Exceptions to the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

Last updated: February 12, 2009 – 8:00 AM

If you live in Chicago, the Chicago RLTO governs your tenancy unless you reside in:

  • An owner occupied building containing less than seven apartments;
  • A hotel, motel, inn, rooming house, or boarding house (unless you have resided there for more than 31 days and pay rent on a monthly basis); or
  • A hospital, convent, monastery, school dormitory,temporary overnight or transitional shelter, cooperative, or
  • A building owned by your employer (assuming your right to live there is conditioned upon you being employed in or around the building).

This information does not apply if you live outside of the City of Chicago or if one of the above conditions apply.

All 120 Comments

  1. I live in an owner occupied building with less than seven units. Over the last two weeks I have found two roach nymphs. One in the bathroom and one in the kitchen sink. I have informed the owner who has said they have never had roaches before. I have showed her what I thought was possible roach feces and I have found a carcass of a roach nymph in some cob webs. I have pictures of these. She has only recommended that I buy spray. What are my options as I am not covered by the RLTO?

    1. Are there other tenants in the building? If there are I would start by seeing if any of them have noticed any roaches. If so a joint letter to the landlord might get the landlord to do something. You can call 311 and request a building inspection though our experience is that unless the inspector actually sees a roach they will not do anything. The laws are not that good in your situation.

  2. are security deposits covered for renters that live in owner occupied buildings at all? also, what counts as a unit? in the building i live in there there are 6 normal units and a basement that was converted. the owner does occupy one of the units, however. do tenants have ANY rights in owner occupied buildings?

    1. If someone is living in the converted unit, then it counts as a unit. So you may be covered by the law. In owner occupied buildings of 6 units or less, tenant still have rights. The landlord still has to return the security deposit, but there are not any defined penalties. The landlord still has to maintain the unit up to the building code specifications. Landlord still have to take you to court to evict a tenant. Tenants do have some rights. They are vaguer and harder to enforce.

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