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 136 Comments

  1. Rats in my apartment building for 3 months. They have been in my apartment for a month. Landlord has put glue traps but hasn’t blocked where they are coming from, she doesn’t know where exactly. It’s been so long can I sue her or withhold my rent

    1. You can sue her. Have you sent her written notification about the problem. You can reduce the rent. You will have to send the landlord a notice giving the landlord 14 days to fix the problem or you will reduce the rent to reflect the diminished value of the unit. It is best to be conservative regarding the diminished rent as the judge is the final arbiter of the amount. If you take off too much you could get evicted. Our app can help with writing the letter.

  2. Hello I am a disabled Muslim woman with roaches in my unit. Been calling for years but they say they won’t hire a preventative pest control company to regularly treat units because no one else is calling. My home is tidy and it must be coming from other units. Is there any legal action I can take?

    1. There are a couple of things you could try.
      Do you know others in the building? If so talk with them about the issue and see if others are willing to write a joint letter to the landlord asking management to hire an exterminator.
      If there are more than 6 units in the apartment building or the landlord does not live on site, you could send the landlord a written notice detailing the problem and give the landlord 14 days to fix the problem. Tell the landlord in the letter if the problem is not fixed within the 14 days, then on the 15th day you will hire an exterminator for your unit and deduct the cost from the rent. The law states that you can spend the greater of $500 or one half months rent.

  3. & it’s so sad what me and my family been going through for Damnn near four years now . I’m a single mom of three kids . Me and my kids been living with big alley rats for Four long years .I been paying my rent kisses Lee may have been late a few times honestly but I pay my rent every month plus I applied to different programs to help pay my rent because I was going through some financial difficulties . . Landlord basically just been taking my money and not caring about me and my kids and it’s so sad I’ve been so scared to tell anybody what I’ve been going through I have tons of photos and pictures and videos of these nasty rodents all over my house call my stove is just terrible for anybody to live like this . . So many eggs why haven’t you moved I’m not in the financial position to just up and move when I have two small children plus I’m Expecting now . . I’m just asking for some type of resources to help for me and my kids so we can have a better living situation come 2023 . .

    . I’m currently expecting ( seven months ) and I have a two year old and eleven years old . .

    1. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Have you called 311 and requested an inspection. If the landlord does not live in the building then you can also send the landlord a letter stating that rats are a health and safety issue and a violation of the Chicago Building code. The law states that if the landlord does rememdy the situation then you will hire an exterminator to take care of the problem and deduct the cost from the rent. The law allows you to spend the greater of $500 or one half months rent.

  4. My landlord has never exterminated with any extermination company at all I 5 years I’ve been here. Is this a violation we’ve had problems with pests landlird says it’s to expensive for extermination company

    1. Unless the pests are bed bugs, there is no requirement that the landlord engage a “professional” exterminator. Having said that it does not mean that the landlord can engage an incompetent exterminator and claim they have fulfilled their obligation. The law requires that the landlord get rid of the pests. How large of building is this. From our experience, tenant’s associations have had success in getting the owner to use exterminators to get rid of the pests.

  5. Would 3 separate incidences of Roach infestation in a 10 month period, would this qualify as material non-compliance 05-12-070 “failure to exterminate insects, rodents, or other pests” even if they did show up in less than 14 days? Also on the call the property manager said because of proximity to the lake they had a known problem that wasn’t disclosed on the lease anywhere.

    1. As an non attorney I am not in the position to provide you with any definitive opinion on your question. The answer may depend on how serious the infestation is. If you wish to terminate your lease, it would be best to consult with an attorney. The law is states they must resolve the problem with 14 days. If there are no pests after the 14 days, it is tricky answer.

      As for disclosing a problem. The law states the landlord must notify tenants of “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.” Do you know if the city cited the problem? You do not specify what the problem is.

  6. Lake and wells high rise 36 floors apartments Chicago. Roaches big and little! Out in day! In fridge! Exterminator came 10 days ago. Problem worse now. What can I do?? Do they have to spray every apartment?? Lots of tenants left due to rate increase. So many empty apartments. Don’t the have to spray everywhere? They keep saying they don’t see infestation in apartment but 2 where crawling on wall this morning! 1 in bathroom yesterday
    Apartment is immaculate!
    What would be a good plan??

    1. The law does not require the landlord to spray in every unit. The law does require the landlord to remedy the situation and get rid of the pests in you apartment. Who is the owner of the building? One plan could be to form a tenants association in the building and pressure the landlord to get rid of the pests. Individual tenants can write letters to the landlord giving the landlord 14 days to get rid of the pests and if the landlord does not then a tenant can hire an exterminator and can spend up to 1/2 months rent each month to resolve the problem. You can call 311 and request a building inspection though this does take time.

      1. They told me can’t hire my own exterminator- against their rules. Exterminator came in 2Nd time and sprayed ( their exterminators) building was told it’s a building problem but they are still saying it’s not. Under 311 what do I say is problem? I don’t see infestation

      2. The following is a direct quote from the Chicago’s Residential Landlord and Tenants Ordinance.

        (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. You could show the manager this. I don’t understand what you mean by you don’t see infestation. You need to be able to document the problem.

    1. There are arguments that could be made either way. My first question is did you inform the landlord of the pest problem? Another is do you have a security deposit? The building code states that the unit needs to be pest free. It does not say who is responsible for mice droppings. My general suggestion to tenants is that they wipe down, sweep and mop the entire unit.

  7. My wife; my brother and I signed a lease in April of 2016. This, building has an infestation of mice. I have been trapping mice for almost 6 years and the landlord hasn’t fixed the issue. I have been still paying the rent and now I am required to sign a lease renewal by Nov. 26, 2021.

    1. I am not sure who the owner is or if the landlord lives in the building. If the landlord does not, then under the Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance you could give the landlord a written notice demanding that in 14 days the mice problem needs to be resolved or you will hire someone to fix the problem and deduct the cost from the rent. The cost cannot exceed the greater of $500 or one half months rent. If possible I would take a photo to document the problem. MTO has a web app that could help you with drafting the letter and documenting the problem. You can go to

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. There is a poison sumac tree in my yard. Is this illegal? If so, can I remove it, or do I need to report it to Chicago?

    1. That is a good question. Have you informed the landlord of the problem? Generally a good first step. I am not sure what Chicago’s laws are regarding this issue. The State of Illinois has a law that may cover your situation. (505 ILCS 100/3) (from Ch. 5, par. 953)
      Sec. 3. Every person shall control the spread of and eradicate noxious weeds on lands owned or controlled by him and use such methods for that purpose and at such times as are approved and adopted by the Director of the Department of Agriculture.
      (Source: P.A. 77-1037.) You may want to call the Department of Agriculture to see if poison sumac is covered by the law.

  15. I am renting a house in Chicago. I moved in 3 months ago. I found all these holes and realized the house is infested with termites. How was this house inspected and this not found? Is my landlord responsible?

    1. The quick answer is yes the landlord is responsible for keeping units in a pest free condition unless caused by the tenant. Do you want to know what steps you can take to resolve the problem?

  16. I moved into my apartment March 1st and a month later I found my first cockroach or waterbug (not sure what the difference is). I was mortified as I keep a pretty clean apartment, I have lived in 4 different apartments and have never had this problem. I contacted my leasing office immediately and they sent in an exterminator. That seemed to help some but then a month or two later I started noticing more. So they sent in another exterminator and they came and sprayed and laid down some more traps. I have seen three more roaches since this in my unit (within the last two weeks) and then saw one at the bottom of the stairs as I walked from floor two to floor one). So it makes me think that this is a building issue since I saw one not in my unit but in what I consider to be a common space. This morning I noticed another one inside the traps that the exterminator laid out and when I looked at where the trap was laid I noticed a big gap from where the wall and the floor meets. Which I am assuming is how they are getting in. What are my rights here? Can I make the apartment complex come in and seal up all the gaps in my apartment?

    1. The law states that tenants can give their landlord a 14-day notice to fix a code violation such as a pest infestation. If the landlord does not resolve the problem with 14 days of receiving the written notice, the tenant may then hire some to fix the problem as long as it does not cost more than the greater of $500 or one half a months rent. Pest control companies that use Integrated Pest Management principles will take the approach to you are suggesting. I have no idea how much they charge. The repair you request has to deal with the code violation. I am not aware of a cade violation that says there cannot be a gap where the wall meets the floor.

  17. We have a newborn baby and we have been living in this apartment for just over 2 months. (we moved the day the baby was delivered) We have had a rat problem for over a month. Every time it seems the problem has gone away, it comes back. Today our neighbor showed me a new hole on the side of our 2 unit building (I live on the first floor). It looks like something has dug up under the side of the house and was digging through the foundation and all of this cement, stone and installation landed on the neighbors sidewalk. She told me that the old tenants left because of this rat problem, that the rats were dying inside the walls and the landlord was just setting traps for years but never really finding a solution. It got so bad a few weeks ago that we lots our air conditioning because the rodents had chewed through all of the wiring. I would love some advice! I have already let him know that I am extremely uncomfortable living here with a newborn breathing in anything toxic coming from their droppings. Also we are constantly scrubbing and cleaning in fear of them rumaging through our living space. We can’t even keep any of our babies play mats or toys out in the open because I dont know what the rats will walk over.

    1. The Chicago law allows renters to use their rent to fix smaller problems. The easiest way to do this is by using our renters app which will held document the problem and create letters that you can use so that you will be in compliance with the law. The app can be found at If you would verbal help with this please contact our hotline at 773-292-4988.

  18. ISSUE: Birds and bird droppings in the HVAC and vents. Caused by conditions undeniably known to the property owner. I understand the presence of bird droppings in the HVAC can contaminate the air through the vents and spread fecal matter on any surface including skin, furniture, clothing, counter-tops and food, possibly causing various, very specific health problems, some serious or even fatal. I’ve noticed that I have some of the symptoms, i.e. coughing, fatigue, headaches. I’m seeing a doctor soon regarding these symptoms. What are my remedies if these symptoms are related to the air quality caused by the presence of birds and bird droppings? Thank you

    1. The building code generally requires the owner to maintain equipment in a safe and sanitary condition. Though in my initial glance through the building code I did not see any specific code. Have you seen the HVAC unit? Are others in your building getting sick? It is probably best to discuss this issue with an attorney.

  19. We have been dealing with waterbugs for a year now. We maintain a clean apartment and have received glowing reports by the exterminators every time, yet we’re still dealing with them. Can we break our lease without penalty?

    1. If you are covered by the landlord and tenants ordinance (Live in Chicago, either there are more than 6 units in the building or the landlord does not live on the premises.) Under the Chicago Landlord and Tenants Ordinance a tenant can break a lease after giving the landlord a 14 day notice to fix the problem. The problem must make the unit not reasonably fit and habitable and the landlord did not resolve the problem within the 14 day-period. For help in drafting the letter and documenting it please see our app at

  20. 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.

  21. 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…

  22. 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 renter app. It would be good to document the pest infestation also by taking photos.

  23. 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.

  24. 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 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.

  25. 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 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 app to help you write the letter.

  26. 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 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.

  27. 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 or please call our hotline 773-292-4988.

  28. 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 app to help with the letters as they need to be in a certain format and to help with documenting the problem.

  29. 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 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.

  30. 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.

  31. I used Hall Adams to sue my former landlord for bedbugs. He got me a nice settlement.

  32. 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, 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.

  33. 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 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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 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.

  36. 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 app to write the letter.

  37. 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.

    1. The landlord is responsible for maintaining appliances that he or she provides in good working order. I suppose they could fix it. it might cost more to repair.

  38. 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.

  39. 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 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

      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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.


    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:

      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.

  47. 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 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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

  50. 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.

  51. I dont know but i think they do because ive tried everything and they keep coming back.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

      2. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.)


    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.

  57. 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.

      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.

      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.

  58. 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:

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

  59. I live in an apartment in the chicago northwest suburbs. Do these same laws and codes apply to the suburbs as well?

    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.

  60. 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?

  61. 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.


    Ms. Lynette M.Grossman

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