SRO Preservation Ordinance

ORDINANCE

WHEREAS, The City of Chicago is a home-rule unit of government under Article Vll, Section 6(a) of the 1970 Constitution of the State of Illinois, and, as such, may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs; and

WHEREAS, The City’s home-rule authority includes the power to enact ordinances and regulations aimed at preserving safe, decent, and affordable housing in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, The City Council has determined that single-room occupancy buildings (SROs) and residential hotels are an essential component of the City’s affordable housing stock, and that these forms of housing are increasingly scarce due to sale and other market forces; and

WHEREAS, The loss of these effectively irreplaceable forms of affordable housing will likely force low-income households into homelessness, a dire outcome that will add to the already crushing burden on public and non-profit agencies that provide the homeless with protective care, social services, health care, psychological counseling, nutritional programs, and other necessary support; and

WHEREAS, For these reasons, the City has a vital interest in maintaining existing affordable housing by discouraging the conversion and demolition of SROs and residential hotels; and

WHEREAS, The City therefore expresses a firm commitment to make resources available, between now and the end of the year 2018, to preserve no less than 700 units of affordable housing for very and extremely low-income Chicagoans, including SRO and residential hotel units, by implementing an aggressive strategy centered on encouraging owners to participate in a variety of incentive programs or to cooperate in the efforts of preservation buyers to acquire such properties; and

WHEREAS, In addition to this commitment on its own behalf, the City recognizes the need to enact new legal requirements tailored to preserve and protect Chicago’s existing SROs and residential hotels; now, therefore,

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO: SECTION

1. The recitals set forth above are incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof. SECTION

2. Title 5 of the Municipal Code of Chicago is hereby amended by adding a new chapter 5-15, as follows:

CHAPTER 5-15

SINGLE-ROOM OCCUPANCY AND RESIDENTIAL HOTEL PRESERVATION ORDINANCE

5-15-010 Title and purpose.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance,” and shall be liberally construed and applied to achieve its purpose, which is to promote the public welfare by preserving single-room occupancy buildings and residential hotels, thereby sustaining the availability of affordable housing in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. The legislative intent of this chapter is to advance the City’s vital interests in reducing homelessness and maintaining an economically diverse population.

5-15-020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

“Affordable housing” means housing where the residents pay no more than 30% of their adjusted gross monthly household income in rent.

“Commitment Option A.” “Commitment Option B.” and “Commitment Option C” mean the preservation fee calculation mechanisms set forth in Sections 5-15-040 and 5-15-050.

“Conversion” means any action that transforms all or part of a covered property into any type of use, residential or non-residential, that does not fall into the category of covered property.

“Covered property” means any single-room occupancy building, single-room occupancy unit, residential hotel, or residential hotel unit, as well as the land upon which any single-room occupancy building or residential hotel sits, in the City of Chicago.

“Demolition” means any action resulting in the complete or partial, interior or exterior, destruction of a covered property, or the combination of two or more units in a covered property to make a larger unit, or any other action that results in the reduction of the number of units in a covered property.

“Extremely low-income” means those individuals and families whose gross household incomes are between 0 and 30 percent of the median gross household income for the Chicago region, as determined by the Secretary ofthe United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, with adjustments for smaller and larger families.

“Owner” has the meaning ascribed to that term in Section 13-4-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.

“Residential hotel” means any building or structure kept, used, maintained, or advertised or held out to the public, as of September 10. 2014. to be an inn, hotel, motel, family hotel, apartment hotel, lodging house, or other place where furnished sleeping or rooming accommodations are made available for hire or rent, with or without meals, and in which seven or more sleeping rooms are used or maintained for the primary residence of guests, lodgers, or roomers who reside in the property for at least 32 consecutive days, and pay rent to the owner.The term “residential hotel” does not include any hospital, convent, monastery, extended care facility, asylum, not-for-profit home for the aged, temporary overnight shelter, transitional shelter or residence, domestic violence shelter or residence, community home, or dormitory owned and operated by an elementary school, high school, or institution of higher learning. For purposes of this definition, a person is not a guest, lodger, or roomer if his or her employer pays, directly or through reimbursement, the costs of his or her lodging.

“Residential hotel unit” means a room within a residential hotel used as, or intended to be used as. a living space by guests, lodgers, or roomers who reside in the property.

“Single-room occupancy building” and “single-room occupancy unit” have the meanings ascribed to those terms in Section 13-4-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.

“Subsidized affordable housing” means affordable housing where individuals and families reside and pay rent to the owner with the benefit of governmental or charitable rental subsidies, rental assistance payments, or other housing assistance payment contracts, which may create a third-party right to the tenancy.

“Unsubsidized affordable housing” means affordable housing where individuals and families reside and pay rent to the owner without the benefit of any governmental or charitable rental subsidies, rental assistance payments, or other housing assistance payment contracts.

“Very low-income” means those individuals and families whose gross household incomes are between 30 and 50 percent of the median gross household income for the Chicago region, as determined by the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, with adjustments for smaller and larger families.

5-15-030 Preservation fees.

The amount of any preservation fee remitted pursuant to this chapter shall be calculated by the commissioner of planning and development, and the funds shall be utilized for the development, improvement, and preservation of single-room occupancy buildings and residential hotels. The amount of such fees shall be adjusted annually based upon the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers for the Chicago metropolitan area, or, if this index no longer exists, some other comparable index, selected by the commissioner of planning and development in his reasonable discretion. The City shall establish and promote a process for owners and purchasers of covered properties to apply for financial incentives in exchange for entering into binding land-use agreements to preserve the properties as single-room occupancy buildings and residential hotels.

5-15-040 Conversion or demolition of covered properties – prerequisites.

The department of buildings shall not process any permit allowing the conversion or demolition of a covered property. or any new development on the site of a demolished covered property. until the property’s owner has filed, and the commissioner of buildings granted, an application for clearance. The commissioner of buildings shall prescribe the form of this application, and shall not grant an application unless the owner meets the requirements described in either subsection 5-15-040(a) or subsection 5-15-040(b).

(a) In lieu of proceeding pursuant to subsection 5-15-040(b). the owner shall enter into a binding land-use agreement with the City: (1) providing that the proposed project will create and/or retain at the property a number of units equal to a percentage of the number of units in the existing property as subsidized or unsubsidized affordable housing for very and extremely low-income individuals and families; and (2) agreeing to maintain those units as subsidized or unsubsidized affordable housing for very and extremely low-income individuals and families for a period of not less than 20 years. If the committed percentage is less than 20%. the owner shall also remit to the City a preservation fee in the amount of 20% of the units minus the committed percentage of units times $200.000 (as adjusted pursuant to Section 5-15- 030). For example, if the owner of a 100-unit building commits a number of units equal to 15% of the property’s units, he shall remit to the City a preservation fee in the amount of $1,000.000: 20% of 100 (i.e.. 20) minus 15% of 100 (i.e.. 15) equals five: five times $200,000 equals $1,000,000. For purposes of this chapter, this option shall be referred to as “Commitment Option A.”

(b) In lieu of proceeding pursuant to subsection 5-15-040(a). the owner shall remit to the City a preservation fee in the amount of 20% of the number of units in the existing property times $200.000 (as adjusted pursuant to Section 5-15-030). For example, if the owner of a 100- unit building proceeds under this subsection 5-15-040(b). he shall remit to the City a preservation fee in the amount of $4.000.000: 20% of 100 (i.e., 20) times $200,000 equals $4,000.000. For purposes of this chapter, this option shall be referred to as “Commitment Option B.”

5-15-050 Sale or transfer of covered properties – prerequisites.

Before selling or otherwise transferring ownership of a covered property. the owner shall meet the requirements described in either subsection 5-15-050(a) or subsection 5-15-050(b).

(a) (1) The owner may choose to:

(A) provide to the department of planning and development by first class mail, and to the residents of the property by hand delivery and first class mail, at least 180 days’ notice of the proposed sale or transfer of the property:

(B) allow the property’s residents or any representative of the residents 180 days following the date of notice to tender an offer to purchase the property: and

(C) upon receiving any such offer, engage in good-faith negotiations, during the remaining portion of the 180-day period described in subsection 5-15-050(a)(1)(B), towards a purchase and sale agreement with the offering party. 

(2) If the owner accepts an offer tendered and negotiated in the manner described in subsection 5-15-050(a)(1). then the owner shall include in the contract for sale or transfer a clause whereby the purchaser agrees to maintain, for a period of not less than 20 years, a number of units equal to at least 33% of the current number of units at the property as subsidized or unsubsidized affordable housing for very and extremely low-income individuals and families.

(3) If the owner receives an offer and meets the requirement of negotiating in good faith, as described in subsections 5-15-050(a)(1)(B) and (C), but does not reach a purchase and sale agreement with the offering party, then the owner shall be allowed a period of 60 days following the end of the 180-notice period described in subsection 5-15-050(a)(1)(A) within which to sell or transfer the property to any other party. If an owner sells or transfers a property pursuant to this subsection 5-15-050(a)(3). he shall include in the contract for sale or transfer a clause whereby the purchaser agrees to comply with either Commitment Option A or Commitment Option B. Beginning on the 61st day following the end of the 180-day notice period described in subsection 5-15-050(a)(1)(A). the owner shall not sell the property without either repeating the process described in subsection 5-15-050(a)(1) or meeting the requirements in subsection 5-15-050(b).

(b) In lieu of proceeding pursuant to subsection 5-15-050(a), the owner may opt out of the right-to-purchase process described in that subsection by remitting to the City a preservation fee in the amount of 30% of the number of units in the property times $200.000 (as adjusted pursuant to Section 5-15-030). For example, if the owner of a 100-unit building proceeds under this subsection 5-15-050(b). he shall remit to the City a preservation fee in the amount of $6,000,000: 30% of 100 (i.e., 30) times $200.000 equals $6.000.000. For purposes of this chapter, this option shall be referred to as “Commitment Option C.”

5-15-060 Anti-displacement and relocation requirements.

(a) Each resident of a covered property scheduled to be demolished, converted, or sold or otherwise transferred, who has resided in the property for at least 31 consecutive days preceding the date the owner initiates any of the processes described in Sections 5-15-040 and 5-15-050, shall be considered a long-term resident. Each owner of a covered property who undertakes any of the processes described in Sections 5-15-040 and 5-15-050 in a manner that will result in the displacement of residents shall submit a list of all long-term residents to the commissioner of planning and development and, where applicable, to the purchaser of the property.

(b) In situations where a covered property is scheduled to be converted, demolished and replaced, or sold or otherwise transferred in a manner that results in the displacement of residents, the owner or purchaser, as applicable, shall determine which, if any, of the current income-eligible and lease-compliant long-term residents wish to return to the property. If the number of affordable units scheduled to be retained is less than the number of long-term residents wishing to return, then the owner or purchaser, as applicable, shall determine via lottery which of those residents to invite to return to the property.

(1) In situations where conversion or construction renders the property temporarily uninhabitable, the owner shall arrange for comparable temporary accommodations, as defined by the commissioner of planning and development, for each resident who is invited and intends to return to the property. as well as all reasonable moving and related expenses, not to exceed one month’s rent (or the amount of rent the resident has paid over the most recent 30 days, if rent is not paid on a monthly basis).

(2) In all cases under this subsection 5-15-060(b). the owner or purchaser, as applicable, shall refund to each resident who is not invited to return to the property any security deposit, any interest due on the security deposit, and all prepaid rent. In addition, the owner or purchaser as applicable, shall pay each displaced long-term resident a one-time relocation assistance fee in the amount of the greater of $2.000.00 or three months’ rent (or three times the amount of rent the resident has paid over the most recent 30 days, if rent is not paid on a monthly basis). The owner or purchaser, as applicable, shall also give each displaced long-term resident the option of placement on a waitlist for an affordable housing unit in the property.

(c) In situations where a covered property is scheduled to be sold or otherwise transferred pursuant to the terms described in subsection 5-15-050(b), the owner shall refund each resident’s security deposit, any interest due on the security deposit, and all prepaid rent, and shall pay each long-term resident a one-time relocation assistance fee in the amount of $10.600.00.

5-15-070 Change in terms of rental, lease, or occupancy agreements.

The owner of a covered property shall hand deliver to each resident written notice of any change in the terms of that resident’s rental, lease, or occupancy agreement, including changes in the frequency or amount of payment for rent, occupancy. or other housing purposes. The timinq of this notice shall be determined by the resident’s existinq rental, lease, or occupancv aqreement. whether written or oral. For example, if a resident pays rent on a weekly basis, he is entitled to one week’s notice pursuant to this section. A rent increase imposed in compliance with this section shall not constitute retaliatory conduct as contemplated in Section 5-12-150 of this Code, so lonq as the increase is imposed on a property-wide basis.

5-15-080 Provision of room keys to residents.

The owner of a covered propertv shall provide each resident a copy of the key to his room. If an owner violates this section, the affected resident shall be entitled to $2.000.00 or twice the monetary value of the damaqes sustained, whichever is qreater

5-15-090 Enforcement.

(a) Any resident of a covered property who is injured by a violation of this chapter may institute injunctive, mandamus, or any other appropriate legal action seeking enforcement. A resident who institutes a leqal action pursuant to this chapter and is adiudqed to be a prevailinq partv mav be awarded attorney’s fees and court costs.

(b) If the City initiates or joins any enforcement action against an owner who violates or resists enforcement of this chapter, the owner shall be fined not less than $200.00 nor more than $500.00 for each offense upon which a finding of liability is entered. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.

(c) If the owner of a covered property sells the property before remitting to the City a preservation fee required under this chapter, both the owner and purchaser shall be jointly and severely liable for the payment of such fee.

SECTION 3. This ordinance shall take effect 10 days after its passage and publication.

Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO)

What is the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance? 

The City of Chicago enacted the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Property Ordinance, commonly known as the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO), in response to the harmful effect of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on renters in Chicago. The ordinance aims to keep renters in their homes by requiring new building owners to offer bonafide tenants a lease renewal or $10,600 in relocation assistance. You can view the full text of the ordinance by scrolling down or clicking here.

The KCRO Requires New Owners to Serve Tenants with Written Notice of Change in Ownership    Notice of change in ownership must be provided within 21 days after a person becomes an owner or within 7 days of determining the tenant’s identity. Notice must be delivered to known tenant or household member 13 years or older or mailed. In addition, notice must be posted on the primary entrance of each foreclosed property . Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-040(a),(b)

The Ordinance requires that the notice be given in English, Spanish, Polish and Chinese. The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) has translated the notice and those translations may be used by owners to inform their tenants in accordance with the law. The notices can be downloaded by clicking here.

The KCRO Requires Notice Before the Owner Can Collect Rent
Until the owner serves notice under § 5-14-040, the owner cannot collect rent or terminate a tenant’s lease for failure to pay rent. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-040(c).

The KCRO Requires Owners to Renew or Extend Leases or Pay Substantial Relocation Assistance
The Ordinance requires the owner of a foreclosed rental property to either:

  1. offer the Qualified Tenant a renewal or extension of their lease with a rent increase of no more than 2%; or
  2. pay the tenants a relocation fee of $10,600 within seven days of the Qualified Tenant vacating the unit. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-050(a).

If the owner elects to offer a lease, the owner must continue to offer renewals or extensions (with rent increases of no more than 2% per year) until the owner sells the property to a “bona fide third-party purchaser.” Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-050(g).

What Tenants Are Entitled to Protections Under the Ordinance?
The Ordinance protects “Qualified” tenants who have a bona fide (valid) lease or rental agreement. The definition of a bona fide lease or rental agreement includes all agreements, whether written or oral, as long as:

  • The tenant is not the mortgagor, or the child, spouse, or parent of the mortgagor;
  • The lease or tenancy was the product of an arm’s-length transaction; and
  • The rent required under the lease or tenancy is not substantially less than fair market or is subsidized by the government. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-020.

In other words, leases entered into with children, parents, or the spouse of the former owner; leases where both parties did not negotiate in their own best interest; and leases with substantially less than fair market rent are not considered bona fide, and tenants without bona fide leases are not qualified tenants under the Ordinance.

Which Property Owners Are Subject to the Ordinance?

  1. any person who acquires ownership of a property pursuant to a judicial sale of a foreclosed rental property, after the sale has been confirmed by the court and any special right of redemption has expired; or
  2. mortgagees that acquire ownership of a property through foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-020.

Which Property Owners Are Not Subject to the Ordinance?

  1. an owner of a foreclosed rental property who was the owner prior to the effective date of the Ordinance;
  2. a person appointed as a receiver and issued or assigned, a Receiver’s Certificate; or
  3. a bona fide not-for-profit in existence continuously for a period of five years immediately prior to becoming the owner of the rental unit and whose purpose is to provide financing for the purchase or rehabilitation of affordable housing. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-030.

Penalties
If an owner fails to comply with § 5-14-050 (Tenant relocation assistance), the qualified tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the relocation assistance fee. Chicago Municipal Code, § 5-14-050(f). Penalties for violation of the KCRO are significant enough that LCBH expects substantial compliance.

NEED ASSISTANCE? Call the LCBH’s free Tenants in Foreclosure Help Line: 312-784-3507 or call our free Tenants Rights Hotline, Monday-Friday between 1:00pm – 5:00pm: 773-292-4988.

To find out if your building is in foreclosure, click here and follow the step-by-step instructions.

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The “Keep Chicago Renting” Ordinance

Section 1. Title, Purpose and Scope.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Keep Chicago Renting” ordinance and shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its purposes and policies. It is the purpose of this ordinance, in order to protect, maintain, and improve foreclosed rental property, preserve rental housing stock, mitigate losses to area property values, and avoid neighborhood destabilization due to foreclosure, to prevent vacant foreclosed residential buildings and preserve tenancies in these properties. Except when this ordinance conflicts with the statutory or regulatory provisions governing federal housing subsidy programs, including, but not limited to, public housing and project-based Section 8 housing operating pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq., the provisions of this ordinance shall apply to and regulate ei;er3′ foreclosed property in which occupants hold possession of dwelling units. The rights, obligations and remedies established by this ordinance shall be cumulative and in addition to any others available at law or in equity. Nothing in this ordinance shall affect a landlord’s obligation to provide notice of termination of tenancy as required under applicable laws governing actions for possession.

Section 2. Definitions.

Whenever used in this ordinance, the following words and phrases shall have the following meaning:

(a) “Dwelling unit” means a structure or the part of a structure 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; except that this ordinance shall not govern dwelling units described in Subsections 5-12-020 (b) and, (c) of this Code.

(b) “Foreclosed property” means any property for which legal and equitable interests in real estate were terminated by a foreclosure action brought under the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law (“IMFL”), 735 ILCS 5/15-1101 et seq.

(c) “Foreclosing owner” means a person or entity, or an agent acting on behalf of a person or entity that holds title in any capacity, directly or indirectly, to a foreclosed property and either (1) was a mortgagee who was a party to the foreclosure or is the subsidiary, parent, trustee, nominee or agent; or (2) is the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

(d) “Occupant” means any person in lawful physical possession of a dwelling unit in all or part of a foreclosed property and as described under Sections 1223 and 1508.5 ofthe IMFL.

(e) “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, as defined by the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”) in Section 5-12-030 of this Code.

(f) “Bona fide third party purchaser” means a person or entity that is not a foreclosing owner and purchases the foreclosed property from the
foreclosing owner.

Section 3. Eviction of Occupants Prevented; Exceptions.

A foreclosing owner may not maintain an action for possession, except in accordance with this ordinance or unless a binding purchase and sale agreement has been executed and is in effect for the purchase of the dwelling unit by a bona fide third party purchaser.

Section 4. Notice Requirements.

Within 21 days of taking title to foreclosed property, a foreclosing owner must notify in writing all occupants of dwelling units of the real estate using the text provided in subsection (d) of this section. This notice must be printed in English and Spanish in no less than 14 point type, on paper at least eight and one-half inches by 11 inches in size.

(a) Service requirements shall be satisfied i f the foreclosing owner has (i) posted this notice in a prominent location in the building; (ii) mailed this notice by first class mail to each unit; and (iii) has made an attempt to personally serve an occupant of each unit in the building.

(b) The Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHED) shall make available for distribution, both in print and in an easily printable format on the department’s Internet website, the following notice in English with a Spanish translation that may be used to satisfy the notice requirements of this section.

(c) Compliance and Curing Noncompliance. For purposes of collecting rent or maintaining an action for possession as described in Section 5, a foreclosing owner may cure a failure to timely provide notice by providing the notice more than 21 days after the transfer of title. Curing the notice deficiency, however, shall not waive any occupant’s right to remedies as described in Section 8 of this ordinance. Additionally, a foreclosing owner shall have no right to collect back rent that accrued during the period of time that the foreclosing owner was not in compliance with the notice requirements of this section.

(d) Text of Notice Provision:

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OCCUPANTS

City of Chicago law requires that we provide you this notice informing you of your rights as occupants of [INSERT PROPERTY ADDRESS]. This property is now owned by [INSERT NAME OF FORECLOSING OWNER]. The former owner of this property no longer owns the property because the property was foreclosed. Chicago law protects your right to remain in your home after a foreclosure. [NAME OF ORDINANCE AND CITATION]. This law protects all occupants, even if you do not have a written lease. The law states that you cannot be evicted just because your building was foreclosed. You do not have to pay the new owner any rent owed before the due date provided in this notice. You can only be evicted if you do not pay rent starting on the due date provided in this notice, if you commit a crime or allow someone you know commit a crime in your home, if you damage your home, or if you refuse to let the new owner inspect your home and make necessary repairs. You can only be evicted after the new owner of this building files an eviction claim in court and you are given a chance to defend yourself in front of a judge. You can only be removed from your home by personnel of the Cook County Sheriffs office with an order from the court. Your rent cannot be raised unless the new owner of this building files in court and you have had a chance to defend your current rent in front of a judge. The former owner of this building has no right to collect rent since the former owner does not own the building anymore. You should now pay your rent to the new owner of this building: [INSERT NAME, ADDRESS, AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE FORECLOSING OWNER, THE BUILDING MANAGER, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FORECLOSURE OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR COLLECTING RENT]. Please pay your rent on the [INSERT DAY] of each month by [INSERT METHOD OF TRANSMISSION]. You are not responsible for paying any back rent owed prior to the due date provided in this notice. The new owner of this building must maintain the property including making sure the building and your unit are safe and secure, removing trash and debris, and exterminating any vermin. The owner must also make sure that heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas and plumbing services are all available. For maintenance issues and emergencies, please contact [INSERT NAME, ADDRESS, AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE FORECLOSING OWNER, THE BUILDING MANAGER, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FORECLOSURE OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR COLLECTING RENT]. If you do choose to move, you are entitled to collect your security deposit from the new owner of this building. If the new owner of this building tries to evict you, raise your rent, refuses to return your security deposit, or fails to maintain your building, you may be eligible to collect damages. Please contact a lawyer, a legal aid or housing counseling agency, or the Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS) legal aid hotline at (312) 738-9200 to discuss your rights.

Section 5. Right to Possession.

Except as described in Section 3, and except when state or federal law provides an occupant with additional or superior rights, a foreclosing owner shall have the right to maintain an action for possession of a dwelling unit against an occupant only after complying with the notice requirements of Section 4 and:

(a) thirty days have passed, an occupant has failed to pay rent, and the landlord has complied with all the applicable notice and cure periods governing eviction for nonpayment of rent, including, but not limited to, those provided by the RLTO and the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq. (“Forcible Entry and Detainer Act”) (hereinafter “FEDA”); or

(b) an occupant has failed to cure a breach of the lease agreement or other tenant responsibility as described in Section 5-12-040 of this Code and the landlord has complied with the applicable notice and cure periods governing eviction for breach of lease or tenant responsibilities, including, but not limited to, those provided by the RLTO and the FEDA; or

(c) an occupant violates Section 9-118, 9-119 or 9- 120 of the FEDA, and the landlord has complied with all other applicable notice and cure periods
required under these statutes; or

(d) thirty days have passed, an occupant’s bona fide lease or other rental agreement has terminated, and the foreclosing owner, by written request, has offered a lease under the same terms that were in effect at the time that the foreclosing owner took title, and the occupant has rejected that offer.

Section 6. Increase of Rent.

After complying with the notice requirements of Section 4, a foreclosing owner shall be entitled to recover rent. A foreclosing owner shall not charge an occupant of a dwelling unit a rental amount above that which the occupant had been paying for use and occupancy of the dwelling unit prior to foreclosure
without leave of court. The court may allow an increase of rent if, in an action brought by a foreclosing owner, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the current rent is below market rate and an increase of rent is necessary to operate, manage, and conserve the dwelling unit. In the event that the foreclosing owner and an occupant of a dwelling unit agree to a rent increase for that dwelling unit, the foreclosing owner is excused from the requirements of this section as to that dwelling unit. Nothing in this section shall alter the terms of any lease agreement.

Section 7. Misrepresentation of Right to Possession.

It shall be unlawful for a foreclosing owner:

(a) to willfully or negligently misrepresent, by written or oral statement, the rights of the occupant or foreclosing owner regarding rightful possession of the dwelling unit;

(b) to withhold essential services, as defined under Subsection 5-12-110(f) of this Code, except that this ordinance shall also prohibit actions taken against occupants; or

(c) to interrupt occupancy as defined under Section 5-12-160 of this Code, except that this ordinance shall also prohibit actions taken against occupants.

Section 8. Defenses and Remedies.

If a foreclosing owner acts in violation of this ordinance, the occupant shall have a complete defense against the foreclosing owner in any action for possession. If an occupant in a civil legal proceeding establishes that a violation of this ordinance has occurred, the occupant shall be entitled to recover
$5,000.00 in damages or actual damages, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Each violation of this ordinance shall constitute a
separate offense.

For more information or assistance, contact our Foreclosure Organizer, Saul Garcia at 773-292-4988 ext 247 or at saul@tenants-rights.org

Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

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)

Contact Your Alderman

The Aldermen of the Chicago City Council are elected to represent their constituents: you.

Find your alderman by clicking HERE and make a call voicing your support of tenants’ right to have a voice in the decisions that affect the affordability and availability of safe, decent and accessible housing.

If you do not know which ward you are in, find out here. To search for your Alderman with your home address, click here.

Apartment Conditions and Repairs – FAQ

NOTE: If your landlord lives in your building, see the “Exceptions” note on the right side of this page.

What is my landlord responsible for?
Your landlord has a duty to keep your apartment in good shape and make all necessary repairs. If she fails to do this, you may be able to:

  • Make the repairs yourself and deduct their cost from your rent;
  • Withhold a portion of your rent;
  • Sue your landlord; or
  • Terminate your lease agreement. This pamphlet explains when and how you can do these things.

What must my landlord do to maintain the condition of my apartment?
Keep your toilet, bathtub, shower, and bathroom sink in good working order;

  • Keep your furnace and boiler in good working order;
  • Keep your windows weatherproof;
  • Keep your floors, walls and ceilings in good repair;
  • Keep your plumbing fixtures in good repair;
  • Keep your electrical outlets safe and operable;
  • Prevent the accumulation of stagnant water;
  • Keep all of the appliances he supplies in good working order;
  • Maintain the building is foundation, exterior walls, and roof in good and watertight condition;
  • Provide adequate hall and stairway lighting; Keep all stairways and porches in a safe and sound condition;
  • Provide trash containers;
  • Protect you against rodents and insects by exterminating; and
  • Comply with all other requirements of Chicago’s Municipal Code.

If my landlord doesn’t make necessary repairs, can I use my rent to pay for these repairs?

Yes, but only if the repair will not cost more than $500 or one-half of your rent (which ever is greater). Using your rent money to make necessary repairs is called “repairing and deducting.”

How do I “repair and deduct?”
First you must give your landlord a written notice stating that, unless she makes the necessary repairs within 14 days, you will make them yourself and deduct their cost from your rent. Keep a copy of the notice. If your landlord doesn’t make the necessary repairs within 14 days of receiving the notice, you can make the repairs or pay someone else to do it. After giving your landlord paid receipts to confirm the cost of repair, you can deduct this cost from your rent. See sample letter here.

What if I want to repair a problem in a common area, such as a stairway or hallway?
You must first give all of the other tenants written notice of your plan to make the repair.

If my landlord doesn’t make necessary repairs, can I withhold a portion of my rent?
Yes, but first give your landlord a written notice stating that, unless she makes the necessary repairs within 14 days, you will withhold a certain portion of your monthly rent payments. NOTE: You cannot withhold a portion of your rent and “repair and deduct” in the same month.

If I decide to withhold a portion of my rent, exactly how much should I withhold?
The amount you withhold must reasonably reflect the reduced value of your apartment. Be conservative. You cannot withhold all your rent unless your apartment is in such bad shape that you must move, and you can rarely withhold as much as 50%. If you withhold too much, your landlord may be able to evict you for nonpayment of rent. To be safe, consult with an attorney. See “rent reduction” sample letter here.

Can I terminate my lease because my landlord has failed to make necessary repairs?
Yes, but only in very serious cases. Consult with an attorney first.

How can I terminate my lease?
First, you must provide your landlord with written notice that you will terminate your lease in no less than 14 days unless he makes whatever repairs are necessary. If she does not correct the problem within 14 days of receiving this notice, you may terminate your lease agreement. If you terminate the lease, you must move within the next 30 days otherwise your lease will remain in effect. See sample letter here.

If my landlord doesn’t make necessary repairs, can I sue him/her?
Yes, but consult with an attorney first.

Can I make my landlord pay for the cost of repairing a problem I caused?
No.

What if my landlord fails to provide me with an essential service (such as heat, electricity, or running water)?
See the page entitled Heat & Other Essential Services.

Does my landlord have to repaint my apartment?
Not unless the paint is cracking or peeling.

Can I sue my landlord if my property is damaged in her apartment?
Only if the property was damaged as a result of your landlord’s negligence.

Please Note: This information, published by the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the Metropolitan Tenants Organization as a public service, gives you only a general idea of your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance and other relevant chapters of Chicago’s Municipal Code. It is meant to inform, but not to advise. Before enforcing your rights, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney who can analyze the facts of your case and apply the law to these facts.

Still can’t find the answer? Send us your questions. Please allow several days for a response.

Chapter 18-27 Chicago Electrical Code

This provides excerpts of Chap 18-27 as it relates to tenants’ access to their fuse box. The Municipal Code of Chicago requires that either tenants have direct 24 hour open access to the circuit breaker/fuse box, or the management provides the same 24 hour access with their on-duty personnel.

18-27-225.35  Access to occupants.

In a multiple-occupancy building, each occupant shall have access to the occupant’s supply disconnecting means.

Exception: In a multiple-occupancy building where electric supply and electrical maintenance are provided by the building management and where these are under continuous building management supervision, the supply disconnecting means supplying more than one occupancy shall be permitted to be accessible to authorized management personnel only.

(Added Coun. J. 11-3-99, p. 13842, § 5)

18-27-230.70  General.

Means shall be provided to disconnect all conductors in a building or other structure from the service-entrance conductors.

(a)     Location. The service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location in the basement or first floor area of a building or structure, within the main wall, at a point not exceeding 5 ft (1.92 m) from the point of entry. When the distance of the service raceway needs to exceed 5 ft (1.92 m) from the point of entry into the building, the service raceway shall conform to the requirements of Section 18-27-230.6.

Exception: For the purposes of this section, readily accessible locations include dedicated electrical rooms, meeting the following conditions:

(1)     Access to room either from inside or outside the building shall be provided for all occupants;

(2)     Rooms shall have a secure, locking-type door(s) that prohibits access to persons other than tenants and/or occupants of the building.

(3)     Rooms shall be of the same construction as the building;

(4)     Rooms shall be for the exclusive use of the electrical service metering and distribution equipment;

(5)     A panelboard with main and branch circuit protection shall be provided within the interior of each unit or space being served;

(6)     A wall switch controlled lighting outlet shall be provided for illumination in all such electrical rooms.

Service disconnecting means shall not be installed in bathrooms.

In high rise buildings or similar buildings, the disconnecting means for the multiple services recognized by Section 18-27-230.2(b)(2) shall be located in a dedicated fire-rated room as near as practical to the serving utility vault. The rooms for the “Main” service disconnecting means which serve the building common element loads shall have a three-hour fire rating. The electrical service rooms for tenant loads shall have a 2-hour minimum fire rating. These rooms shall be for the exclusive use of electrical equipment. Separate service disconnecting means shall be required for each tenant floor. These disconnects shall be permitted to be located on a floor other than the floor served. Where more than one service is permitted to serve one floor, the various disconnecting means and their locations shall be prominently identified as required by Section 18-27-230.2(e). All such rooms shall comply with Section 18-27-110.26.

(b)     Marking. Each service disconnect shall be permanently marked to identify it as a service disconnect.

(c)     Suitable for Use. Each service disconnecting means shall be suitable for the prevailing conditions. Service equipment installed in hazardous (classified) locations shall comply with the requirements of Articles 500 through 517.

(Added Coun. J. 11-3-99, p. 13842, § 5; Amend Coun. J. 1-10-01, p. 50262, § 1)

18-27-230.92  Locked service overcurrent devices.

Where the service overcurrent devices are locked or sealed, or not readily accessible to the occupant, branch- circuit overcurrent devices shall be installed on the load side, shall be mounted in a readily accessible location, and shall be of lower ampere rating than the service overcurrent device.

(Added Coun. J. 11-3-99, p. 13842, § 5)

Find Your Landlord’s Contact Information

Landlord’s Name
First, you must find out the Property Identification Number (PIN) of your building. Online, you can try www.newschicago.org. If the website is down or it is not finding your building, you can call the Cook County Assessor’s office at 312-443-7550.
Once you have the PIN number, you can go to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds’ website and click the link to do a “Property Identification Number (PIN) Search.” This page can get a bit confusing, so a phone call to their office is a good alternative at 312-603-5050.

You can also find out the landlord’s name by going downtown. Begin your search in County Building (118 N. Clark Street).  First go to the Revenue Dept., Room 112, and ask someone at the counter for the Permanent Index Number (PIN number) for the address of the building.   You may also get the PIN number yourself by looking at the green books on the counter.   Go to the tract dept. of the Recorder of Deeds which is located in Room 120.   Give the person at the counter the PIN number and tell them that you want to know the name of the owner of that building.   The grantee of the most recent deed recorded is the owner of the property.   If the property is in a land trust you can send letter to the bank trustee.   They should forward the letter to the beneficiary of the trust your landlord.   The bank will not disclose the name of the beneficiary of the trust to you.   Get the document number of the deed (see below).

Landlord’s Address

  1. Take the document number of the deed to the microfiche department in the Recorders Office, down the hall from the Tract Dept.   Tell the person behind the counter you want to look at the deed to determine the grantee’s address.   Give him the document number.   Look at the deed for the grantee’s address, usually near the beginning.   This is the landlord’s address at the time he/she purchased the building.   The address could be near the bottom under “send subsequent tax bills to”.   If it is a corporation, call the Secretary of State at 312-793-3380 to get the name of the registered agent and corporation’s address.
  2. Call the Revenue Dept. 312-443-5100 or 443-6253 to find out the property taxpayer’s name.   Caution – the taxpayer is not necessarily the owner, it could be the previous one.   You can also get this info in Room 112.
  3. If you have the landlord’s phone number, call Ameritech’s Reverse Directory at 312-796-9600.   They will give you the address if the number is listed.
  4. Call the City’s Dept. of Buildings Multiple Dwelling Registration number 312-744-3452.   All apartment buildings should be registered.   They can give you the name and address of the landlord or landlord’s agent.   However, few buildings are registered even though failure to register is a building code violation.
  5. You can check to see if your landlord is being sued (defendant) by calling the three numbers listed below.   (Or use the computers in room 602 of the Daley Center 50 W. Washington Street.   Type “users” to get to the main menu.)   If he/she is, get the case number.   Then go to the appropriate floor at the Daley Center and look at the file (see below for the location of the different departments). The address where the landlord was served should be on the summons.

Chancery (foreclosure) 312-443-5133 files on 8th floor

Law 312-443-5426 files on 8th floor

Municipal 312-443-5145 files on 6th floor

Divorce Files on 8th floor

Tenant Responsibilities – FAQ

NOTE: If your landlord lives in your building, see the “Exceptions” note on the right side of this page.

As a tenant, what am I required to do?
* Throw out your trash in a clean and safe manner;
* Use all fixtures (such as lights and ceiling fans) and appliances in a reasonable and safe manner;
* Don’t damage the apartment;
* Don’t disturb your neighbors;
* Make sure your family members and guests act appropriately;
* Provide your landlord with reasonable access to your unit (see below); and
* Obey all the lawful provisions of your lease agreement.

Can I be evicted for failing to do these things?
Yes
Please refer to Evictions for more information.

When must I let my landlord into my apartment?
You must let your landlord enter your apartment to:
* Make necessary repairs;
* Supply necessary services;
* Show the apartment to prospective purchasers, workmen, etc.
* Show the apartment to prospective renters within 60 days of the date on which your lease expires; or
* Determine whether you are complying with the terms of your lease agreement. Please refer to Building Security, Locks, and the Law for more information.

Must my landlord give me advance notice before entering my apartment?
Yes. Your landlord must provide you with at least two days notice, and he/she can only enter your unit at a reasonable time. An entry between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. is presumed to be reasonable.
Please refer to Building Security, Locks, and the Law for more information.

Does my landlord ever have the right to enter my apartment without giving me advance notice?
Yes, but only when:
* There is a problem in the common area of the building or in another apartment, and he/she needs to enter your unit to unit to fix this problem; or
* There is an emergency.In either case, your landlord must let you know that he/she entered your apartment within two days after the entry.

What if my landlord keeps coming into my apartment to harass me?
You can call the police. If your landlord does not have a right to be in your apartment, the police should force him/her to leave. You can also:
* File a lawsuit and ask the court to order your landlord to stop entering your apartment more often than necessary; or
* Give your landlord written notice that you will terminate your lease agreement unless he/she stops harassing you within the next 14 days. If he/she does not stop, you can terminate the lease. If you terminate the lease, however, you must move within the next 30 days. Otherwise, the lease will remain in effect.You should consult with an attorney before pursuing either of these two options.
Please refer to Building Security, Locks, and the Law for more information.

Can I refuse to let my landlord into my apartment?
Only if you have a good reason. For instance, you can refuse to let your landlord in if he/she has not provided you with the required advance notice, or if he/she is trying to enter your apartment between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. (Remember, however, you cannot refuse to let your landlord in when there is an emergency). If you are not sure whether you have a good reason to deny your landlord access to your apartment, call an attorney or the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (773/292-4988).

What if, without good reason, I refuse to let my landlord into my apartment?
Your landlord can:
* File a lawsuit and ask the court to order you to let him into the apartment; or
* Terminate your lease agreement and have you evicted. Please refer to Evictions for more information.

Can I change the locks without giving my landlord a new set of keys?
No. Even when you have the right to install a new lock, you must give your landlord a key.
Please refer to Building Security, Locks, and the Law for more information.

Do I have to tell my landlord I am moving when my written lease ends?
No. Your lease sets forth the date on which it ends, and you are supposed to move on that date unless you and your landlord agree to renew your lease agreement.
Please refer to Leases for more information.

What if I do not have a written lease?
If you pay rent on a monthly basis, you must give your landlord at least one month advance written notice that you are moving out. Otherwise, you can be held liable for another month’s rent. If you pay rent on a weekly basis, you must give your landlord at least 7 days advance written notice that you are moving. Otherwise, you can be held liable for another week’s rent.
Please refer to Leases for more information.

What if I damage the apartment?
If you have paid a security deposit, your landlord can withhold whatever portion of this deposit is necessary to cover the cost of repairs. (See the pamphlet entitled Security Deposits to find out what procedure your landlord must follow before withholding all or part of this deposit). If the cost of repair is more than your security deposit, or if you never paid a security deposit, your landlord can sue you for the cost of repairs.
Please refer to Apartment Conditions and Repair for more information.

Please Note:This pamphlet, published by the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the Metropolitan Tenants Organization as a public service, gives you only a general idea of your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance and other relevant chapters of Chicagoís Municipal Code. It is meant to inform, but not to advise. Before enforcing your rights, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney who can analyze the facts of your case and apply the law to these facts.

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