Landlord/Tenant Law

The laws are quite clear on the duties of the landlord and the duties of the tenant.

Chicago Rental Law

  • If you rented a condo, apartment, single family home or townhouse in any Chicago neighborhood, and;
  • Paid a security deposit, pet deposit, garage deposit, parking deposit and/or key deposit and;
  • Your landlord did not occupy your building.

You may be entitled to double your security deposit!

Security Deposit Law

There Are FIVE (5) Security Deposit Violations Under Section 5-12-080 (a) – (e) Of The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”).

  • RLTO Section 5-12-080(a) Your Landlord’s failure to have a separate bank account for your Security Deposit.The RLTO requires your Landlord to segregate your rent and Security Deposit payments.
    • Did your Landlord accept cash for your Security Deposit?
    • Did your Landlord accept your Security Deposit and first month’s rent on the same check?
    • Did your Landlord return your Security Deposit with a personal check?

Chicago Landlord Responsibilities

  • RLTO Section 5-12-080(b) Your Landlord’s failure to provide a written receipt for your Security Deposit. The RLTO requires your Landlord to issue a written receipt for your Security Deposit. The receipt must indicate five (5) things:
  • The amount of the security deposit,
  • The name of the person receiving it,
  • The date
  • A description of the dwelling unit, and
  • Signed by the person receiving the Security Deposit.

Security Deposit Interest

  • RLTO Section 5-12-080(c) Your Landlord’s failure to pay or credit Security Deposit interest annually.
    • Landlords must return Security Deposit interest within 30 days after the end of each 12-month period.
    • Click Here to Find Out the Current Security Deposit Interest Rate in Chicago.

Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance

  • RLTO Section 5-12-080(d) Your Landlord’s failure to account for and return your Security Deposit with paid receipts, for all deductions, in a timely manner.
    • Your Landlord must return your Security Deposit within 45 days of your move- out.
    • If your Landlord deducts from your Security Deposit he must notify you within 30 days of your move-out.
    • Landlords must provide paid receipts for any and all claimed deductions.
    • Landlords may not deduct for ordinary wear and tear.
    • Deductions for painting generally are considered improvements, not ordinary wear and tear.
    • Deductions containing round numbers are suspect.

Chicago Tenant Rights

  • RLTO Section 5-12-080(e) Your Landlord’s failure to send a written notification to you if the property was sold and your Security Deposit was transferred. The notification must be sent to you by both your former Landlord and new Landlord within 10 days the property’s sale. Both notices must contain the following three (3) items:
  1. The Successor-Landlord’s business address;
  2. The Successor Landlord’s business telephone number.
  3. The Successor Landlord must state that he or she is “holding” your Security Deposit.

Other Landlord Violations Under Chicago Law: If you have experienced Excessive Late Charges, Entries Without 48 Hours Notice, Non-Disclosure of Your Landlord’s Business Address, or Illegal Lockouts, the RLTO also protects Chicago tenants and awards monetary damages!

Ignorance Of The Law Is No Excuse In Chicago!

Terminate Your Written Or Oral Chicago Lease

Chicago Residential and Landlord Tenant Ordinance, Section 5-12-170 — Summary Of Ordinance Attached To Rental Agreement.

The commissioner of the department of housing shall prepare a summary of this chapter, describing the respective rights, obligations, and remedies of landlords and tenants hereunder, and shall make such summary available for public inspection and copying. The commissioner shall also, after the city comptroller has announced the rate of interest on security deposits on the first business day of the year, prepare a separate summary describing the respective rights, obligations, and remedies of landlords and tenants with respect to security deposits, including the new interest rate as well as the rate for each of the prior two (2) years.

A copy of such summary shall be attached to each written rental agreement when any such agreement is initially offered to any tenant or prospective tenant by or on behalf of a landlord and whether such agreement is for a new rental or a renewal thereof. Where there is an oral agreement, the landlord shall give to the tenant a copy of the summary.

The summary shall include the following language:

“The porch or deck of the building should be designed for a live load of up to 100 pounds, per square foot and is safe only for its intended use. Protect your safety. Do not overload the porch or deck. If you have questions about porch or deck safety, call the City of Chicago non-emergency Number 3-1-1.”

If the landlord acts in violation of this section, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement by written notice. The written notice shall specify the date of termination no later than 30 days form the date of the written notice. If a tenant in a civil legal proceeding against his landlord establishes that a violation of this section has occurred, he shall be entitled to recover $100.00 in damages (Prior code Section 193.1-17; Added. Council of Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14, 1997, page 45167).

For early termination of your Chicago lease contact the Law Offices of Peter W Lewis.

These three pages are the “RLTO Summary”

These two pages are the “Separate Summary” of your security deposit rights and current interest rate.

You may be entitled to DOUBLE your SECURITY DEPOSIT!

Chicago Residential and Landlord Tenant Ordinance, Section 5-12-080 – Security Deposits.

a) A landlord shall hold all security deposits received by him in a federally insured interest-bearing account in a bank, savings and loan association or other financial institution located in the State of Illinois.  A security deposit and interest due thereon shall continue to be the property of the tenant making such deposit, shall not be commingled with the assets of the landlord, and shall not be subject to the claims of any creditor of the landlord or of the landlord’s successors in interest, including a foreclosing mortgagee or trustee in bankruptcy.
b) Any landlord or landlord’s agent who receives a security deposit from a tenant or a prospective tenant shall give said tenant or prospective tenant at the time of receiving such security deposit a receipt indicating the amount of such security deposit, the name of the person receiving it and, in case of the agent, the name of the landlord for whom such security deposit is received, the date on which it is received, and a description of the dwelling unit.  The receipt shall be signed by the person receiving the security deposit.  Failure to comply with this subsection shall entitle the tenant to immediate return of security deposit.
c) A landlord who holds a security deposit or prepaid rent pursuant to this section for more than six (6) months, after the effective date of this chapter, shall pay interest to the tenant accruing from the beginning date of the rental term specified in the rental agreement at the rate, determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081.  The landlord shall, within 30 days after the end of each 12-month rental period, pay to the tenant any interest, by case or credit to be applied to the rent due. (Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7203; Added.  Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14, 1997, page 4516)
d) The landlord shall, within 45 days after the date that the tenant vacates the dwelling unit or within 7 days after the date that the tenant provides notice of termination of the rental agreement pursuant to Section 5-12-110(g), return to the tenant the security deposit or any balance thereof and the required interest thereon; provided, however, that the landlord may deduct from such security deposit or interest due thereon for the following:

  1. any unpaid rent which has not been validly withheld or deducted pursuant to state or federal law or local ordinance; and
  2. a reasonable amount necessary to repair any damage caused to the premises by the tenant or any person under the tenant’s control or on the premises with the tenant’s consent, reasonable wear and tear excluded. In case of such damage, the landlord shall deliver or mail to the last known address of the tenant within 30 days an itemized statement of the damages allegedly caused to the premises and the estimated or actual cost for repairing or replacing each item on that statement, attaching copies of paid receipts for the repair and replacement. If estimated cost is given, the landlord shall furnish the tenant with copies of paid receipts or a certification of actual costs of repairs of damage if the work was performed by the landlord’s employees within 30 days from the date the statement showing estimated cost was furnished to the tenant
e) In the event of a sale, lease, transfer or other direct or indirect disposition of residential real property, other than to the holder of a lien interest in such property, a landlord who has received a security deposit or prepaid rent from a tenant the successor landlord of such property shall be liable to that tenant for any security deposit, including statutory interest, or prepaid rent which the tenant has paid to the transferor.

The successor landlord shall, within 10 days form the date of such transfer, notify the tenant who made such security deposit by delivering or mailing to the tenant’s last known address that such security deposit was transferred to the successor landlord and that the successor landlord is holding said security deposit.  Such notice shall also contain the successor landlord’s name, business address, and business telephone of successor landlord’s agent, if any.  The notice shall be in writing.

The transferor shall remain jointly and severally liable with the successor landlord to the tenant for such security deposit or prepaid rent, unless and until such transferor transfers said security deposit or prepaid rent to the successor landlord and provides notice, in writing, to the tenant of such transfer of said security deposit or prepaid rent, specifying the name, business address and business telephone number of the successor landlord or his agent within 10 days of said transfer.

f) If the landlord or landlord’s agent fails to comply with any provision of Section 5-12-080(a) – (e), the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest at a rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081. This subsection does not preclude the tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled to under this chapter. (Prior code Section 193. 1-8; Added.  Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend.  Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7204; Added.   Council Journal of Proceedings, May 14, 1997, page 45168) (emphasis added)

Chicago Residential and Landlord Tenant Ordinance, Section 5-12-180 — Attorney’s Fees.

Except in cases of forcible entry and detainer actions, the prevailing plaintiff in any action arising out of a landlord’s or tenant’s application of the rights or remedies made available in this ordinance shall be entitled to all court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees; provided however, that nothing herein shall be deemed or interpreted as precluding the awarding of attorney’s fees in forcible entry and detainer actions in accordance with applicable law or as expressly provided in this ordinance.  (Added.  Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, page 7219) (emphasis added).