Chicago Building Code RE: Pests

Last updated: January 4, 2010 – 12:51 PM


13-196-630  Residential buildings – Responsibilities of owner or operator.

Every owner or operator must:

(a)     Comply with the requirements imposed on him by this chapter;

(b)     Maintain in a clean, sanitary and safe condition the shared or public areas of the dwelling or premises, and maintain and repair any equipment of a type specified in this Code which he supplies or is required to supply;

(c)     Exterminate any insects, rodents or other pests in any family unit, if infestation is caused by the failure of the owner or operator to maintain the dwelling in a ratproof or reasonable insect-proof condition, and he must exterminate such pests in any family unit in the dwelling, regardless of the cause of infestation, if infestation exists in two or more of the family units in the dwelling or in the shared or public parts of any dwelling containing two or more family units; and

(d)     Supply and maintain the facilities for refuse disposal which are required of him by Section 7-28-220.

Learn more about tenant remedies for pest infestation here:

All 118 Comments

  1. I contacted my landlord thru email & written letter about my rodent problem my in my unit they are living in my stove & climbing over my countertop In my kitchen where I eat. He sent exterminator out twice but they couldn’t find the problem. Can I terminate my lease & move out?

    1. Because the professional exterminator did not find any rodent, it may cause you problems and is always best to discuss this with an attorney. It would be good to gather as much documentation of the problem as possible (photos the rodent or other signs). Before you can take a step such as terminating the lease you have to sent the landlord a letter stating your intention to move out if the problem is not resolved in 14 days then you will terminate the lease. You can only terminate leases if the situation is not reasonably fit and habitable so it would be best to use that language to describe the problem.

  2. Is my landlord responsible for the cleanup of urine and feces because of a rodent infestation? What about damage to my property by the rodents?

    1. Yes your landlord is responsible for cleaning up the rodent infestation. As for your property that was damaged, did the landlord know about the infestation and refuse to take any action? Often you will have to show some negligence on the landlord’s part.

  3. I have been living in my current residence for 2 yrs. 4 month into my lease I noticed mice. Ive been communicating this problem to the management company and have email documentation of such complaints. Every time I complain they send someone out to fill the holes. The maintenance person used a weather proofing foam that was designed to keep out bugs…not mice. I pointed that out several times as mice continue to eat through the foam as well as make numerous NEW holes that I try to fill with steel wool myself. I keep a very clean apartment, but the complex itself is infested. I learned this after speaking with several residents..What are my rights as far as requiring the management company to put me in a similarly priced unit that is rodent free? What do I need to do to make that happen. I have a heart condition and am also immune compromised. I NEED a clean and rodent free place to live. Please advise

    1. Well there are several things that you can try.
      1. Talk to your neighbors and send the landlord a joint letter requesting the problem be resolved. Our experience is that when tenants work together they tend to have more success that an individual working alone.
      2. Tell the landlord in a written letter if the problem is not resolved within 14 days that you are going to hire some to take care of the problem and deduct the costs from the rent. The costs cannot exceed the greater of $500 or 1/2 months rent.
      3. Call 311 and request a building inspection.

    2. Hi Maria, we are currently have the exact same problem as you. An exterminator has come multiple times but it’s only getting worse. Was there any resolve to your problems? If so, would love some advice on how to handle. I’m at my wits end with these intruders. Thank you!

      1. I am not sure if you live in Chicago or not and if the landlord lives in the building. A couple of things you could try is one call 311 and requesting an inspection and 2 if the landlord does not live on the premises you could send the landlord a notice giving the landlord 14 days to fix the problem. If it is not fixed within that time you can hire an exterminator and spend up to the greater of $500 or 1/2 months rent. We have sample letters if you want to go this route.

  4. I moved into my apartment in February and from the onset have been having severe issues with roaches and large cockroaches. The management team has been sending a pest control team in but I am still seeing roaches in closets, in kitchen cabinets, in the bathroom, etc.

    I was told that they could relocate me into another unit but the local manager has been trying to force me into a smaller unit which is not acceptable. I have largely communicated with them via email and have documented photos and correspondences to and from them as well as the statement from pest control that this would take some time to resolve.

    I have sent the regional manager an email today stating that if they cannot put me in a comparable, pest free unit or resolve the bug issue I want out of my lease June 1st. Does this serve as sufficient notice? What are my rights?

    1. The law states that once a tenant gives the landlord notice of a problem and in that notice gives the landlord 14 days to comply the tenant may terminate the lease and move out if the problem makes the unit not reasonably fit and habitable. It is good that you have documented the problem. I cannot say whether a judge would deem roaches not reasonably fit and habitable. Also did the management company attach a summary of the Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance to the lease. If one was not attached then you can terminate the lease.

  5. What qualifies as written notice?
    Does texting and/or emailing the landlord about cockroaches qualify as written notice, and should I clearly state my intention of hiring an exterminator at that time, re: 14 day rule? Thanks –

    1. Texting or emailing can count as written notice, especially if the landlord has responded or given you specific instructions to contact them via email or text. The problem with email or text is being able to prove the landlord actually received the correspondence. As for using using a 14 day notice, yes you need to clearly state what your intentions are should the landlord fail to take care of the problem. MTO’s app can help you write a letter.

  6. My apartment had cockroaches on move in day. The landlord hired pest control but they were living in the fridge which has moldy torn gaskets cracked interior and lots of roach poop. We asked him to replace it and he refused. Is this within our right? Thank you

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