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Understanding the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

Understanding the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

Chicago is one of the rare cities where tenant-occupied homes outweigh owner-occupied ones, with 55% of the city being renters.

To ensure that both landlords and tenants enjoy a positive relationship, we've got the Chicago residential landlord-tenant ordinance. This set of laws outlines the responsibilities and rights of both parties, but they're mostly there to protect tenants from poor landlord behavior.

As one of Chicago's many landlords, it's important to familiarize yourself with the RLTO. Today, we'll help you do that by outlining the main points therein. Keep reading and make sure you're operating your rental lawfully and treating your tenants well.

Chicago Residential Landlord-Tenant Ordinance Explained

The RLTO covers every facet of living for tenants and landlords. All landlords must ensure that their lease agreements comply with Chicago laws. All tenants must abide by their lease agreements.

You'll find rules around the right of access, overall tenant responsibilities, security deposits, and late fees. For landlords, there are rules around overall landlord duties, retaliatory conduct by landlords, and maintenance.

Landlords must provide the tenant with a summary of the ordinance along with the lease agreement, as well as pamphlets informing the tenant of their rights. Failing to abide by the RLTO can result in tenants filing lawsuits and a variety of other penalties.

Tenant Responsibility

While the RLTO is mostly there to protect tenants, it does outline some tenant responsibilities. Namely, they're required to comply with everything outlined in the rental agreement.

Tenants must pay rent on time each month and care for the unit. Property damage or missed rent payments can result in an eviction filing. Under the RLTO, tenants have the right to cure the lease violation within ten days or make the delinquent rent payment within five days.

Landlord Responsibility

The ordinance requires more of landlords. Firstly, it states that tenants must be given their landlord's contact information. If the landlord fails to make repairs to the unit, the tenant can go as far as withholding rent until they're made.

Landlords can't ban sublets in their units or charge any fees when a tenant does it. If the landlord decides to evict their tenant, the tenant has a right to a jury trial. Attempting to end a tenancy or raise rent requires a notice, the length of which depends on the length of the tenancy.

While landlords can charge a security deposit, they must store it in an interest-bearing bank account. They must also provide tenants with receipts for these deposits and pay the tenant their interest each year that the deposit is in an account.

Finally, landlords can only enter their rentals for specific reasons. The most common of these is showing the unit to new renters and making repairs. If a landlord needs access to the rental, they must give two days' notice.

How Residential Management Can Help

The Chicago Residential Landlord-Tenant Ordinance favors tenants. It can be daunting to pour over the legal paperwork.

This is especially true knowing that there are penalties for not following the ordinance. In most cases, the best path forward is to hire residential management.

A good property management company understands Chicago rental laws. At Chicago Style, we're one of the city's top property managers. Contact us today and we'll ensure you're running a legal rental that prioritizes tenant relationships.