Chicago Building Code RE: Pests

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

CHICAGO BUILDING CODE RE: PESTS

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: https://www.tenants-rights.org/apartment-conditions-and-repairs-faq/

All 91 Comments

  1. There is a rat infestation in the garage I’m renting. I and the landlord have put in baiting requests to the city. It’s a bad neighborhood issue and now they have eaten through wires in my car. Is the landlord responsible for my car repair? Can I get money off my rent?

    1. You will have to consult an attorney on this one. My questions are is the garage included in the lease? Certainly the landlord is responsible for pest eradication in residential parts of the building. I am not sure if the building code covers the garage.

  2. Rats on top of my Bathroom Radiator. I have told the landlord he refuse to do anything… It’s been over a Full year since I told him….. I reminded him of the problem on April 4,2019. He have not did nothing…

  3. I have been dealing with a rat problem in my apartment for the last 4 months and the landlord does nothing about it. There in my stove,refrigerator and inside the kitchen cabinets.

    1. The Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance states that if a landlord does not make a repair then the tenant can give the landlord a 14 day notice to make the repair and state if the repair is not made the tenant can hire a professional to remedy the situation. If you need help writing the letter, please use http://www.squaredawaychicago.com renter app. It would be good to document the pest infestation also by taking photos.

  4. I’m having issues with my apartment and bed bugs. The leasing office has had the exterminator come out 4 times to spray and it speeded to work. Now they are back and I’ve notified my leasing office but there doesn’t seem to be an urgency for them to fix it. I was supposed to have an exterminator come today, Dec 27,2018 and no one showed up. Called leasing office to confirm he was still coming. I was told that I would get a call back no one called back. I called the office at 5:30pm no one picked. What can I to get this issue fixed? I’ve seen bed bugs on the first floor in the hallways of the apartment building and the leasing managers and staff don’t seem to be to worried about the situation. I need help.

    1. Chicago bed bug ordinance requires the tenant to inform the landlord in writing if they suspect their unit has bed bugs. Once the landlord has been informed the landlord has to send an inspector to check the unit. If bed bugs are found in the unit, the landlord has to inspect every unit above and below that touches your unit. The landlord has to hire a trained professional to exterminate. Do other tenants in your building share your concern. If so it would be good to get everyone together to write the letter. It will have a greater effect on the landlord. If the landlord does exterminate then you can call the city. The City can require the landlord follow the law.

  5. There is a mice infestation in my unit, most likely in the building. An inspector came looked around but nothing has been done. I caught 6 mice and they keep coming. I sent messages to owner but all he says is ok thank you. I would like for someone to come an do a complete investigation with recommendations. Have th3 owner responsible for this issue. This has been going on for a lobg while. So please send sombody out.

    1. The owner is responsible. May I suggest you use the http://www.squaredawaychicago.com web app to help you. You can take some photos of the caught mice, send a letter to your landlord asking the owner to take care of the problem. If the owner refuses, then the app can you escalate your action. Under the law you could use the greater of half your rent or $500 to hire an exterminator. If you have any problems using the app, please give our hotline a call at 773-292-4988.

  6. I have had numerous instances finding mice running all over my apt.
    I have contacted mt land lord informing her that to PLEASE get an exterminator to solve the problem.
    Her response was “if you don’t like , move out”. I had to call an exterminator myself, paid out of my own pocket because she refused to pay for this.
    Now I have more mice and still no help from my land lord.
    I called the city to report the violation of tenant rights, They showed up on 9/12/2018, and found many violations.
    She was told that I was the one that called in the complaint, and now she said she will not renew my lease when my lease is up!
    I have 7 months left on my lease>>>.Can she evict me in the mean time??? I simply made a complaint to the city about rodents in my apt and my land lord has done nothing.
    PLEASE HELP!!!!!! Can she evict me before my lease is up?

    1. Certainly, that could be considered retaliation if the landlord would evict or not renew your lease for calling the city. this is the very reason that we are suggestion that the City embark on a proactive inspection program so that tenants won’t get blamed for calling the City. It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the unit. Please get all your documentation together that you called the City. see if you can get a copy of the report. Once you do that you can contact our Eviction Prevention Specialist philip@tenants-rights.org and he can help you out.

      Also it is your right to hire an exterminator and deduct cost of the extermination up to $500. You can use our http://www.squaredawaychicago.com app to help you write the letter.

  7. I have had 4 different instances where I’ve found roaches in my apartment that is owned by Lamiline Inc. I have told my maintenance man about every instance and emailed our one point of contact. She said they would inspect my apartment and treat the problem if needed, however, I keep finding them. What do I do! I’ve asked to get out of my lease or find a sublease and she has ignored my request. Please help!

    1. I would start with documenting the problem, taking photos etc. You can use our http://www.squaredawaychicago.com app to help with this process. The Chicago law states that once a landlord has been given a written notice providing the landlord with 14 days to make repairs, the tenant can take different actions. As for terminating the lease, the law is not clear in this matter. The law states if the problem makes the unit not reasonably fit an habitable then you can terminate the lease. The question is do roaches make the unit not reasonably fit an habitable. it may depend on the judge, how many roaches, allergies, etc.

  8. This landlord will not take care of the roaches problem.I has to buy products or pay a exterminator. The problem started when new tenet moved in. I paid already over 100 dollars on exterminator and roach products.who is responsible for this….help

    1. The law allows for tenants to write a letter to their landlord and pay for the cost of extermination if the landlord does not fix the problem by reducing the rent. How many units are in the building and does the landlord live in the building. If the landlord does not live in the unit you may not be able to use this remedy. If you work with the tenant downstairs you may be able to get an exterminator to do the entire building. If you want help with this you can use our app http://www.squaredawaychicago.com or please call our hotline 773-292-4988.

  9. i have rats and mice that have been entering my until through holes in the apartment i paid out of pocket for an exterminator sent tha landlord pictures of the evidence and have been waiting for months for him to solve this problem and nothing. i have two small children in my house so far he put live traps all over the unit and called it a day its been 4 months. the rat is breeding mice we kill 5 and get ten more and it was proven to be an alley rat by the exterminator i hired myself. we are secluded to one bedroom because i constantly find rat dropppings throughought my whole unit despite how much i clean.

    1. I am sorry to hear this as I hate rats. If the landlord is not taking care of their responsibility as a tenant you can send the landlord a written notice to demand the problem get fixed. if it is not fixed within 14 days from the receipt of the letter then the tenant can hire an exterminator and deduct the cost from the rent. You can use our http://www.squaredawaychicago.com app to help with the letters as they need to be in a certain format and to help with documenting the problem.

  10. I have mice in my unit: the: manager: is telling people if anyone complains 2 times will get evictived

    1. First how did the landlord communicate to you that if anyone complains 2 times they will get evicted. That would be retaliation. If the landlord put that in writing you will have good documentation.

      Regarding the mice, may I suggest that you try using MTO’s http://www.squaredawaychicago.com app to communicate with the landlord and to use the letters in the app. Can you take any pictures of the mice or the mice droppings so that you can document the situation. You can send that documentation to the landlord.

      Should the landlord try to evict you for complaining, please call our hotline 773-292-4988 and ask to speak with the eviction prevention specialist.

  11. I found a roach in my apartment and went into the laundry room and found traps with still living cockroaches in it. This building has given me more issues than that too.

    1. If there are pests in your unit, may I suggest that you use our http://www.squaredawaychicago app to document the problem and to communicate with the landlord. I Can you take a photo of the pests or in any way document the problem visually. Then once you have the problem documented, you can send the landlord a 14-day repair and deduct the letter. The letter which can be found on the app will allow you to hire an exterminator if the problem is not cured within the 14 day time limit.

  12. Hi, i moved into my apartment April 2017, it was newly renovated with new appliances and kitchen. Around November 2017, right when the weather started to get cold, we started to hear noises come from the stove one night and found out we had mice in our kitchen. We found mice dropping inside the bottom cargo drawer of the stove, behind the stove, and behind the refrigerator. I was shocked because I keep everything clean, especially in the kitchen. I have two dogs, so I am always picking up and keeping tidy. I called my apartment company and they sent out an exterminator a week later. The exterminator closed up all the holes, put out some trap boxes, and also poison pebbles for the mice to eat. BUT NONE of this helped because I kept discovering more mice droppings. I called again my apartment company and asked them if they could do a follow up with the exterminator and if they could also have someone come in and clean up my stove from the mice droppings. I called almost daily and yet to this day they have not set up anything! I’ve spoken with my neighbor, who lives above me, and she also has mice in her kitchen, so i believe that the whole building has mice! Last night, I witnessed a mouse run from my kitchen sink, to the dish rack, and back inside the stove, it fit right under the stove clock, that little opening right under there. My lease is up in 2 months and I definitely not staying another year there, but I would not want another tenant to have to go through this mice trouble, like I did. What are my options? Can I call the city on my apartment company so they can send an inspector? Or do i call an exterminator personally? Also, is it possible to ask for a new stove, since my stove is pretty much compromised?

    1. I do not know how large the building is but it might be a good idea to form a tenants association that can write a joint letter demanding that the landlord take care of this problem. Often a group of tenants is more likely to succeed in accomplishing a task like this than an individual.

      Second, you could write a repair and deduct letter, which can be found on our app, http://www.squaredawaychicago.com. The letter would state that if the landlord does not resolve the problem then you will hire someone to take care of the problem.

      Third you could call 311 and request an inspection. It often takes the City a month or two to inspect and then the City give the landlord a month or tow to fix the problem. This response may not work for you. The inspectors are not that good about identifying pest problems. Sometimes they will not do anything unless a pest is sited.

  13. Moved into a becovix residential building here in Chicago where come to find after just a week of being here that there were roaches in the unit. I’ve had the Property managers know and they sent out exterminators multiple times with no avail with getting rid of the roaches. Other tenants admitted to having problems with roaches is there any attorney you k ow that could help me get out of this lease for the problem has become more servers in the time I’ve been here?

    1. I do not know of any free attorneys that can help with this issue. Here is a link to the attorney referral list.

      You can start this process by using MTO’s Squaredawaychicago.com web app. The app will help you to document the problem. The law regarding termination of lease is that the problem needs to make the unit not reasonably fit and habitable.

      Did the landlord provide you with a summary of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenants Ordinance? If not the law allows the tenant to terminate the lease.

  14. I moved into my new apartment 2 weeks ago. Upon moving in, the upstairs neighbor informed me that there were bed bugs in the building. I kept an eye out and did find bed bugs in my unit and have been bitten a few times. I notified the landlord immediately. He got me in contact with the exterminator and they came to the apartment today. Because I was not told about the previous bed bug infestation, nor given any information about prevention before signing the lease, all of my stuff had been compromised. I haven’t been able to fully unpack, and I had to launder all of my clothes, towels, etc. I had to board my 2 cats during the extermination, and buy them flea/tic prevention per the veterinarian’s suggestion. This whole process has been extremely stressful, and it has put a financial burden on me. I asked my landlord what kind of rent abatement he would offer, and told me to tell him what it cost me. I have some receipts, but there are none for the laundromat. Also, how do I say what the cost was for the time, stress and inconvenience? Do I have the right to ask for a reduction in rent beyond what I spent on laundry, pet boarding, bags, etc?

    1. If the landlord did not follow the law and knowingly rented the unit then the landlord should be compensating you. I believe Hall Adams is an attorney who specializes in bed bugs. 312-445-4900

  15. I moved into my building in May 2015. Shortly thereafter, I noticed roaches and the building manager sent an exterminator about once a month for approximately 6 month. After that time, I still had some roaches, maybe about five a week. The exterminator came every other month to my unit and put gel in various places like kitchen cabinets and in corners of the wall. The exterminator does not seem to come on a regular basis any longer. I have not been notified of his showing up to treat my place for a while. Since I have a dog, they need to let me know in advance so I can either leave the studio or put him in the bathroom. I still see about two roaches a week. Yesterday, I saw two roaches again in my kitchen. When the exterminator was in my unit the last time, we talked and he kind of mentioned that my problem isn’t really a problem that a few roaches seems to be normal in a big apartment building. I feel that having one or two on occasion is a problem. As per the exterminator’s suggestion (after I inquired what I could do as a tenant), I placed Combat discs in the kitchen and the bathroom. Last week, I emailed the building manager and advised her that I have seen a couple of roaches in a timeframe of a week. So far, I have not received a response. Please advise how I can get them to take care of my “problem”. I look forward to your response. Thank you.

    1. Are other tenants in the building having the same problem? This could be an occasion when forming a tenants association to get the landlord to develop a more permanent solution. Certainly, it is the landlord’s responsibility to resolve the problem. Any pests are a violation of the Chicago building code. You may want to investigate Integrated Pest Management as a means of controlling the pests. To learn more about IPM you can contact Midwest Pesticide Action http://midwestpesticideaction.org/ You could potentially send the landlord a 14 day letter to abate the problem or let the landlord know that you will hire someone to fix the issue and deduct the cost from the rent.

  16. I’ve been in my place a yr I’ve told the property manager about the mice,ive taken pics,made videos and sent them to her she has a contract with a pest control company who’s not at all professional,the sticky boards and black boxes don’t work

    1. The law allows a tenant to send the landlord a letter stating that if the problem is not resolved within 14 days then the tenants can hire an exterminator and take the cost of the exterminator off the rent so long as the cost does not exceed the greater of $500 or one half months rent. You can use our http://www.squaredawaychicago.com app to write the letter.

  17. If i have rats residing in my stove is my landlord responsible for replacing the appliance?
    It’s not as though i can properly disinfect it & they’ve pulled the insulation out of it. The stove was in place when we moved in.

  18. Mr. John Bartlett, two years ago we signed a lease for an apartment that was infested with roaches, but luckily we didn’t move in. The day our lease started we went to scope out the apartment for furniture placement. We weren’t in a terrible rush since it was 4th of July weekend and we were living with a relative at the time. On that day, I started inspecting the kitchen cabinets and made the discovery of dead roaches and droppings everywhere. My heart sank. I took pictures of everything and emailed them to the management company owners right away. At this point we had already paid our deposit and the first month’s rent. They responded by saying they would send an exterminator that week. We refused to move in at all, they returned our security deposit, but refused to refund the first month’s rent claiming the lost opportunity of renting it out to someone else. Unaware of our rights, we agreed for fear that we would be sued for breaking our lease. Can I still demand my money back at this point?

    Thank you.

  19. I moved in(Sunday) and after 5 days (Friday) my roommate noticed a mouse running around the apartment. This is my second week there, going on 2, today is Monday. When I moved in my landlord placed pest repellant plug-in devices in the walls 2 days after living there right After that my roommate first saw the mouse. This makes me think she knew we had mice before we moved in because why would anybody have that plug in device without having pests?

    Besides that there are loud noises of mice inside the walls.

    The only thing my landlord has done was place 2 sticky sheets on the floor but it hasn’t caught any mice.

    I want to end my lease and get my money back (1 month rent, deposit) without penalty. is tha possible how?

    1. Before terminating the agreement and moving out I would consult with an attorney as the issue does not seem clear cut.

      If the landlord does not live in the unit, tenants have more rights. I will answer the question assuming that the owner does not live on the property.

      The law states 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).

      You can look on the City’s website to see if the landlord has been cited. If the landlord did not do this one can make the argument that there is no agreement because of the landlord’s failure to provide notice.

      Another part of the law allows tenants to terminate the rental agreement and move if the conditions make the unit not reasonably fit and habitable. In this case you would have to give the owner a written notice giving them 14 days to fix the problem and if it is not fixed then you can terminate the lease. You will have to pay for the time that you are there. The landlord may argue that a mouse or tow does not make the unit uninhabitable. I would check with an attorney before proceeding so that you can make your case solid.

      Otherwise you can write a letter giving the landlord 14 days to fix the problem and if it is not doen you can then hire an exterminator and deduct the cost off the rent.

      You can also use our http://www.squaredawaychicago.com app to assist with writing letter and documenting the situation.

    2. Hi Vic,

      I’m really sorry to hear you’re dealing with this issue. Under the RLTO, you have three options related to repairs, all of which involve sending a letter and telling the landlord they have 14 days to fix the problems. The first thing you should do is send an ‘official’ written notice to your landlord requesting that the repairs be made, and if they are not made, you will terminate your lease after the 14 day period. If there is a particularly large issue you could claim the problem is big enough that, under the RLTO, you have the option of terminating your lease. A sample letter for that approach is also attached. In that case, you’d need to provide photos/evidence that proves the mice problems make the apartment not reasonably fit and habitable. When you send a letter, send it via certified mail, take pictures if possible, and send them with the notice and keep a copy for yourself. Keeping a paper trail of your actions is important. That’s why I strongly recommend using our free renters app to take photos and submit the same letter electronically so they receive it two ways. Sign in at http://www.squaredawaychicago.com

      There are a few other methods under the law that may allow you to terminate your lease.

      First, if your landlord or leasing agent or management company (whoever gave you the lease when you signed it) did not provide a summary copy of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) or have you acknowledge, in writing on the lease, that you have seen a summary copy of the RLTO, then your lease is automatically void. You could terminate the lease immediately and take up to 30 days to move out. To enforce this provision under the law, I would suggest that you speak to an attorney just to make sure that this scenario applies in your situation.

      Second, if your landlord or leasing agent or management company did not provide a summary of city mandated interest rates for security deposits or have you acknowledge, in writing on the lease, that you have seen a summary copy of interest rates for security deposit, then your lease is automatically void. Again, to enforce this provision under the law, I would suggest that you speak to an attorney just to make sure that this scenario applies in your situation. I’m happy to refer you to one.

      Please let me know if you have any additional questions, I really hope this issue gets resolved for you. Feel free to call our hotline between 1-5PM Monday through Friday at 773-292-4988.

  20. I’ve noticed that I have mice in my apartment I informed my landlord and he said they exterminate quarterly and will have to wait 2months for them to take care of it and I don’t think it should take that long what are my rights as a tenant thus is a four apartment unit

    1. The Chicago landlord and tenants ordinance states that the tenant can give the landlord a 14 day notice to make the repair. If nothing is done within that time frame tenants can potentially hire someone to exterminate and deduct the cost off the rent or do a rent deduction.

  21. We have been living in our apartment for a year, and about 6 months in, we had a mouse sighting. I called my landlord and she just told me it happens and to set traps. We had a couple of sightings after that. We began cleaning out closets and other areas and noticed large amounts of mouse droppings. We can see several spots around piping and in the vents where they can be coming in. We are on the first floor and the basement if full of their very old, very dirty things (boxes of books, old mattress set, various house fixtures and much more), and we think this could be the source of our problem. In addition, the basement is a public area where our laundry is and was originally promised to us for storage. We are now at the point of resigning the lease.

    Is our landlord responsible for getting rid of the pests, particularly calling an exterminator, and ensuring they don’t return (ie sealing up around piping, etc)? Are they required to clean out the basement? Should we resign the lease before resolving these issues?

    1. Yes the landlord is responsible for getting rid of the pests. Cleaning is different. The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the landlord is required to prevent the accumulation of garbage, trash, refuse or debris as required by the municipal code. I am not sure if cleaning the basement would be a part of this. If you are thinking of quitting your lease, you should talk with an attorney to make sure that you can legally terminate it. The dirty basement may not rise to the level of not reasonably fit and habitable. In an case you should document the situation well with photos and you can call 311 and request an inspection.

  22. I recently signed a lease on an apartment that is infested with roaches. I didnt notice the infestation until we were about to move in which was the day after the lease signing . i trapped one of the roaches so that the landlord could see and to clarify that it was a roach and i wasnt being paranoid. after we contacted the landlord he confirmed that it was a roach and said to give a day him a day to bomb, lay traps, etc. well we went back to a few days later to see if the problem was resolved. It wasn’t there are still roaches on the walls through out the apartment. so we contacted him and told we cant stay at the apartment and would like to just have our rent and security deposit check back which he said he would do if he couldnt fix the problem. Now hes not returning our calls and the money which he said he would return is all the money we have to rent another place. what should i do? I have pictures of the roches and text messages as evidence.

    1. Here is what the law states regarding the unit not being ready for the tenant to move in.

      (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.

      If you want do not want to move in then as the above states write the landlord a letter stating your intent not to move in because of the roaches attach the pictures and demand the immediate return of your money. In the letter let the landlord know that if they do not return the deposit immediately, then you will have to pursue legal recourse which will mean that the landlord will be liable for the deposit plus penalties of twoce the deposit plus any attorney fees.

  23. My daughter recently rented an apartment in wicker park and has a problem with centipedes. Her landlord came in to spray but now tells her that’s Ll he can do. Can she have an exterminator come in and deduct the expense from her rent?

    1. Yes, if the problem persists, a tenant can give the landlord a 14 day written notice and if the landlord does not take further the action then the tenant can go ahead and hire an exterminator and deduct the cost from the rent.

  24. I moved into a unit which has 5 apts. Me being the basement towards the front, 2 above me and 2 in the back part.
    My lease started on 02-01-2012, about a month after me living there my neighbor (right above me) welcomed me to the apt and as well let me know about the previous disgusting tenants that were living there before me. She started telling me that to check the carpet and to keep an eye out for bugs cause she had them in her apt. At that time I wasnt sure if she was talking about actual bed bugs (I never heard of or even worried about anything like that nor was I educated on how rapid these nasty creatures populate!!!) or like your normal spiders, centipedes, maybe even waterbugs that you usually encounter in basements. She said these people ended up getting evicted for bringing these pests and for bringing things from the street in the apt. I am 100000% that when I signed the lease my apt wasnt habitable to rent to anyone because of this problem. Can I break my lease cause of this? In July (5 months into my 1 year lease)is when I actually confronted my first infestation under my bed! I immediately called the management company and 7 days later they sprayed. Im still getting bit and am still seeing signs of them. I threw away my bed, dresser, and fulton, washed all my clothes, steam cleaner is out of my range to get cause I already live check to check. Ive got pictures of bites, bugs, cracks and crevices that they never took care of, and last statements from the other infested tenants which state that during months I wasnt even living in the building their was a pest problem with bedbugs that still exist. Hopefully having that will be in my favor if he doesnt want to return my security deposit. I go back and fourth threw text messages with the management company thinking it favors me cause I have proof of notice to them when im getting bit up or when I see one. Is that a good source to have these text messages or should everything be written? Im going to write my letter to break the lease since he doesnt want to come to an aggresive approach on these critters because theyve been there since! It kills me to kno im living in the place where the problem started.

    1. My suggestion is that you contact an attorney that specializes in bed bugs. Bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of and they will just move to your next unit. I believe Attorney Hall on our attorney referral list handles bed bugs.

  25. About three weeks ago my roommate came home from work and told me that a coworker of hers had bedbugs. Well long story short my roommate now has gotten a few bites (less than 10) and is convinced they are bed bugs. We live in a condo bldg with 4 floors and 8 units per floor. Our particular unit is owned by our next door neighbor, but we still go to the condo association for all maintenance issues. The condo sprays for pests every 3 months or so, but we have never had it done in our apartment because we have dogs. Do we notify our landlord prior to finding any evidence that there actually are bed bugs? I’m afraid that the association would make us spray the whole bldg out of pocket because we haven’t had our particular unit sprayed. Are there any specifics for condo associations where the owner lives in the bldg?

    1. Several thoughts occur regarding your letter. The first is that the spraying is probably not for bedbugs. It is most likely for roaches.

      It is best to notify your landlord of the situation. Bedbugs are a difficult situation to take resolve and can spread. The landlord may try and charge you for the problem. There are no specific laws regarding bedbugs even though there should be. The laws are about pests in general. The rule of thumb is that if pests are found in more than one unit then it is the landlord’s responsibility to take care of them. If it is only in one unit then the tenant may be responsible.

      Rather than spraying every unit. It is suggested that the landlord inspect all the units that in any way abut the infected unit. Dogs are often used and for the most part effective in finding bedbugs.

      If you are working or come into contact with bedbugs, there are some precautions to take such as washing clothes and bedding in very hot water, getting a mattress encasement, bagging clothes that may have come in contact with bed bugs, steam cleaning can help. I would ask your work place to inspect the work area for bed bugs.

      There are other pests that bite so it may not be bed bugs.

  26. We currently have a fly infestation in our unit. The flys started manifesting within a matter of 6 hours. I have notified my land lord but am afraid he will do nothing about it. We have had a number of similar issues in the past. What are rights regarding this matter. Cannot withhold rent because I am moving out within a few days. Please advise.

    Mallory

    1. Hi Mallory,

      My answer is assuming you ARE covered under the Chicago RLTO. Landlord does not live in building or your building has more than 6 units (if LL does live in building).

      You could write a letter and following 14 days of no response, make the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from next month’s rent. Sample letter here: https://www.tenants-rights.org/apartment-conditions-repair-repair-and-deduct-sample-letter/

      BUT, you say you’re moving out in a couple days so in this situation there isn’t much recourse. In the unlikely event that the landlord would attempt to bill the extermination to your security deposit, I would still recommend taking pictures and writing a letter to prove that the fly infestation is not a result of your negligence.

  27. On friday 6/8/12 late at night I saw a mouse in my kitchen and later heard it biting the wood in the cabinets. We called the landlord to notify them in which they came by the next day to set up traps. Shortly after the landlord left the mouse was caught. But then 2 days later on 6/10 I saw mouse dropping in all my cabinets and set up mouse traps again in which two more mice were caught. We notified the landlords again stating the our concerns of infestation and our inability to use our kitchen. Then this morning 6/11 two more mice were caught..so that makes 5 mice total so far. My landlords said they will be by this wednesday to look at the kitchen but in the meantime to purchase more mouse traps. I’m extremely upset of their lack of urgency. I have taken pictures, date & times of the mice siting as well as sent a certified letter of repair. What other rights do we have in we continue to still have mice after they “inspect” the kitchen? What is a reasonable time to correct this problem? And if not corrected within that timeframe do we have the right to terminate our lease?

    1. Sorry to say but the Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance gives the landlord 14 days from the receipt of a written letter to make the repairs or in this case deal with the infestation.

      As for terminating the lease, the law states that the problem must make the unit not reasonably fit and habitable. In some ways that is a judgement call. There is no definition of reasonable fit and habitable.

  28. tambien hice una queja al 311 antes de salirme denunciando que habias ratas en el apartamento y cucarachas pero solo me dijeron que mandarian a alguien a un inspector a revisar el departamento eso fue 10 dias antes de salirme y nunca fue ningun inspector por miedo y por prisa tuve que rentar un storage para sacar mis cosas y lamentablemente tuve que tirar mi macrowave porque estaba lleno de cucarachas tambien bote a la basura una carpeta manteles de mesa porque una manana en mi comedor estaba bastante basura que habia dejado la rata y estaba mi fruta toda mordida por la rata en fin me toco tirar varias cosas como para que ahora el senor me diga que no me va a regresar mi deposito y con todo sinismo me dice vive en chicago il senora y en chicago todos los departamentos estan infectados oh y el dia que le notifique que habia ratas me dijo no se preocupe en caso que llegue a morder a alguno de sus ninos no pasa nada porque solo dijo que las ratas de campo son peligrosas y que esas tremendas rats que estaban en su departamento no eran daninas

    1. Concepción,

      Espero que nos halla llamado. Lamentablemente no hay nada favorable en esta situación. Antes de que un inquilino se mude hay ciertos pasos que uno tiene que seguir. Estos pasos son muy importantes por que facilitan que al final usted reciba su deposito de seguridad en corte si el dueño no se lo regresa. En su caso por que usted no se mudo sin nada en escrito, la ley ve esto como que usted dejo el apartamento sin seguir los pasos. Esto quiere decir que asumiendo que usted no firmo un contrato el dueño tiene derecho a quedarse con el primer mes de renta y hacerla responsable por el siguiente mes. Por eso el dueño se puede quedar con su deposito de seguridad. Usualmente esta situación no es favorable en corte para el inquilino, de nuevo por el hecho que no hay nada en escrito. Nuestra recomendación es que nos llame para que podamos discutir que hacer en el futuro si esta situación se presenta de nuevo y para que le demos números de unos abogados en caso de que usted desee explorar si hay otras opciones. Esperamos que su niño este mejor y escuchar de usted pronto.

  29. hola espero y puedan enterder mi mensaje …el dia 1ro de abril me mude a la direccion de 2044 n laramie llegue exactamente el dia primero del mes de abril pero ya habia yo apartado el departamento 2 meses antes y el dueno nunca me informo que en su departamento tenia grandes ratas de aley y cucarachas y aranas negras x ese problema me tuve k salir solo vivi ahi x un mes y como a los 20 dias de estar ahi mi nina de 5 anos un dia amanecio con muchas ronchas en su estomago brazos y piernas y al dia siguiente la lleve al doctor y me dijo k eran piquetes de insectos enseguida que llegue a la casa le dije al dueno que me iba a salir por miedo k la ratas llegaran a morder a alguno de mis tres hijos ..bueno el dueno me respondio que no le diera tantas explicaciones y que estaba bien me dijo que al final del mes me regresaba mi deposito le pedi que me firmara una carta que yo hice indicando lo que el me dijo pero me dijo que no que confiara en el y ahora que ya es final de mes le ehh llamado varias veces y no me contestaba hasta que segui insistiendo y para esto el me dijo que no me va a regresar mi dinero de mi deposito que xq yoo tuve que avisarle un mes antes de salirme y me dijo que no intentara perder mi tiempo llevandolo a corte que xq ya lo han llevado mas de 3 veses y que nunca los inquilinos han podido hacer nada en contra de el

  30. I moved into a new apartment in October. A couple months ago my boyfriend saw a mouse. We told the owners and they gave us some glue traps. About a month ago, the first mouse was caught. Tonight, the count came up to six. I’m very disturbed with the living situation.
    The beginning of last week, one of the workers came in and covered all the holes on one of the kitchen walls but not the other. (The kitchen is where they are all being caught.) On Thursday, the husband owner and one of the workers said they would go up and cover the other questionable wall in the kitchen. When I came home later, I noticed some spackle on the bottom of one of the walls and some new mouse traps. When I called and spoke to the female owner tonight, she told me an exterminator had been in the apartment on Thursday, not the building worker. I had not been notified an exterminator would be coming in. I kind of felt violated.
    When I asked what they were going to about the mice, she said she didn’t know. I asked if I was going to get a break on the rent, she laughed. I told her I had broken a lease before because I saw one mouse. Then she said she would talk it over with her husband.
    I’m going completely crazy. I feel like I have things craling on me. I heard another mouse in the same area shortly after I got off the phone with her.
    What can I do about this?

    1. The first thing to do is to document the problem each time with a letter to the owner asking for repairs to done to remedy the situation. You can give the landlord 14 days to fix the problem and if it is not remedied then you have several options. The first is to hire an exterminator to take care of the problem and deduct the cost from the rent. The second is to reduce the rent to reflect the diminished value of the apartment or three you can terminate the lease if the problem makes the unit not reasonably fit and habitable. You can also call the City and request an inspection at 311 and if the City sees an mice then they will cite the landlord.

      1. How would I go about reducing the rent to reflect the diminished value of the apartment? How do you put a price on that?
        I posted this on Tuesday, at that time there had been six mice. Then someone with the building came in to block up some possible entrances for mice and found one in the meantime, (seven) he killed it. Then yesterday two more were caught, bringing the current total to nine.
        The owner and one of the workers came in and put cement on one of the walls where they had a hole that had been covered but they made a hole again.
        I am just having a hard time with the debate of whether to pay the entire rent or not. I completely feel I shouldn’t, but can’t take the risk of having to move. I don’t have the money for that right now, as much as I’d like to.
        My neighbor saw a mouse in her apartment and the owner suggested she get a cat. She’s not the most likeable person.

  31. Hi, I just moved into a townhome a month ago and found out it is infested with roaches. I informed the landlord and he sent an exterminator out who really didnt do anything but spray which i could have done. He also told me i am responsible for any extermination and this was a one time favor and its in your lease which made me believe he knew about this before he rented to me. After the exterminator came there still was a problem so i called orkin and i also bombed the place and bought numerous sprays. This worked a little bit but theres still activity and i have kids in the hous which one is a baby and found some that were crawling on her and my bed also. Is there a way i can get out of my lease i feel like a prisoner in my own home.

    1. The landlord should be liable for the roaches. Is the town home connected to another unit? Does that unit have roaches? If so the landlord is responsible. In general tenants are only liable for problems that they are the cause of. As for getting out of the lease, the Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance states that a tenant may terminate the lease if the apartment condition is such that it makes the unit not reasonably fit and habitable and the tenant sends the landlord a notice stating that if the problem is not fixed within 14 days of receipt of the letter then the tenant will terminate the lease and move out. Whether roaches rise to the level of making the unit not reasonably fit and habitable probably depends on the severity of the infestation. It does leave things up to interpretation.

  32. I moved into my apartment 1 and 1/2 months ago. I brought all furniture with me, and have bought nothing new. There is some sort of bug infestation in my apartment; I have not seen any bedbugs, but it is a possibility. I have been bitten multiple times, and have had to see three different doctors for the severe reaction to these bites. I am fairly certain the bugs were in the apartment before I moved in (I live in an older, not exactly well kept building). What are my rights and next steps in terms of extermination in my unit? Does this give me a right to break my lease – if I moved into a uninhabitable building, it seems my renter is at fault – although, my concern is that they will say I brought the infestation with me (which I am sure I did not. There were no bugs or bites at my old apartment).

    1. The law is not so clear on the issue. A first step might be to see if other tenants are having any problems with pests. If you think it might be be bugs I would examine your bedroom and especially the bed very thoroughly. After this you can then document your concerns by writing a letter to your landlord. As for terminating the lease. The law does not make exceptions for bed bugs. The law for terminating a lease states the tenant can terminate the lease if after providing the landlord with written notification and waiting at least 14 days for the landlord to fix the problem. The law also states the problem must make the unit not reasonably fit and habitable.

      1. so i have been living in this aprt in cicero since november 1st. i have been getting multiple bug bites, we found out early december it was bed bugs. I called my landlord and the next day she sent an exterminator. we are going on two weeks now since the exterminator showed up but we still keep getting bit. i know this was a problem that was already here because the people on the first floor have had the problem for some time now but just never informed the landlord. i have a 5 month old baby and a 2 year old son. What can i do or how do i break my lease without getting penalized or have to spend more money than i should. Even if the problem gets fixed i dont feel comfortable living here anymore.

        1. There are no laws specifically about bed bugs. They would be same as any other pest. Unfortunately, Cicero has few laws that cover this situation. My suggestion would be to start by calling the Cicero City Hall and see if they have any inspectors that look for bed bugs or other pests. Have you asked the landlord about breaking your lease? If the landlord agrees then the problem is solved, though you need to get the agreement in writing, including what happens to your security deposit.

  33. Hello—-

    I was informed by a tenant living on the 4th floor of my 22story building that she has an infestation if bed bugs. I live on the 16th floor. Management has not yet informed all tenants of this occurrence. Are they required by the renter ordinance to do so?? Trying to research this topic before confronting management. Any information and/or referrals to resources would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Currently, there are no laws that require a landlord to disclose the presence of bed bugs in a building. Bed bugs are not like other pests. They migrate much slower so hopefully the landlord is working to resolve the problem. Many tenants want the landlord to spray the entire building though this is not necessary nor advisable. The eradication procedures on work on direct contact with the pests. So if there are no pests it does no good to spray in a unit that does not have them. It will not prevent the bugs from migrating there in the future.

  34. I have pigeons roosting on the window ledge in the gangway of my multi-unit apartment building. In addition to leaving unsanitary bird droppings on the sill, they coo very loudly in the early morning, making it extremely difficult to sleep. I have asked the management company to fix the problem. They said they came by and looked, but that there was nothing they could do. I would like to send them a registered letter asking them to get rid of the pigeons within 14 days, otherwise I will hire a company to come with ladders (I live on the 3rd floor) to install pigeon-deterrent spikes. Do you think this falls within my rights as a tenant (“repair and deduct”)?

    1. I don’t know that this is a violation of the building code. You should only use one of the remedies available to Chicago RLTO renters, including the repair and deduct, if you are certain that this is a building code violation. You may want to contact your alderman or Chicago’s Streets & Sanitation department. Streets & Sanitation does work to mitigate rats; they may be a good place to inquire about your issue. You can also call 311 to see if this is something that can be cited by an inspector.

      If you discover that this is not a building code violation, which I suspect, and you still want to hire a company to install the spikes, it’s in your best interest to first get written permission from your landlord. Although it sounds like pretty minor work, your landlord could argue that installation of these spikes is a violation of the terms of your lease.

  35. I am a case manager for limited English speaking clients in Chicago. One of our clients has bed bugs in their apartment. It is almost certainly their fault (they have been bringing furniture from the alley)- or, put otherwise, they have been taking actions that would lead to bed bugs, even if they arrived in the unit via other means.

    The building manager is discussing them needing to pay for extermination.

    Is a landlord able to oblige a renter to pay for an exterminator? They (the building manager) are obviously concerned about spread to other units, to the point that logical discussions (spraying the one apartment won’t necessarily end the infestation; it’s Rogers Park, many buildings have bed bugs; trashing the mattresses wont’ end the infestation, etc.)

    Thanks,
    Peter

    1. This is a very tricky topic and bed bugs are a growing problem. First it is very difficult to assign blame. Bed bugs can come from many places. Certainly bringing in furniture form the alley is a risky venture. I do not know what you mean by other risky actions. Bed bugs really do not have anything to do with how clean you may keep your unit. Some could say that staying in hotels is risky. Did your client know that bringing furniture in from the alley was dangerous and could result in a bed bug infestation.

      When it comes to who should pay for the extermination there are many factors involved such as do other units have bed bugs, did the client realize that bringing used furniture into the unit could lead to the infestation, did the client refuse to cooperate with apartment policies regarding bed bugs, were the policies known, did the client know that the furniture had bed bugs, etc. Before paying for a costly extermination process I would talk with an attorney.

      Finally there may be ways to save the furniture. One owner on a cold clear night moved furniture to roof of the apartment because very cold temperatures like those we have been experiencing will kill bed bugs. Before takiing action regarding extermination you should talk with an expert.

  36. Hello,
    I’ve recently discovered that in my 3 bdrm apartment we have a little mouse running around. My roommate and I together have 2 dogs so I was a bit surprised at this. We live on the top floor of a 2 story flat and we told the landlord about the discovery. She handed us a mouse trap and said “That’s what happens when it gets cold outside.” Just out of curiousity, is this all the landlord is required to do by law or do they have an obligation to do more? Thanks!

    1. Does your landlord live in the apartment building? If (s)he does, then your rights are not as expansive as they would be if you were covered under the Chicago RLTO. https://www.tenants-rights.org/residential-landlord-tenant-ordinance/

      If you are covered, you may write a letter asking the landlord to fix the root cause of the problem – somewhere a mouse was able to enter your apartment from outside of it. If you are covered, you may either do a repair and deduct or a rent reduction to reflect the reduced value of your apartment. You can learn more about those options and find links to the sample letters here. https://www.tenants-rights.org/apartment-conditions-and-repairs-faq/

      If you are not covered (because you live in a 2 flat and the landlord lives in the building,) then I still recommend writing the letter & sending it by certified mail to your landlord. If you are not covered under the RLTO, the law does not explicitly give you the right to pay less rent so if you choose to do so, it’ll be at your own risk. But sometimes just writing a letter demanding repairs shows the landlord that you are serious about not tolerating intolerable conditions like rodent infestations.

  37. I am renting a house that is rat infested, i informed the landlord of the problem and they do nothing about it.I only been living there for a month,& they claimid the place was rodent free before i moved in. Can I sue them for all my money back(security,rent,moving costs etc… ???

    1. Hi Jerome,

      You can certainly consult an attorney to see if you could win those damages. If you have a good attorney and the infestation is the result of landlord negligence, you may have a case, but only an attorney would be able to tell you for sure.

      If you are covered under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, then you have remedies you can put into place without having to work with an attorney. Write a letter to your landlord explaining the problem in detail, give him/her 14 days to fix the problem, and then you explain what you’ll do if he doesn’t fix it in 14 days. The three options are explained here: https://www.tenants-rights.org/apartment-conditions-and-repairs-faq/

      Make copies of the letters you write and mail them certified mail to your landlord so you can prove that (s)he received it.

    1. Unfortunately the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenants Ordinance only covers Chicago renters. Neither Cook County nor most of the the surrounding municipalities have any significant tenant protections with the exception of Evanston and Mount Prospect. If you are interested in helping to pass such laws in suburban areas let us know.

  38. I have bedbugs in my building. More than two of us have complained with very little response. They spray a little, and that’s the end of it. I have been living there since April, am a senior citizen, and think we deserve better. I know how to get rid of them and so do they, I know that it is a comprehensive approach with spraying, steaming, and caulking the crevices in the wall. I had someone in the alderman’s office talk to the property manager, and the next day a staff member came up with a little steamer and steamed my couch. He did a really nice job and it lasted a few weeks because in spite of me vacuuming and spending $50 a month on vacuum bags, doing laundry every day, they did not steam the carpet or any of the rest of the steps that you have to take, so I am being bitten up again. I want to deduct a portion of my rent, as I can not afford to move, and I have done this before, but I can’t find a sample of the letter that you send to the property manager. Can you help me?

  39. July 16,2010

    My son has mice and the mouse drippings are all over the place. He has incessantly complained to the landlord and they no absolutely nothing about it. He has bought various things to get rid of them and the mice still persist.

    Sincerely,

    Ms. Lynette M.Grossman

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