord’s assets if there is excess interest in the account in which the security deposits are deposited. “Excess interest” means the amount of money in excess of the total amount of security deposits deposited into the account plus any interest due thereon. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(b) (1) Except as provider for in subsection (b)(2), any landlord who receives a security deposit from a tenant or prospective tenant shall give said tenant or prospective tenant at the time of receiving such security deposit a receipt indicating the amount of such security deposit, the name of the person receiving it and, in the case of the agent, the name of the landlord for whom such security deposit is received, the date on which it is received, and a description of the dwelling unit. The receipt shall be signed by the person receiving the security deposit. Failure to comply with this subsection shall entitle the tenant to immediate return of security deposit. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(2) Upon payment of the security deposit by means of an electronic funds transfer, the landlord shall give the tenant a receipt that complies with subsection (b)(1), or an electronic receipt that acknowledges the receipt of the security deposit. The electronic receipt shall set forth the date of the receipt of the security deposit, the amount of the deposit, a description of the dwelling unit and an electronic or digital signature, as those terms are defined in 5 ILCS 175/5-105, of the person receiving the deposit. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(c) A landlord who holds a security deposit or prepaid rent pursuant to this section shall pay interest to the tenant accruing from the beginning date of the rental term specified in the rental agreement at the rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081 for the year in which the rental agreement was entered into. The landlord shall, within 30 days after the end of each 12-month rental period, pay to the tenant any interest, by cash or credit to be applied to the rent due. (Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7203; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14, 1997, page 4516; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, March 31, 2004, page 20939, July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654))

(d) The landlord shall, within 45 days after the date that the tenant vacates the dwelling unit or within 7 days after the date that the tenant provides notice of termination of the rental agreement pursuant to Section 5-12-110(g), return to the tenant the security deposit or any balance thereof and the required interest thereon; provided, however, that the landlord may deduct from such security deposit or interest due thereon for the following: (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(1) any unpaid rent which has not been validly withheld or deducted pursuant to state or federal law or local ordinance; and (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(2) a reasonable amount necessary to repair any damage caused to the premises by the tenant or any person under the tenant’s control or on the premises with the tenant’s consent, reasonable wear and tear excluded. In case of such damage, the landlord shall deliver or mail to the last known address of the tenant within 30 days an itemized statement of the damages allegedly caused to the premises and the estimated or actual cost for repairing or replacing each item on that statement, attaching copies of the paid receipts for the repair or replacement. If estimated cost is given, the landlord shall furnish the tenant with copies of paid receipts or a certification of actual costs of repairs of damage if the work was performed by the landlord’s employees within 30 days from the date the statement showing estimated cost was furnished to the tenant. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(e) In the event of a sale, lease, transfer of ownership or control or other direct or indirect disposition of residential real property by a landlord who has received a security deposit or prepaid rent from a tenant, the successor landlord of such property shall be liable to that tenant for any security deposit, including statutory interest, or prepaid rent which the tenant has paid to the transferor.

The successor landlord shall, within 14 days from the date of such transfer, notify the tenant who made such security deposit by delivering or mailing to the tenant’s last known address that such security deposit was transferred to the successor landlord and that the successor landlord is holding said security deposit. Such notice shall also contain the successor landlord’s name, business address, and business telephone number of the successor landlord’s agent, if any. The notice shall be in writing. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

The transferor shall remain jointly and severally liable with the successor landlord to the tenant for such security deposit or prepaid rent, unless and until such transferor transfers said security deposit or prepaid rent to the successor landlord and provides notice, in writing, to the tenant of such transfer of said security deposit or prepaid rent, specifying the name, business address and business telephone number of the successor landlord or his agent within 10 days of said transfer.

(f) (1) Subject to subsection (f)(2), if the landlord fails to comply with any provision of Section 5-12-080 (a) — (e), the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest at a rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081. This subsection does not preclude the tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter. (Prior code § 193.1-8; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7204; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, May14, 1997, page 45168, Amend Council Journal of Proceedings, May 12, 2010, page 91084, Added July 28, 2010, Doc. No. O2010-3654)

(2) If a landlord pays the interest on a security deposit or prepaid rent within the 30-day period provided for in subsection (c), or within the 45-day period provided for in subsection (d), whichever is applicable, but the amount of interest is deficient, the landlord shall not be liable for damages under subsection (f)(2) unless:

(A) the tenant gives written notice to the landlord that the amount of the interest returned was deficient; and

(B) within fourteen days of the receipt of the notice, the landlord fails to either:
(i) pay to the tenant the correct amount of interest due plus $50.00; or
(ii) provide to the tenant a written response which sets forth an explanation of how the interest paid was calculated.

If the tenant disagrees with the calculation of the interest, as set forth in the written response, the tenant may bring a cause of action in a court of competent jurisdiction challenging the correctness of the written response. If the court determines that the interest calculation was not accurate, the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest at a rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081. (Amend July 28, 2010 (Doc. No. O2010-3654)

5-12-081 Interest Rate On Security Deposits.
During December of each year, the city comptroller shall review the status of banks within the city and interest rates on savings accounts, insured money market accounts and six (6) month certificates of deposit at commercial banks located within the city. On the first business day of each year, the comptroller shall announce the rates of interest, as of the last business day of the prior month, on savings accounts, insured money market accounts and six (6) month certificates of deposit at the commercial bank having the most number of branches located within the city. The rates for money market accounts and for certificates of deposit shall be based on the minimum deposits for such investments. The comptroller shall calculate and announce the average of the three rates. The average of these rates so announced by the comptroller shall be the rate of interest on security deposits under rental agreements governed by this chapter and made or renewed after the most recent announcement. (Added Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14, 1997, page 45168; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14 2008) * Current rate — January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 is 0.073%. (Prior Year Interest Rates)

5-12-082 Interest Rate Notification.
The city comptroller, after computing the rate of interest on security deposit governed by this chapter, shall cause the new rate of security deposit interest to be published for five consecutive business days in two or more newspapers of general circulation in the city. The mayor shall direct the appropriate city department to prepare and publish for free public distribution at government offices, libraries, schools and community organizations, a pamphlet or brochure describing the respective rights, obligations and remedies of landlords and tenants with respect to security deposits, including the new interest rate as well as the interest rate for each of the prior two years. The commissioner shall also distribute the new rate of security deposit interest, as well as the interest rate for each of the prior two years, through public service announcements to all radio and television outlets broadcasting in the city. (Added Council Journal of Proceedings, May 7, 1997, page 45169)

5-12-090 Identification Of Owner And Agents.
A landlord or any person authorized to enter into an oral or written rental agreement on the landlord’s behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name, address, and telephone number of:

(a) the owner or person authorized to manage the premises; and

(b) a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting for notices and demands.

A person who enters into a rental agreement and fails to comply with the requirements of this section becomes an agent of the landlord for the purpose of (i) service of process and receiving and receipting for notices and demands and (ii) performing the obligations of the landlord under this chapter under the rental agreement.

The information required to be furnished by this section shall be kept current and this section extends to and is enforceable against any successor landlord, owner or manager.

If the landlord fails to comply with this section, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement pursuant to the notice provisions of Section 5-12-110(a). If the landlord fails to comply with the requirements of this section after receipt of written notice pursuant to Section 5-12-110(a), the tenant shall recover one month’s rent or actual damages, whichever is greater. (Prior code § 193.1-9; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7205)

5-12-095 Tenants’ Notification of Foreclosure Action.

(a) Within seven (7) days of being served a foreclosure complaint, as defined in 735 ILCS 5/15-1504, an owner or landlord of a premises that is the subject of the foreclosure complaint shall disclose, in writing, to all tenants of the premises that a foreclosure action has been filed against the owner or landlord. An owner or landlord shall also disclose, in writing, the notice of foreclosure to any other third party who has a consistent pattern and practice of paying rent to the owner or landlord on behalf of a tenant.

Before a tenant initially enters into a rental agreement for a dwelling unit, the owner or landlord shall also disclose, in writing, that he is named in a foreclosure complaint.

The written disclosure shall include the court in which the foreclosure action is pending, the case name, and case number and shall include the following language:

“This is not a notice to vacate the premise. This notice does not mean ownership of the building has changed. All tenants are still responsible for payment of rent and other obligations under the rental agreement. The owner or landlord is still responsible for their obligations under the rental agreement. You shall receive additional notice if there is a change in owner.”

(b) If the owner or landlord fails to comply with this section, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement by written notice. The written notice shall specify the date of termination no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the written notice. In addition, if a tenant in a civil legal proceeding against an owner or landlord establishes that a violation of this section has occurred, he shall be entitled to recover $200.00 in damages, in addition to any other damages or remedies that the tenant may also be entitled. (Added Council Journal of Proceedings October 8, 2008, page 39857)

5-12-100 Notice Of Conditions Affecting Habitability.
Before a tenant initially enters into or renews a rental agreement for a dwelling unit, the landlord or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing:

(a) Any code violations which have been cited by the City of Chicago during the previous 12 months for the dwelling unit and common areas and provide notice of the pendency of any code enforcement litigation or compliance board proceeding pursuant to Chapter 13-8-070 of the municipal code affecting the dwelling unit or common area. The notice shall provide the case number of the litigation and/or the identification number of the compliance board proceeding and a listing of any code violations cited. (Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7205)

(b) Any notice of intent by the City of Chicago or any utility provider to terminate water, gas, electrical or other utility service to the dwelling unit or common areas. The disclosure shall state the type of service to be terminated, the intended date of termination, and whether the termination will affect the dwelling unit, the common areas or both. A landlord shall be under a continuing obligation to provide disclosure of the information described in this subsection (b) throughout a tenancy. If a landlord violates this section, the tenant or prospective tenant shall be entitled to remedies described in Section 5-12-090. (Prior code §193.1-10, Added Council Journal of Proceedings,
September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7206)

5-12-110 Tenant Remedies.
In addition to any remedies provided under federal law, a tenant shall have the remedies specified in this section under the circumstances herein set forth.

For purposes of this section, material noncompliance with Section 5-12-070 shall include, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:

failure to maintain the structural integrity of the building or structure or parts thereof;

failure to maintain floors in compliance with the safe load-bearing requirements of the municipal code;

failure to comply with applicable requirements of the municipal code for the number, width, construction, location or accessibility of exits;

failure to maintain exit, stairway, fire escape or directional signs where required by the municipal code;

failure to provide smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, standpipe systems, fire alarm systems, automatic fire detectors or fire extinguishers where required by the municipal code;

failure to maintain elevators in compliance with applicable provisions of the municipal code;

failure to provide and maintain in good working order a flush water closet, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower or kitchen sink;

failure to maintain heating facilities or gas-fired appliances in compliance with the requirements of the municipal code;

failure to provide heat or hot water in such amounts and at such levels and times as required by the municipal code;

failure to provide hot and cold running water as required by the municipal code;

failure to provide adequate hall or stairway lighting as required by the municipal code;

failure to maintain the foundation, exterior walls or exterior roof in sound condition and repair, substantially watertight and protected against rodents;

failure to maintain floors, interior walls or ceilings in sound condition and good repair;

failure to maintain windows, exterior doors or basement hatchways in sound condition and repair and substantially tight and to provide locks or security devices as required by the municipal code, including deadlatch locks, deadbolt locks, sash or ventilation locks, and front door windows or peep holes;

failure to supply screens where required by the municipal code;

failure to maintain stairways or porches in safe condition and sound repair;

failure to maintain the basement or cellar in a safe and sanitary condition;

failure to maintain facilities, equipment or chimneys in safe and sound working conditions;

failure to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water;

failure to exterminate insects, rodents or other pests;

failure to supply or maintain facilities for refuse disposal;

failure to prevent the accumulation of garbage, trash, refuse or debris as required by the municipal code;

failure to provide adequate light or ventilation as required by the municipal code;

failure to maintain plumbing facilities, piping, fixtures, appurtenances and appliances in good operating condition and repair;

failure to provide or maintain electrical systems, circuits, receptacles and devices as required by the municipal code;

failure to maintain and repair any equipment which the landlord supplies or is required to supply; or

failure to maintain the dwelling unit and common areas in a fit and habitable condition.

(a) Noncompliance By Landlord. If there is material noncompliance by the landlord with a rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070 either of which renders the premises not reasonably fit and habitable, the tenant under the rental agreement may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and/or omissions constituting the material noncompliance and specifying that the rental agreement will terminate on a date not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice by the landlord, unless the material noncompliance is remedied by the landlord within the time period specified in the notice. If the material noncompliance is not remedied within the time period so specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall terminate, and the tenant shall deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord within 30 days after the expiration of the time period specified in the notice. If possession shall not be so delivered, then the tenant’s notice shall be deemed withdrawn and the lease shall remain in full force and effect. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent, security and interest recoverable by the tenant under Section 5-12-080.

(b) Failure To Deliver Possession. If the landlord fails to deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant in compliance with the residential rental agreement or Section 5-12-070, rent for the dwelling unit shall abate until possession is delivered, and the tenant may:

(1) upon written notice to the landlord, terminate the rental agreement and upon termination the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and security; or

(2) demand performance of the rental agreement by the landlord and, if the tenant elects, maintain an action for possession of the dwelling unit against the landlord or any person wrongfully in possession and recover the damages sustained by him.

If a person’s failure to deliver possession is wilful, an aggrieved person may recover from the person withholding possession an amount not more than two months’ rent or twice the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater.

(c) Minor Defects. If there is material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070, and the reasonable cost of compliance does not exceed the greater of $500.00 or one-half of the monthly rent, the tenant may recover damages for the material noncompliance or may notify the landlord in writing of his intention to correct the condition at the landlord’s expense; provided, however, that this subsection shall not be applicable if the reasonable cost of compliance exceeds one month’s rent. If the landlord fails to correct the defect within 14 days after being notified by the tenant in writing or as promptly as conditions require in case of emergency, the tenant may have the work done in a workmanlike manner and in compliance with existing law and building regulations and, after submitting to the landlord a paid bill from an appropriate tradesman or supplier, deduct from his or her rent the amount thereof, not to exceed the limits specified by this subsection and not to exceed the reasonable price then customarily charged for such work. A tenant shall not repair at the landlord’s expense if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.

Before correcting a condition affecting facilities shared by more than one dwelling unit, the tenant shall notify all other affected tenants and shall cause the work to be done so as to create the least practical inconvenience to the other tenants. Nothing herein shall be deemed to grant any tenant any right to repair any common element or dwelling unit in a building subject to a condominium regime other than in accordance with the declaration and bylaws of such condominium building; provided, that the declaration and bylaws have not been created to avoid the application of this chapter.

For purposes of mechanics’ lien laws, repairs performed or materials furnished pursuant to this subsection shall not be construed as having been performed or furnished pursuant to authority of or with permission of the landlord.

(d) Failure To Maintain. If there is material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070, the tenant may notify the landlord in writing of the tenant’s intention to withhold from the monthly rent an amount which reasonably reflects the reduced value of the premises due to the material noncompliance. If the landlord fails to correct the condition within 14 days after being notified by the tenant in writing, the tenant may, during the time such failure continues, deduct from the rent the stated amount. A tenant shall not withhold rent under this subsection if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.

(e) Damages And Injunctive Relief. If there is material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief, and/or recover damages by claim or defense. This subsection does not preclude the tenant from obtaining other relief to which he may be entitled under this chapter.

(f) Failure To Provide Essential Services. If there is material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070, either of which constitutes an immediate danger to the health and safety of the tenant or if, contrary to the rental agreement or Section 5-12-070, the landlord fails to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the material noncompliance or failure. If the landlord has, pursuant to this ordinance or in the rental agreement, informed the tenant of an address at which notices to the landlord are to be received, the tenant shall mail or deliver the written notice required in this section to such address If the landlord has not informed the tenant of an address at which notices to the landlord are to be received, the written notice required in this section shall be delivered by mail to the last known address of the landlord or by other reasonable means designed in good faith to provide written notice to the landlord. After such notice, the tenant may during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance or failure:

(1) procure reasonable amounts of heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing service, as the case may be and upon presentation to the landlord of paid receipts deduct their cost from the rent; or

(2) recover damages based on the reduction in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or

(3) procure substitute housing, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. The tenant may recover the cost of the reasonable value of the substitute housing up to an amount equal to the monthly rent for each month or portion thereof of noncompliance as prorated.

In addition to the remedies set forth in Section 5-12-110 (1) (1) — (3), the tenant may:

(4) withhold from the monthly rent an amount that reasonably reflects the reduced value of the premises due to the material noncompliance or failure if the landlord fails to correct the condition within 24 hours after being notified by the tenant; provided, however, that no rent shall be withheld if the failure is due to the inability of the utility provider to provide service; or

(5) terminate the rental agreement by written notice to the landlord if the material noncompliance or failure persists for more than 72 hours after the tenant has notified the landlord of the material noncompliance or failure; provided, however, that no termination shall be allowed if the failure is due to the inability of the utility provider to provide service. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent, security deposits and interest thereon in accordance with Section 5-12-080 and tenant shall deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord within 30 days after the expiration of the 72 hour time period specified in the notice. If possession shall not be so delivered, then the tenant’s notice shall be deemed withdrawn and the lease shall remain in full force and effect.

If the tenant proceeds under this subsection (f), he may not proceed under subsection (c) or (d). The tenant may not exercise his rights under this subsection if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with his consent. Before correcting a condition, the repair of which will affect more than his own dwelling unit, the tenant shall notify all other tenants affected and shall cause the work to be done so as to result in the least practical inconvenience to other tenants.

(g) Fire Or Casualty Damage. If the dwelling unit or common area is damaged or destroyed by fire or casualty to an extent that the dwelling unit is in material noncompliance with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070, the tenant may:

(1) immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days thereafter of the tenant’s intention to terminate the rental agreement, in which case the rental agreement terminates as of the date of the fire or casualty; or

(2) if continued occupancy is lawful, vacate any part of the dwelling unit rendered unusable by the fire or casualty, in which case the tenant’s liability for rent is reduced in proportion to the reduction in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or

(3) if the tenant desires to continue the tenancy, and if the landlord has promised or begun work to repair the damage or destruction but fails to carry out the work to restore the dwelling unit or common area diligently and within a reasonable time, notify the landlord in writing within 14 days after the tenant becomes aware that the work is not being carried out diligently or within a reasonable time of the tenant’s intention to terminate the rental agreement, m which case the rental agreement terminates as of the date of the fire or casualty.

If the rental agreement is terminated under this subsection (g), the landlord shall return all security and all prepaid rent in accordance with Section 5-12-080(d). Accounting for rent in the event of termination or apportionment shall be made as of the date of the fire or casualty. A tenant may not exercise remedies in this subsection if the fire or casualty damage was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family or a person on the premises with his consent. (Prior code § 193. 1-1 1; Added, Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986,
page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, pages 7206 — 7212)

5-12-120 Subleases.
If the tenant terminates the rental agreement prior to its expiration date, except for cause authorized by this chapter, the landlord shall make a good faith effort to re-rent the tenant’s dwelling unit at a fair rental, which shall be the rent charged for comparable dwelling units in the premises or in the same neighborhood. The landlord shall accept a reasonable sublease proposed by the tenant without an assessment of additional fees or charges.

If the landlord succeeds in re-renting the dwelling unit at a fair rental, the tenant shall be liable for the amount by which the rent due from the date of premature termination to the termination of the initial rental agreement exceeds the fair rental subsequently received by the landlord from the date of premature termination to the termination of the initial rental agreement

If the landlord makes a good faith effort to re-rent the dwelling unit at a fair rental and is unsuccessful, the tenant shall be liable for the rent due for the period of the rental agreement. The tenant shall also be liable for the reasonable advertising costs incurred by the landlord in seeking to re-rent the dwelling unit. (Prior code § 193.1-12; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771)

5-12-130 Landlord Remedies.
Every landlord shall have the remedies specified in this section for the following circumstances:

(a) Failure To Pay Rent. If all or any portion of rent is unpaid when due and the tenant fails to pay the unpaid rent within five days after written notice by the landlord of his intention to terminate the rental agreement if rent is not so paid, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement. Nothing in this subsection shall affect a landlord’s obligation to provide notice of termination of tenancy in subsidized housing as required under federal law or regulations. A landlord may also maintain an action for rent and/or damages without terminating the rental agreement.

(b) Noncompliance By Tenant. If there is material noncompliance by a tenant with a rental agreement or with Section 5-12-040, the landlord of such tenant’s dwelling unit may deliver written notice to the tenant specifying the acts and/or omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 10 days after receipt of the notice, unless the breach is remedied by the tenant within that period of time. If the breach is not remedied within the 10 day period, the residential rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice. The landlord may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-040. If the tenant’s noncompliance is wilful, the landlord may also recover reasonable attorney’s fees.

(c) Failure To Maintain. If there is material noncompliance by the tenant with Section 5-12-040 (other than subsection (g) thereof), and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as conditions permit in case of emergency or in cases other than emergencies within 14 days of receipt of written notice by the landlord specifying the breach and requesting that the tenant remedy it within that period of time, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit and have the necessary work done in the manner required by law. The landlord shall be entitled to reimbursement from the tenant of the costs of repairs under this section.

(d) Disturbance Of Others. If the tenant violates Section 5-12-040(g) within 60 days after receipt of a written notice as provided in subsection (b), the landlord may obtain injunctive relief against the conduct constituting the violation, or may terminate the rental agreement on 10 days written notice to the tenant.

(e) Abandonment. Abandonment of the dwelling unit shall be deemed to have occurred when:

(1) actual notice has been provided to the landlord by the tenant indicating the tenant’s intention not to return to the dwelling unit, or

(2) all persons entitled under a rental agreement to occupy the dwelling unit have been absent from the unit or a period of 21 days or for one rental period when the rental agreement is for less than a month, and such persons have removed their personal property from the premises, and rent for that period is unpaid; or

(3) all persons entitled under a rental agreement to occupy the dwelling unit have been absent from the unit for a period of 32 days, and rent for that period is unpaid.

Notwithstanding the above, abandonment of the dwelling unit shall not be deemed to have occurred if any person entitled to occupancy has provided the landlord a written notice indicating that he still intends to occupy the unit and makes full payment of all amounts due to the landlord.

If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the landlord shall make a good faith effort to re-rent it at a fair rental, which shall be the rent charged for comparable dwelling units in the premises or in the same neighborhood. If the landlord succeeds in re-renting the dwelling unit at a fair rental, the tenant shall be liable for the amount by which the rent due from the date of abandonment to the termination of the initial rental agreement exceeds the fair rental subsequently received by the landlord from the date of abandonment to the termination of the initial rental agreement. If the landlord makes a good faith effort to re-rent the dwelling unit at a fair rental and is unsuccessful, the tenant shall be liable for the rent due for the period of the rental agreement. The tenant shall also be liable for the reasonable advertising expenses and reasonable redecoration costs incurred by the landlord pursuant to this subsection.

(f) Disposition of Abandoned Property. If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit as described in subsection (e) hereof, or fails to remove his personal property from the premises after termination of a rental agreement, the landlord shall leave the property in the dwelling unit or remove and store all abandoned property from the dwelling unit and may dispose of the property after seven days. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the landlord reasonably believes such abandoned property to be valueless or of such little value that the cost of storage would exceed the amount that would be realized from sale, or if such property is subject to spoilage, the landlord may immediately dispose of such property.

(g) Waiver of Landlord’s Right to Terminate. If the landlord accepts the rent due knowing that there is a default in payment of rent by the tenant, he thereby waives his right to terminate the rental agreement for that breach.

(h) Remedy after Termination. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall have a claim for possession and/or for rent.

(i) Notice of Renewal of Rental Agreement. No tenant shall be required to renew a rental agreement more than 90 days prior to the termination date of the rental agreement. If the landlord violates this subsection, the tenant shall recover one month’s rent or actual damages, whichever is greater

(j) Notice of Refusal to Renew Rental Agreement. Provided that the landlord has not exercised, or is not in the process of exercising, any of its rights under Section 5-12-130 (a) — (h) hereof, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing at least 30 days prior to the stated termination date of the rental agreement of the landlord’s intent either to terminate a month to month tenancy or not to renew an existing rental agreement. If the landlord fails to give the required written notice, the tenant may remain in the dwelling unit for up to 60 days after the date on which such required written notice is given to the tenant, regardless of the termination date specified in the existing rental agreement. During such occupancy, the terms and conditions of the tenancy (including, without limitation, the rental rate) shall be the same as the terms and conditions during the month of tenancy immediately preceding the notice; provided, however, that if rent was waived or abated in the preceding month or months as part of the original rental agreement, the rental amount during such 60 day period shall be at the rate established on the last date that a full rent payment was made. (Prior Code §193.1-13; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7215)

5-12-140 Rental Agreement.
Except as otherwise specifically provided by this chapter, no rental agreement may provide that the landlord or tenant:

(a) agrees to waive or forego rights, remedies or obligations provided under this chapter;

(b) authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;

(c) agrees to the limitation of any liability of the landlord or tenant arising under law;

(d) agrees to waive any written termination of tenancy notice or manner of service thereof provided under state law or this chapter;

(e) agrees to waive the right of any party to a trial by jury;

(f) agrees that in the event of a lawsuit arising out of the tenancy the tenant will pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees except as provided for by court rules, statute, or ordinance;

(g) agrees that either party may cancel or terminate a rental agreement at a different time or within a shorter time period than the other party, unless such provision is disclosed in a separate written notice;

(h) agrees that a tenant shall pay a charge, fee or penalty in excess of $10.00 per month for the first $500.00 in monthly rent plus 5% per month for any amount in excess of $500.00 in monthly rent for the late payment of rent; and

(i) agrees that, if a tenant pays rent before a specified date or within a specified time period in the month, the tenant shall receive a discount or reduction in the rental amount in excess of $10.00 per month for the first $500.00 in monthly rent plus 5% per month for any amount in excess of $500.00 in monthly rent.

A provision prohibited by this section included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. The tenant may recover actual damages sustained by the tenant because of the enforcement of a prohibited provision. If the landlord attempts to enforce a provision in a rental agreement prohibited by this section the tenant may recover two months rent. Prior code § 193.1-14; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, pages 7215 — 7216)

5-12-150 Prohibition On Retaliatory Conduct By Landlord.
It is declared to be against public policy of the City of Chicago for a landlord to take retaliatory action against a tenant, except for violation of a rental agreement or violation of a law or ordinance. A landlord may not knowingly terminate a tenancy, increase rent, decrease services, bring or threaten to bring a lawsuit against a tenant for possession or refuse to renew a lease or tenancy because the tenant has in good faith:

(a) complained of code violations applicable to the premises to a competent governmental agency, elected representative or public official charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, health or similar code; or

(b) complained of a building, housing, health or similar code violation or an illegal landlord practice to a community organization or the news media; or

(c) sought the assistance of a community organization or the news media to remedy a code violation or illegal landlord practice; or

(d) requested the landlord to make repairs to the premises as required by a building code, health ordinance, other regulation, or the residential rental agreement; or

(e) becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization; or

(f) testified in any court or administrative proceeding concerning the condition of the premises; or

(g) exercised any right or remedy provided by law.

If the landlord acts in violation of this section, the tenant has a defense in any retaliatory action against him for possession and is entitled to the following remedies: he shall recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to and not more than two months rent or twice the damages sustained by him, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney’s fees. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all security and interest recoverable under Section 5-12-080 and all prepaid rent. In an action by or against the tenant, if there is evidence of tenant conduct protected herein within one year prior to the alleged act of retaliation, that evidence shall create a rebuttable presumption that the landlord’s conduct was retaliatory. The presumption shall not arise if the protected tenant activity was initiated after the alleged act of retaliation.
(Prior code § 193.1-15, Added. Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986. page 33771)

5-12-160 Prohibition On Interruption Of Tenant Occupancy By Landlord.
It is unlawful for any landlord or any person acting at his direction knowingly to oust or dispossess or threaten or attempt to oust or dispossess any tenant from a dwelling unit without authority of law, by plugging, changing, adding or removing any lock or latching device; or by blocking any entrance into said unit; or by removing any door or window from said unit; or by interfering with the services to said unit; including but not limited to electricity, gas, hot or cold water, plumbing, heat or telephone service; or by removing a tenant’s personal property from said unit; or by the removal or incapacitating of appliances or fixtures, except for the purpose of making necessary repairs; or by the use or threat of force, violence or injury to a tenant̓s person or property; or by any act rendering a dwelling unit or any part thereof or any personal property located therein inaccessible or uninhabitable. The foregoing shall not apply where:

(a) a landlord acts in compliance with the laws of Illinois pertaining to forcible entry and detainer and engages the sheriff of Cook County to forcibly evict a tenant or his personal property; or

(b) a landlord acts in compliance with the laws of Illinois pertaining to distress for rent; or

(c) a landlord interferes temporarily with possession only as necessary to make needed repairs or inspection and only as provided by law; or

(d) the tenant has abandoned the dwelling unit, as defined in Section 5-12-130(e).

Whenever a complaint of violation of this provision is received by the Chicago Police Department, the department shall investigate and determine whether a violation has occurred. Any person found guilty of violating this section shall be fined not less than $200.00 nor more than $500.00, and each day that such violation shall occur or continue shall constitute a separate and distinct offense for which a fine as herein provided shall be imposed. If a tenant in a civil legal proceeding against his landlord establishes that a violation of this section has occurred he shall be entitled to recover possession of his dwelling unit or personal property and shall recover an amount equal to not more than two months rent or twice the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater. A tenant may pursue any civil remedy for violation of this section regardless of whether a fine has been entered against the landlord pursuant to this section. (Prior code § 193.1-16; Added, Council Journal of Proceedings,
September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7218)

5-12-170 Summary Of Ordinance Attached To Rental Agreement.
The commissioner of the department of housing shall prepare a summary of this chapter, describing the respective rights, obligations and remedies of landlords and tenants hereunder, and shall make such summary available for public inspection and copying. The commissioner shall also, after the city comptroller has announced the rate of interest on security deposits on the first business day of the year, prepare a separate summary describing the respective rights, obligations and remedies of landlords and tenants with respect to security deposits, including the new interest rate as well as the rate for each of the prior two years. The commissioner shall also distribute the new rate of security deposit interest, as well as the rate for each of the prior two years, through public service announcements to all radio and television outlets broadcasting in the city. A copy of such summary shall be attached to each written rental agreement when any such agreement is initially offered to any tenant or prospective tenant by or on behalf of a landlord and whether such agreement is for a new rental or a renewal thereof. Where there is an oral agreement, the landlord shall give to the tenant a copy of the summary.

The summary shall include the following language:
“The porch or deck of this building should be designed for a live load of up to 100 pounds, per square foot and is safe only for its intended use. Protect your safety. Do not overload the porch or deck. If you have questions about porch or deck safety, call the City of Chicago non-emergency Number 3-1-1.”

If the landlord acts in violation of this section, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement by written notice. The written notice shall specify the date of termination no later than 30 days from the date of the written notice. If a tenant in a civil legal proceeding against his landlord establishes that a violation of this section has occurred, he shall be entitled to recover $100.00 in damages. (Prior code § 193.1-17; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14, 1997, page 45167; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, October 1, 2003, page 9191)

5-12-180 Attorney’s Fees.
Except in cases of forcible entry and detainer actions, the prevailing plaintiff in any action arising out of a landlord’s or tenant’s application of the rights or remedies made available in this ordinance shall be entitled to all court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be deemed or interpreted as precluding the awarding of attorney’s fees in forcible entry and detainer actions in accordance with applicable law or as expressly provided in this ordinance.
(Added Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7219)

5-12-190 Rights And Remedies Under Other Laws.
To the extent that this chapter provides no right or remedy in a circumstance, the rights and remedies available to landlords and tenants under the laws of the State of Illinois or other local ordinances shall remain applicable. (Prior code § 193.1-18; Added Council Journal of Proceedings,
September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7219)

5-12-200 Severability.
If any provision, clause, sentence, paragraph, section, or part of this chapter or application thereof to any person or circumstance, shall for any reason be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, said judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this chapter and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances, but shall be confined in its operation to the provision, clause, sentence, paragraph, section, or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and to the person and circumstances affected thereby. (Prior code § 193.1-19; Added Council Journal of Proceedings,
September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7220)

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  • […] none of the major rental properties collect a security deposit in the downtown area because the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) imposes significant penalties on owners for paying annual interest a day late or a dollar […]

  • T. N. says:

    I live in a lowrise apt bldg. I have lived here going on 9yrs, when I first moved in we were told we’d have 24hr security and unit decorating every 4 yrs in our tenant handbook. Since that time we’ve had 4 property managers and currently on our 5th. The unit decorating has changed from every 4yrs to 7 to now the responsibility of the tenant and with the last tenant “handbook” it states that any painting done to unit by management once occupancy has ended is at the expense of the tenant. I have the same carpet(indoor/outdoor) since I first moved in, yet I am responsible for them replacing it once I move. There’s normal wear and tear but no plugs, stains etc just heavy foot traffic. I’ve had kitchen sink back-ups to overflow and buckle the “marble” counter tops and water damage the interior under the sink. I have ceiling cracks due to a sprinkler going off 2flrs above me. Thankfully no water damage was done to my things(have renters ins). Just concerned about mold in the walls. However the problems that I’ve incurred seem to be from poor construction/shortcuts and careless neighbors. With that said what are my rights in this regard. Am I on the hook when I move for unit painting and carpet replacement(again normal wear/tear no holes)?

  • Ryan Williams says:

    I just received a notice of termination of tenancy at the conclusion of my lease. My landlord and I have had some problems this year, mostly regarding safety issues (common area lights turned off) and nonfunctioning laundry machines.

    I was planning to move anyway, but now I am concerned that this notice will be reflected on my credit or otherwise marr my reputation. There’s no option to renew the lease.

    I have never paid late and haven’t violated any of the conditions of my lease. I believe this notice to be retaliatory in nature. Is it legal for my landlord to essentially terminate my lease on the last day and not allow me the opportunity to renew?

    • I cannot really answer your question without knowing if you live in Chicago, how many units are in the building and if the owner lives on the premises. In most cases in Chicago, the landlord must give you a 30 day notice to end the tenancy. If the landlord evicted you for reporting safety problems that does sound like retaliation. Can you document that you complained to the landlord about the problems? If so you may have a retaliation case. As for your credit, I cannot answer that question. Most credit agencies are more concerned with have you paid your debts than whether you got along with your landlord. Other landlords may be concerned. Have you met with the landlord to discuss the situation and go over your concerns.

  • Sammy says:

    Hello,

    My lease will be up on Jan. 31, 2014 and I need to know
    - For how long can the landlord keep my Security Deposit?
    - Can I offer my handwork to do repairs -if there is any- so I can get my full Sec. Dep. that I paid?
    Thanks for your advise.

  • April says:

    I live in a Cooperative. The management company has replaced old furnaces/boilers with new ones (We have radiator heat); coop complex was built prewar.

    The issue is that I’m cold, neighbors are cold, as the heat is not blowing like it was before things were replaced. I have two portable electric heaters–one in my living room, the other in my bedroom and have been using them. The bathroom is cold. Because it’s also cold and snowy outside– It’s hard for me to take a shower/bath– as I’m afraid of getting sick, and I don’t want to plug in an electric heater in the bathroom, fear of electrocution.

    What recourse do I have since cooperatives are excluded from the City’s landlord/tenant ordinance? Management refuses to turn the heat up, but says they’re sticking with the City’s minimum heating requirement…

    • My first question is are you a coop member or owner. If not then all the landlord and tenant laws apply.

      If you are an owner, why is the management company dictating what happens? It seems like the owners of the coop should be informing the management company what you want. There may be differing opinions amongst the owners. Even these differences can be worked out. It involves people talking together and making decisions. MTO does not specifically deal with coops though we would be happy to help your group organize a tenants association or provide training on how to have elections, run meetings, etc. If there is already an organized coop owners group then you and the other tenants who are unhappy with the way things are working need to start participating in the meetings.

      Lastly, have you taken the temperature in the different rooms of your house. Are you being provided with sufficient heat. The temperature during daytime hours should be 68 in all parts for the unit.

  • Marc says:

    My management company is restricting moving (through the freight elevator) M-F 9am-5pm thus removing the weekend as an option to move. Do they need to provide reasonable accomodation outside of their business hours?

    • There are no rules about this. My first question would be is do you have a lease? If so, what did the lease say when you began the lease? The landlord cannot change a rule mid term. This might also be a time to get other tenants in the building together to write a joint letter to the owner demanding that the rule be changed. \

  • Enrique Ramirez says:

    My management company wants to move their offices into my apartment. Strange I know. They want to work with me to move me into another unit they manage and offer me free rent for a few months and moving expenses. My question is if I don’t like any of the other units, I don’t have to move correct? My lease agreement is until next year. Is there anything they can do legally to get me out of the apartment? Also, if I agree to move to an apartment they don’t manage, can I set the conditions on which I agree to break the lease? For example, paying two months of my rent and moving expenses? I am thinking of moving anyway so I would like to work with them, but don’t want to feel pressured to do so.

    thanks
    Enrique

  • stephanie says:

    Our lease was up in August of 2013, which the landlord did not make us aware. He continued accepting rent from us for 2 months after that. During that time, the basement that we rented for an additional amount (oral arrangement), flooded and damaged thousands of dollars of our property. He claims that the water damage did not occur due to building neglect and that it came up through the drain. I however, have pictures of the building damage and him repairing it after 4 floods to our basement and him saying “just put a trash can under it to collect the water.” The walls had mold as a result. A mold inspector came, and they then took out the moldy walls, but left them in the basement and laundry room instead of removing them from the building. The mold inspector has yet to send me his report. We have not paid rent for November and it is now December. He said he would come up with some sort of compensation, but never did and is avoiding us, so we are in the process of finding somewhere else to live. What are our options for receiving compensation for damages and having him give us a referral or monies to move? We have paid rent on time for the past 15 months.

    • The issues that you are going to be dealing with are:
      Can you prove that the landlord was negligent. It is difficult to get money for damage to a tenants property. It is why many tenants have renters insurance. the other issue that you may run into is were you aware of the fact that the basement sometimes floods. You will probably need an attorney to proceed because the landlord tenant ordinance allows tenants to reduce the rent once a 14 day rent-withholding letter is sent. The reduction is only for the reduced value of the unit and does not cover damage to property. I am not an attorney the law allows tenants to sue a landlord for damages if there is negligence.

      As for the mold, the landlord has to take care of that. One option is to request the City inspect the unit by calling 311.

      Have you made a proposal to the landlord as to how you think this situation should be resolved?

      John

  • [...] service (as is running water, hot water, electricity, gas and plumbing) in Chicago under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.  (Please note that the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance doesn’t apply to [...]

  • Mike M. says:

    Back in late July, my apartment was broken into. The ‘bugluar’ had broken one of our windows, entered into our apartment, but fortunately did not take anything. My roommate and I had the window boarded up and paid for it. When we contacted our landlord to replace the window, he said it is our responsibility to paid for the repair. Fore more we found he doesn’t have homeowners insurance, which is required by the condo association where we live.

    Our landlord spoke of a section in our lease, that says except for reasonable wear and tear, tenant shall replace broken items as windows and window covering, etc… I do find this kind of document to be confusing and very wordy. I’m afraid I might be missing something in a different section or even a clause in this section that holds our landlord responsible for the repairs since my roommate, nor I, nor any guests of ours caused the issue.

    Is the tenant really responsible for these repairs? My concern is what happens when all 12 windows get broken by a tree branch or there is a fire? That’s thousands and thousand of dollars and since I only qualify for renters insurance, I can not obtain coverage for those incidences.

    Thanks.

    • The landlord is responsible for damage not caused by you or a guest of yours. Clearly a burglar is not a guest. Did you file a police report? This will go towards documenting your case. If you live in Chicago and the landlord does not live on the premises you can use the repair and deduct clauses of the Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance if the the landlord continues to refuse to make the repair.

  • Chris says:

    I signed a lease for an apartment this summer with two roommate which started at the beginning of August. They moved in and I planned to move in at the beginning of September when my old lease was up.

    Before I moved in we threw a party in which two of my guests were on an outside deck after the deck was supposed to be closed. Although I do not think they caused much trouble there was a noise complaint and so the landlord became aware of the deck violation.

    The landlord said that action would be taken if we did not pay an additional deposit. He would not be specific about what action would be taken or put anything in writing about the deposit ($2,300). Because I could not receive a receipt for this extra deposit I agreed with the landlord and my roommates that I would move out and another person could take my place. Even though the violation seemed fairly small to me I didn’t want to cause trouble for my roommates.

    Since I had not moved in I only had to collect a couple of items and give my key to the other roommates. I have not been back to the apartment since.

    They found a new roommate who moved in at the beginning of September and has been paying rent (Sept/Oct/Nov) and payed a security deposit. However, when I asked the landlord for my security deposit back he said that the new roommate had not sent in everything required. He said that although the lease was now binding on the new roommate he could not release me from my lease as it hadn’t been signed correctly in all places.

    My roommates have consistently said they will deal with everything but they do not seem to have satisfied the landlord yet.

    I am concerned because although to my knowledge the rent is being paid I am still liable and want to get my security deposit back.

    Is there anything I can do?

    • I would contact an attorney. If the new tenant is paying rent and has paid the security deposit, then the landlord has started an agreement with the new tenant. The landlord has received the deposit paid in full as required by the lease so there should be no reason for your deposit not to be returned. It seems like there is some double dipping happening.

  • Shelly says:

    We moved into the first floor of our 2flat in March of 2012. The second floor stayed empty for an entire year. March 2013 people moved in upstairs and hidden problems with the building started to surface. They have fixed almost everything complained about, although at their own slow pace. A few months after the new neighbors moved in we started seeing roaches. The landlord came out twice in 4 months with some home mixed concoction for us to spray. There’s still a bug problem. After the couple bad storms that came through a lot of spiders and other bugs started coming in. We bought bombs and lit them off. This only helped temporarily because the new neighbors wouldn’t spend the $15 to do their apartment at the same time and the landlord will not reimburse for anything we purchase to try to remedy this problem. That was in August, the landlord has been their once since with his magical spray that doesn’t work and since claims he keep forgetting. This problem is quickly turning into an infestation. By the way when this was reported they stated there has never been a problem of this kind in their building which was a lie because after bombing the place I crawled back into one of the deep cabinets to clean it well and found roach hotels. The landlords will not give their address so I am unable to send them written notice and they always come to the building when I am at work. We have asked to get out of the lease and they refuse. Is there any recourse that I can take?

    • Send the notice in with your rent. How do you communicate with the landlord? Phone, email, text. Any form of written communication that you can document that the landlord received should count as service. If the landlord has not provided you with a contact in here is what the law states about that.

      5-12-090 Identification Of Owner And Agents.
      A landlord or any person authorized to enter into an oral or written rental agreement on the landlord’s behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name, address, and telephone number of:

      (a) the owner or person authorized to manage the premises; and

      (b) a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting for notices and demands.

      A person who enters into a rental agreement and fails to comply with the requirements of this section becomes an agent of the landlord for the purpose of (i) service of process and receiving and receipting for notices and demands and (ii) performing the obligations of the landlord under this chapter under the rental agreement.

      The information required to be furnished by this section shall be kept current and this section extends to and is enforceable against any successor landlord, owner or manager.

      If the landlord fails to comply with this section, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement pursuant to the notice provisions of Section 5-12-110(a). If the landlord fails to comply with the requirements of this section after receipt of written notice pursuant to Section 5-12-110(a), the tenant shall recover one month’s rent or actual damages, whichever is greater.

      • Shelly says:

        Something else that I forgot to state also is that the landlord does not have a 3rd electric meter for the lights in common areas used by both units. They are all on my meter. Is there something I can do about it?

  • David Schonback says:

    I operate a licensed SRO withing the city of Chicago. Does my SRO/boarding house fall under the RLTO?

    • Here is what the law states in regards to exempted buildings: (b) dwelling units in hotels, motels, inns, bed-and-breakfast establishments, rooming houses and boardinghouses, but only until such time as the dwelling unit has been occupied by a tenant for 32 or more continuous days and tenant pays a monthly rent, exclusive of any period of wrongful occupancy contrary to agreement with an owner

  • Jack Bagain says:

    I have been renting my house in Chicago for the last 4 years since I was out of the country on an assignment. the current rent agreement is month to month since the lease has expired 2 years ago. I have retuned to Chicago 3 weeks ago. on Oct. 3rd I gave the tenant a 30 day notice to move out as I would like to go back into my house. for infomation the rent is due every 15th of the month. I was told by the tenant that he has already found a place to move. he also stated that he will be out of the house by the 20th and would like to get his deposit back. I told him that i will need to inspect the house for damages prior to returning the deposit and any damage will be deducted from the amount, one damage was a burnt section of the outside deck. Additionally, i told him is he can move out by the 17th it will help me move in faster and I will not charge him for the days past the 15th of the month.
    He did not like it and stated that he took care of the house and I shouldn’t deduct any amount from the deposit. he also stated that if I am going to deduct any amout he will stay in the house until the 30 days notice is over. By law how much rent I can charge him for the days over the 15th isf he decides to stay.

    • The tenant needs to pay rent for each month that they are there. The notice that you provided the renter is correct. If the rent is due on the 15th of the month then the notice has to coincide with the rental period. The tenant could stay there until the November 15. The tenant would have to pay the monthly rent. Now if the tenant moves out on lets say the November 1 and you move in then the tenant would owe for 15 days. You cannot charge for the entire month because you are moving in and thus have control of the property. It would be the same as if another tenant moved in on that day. By law the landlord is required to mitigate the damages.

      My question is how valuable is it to you to have the tenant move out earlier. It might be worth giving an extra incentive to move out faster. Landlords often do this if they need to terminate the agreement earlier than stated. Negotiating with the tenant can be a win win rather than a battle.

  • Jane says:

    Are there limits as to the amount of increase of rent? My landlord is proposing a 9% increase to my rent. I live in a studio condo that was remodeled into a “convertible” and then recently sold to a new owner.

    Thanks!

    • Illinois currently has a preemption that forbids local municipalities from instituting rent controls. Until this law gets changed Chicago cannot set limits on rents and therefore your landlord can double or triple the rent. A landlord cannot use a rent increase a way to retaliate or discriminate. You can contact your state representatives regarding the preemption.

  • Michael T says:

    Hello,

    I have a question about early termination of the lease agreement and keeping the security deposit by landlord.

    I have terminated the lease early and moved out the apartment last month. Before terminating the lease, i have agreed orally with my landlord that i will be moving out at the time in talked to him he agreed orally with the new tenant to move in.

    When moving out, I have cleaned the apartment and made certain repairs. We did the walkthrough with the landlord and he did not have any complains about the condition of the apartment. Then after walkthrough i asked him about my security deposit, on which he said that he is not going to return the deposit for the following reasons:
    - He does not have a new tenant anymore, the one he had backed out last minute
    - He needs my security deposit to cover the agency expenses and at least to recover somehow because of the early termination of the lease.

    We have not talked about security deposit return previously, because in my opinion it was that security deposit relates to condition of the apartment. And he did not mention anything about security deposit before, I started talking to him about moving out 3 month before i actually did. I offered him to cooperate to help him to find a new tenant during the summer.

    Initially, I decided to move out because of the heat and window problems we had during winter. And since the winter is not best time to look for apartment or find a new tenant i offered him to terminate the lease earlier.

    Can he keep my deposit to recover the possible losses because of the early termination of the lease even though we have agreed on the early termination before (orally)?

    Thank you,
    Michael

  • TC says:

    Hello I am currently renting the first floor and basement of a two flat from my landlord and there are repairs and things that he promised would be taken care upon me moving in February they have not been done as of yet. I realize that I made a mistake by not getting this in writing. However, I now think that some of these issues are affecting our health. My oldest son allergies are acting up and my youngest son is now taking his asthma medication, something that he has not done for two years. In addition I have now developed allergies something that I did not previously have. In addition the entire basement smells like mold. I am sending pictures of the mold that is in the basement. Please advise me what to do?

  • M says:

    Hi there,
    My landlady decided that she will not be renewing out lease (she gave us under 30 days notice) after my roommates and I questioned her demand that we have cosigners (we did not have them last year and none of her other tenants were/are required to have them).

    Issue 1) She threatened/informed us she would be using our deposit to pay for the trouble of finding new tenants

    Issue 2) She has been showing our apartment multiple times a day and calling us constantly. While I understand she wants to find new tenants, can she lawfully show it multiple times per day? I feel like there are constantly people in the apartment. Sometimes we only get one hours notice…

    Issue 3) BIGGEST PROBLEM: there is a small porch/walk in closet in my bedroom that has its own lock (lock and key came with apartment, I did NOT add it) Since I am in the process of moving out most of my possessions/valuables are boxed up and ready to be packed. I keep everything in the closet. Recently I have taken to locking MY closet because of all the people in and out of it, especially when I am not there.
    CURRENTLY I am on vacation in another state; so I took the closet key with me, along with my apartment keys.
    Today I received a threatening voice mail from my landlady telling me that I had no right to take the key and that she needed to gain access to show the closet to tenants. She demanded that I pay to overnight the key to her personal address or she was going to change the lock and charge me. She has never ever requested me to open the closet before and it has been locked during several showings.
    Few questions:
    -Can she force me to send the key? Can I refuse and just unlock it when I am back?
    -Can she LEGALLY change a lock in my apartment? (lease hasn’t expired yet)
    -If she does change it, I won’t have access to the closet or most of my possessions

    WHAT, IF ANYTHING, CAN I DO? (mostly wondering about this closet issue, but help on the other problems would be appreciated too)

    • Several thoughts.

      The landlord did not provide you with sufficient notice therefore you can let the landlord know that you could stay there an additional 60 days.

      As for the landlord entering your unit. If the landlady does not live on the premises then she must give you two days notice every time she intends to enter. You do not have to allow her to enter if she does not do this.

      She can not force you to send the key. You did not change the locks so she should have a key. She cannot change the locks as that could be considered a lockout.

      Security deposits can only be used for damages includes not paying the rent. If the owner asked you to leave by giving you a termination letter then the owner cannot charge you for finding a new occupant.

  • Brittany B says:

    Yesterday (8/5) I signed a lease and left a security deposit of $650 for a unit with a 8/15 move-in date. The landlord did not give me a receipt but gave me keys to the unit. I’m no longer interested in living in the unit for safety reasons, which I expressed to the landlord 3 hours after signing. She agreed to terminate the lease, but I’m wondering if I am entitled to my security deposit back since I have not moved anything into the apartment yet?

    If I am entitled to my security deposit and she does not return it, what steps should I take towards getting it back?

    • If the landlord does not live on the premises and this unit is in Chicago, the landlord is required to provide a receipt. If there was not receipt then the landlord is in violation of the law. Have you spoken with the landlord about the security deposit.

      In general if a tenant takes possession of the unit, sign a rental agreement, etc and then decides not to rent the unit because of safety concerns that can be problematic. Tenants should check the neighborhood out prior to signing a lease or putting down a deposit.

  • mm says:

    We are landlords in the Evanston area and have previous renters that trashed the place and now are asking for their deposit back. We are making repairs and calculating the damages, but they are threatening to sue us. How long do we have to make repairs and are we going to be penalize for not paying them until get all the things fixed.

    Thanks!

  • I seldom comment, but i did some searching and wound up here Metropolitan Tenants Organization

  • AG says:

    I have been living at my apt for at least a year now. In April, we received a letter that the building was in foreclosure and we have new receivership. We were not given any lease just a court order and an address on where to send rent. Skeptical, I have contacted them about my security deposit which I paid the previous landlord among other concerns such as no working smoke or carbon monoxide detector and repairs. When I try to contact someone in charge , I ask to speak to a property manager and I never receive calls back after leaving messages. There is also a “field engineer” that I have contacted and he doesn’t return calls.

    Also, June 11, a week after they exterminated I found my apt burglarized coming home from work. I called the new management to asked who also had a key and to explain the situation. The receptionist transfers to the same voicemail. Later that month, 2 guys came knocking on my window (I live on the first flr) at 11:45p with flashlights but I didn’t answer. The next day the same two guys came knocking again saying they are serving a 5 day notice from the landlord. When I asked can they come another time or leave it, the guy said no and proceeded to come into the building and loudly bang on my door. He never said his name but when I threaten to call the police, if said he worked for the new manager and he could call the police on me. To keep him from banging on my phone, I told him to slide the letter under the door. HOWEVER, after the letter was under the door, he still kept banging!!! asking me “did you get the notice?!” Come on really? At 11p? Even my neighbors was wondering what was going on. I call the company the next day and the receptionist told me they hired a third party processing service and when I mention the police, she tells me “Oh they have their own rules” and how previously the field engineer has tried a few times to give me a notice so they hired someone else. No he hasn’t and I even asked her for dates he came and she says “oh, sometime in June”.

    Now I believe they are trying to sue to evict me. I was already planning to move after someone came into my home but I was saving money. What can I do? I plan to move before this eviction process but its unfair companies mistreat you, or even rob you, and turn around and sue you.

    • There are many different issues.

      Landlord entry – The law states the landlord must give the tenant 2 days notice to enter except in the case of emergencies. It does not sound like this happened.

      The old landlord is suppose to inform the tenant when the building moves into foreclosure.

      If the building was sold the new owner is responsible for the security deposit even if it was a short sale. If the building was foreclosed then the bank is liable for the security deposit.

      Tenants are required to pay rent for the entire time of residency. It does not matter if the landlord is in foreclosure. The landlord is within their rights to take you to court.

      If the landlord cannot serve you personally, the landlord may be able to serve you via posting which means posting the notice in different places that you may never see and thus an eviction may go through without the tenant’s knowledge.

      The landlord tenants ordinance does not define times when it is okay to serve notices. 11 pm is too late.

      Have you tried calling the bank responsible for the foreclosure?

      • AG says:

        Thank you for your response. No, I have not called the bank which I will. I had no problem paying rent which I did when they first took over. I just wanted someone in charge to contact me concerning my issues so I withheld June’s. I am contacting various agencies and a tenants’ union contacted me so I’m going to try and get some help. I definitely do not want an eviction on my rental history.

  • M.C says:

    I live in Chicago, Illinois, my lease expired in Jan 2013, the landlord has not renewed it. We found a new place to move and submitted a 60 day noticed. Are we obligated to pay rent or can our security deposit be used instead? If we pay rent, is the landlord obligated to refund our security deposit?

    • The states that the tenant is pay rent unless the landlord agrees to accept the security deposit as rent. So you might as well ask the landlord if that is okay. Invite the landlord to your apartment to demonstrate that there is not any damage.

      As for the return of your deposit, the landlord by law the landlord can only keep the deposit to pay for damages either to the property or if the tenant owes money ie rent. The landlord has 45 days to return the deposit.

  • spiro spyratos says:

    Hello:

    I signed a 15 month lease in the city of Chicago with the expectation there was central air conditioning, listed so in the landlord’s MLS copy. During the summer, I noticed the thermostat was not lowering the temperature. I contacted the landlord who informed me that there is a portable unit. When I informed her that I was not informed, she had nothing to say. Regardless, evenings have been uncomfortably hot and it is almost impossible to use the oven for cooking due to the temperature increase. As this is a smaller apartment, roughly 800-900 sq feet, it is unbearable. The portable unit is limited, for venting reasons, only to the living room as there are no other windows in the unit. Since this was misrepresented to me, as I would never have signed the lease if there was no central air, I would expect that I can terminate it without consequence. I have sent her a certified letter and have not heard back from her.

  • landlord says:

    If a tenant has told you in writing they are not renewing their lease and will be moving out at the end of the lease term…..do I need to make sure to put it in writing that we are not renewing the lease 30 days before the end of the lease? Just want to make sure I am doing everything I am suppose to be doing. And what happens if they are not ready to move out at the end of the lease? We think they may try to stay….

  • Y.W. says:

    I moved into my apartment on the 1st of June. After all the documents had been signed, the agent working on behalf of my landlord contacted me and told me that I need to pay $150 move in fee. All the documents I signed had other fees included but none included the movein fee. There was a movein fee due to the condo association but none due to the actual landlord. I told the agent I will not make the payment and he said I will have to move out. I also contacted my landlord but he is yet to respond. What are my rights under the Chicago, IL law and can the Condo assocaition get involved.

    Thanks,
    Y.W.

    • I am not clear on exactly what has happened. You said that there was a move-in fee due to the condo association and not to the landlord. Did you pay a move-in fee to the condo association? If the landlord wants a move-in fee paid then it needs to be stated in the documents that you signed. If the condo association wants the move-in fee, someone is going to have to pay it. You can make an argument that since the landlord did inform you of the fee prior to signing the lease and it is not mentioned in the lease then it becomes the landlord’s responsibility because it was the landlord’s error. I am not sure what grounds the landlord could evict you on unless there is a clause in the lease that you have to follow all condo association rules and regulations. Then I would ask were the rules attached to the lease. Even then it will be a bit of a stretch to say you did not follow move-in fee provision. Maybe it was agent who forgot to insert the document.

  • Nichole says:

    Hi,

    I live in a the garden apartment of a 3 unit walk up with a front patio, a side walkway around the building and a back porch. The landlord owns all three units (does not live in the building). All of these areas have been accumulating a lot of leaves and debris. Up until now, I have been the only one maintaining these, just because it bugs me to have to walk through the stuff to get down the steps to my apartment every day. I’ve had to go through bags and bags of leaves over the past couple of months, and have even fount dead mice in the leaf piles.

    Lately, the drain to the front porch has been getting clogged, leaving me to wade through 5-6 inches of water to get to my front door. Is the landlord responsible for cleaning the debris since it is for the common areas, or do I have to continue to be the one to pick up the leaves, etc. from the surrounding trees?

    Thanks,
    Breanne

  • J says:

    Hello,

    Started renting May1st 2013…I did not get to do an inspection of my apartment before signinga lease what issues willi have there?

    , they did not thoroughly clean my apartment what so ever. I have taken pictures of everything missing, Brown or dirty. I am currently fighting my landlord about my oven. My own is very old is say from the80s. He told me he would senda repair to tell him if the oven could be fixed or needed to be replaced, when the repair guy showed he said he was not here to fix anything on the oven or to tell our landlord if replacing was needed. My oven over heats me and both my kids have been burnt from just touching the sides of it. I can not access the stove top to clean inside do to it being so old I took pictures the besti could showing how dirty it is. And only half my burners work. I also put in a complaint about my electrical outlets a month ago andi just not got them fixed yesterday. I noticed that my ac unit was spliced and repaired with electrical tape. My landlord said to me in person yesterday that it was not right and he was going to replace the appliance cord to it. I found out today he told the guy working on our electrical outlets that he will not be fixing my ac unit appliance cord…I have more problems with my unit but nothing is being done.

    • Did the stove repair person leave you with any documentation that the stove needed to be replaced. If so and the landlord does not live on the premises, the Chicago Ordinance allows tenants to send the landlord a written notice demanding that the stove be repaired or replaced within 14 days of receiving the notice. In the letter tell the landlord that you will purchase a stove and deduct the cost from the rent. The cost of the stove cannot exceed the greater of $500 or 1/2 months rent. You can also call 311 and request an inspection.

  • B.D. says:

    My landlord has been replacing the mailboxes in my building (this was necessary as the old ones could be opened by anyone, even without a key). However, this has been a ridiculously slow process and it has been two weeks now that the old ones have been removed and we don’t have access to the new ones yet. That means it has been two weeks since I have been able to receive any mail in my apartment. First it was bad enough because I was waiting on some important checks. Now I’m awaiting some medication that’s going to be mailed to me. The new mailboxes are installed, they finally removed the plastic, but we residents haven’t gotten keys yet. I feel like preventing residents from getting mail for two weeks by not providing mailboxes accessible to both the mailman and residents isn’t right — is it? Are they within their legal limits to drag their heels on this? I’ve asked a couple times and they keep saying “soon” we will have keys, but enough is enough! I can’t miss getting the shipment of meds in the mail, but even telling them that hasn’t seemed to make them work any faster. Is there anything I can do?

    • That is a good question. In general the landlord has 14 days to remedy a problem once the tenant send the landlord written notice. If you have not done so already, I would send the landlord a letter detailing the problem (putting things in writing can often elicit a response quicker that a verbal request).

      The law also states If the landlord fails to correct the defect within 14 days after being notified by the tenant in writing or as promptly as conditions require in case of emergency, so you could make the case that the delivery of medicine is an emergency. If the problem is not corrected by some date sooner that you will hire a locksmith to make key so that you can have access to your mailbox. I do not know if a judge will consider this an emergency, but there is a good argument to be made that it is. A letter of this nature may get the landlord to take quicker action.

  • S S says:

    on Apr 30 I was given a 30 day notice to end my written month to month lease on May 31. I have not found a place to move & I said to use my Sec Dep for June Rent. They said no, but since I still have not moved on 6/1 they want me to pay for the month of June and they would allow me to stay till the end of June which would extend the 30 day to 60 day notice and would refund me a per day amount if I’d moved during June. Now since I have not paid anything yet, they issued a 5 day notice to me. But they should use my Sec Dep like I asked. ??? Shouldn’t I fight this.

    • The landlord does not have to use the security deposit as rent if they do not want to. If you do not pay the landlord can start eviction proceedings once the 5 days are up. The landlord could always refuse to accept the rent and just move to evict you because you are not out. I am not sure what there is to fight. Are you going to be able to move out by the end of June? If not that is another thing to consider. If you pay the rent, the landlord cannot start eviction proceedings until July 1 or after. If you need the money to move, you could try negotiating with the landlord more to see what you can work out.

  • damebochie says:

    I need some help. I moved in Calumet City about two months ago. My boyfriend already had a room in an apartment. So I decided since I was new in the area, I will rent a room in the same apartment. The landlord, who reside in New Jersey, told me that sometimes he will also spend time in the apartment. At first, I was a bit skeptical, but my boyfriend told me he spent most of the year in New Jersey anyway, so it should be fine.

    I came to Calumet City exactly on March 12th 2013. My boyfriend picked me up from NY and we drove to Illinois together. Before I came, me and the landlord had an agreement that the lease will start on the 15th of March 2013. When I arrived on March 12th, 3 days earlier, I stayed in my boyfriend’s room for the time being. Exactly on the 15th of March which was a Friday, I gave the landlord my deposit and half month for March. However, the room wasn’t ready. It wasn’t until Tuesday March 19th, 2013 I was able to move in the room. And that is not without a first argument in which the landlord told me since I arrived early, I should gave him some time to prepare the room. He had already cashed my deposit and my half rent. When I told him I was at my boyfriend’s room, he told me, point blank, that the apartment doesn’t belong to my boyfriend. I let that go because I told my boyfriend to wait until the 15th to come to the apartment. My boyfriend told me I could stay at his place until the room was ready. I figured it was our fault. Although I wasn’t in the room rented, but I was in the premise 3 days before.

    Since this episode, it has been problems after problems with the landlord. First, and this is going to be long, the landlord had promised to remove a bunch of items in the living room. He never did. We don’t have a living room. We don’t have a place to invite a friend to sit. Our kitchen is full of boxes that he also promised he was removing.

    Our landlord doesn’t allow us to put our dish basket in the counter. He claimed the water in the dish basket is going to destroy his counter. We have two big sinks so I have been putting the dish basket on top of one of the sinks. Well guess what? I am not allowed to leave one single dirty dish in that sink. Everytime there is one dish in the sink, instead of removing the dish basket and use that empty sink, it knocked on my boyfriend’s door to complain.

    The landlord claimed that after I took a shower, I left soap mousse in the bathtub. He complained this has been preventing him from taking a shower. Since then, everytime we took a shower we have to make sure we throw water everywhere in the tub so there isn’t a single mousse soap left.

    Right after I moved in, I got a work at home job. There was internet in the house. My boyfriend was paying it before I moved in. I was in training with the company. Needless to say this was a work at home position, my internet connection has to be reliable. One day the landlord told me, right before 9 am for my training, someone from Comcast was coming to check our internet connection. I panicked a little bit because I didn’t want to tell the company that I am having internet connection problem. I asked him if it was possible to postpone that to a weekend day. An argument followed in which the landlord told me he had a problem with me using the internet all day long. I was so mad. The next day he said good morning, I didn’t reply. Because I didn’t reply, he decided to disconnect the internet. As a result, I lost my job.

    Every single time there is a problem. We can’t live in peace in the apartment. If the landlord knocks on my door or on my boyfriend door and either of us don’t reply, there is going to be hell. Yesterday, he almost knocked on door down. It was 8 AM and my boyfriend was asleep.

    There have been so many other things, which I try to omit here because my comment will be definitely too long. What I need to know however, is what can I do? At this point, I am so frustrated, I don’t even talk to my landlord. He still continue to bug my boyfriend about little and insignificant things. For instance, one day we were out he called my boyfriend to say we left dishes in one of the sinks. The other day, he called my boyfriend AT WORK to tell him there was water on the floor of the bathroom. That is after he told me too.

    I don’t know what to do. I have never been harassed like that in my entire life. And moreover, the guy is a liar. He lied about every single little thing. Can someone help me? I am really desperate!

    • This sounds like a pretty complicated problem. The biggest problem is that the landlord lives in the unit. Household etiquette is going to fall more into the realm of roommate issues of which there are very few rules that apply. It seems to fall less into landlord and tenant. My initial suggestion would be try mediation and see if you can work something out which may be moving from the unit. The Center for Conflict Resolution may be able to help. Their number is 312-922-6464.

  • Ed Kassing says:

    Hello,

    I’ve lived in my current apartment for almost 10 years. I renewed my lease in September 2012 for an additional 3 years. My landlord is in the process of selling the building. It is a 2 flat and the owner does not live in the building. From what I understand, the sale contract is pending. The new owner wants to make modifications to the building and I believe move into my apartment. I can not afford to move at this time. Can my landlord or the new owner force me to move? What are my rights?

    Thank you in advance for your advise.

    Ed

    • What does your lease say regarding an early termination of the tenancy? If nothing then the lease will be in effect for 3 years. This means that you can stay put for that time or you can negotiate with the new owner to pay you to leave early.

      • Ed Kassing says:

        Mr. Bartlett,

        Thank you for that information. My lease was a standard form lease when it was entered into in 2003. Since then my subsequent renewals have been riders extending the lease time and stating the increases.

        Since I posted my original comment my landlord finally contacted me regarding the state of the building. He met me in-person and informed me that he had accepted a short sale on the building on Wednesday, May 29th. He then said “the bank was offering me $3,000 to break my lease and leave by July 15th.” I told him this was not nearly enough to cover moving expenses as I have been in the building 10 years and have approximately 2,300 sq ft of space that is pretty full. I work 2 jobs and would have to take time off from work to facilitate moving in that time frame. Also the expense of a new security deposit as well as moving utilities. When I asked about negotiating the offer, he said he didn’t think so. He said that since I’m a little behind on rent, about half a month, that the bank would proceed with eviction if I didn’t accept the offer. I told him that I could have the past amount, as well as June rent, which is now due, to him within 5 days. He stated that the bank attorney advised him to not accept any further money from me.

        I have received nothing in writing from him regarding the sale of the building, past due rent, or the offer to break the lease. Can he refuse to accept my payment and force an eviction? Apparently the new owner wants to make structural modifications to the building. I believe they want to convert the building back to a single family home.

        I’m willing to move, but I need a better compensation offer. Am I within my rights to refuse to break my lease as long as I pay the rent to date before or within the 5 days if he serves me with a 5 day notice? Can the bank force an eviction if the lease is current?

        Thank you so much for your information.

        Ed

  • Sadie says:

    My landlord issued me a Termination of Tenancy 30 day notice. The paperwork states that i have been late in paying rent for ten consecutive months. That is completely untrue. I have been late in the past, but I do not owe her any money and I have always paid the late fee, which was more than I was required to pay by law. What are the next steps as to eviction. June rent is due Monday. She expects me to pay it. WHat should my next step be? Can I file a motion? I cannot afford to move. If I were to keep the rent for June, I would be able to move by July first. If I pay it, I cannot move by that time. Please help Thanks.

    • The problem that you will face is that a landlord does not have to provide a reason to terminate your tenancy. If they do provide a reason it does not really matter if it is true. A landlord cannot discriminate or retaliate. For instance if you wrote a letter asking the landlord to fix something, then the landlord cannot evict you for that and in fact if you did assert your rights in the past year, then you can make an argument that this is retaliatory.

      Secondly if the landlord over charged you for late fees then maybe you can use that as leverage to get the landlord to back away from the eviction.

      I would talk with the landlord about paying rent for the month. Either she can let you use the rent to move or you will have to stay and whe will have to evict you which will cost her more money in the long run. Or she can always let you stay. Are there any other reasons why the landlord does not want you to stay.

  • Gabriel says:

    Hi:

    I’ve recently discovered that I have a bed bug issue in my apartment. After doing some research online I’ve also discovered that not only my
    apartment, but also other apartments and even the community I reside in have or had a bed bug epidemic for a few years now, with little seemingly being done to alleviate the issue. My landlord recently had a “pest control” person come & claim to spray my apartment. Every source I’ve researched states that solely spraying pesticides against bed bugs, especially in just 1 unit, is ineffective.

    Under 5-12-110 Tenant Remedies, I noticed clauses for the following: failure to exterminate insects, rodents or other pests.

    a) Noncompliance By Landlord. If there is material noncompliance by the landlord with a rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070 either of which renders the premises not reasonably fit and habitable, the tenant under the rental agreement may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and/or omissions constituting the material noncompliance and specifying that the rental agreement will terminate on a date not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice by the landlord, unless the material noncompliance is remedied by the landlord within the time period specified in the notice. If the material noncompliance is not remedied within the time period so specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall terminate, and the tenant shall deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord within 30 days after the expiration of the time period specified in the notice. If possession shall not be so delivered, then the tenant’s notice shall be deemed withdrawn and the lease shall remain in full force and effect. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent, security and interest recoverable by the tenant under Section 5-12-080.

    Under the RLTO, is there anything I can do to force the landlord to do what is right and treat the units/building once and for all? Or can I eventually terminate the lease early due to the unit being inhabitable (essentially, does the non-compliance clause apply to my situation)?

    Thanks!

    • If you can show that others in your apartment complex have bed bugs (Currently the law regarding pests is if there are pests in 2 or more units it becomes the landlord’s responsibility to mitigate the problem)., then you can use the RLTO provisions if you are covered by the ordinance. In most cases it will be too costly to use the repair and deduct method. The other provisions are you can reduce the rent or you can terminate the lease. Both provisions require sending the landlord written notification and giving the landlord 14 days to make the repairs.

      One concern is if you terminate the lease, how will you get rid of the bed bugs prior to moving. They are very difficult to get rid of. You may end up bringing the pests to your new unit. You may want to contact an attorney if this is an ongoing problem and you moved in recently as a result your property now has bed bugs. I believe Hall Adams may specialize in this area of the law. Here is a link to some attorneys http://www.tenants-rights.org/legal-other-resources/.

  • Eugene Lewis says:

    Hello. I’m renting a studio unit. My lease was up in Dec. 2012, but I never received a new lease to sign. I continued to pay my rent according to the original agreement. Then on April 3rd of this year the management agency calls me and asks why I hadn’t signed and returned the new lease. I explained that I hadn’t received it. Two days later I received a copy which I signed, photocopied and returned within the 2 day time frame they gave me, plus I paid the rent according to the new rate and they sent me a copy of the new agreement. Today (a month later) I come home to a notice which state, “As a result of your continued failure to sign a new lease upon termination of your expired lease, you are hereby notified that your lease has been automatically extended for one year at an increased rate of 25% as provided in your old lease (which it does not say). Your new rent is $656 per month (originally $525, increased to $575 under the new lease) and the current balance you owe is $293.” My question is, should I start looking for a new place to live? I can be out by next weekend. I do have issues with the unit, electrical, I’ve had to go flip the breaker since typing this email.

    • If you sent the management a signed copy of the lease then the management company may be able to say that you are in a lease and cannot terminate the lease. Have you contacted the management company to inform them that you did sign the lease and sent it back. You can let them know that you have a copy of the signed lease if they would like you to send them a copy. the first step is to contact the landlord and find out what is going on.

  • C Wood says:

    My high rise in Lincoln Park is making repairs. During this time, for eight days the building has required access to my apartment and they have said that they need to build 2 5ft by 5ft enclosures (25 sq ft each, one in the living room and one in the bedroom). I cannot make room for these, nor do I want people accessing my apartment for eight days. To top this off, my construction for my floor is scheduled over Memorial Day, and though the crews will not be working during this time, my apartment would be in disarray with the closure and all of my furniture dragged into the middle of my apartment to make room for this. To top it all off, there is no air conditioning for 2 months while they make these repairs.

    There is also facade work going on which sounds like jackhammering every Monday-Friday from 8 am till 3:30 or 4:00 pm. This has been going on since September and is slated to continue until this fall. As a result, I cannot stay the day at home or work from home.

    Do I have any recourse here? It’s pretty miserable and I wasn’t aware of any of this when I signed my lease. Can I refuse entry to my apartment for those eight days or request that it be done at a different date in less time?

    Thanks very much.

    • Under the law the following are reasons that the landlord can enter your unit.
      (a) to make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements;

      (b) to supply necessary or agreed services;

      (c) to conduct inspections authorized or required by any government agency;

      (d) to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, workmen or contractors;

      (e) to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective tenants 60 days or less prior to the expiration of the existing rental agreement;

      (f) for practical necessity where repairs or maintenance elsewhere in the building unexpectedly require such access;

      (g) to determine a tenant̓s compliance with provisions in the rental agreement; and

      (h) in case of emergency.

      I cannot tell from your letter whether your situation falls into any of these. I would guess the landlord will argue it is either a or f. You could request that the landlord come in at a different if you have reason such as a guest that would make this a large inconvenience.

      • C Wood says:

        Thank you, John.

        Per the buliding, thi is work that is required by the city (replacing the heating system – assume its to bring the building up to a new-er code), but is not scheduled to be finished on the entire building until 2016. Therefore, I think it’s reasonable to ask them to reschedule my unit for a week later.

        I emailed the building and my landlord and presented them with three options. 1) Finish the work in a shorter amount of time than planned, 2) Pay for me to stay at a nearby hotel during the time scheduled, or 3) Do the work the following week. I also stated that if they cannot go with option 1 or 2, I did not authorize entry for next week. I believe that this work interfers with my “peaceful enjoyment” of the propery. Is that within my rights?

        Thanks very much!

  • Tim says:

    My future landlord threw a Rider in with the lease that says at the end of the lease we are responsible for professional cleaning @ $200 + $50 per bedroom and professional painting/touch-ups @ $200 per room. I have never seen the tenant assume responsibility for “professional” cleaning and painting beyond normal wear and tear. It seems rather open ended, and I dont want to have to pay for any of this. I will accept “broom swept condition” for cleanliness and “normal wear and tear” for painting/walls. What are your thoughts?

    Tim

  • Nic says:

    I live in an eight unit building run by a large management company. The company made some updates to our unit last summer, including replacing kitchen appliances, and raised our rent by a couple hundred dollars. Our newer refrigerator is defective. Nothing stays frozen in the freezer (ice cubes stay totally liquid), and items in both the freezer and main fridge will develop mold and spoil well before their expiration date. We put in three requests to have this fixed. Maintenance people came after the first two and provided temporary fixes, but the problem came back within a week. The second guy recommended the fridge be replaced, which never happened. We put in the third maintenance request over two months ago, and it has been ignored. We plan to send a letter asking that they replace the appliance within 14 days or we will terminate our lease. Is this reasonable given out current situation? At this point we have had several issues with the management company being unresponsive and are ready to move somewhere new. Any insight is appreciated.

    • The law for terminating the rental agreement states the repair problem must make the unit not reasonably fit and habitable. I cannot say whether a malfunctioning refrigerator rises to that level. Have you gotten ill from eating food that may have been spoiled, any health impacts, how much food have you lost. Are there other repair issues? Certainly the more issues that remain unresolved the not reasonably fit and habitable the unit becomes. Did the management company provide you with a summary of the landlord and tenants ordinance?

      • Nic says:

        Thank you for your response! I don’t believe we received a summery of the landlord and tenants ordinance. No health issues from eating anything. We’ve definitely taken unpleasant bites/sips of food that has spoiled but were able to tell immediately and threw the items away. Things go bad before expiration dates or develop mold on a weekly basis. We started having to buy in smaller quantities and make more frequent trips to the grocery store, and we’ve had items develop mold in the freezer after just a couple of weeks of being stored in there. It’s a problem that’s costing us money and the maintenance person said it needs to be replaced. It’s less than a year old and likely still under warranty, so it’s an easily fixed problem that the management company is just being lazy about addressing. We’re really note sure what to do. We sent requests through their official tenant’s portal, sent emails, and made calls and nothing is happening. We can’t get any direct interaction with anyone who works there, and this has been going on since December 2012.

  • Andrew Welbig says:

    Just yesterday (4/26) I received written notice that my rent would be going up on May 1st. It is a new lease agreement and I was given less than 30 days notice. I have been living in this apartment since April 1st 2009 without a rent increase or having to sign a new lease. On April 15th I asked for the first and only repair work to be done on the apartment. The toilet handle had broken and the toilet couldn’t be flushed. There was also an electrical socket that had a broken face plate with exposed wire. These repairs were done quickly by the building engineer to our satisfaction. Now 11 days later we have our rent increased with less than 30 days notice. No changes or improvements have been made to the apartment in the 4 years that we have been here to warrant a rent increase. I understand prices go up but this seems a bit suspect especially after we ask for our first fixes in 4 years. What should I do about this? I contacted the number they gave me and left a message because they are closed on the weekend. I feel like I should be able to get them to push the increase back to June 1st (the legal date they are allowed to do it), but I feel this is worse than that and I don’t have much time before May 1st.

    • Because the lease was never renewed, the law is that you were on a month to month agreement and therefore the landlord needs to provide a 30 day written notice to increase the rent. You can send the landlord a not stating that you will begin paying the increased amount in June. If you sign the lease, the landlord may be able to charge you for the increase.

      • Shari says:

        If I was in a lease that ends as of 5/31 and my landlord did not contact me regarding a renewal with a rate change until today 5/30. What rights do I have to dispute this?

        • If you are covered by the Chicago rental ordinance and the rent rate substantially changes, then you can argue that by law the landlord had to provide you with at least 30 days written notice to terminate the agreement. Since the landlord did not do that the landlord must allow you to continue to rent at the same rate for 60 days.

        • Erica says:

          I’m sort of in a similar situation. My lease ends on Aug 30, 2013 and I haven’t heard anything from my landlord about whether or not he intends to renew my lease? I really don’t want to pay any more than I’m paying now, since I’m paying the highest rent in the building, paying my own utilities and I have all of my own appliances. Can you tell me which section of the ordinance requires him to give me notice of his intent not to renew my lease as well as the part about me being able to remain in the unit for an additional 60 days at the current rate?

        • (j) Notice of Refusal to Renew Rental Agreement. Provided that the landlord has not exercised, or is not in the process of exercising, any of its rights under Section 5-12-130 (a) — (h) hereof, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing at least 30 days prior to the stated termination date of the rental agreement of the landlord’s intent either to terminate a month to month tenancy or not to renew an existing rental agreement. If the landlord fails to give the required written notice, the tenant may remain in the dwelling unit for up to 60 days after the date on which such required written notice is given to the tenant, regardless of the termination date specified in the existing rental agreement. During such occupancy, the terms and conditions of the tenancy (including, without limitation, the rental rate) shall be the same as the terms and conditions during the month of tenancy immediately preceding the notice; provided, however, that if rent was waived or abated in the preceding month or months as part of the original rental agreement, the rental amount during such 60 day period shall be at the rate established on the last date that a full rent payment was made. (Prior Code §193.1-13; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend, Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7215)

  • MC says:

    I am renting to own. My rent every month goes towarx the remaing balance i owe. After signing the lease an doin a final walk thru i was informed the furnace didnt work and was assured it would be fixed. This was August 2012. Here it is March 2013 and still no heat except space heaters. I have not moved because i can not afford to. What if anything can be done. It is not owner occupied. I live in Burnham which is still cook county. Also my water heater has recently stopped working properly. Since im renting to own can i hold him responsible for repairs that need to be made on the inside of the property? Thanks

  • [...] If you live in Chicago, your lease with your landlord (whether written or oral) may be governed by the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO“). [...]

    • A tenant is covered by the Chicago Ordinance regardless of whether there is a written or oral lease if the building is larger than 6 units or if the owner does not live on the premises. If either of these are true then the rental relationship is covered by the landlord and tenants ordinance. There are a few other exceptions such as living in a hospital, dorm, motel, etc.

  • Joe says:

    I filed an official complaint with the Rental Protection Agency, which was sent to my landlord, for failure to rid my apartment of bed bugs. I have reason to believe the bugs have been in the unit long before I moved in. I stated in the complaint, filed February 14, that if the problem was not solved by March 15, I would be terminating the lease and moving out. I never received a response. Does this formal complaint qualify as a sufficient written notice of my intent to terminate the lease? Or is there a need to send a letter of my own?

    • What is the Rental Protection Agency? Before answering your question, I would need to know if you reside in Chicago or at least Illinois. The laws are different for each state.

      • Joe says:

        I do live in Chicago. The Rental Protection Agency calls themselves ‘The Nation’s Rental Authority’ and has a section on their website for officially documenting complaints against a landlord, although I am growing skeptical of their integrity based on the fact that you don’t seem to be aware of their existence.

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