Yes. It may be a written lease or an oral (unwritten) lease.
It sets out the terms of your agreement with the landlord. Furthermore, it states how long your tenancy will last, and your landlord cannot terminate this tenancy early unless you violate one of the lease provisions.
Either you or your landlord can terminate it with at least one month advance written notice (if you pay rent every month), or at least 7 days advance written notice (if you pay rent every week). Neither of you has to give reason for terminating the tenancy.
Only if the lease states that the landlord can do this. Otherwise, your rent must remain the same until the lease ends.
Your landlord can raise the rent only after giving you advance written notice. If you pay rent on a monthly basis, you must receive at least one month written notice. If you pay rent on a weekly basis, you must receive at least 7 days written notice.
Don’t sign it. Once you sign the lease you are bound by all its provisions unless these provisions are against the law. (Illegal provisions are listed below). If you don’t like a provision, ask your landlord to cross it out. If he/she agrees to do this, both of you should put your initials next to the provision that has been crossed out.
What lease provisions are against the law?
Any provision stating that you agree to:
- Give up any of your rights under Chicago’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance;
- Limit your landlord’s liability for breaking the law;
- Give up your right to a jury trial if your landlord files an eviction action against you;
- Pay for your landlord’s attorney’s fees if he/she files an eviction against you;
- Pay a late fee in excess of the amount allowed by the Ordinance (see below); or
If your monthly rent is $500 or less your landlord can charge you no more than $10 per month. If your monthly rent is more than $500, your landlord can charge you an additional fee equal to 5% of the amount that exceeds $500. Therefore if your rent is $700, your landlord can charge you $10 pus 5% of 200, for a total late fee of $20.
Yes. Your lease is still in effect, but your landlord cannot enforce the illegal provision. If he/she tries to enforce an illegal provision, you can sue him/her.
No. Your lease remains in effect and the new owner has to comply with the terms of this agreement.
If you want to leave the apartment when your lease ends, you can just move. You do not have to give your landlord any advance notice.
At least 30 days before the lease ends your landlord must provide you with a written notice stating that your tenancy will not be renewed. If you do not receive this notice in a timely manner, you may stay in the unit for up to 60 days after the date on which you do receive the notice. (remember, however, that your obligation to pay rent continues during this 60 day period).
Only if your landlord agrees to let you out of the lease or violates your rights under Chicago’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance. If you want to break the lease because your landlord has violated your rights, contact an attorney.
Your landlord must make a good faith effort to re-rent the apartment. If she’s unsuccessful, you remain responsible for the rent. If he/she rents it for less than what you were paying you remain responsible for the difference.
Yes, and your landlord cannot charge you any subletting fees. Furthermore, if your landlord does not let you sublet to a suitable person, you don’t have to pay the rent for that period that begins when the subtenant was willing to move in.
What if my subtenant does not pay the rent?
You remain responsible for it.
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