This Ordinance applies to residences within the city of Chicago only. Please see the Exceptions to the RLTO to ensure the law applies to you. For tenants in. The Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) is the preeminent source of tenants’ rights law for those that live in the City of Chicago. To download a full copy. Most residential tenants in Chicago are protected by the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”), which grants many rights and remedies to .

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If the landlord fails to maintain or comply with the rental agreement in a way that causes an immediate danger to the health and safety of the tenant or if there is a failure to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing the tenant may, after delivering notice:.

The notice must also have the following language:. In either case, chidago has to be a real problem, as discussed above. The RLTO details what the landlord must provide and maintain in the apartment and what remedies are available to the tenant if the landlord does not do so.

If the real estate is transferred the original landlord is still responsible for the security deposit and unpaid rent unless and until he transfers the deposit to the transferee and provides written notice of the transfer to the tenant.

If the landlord fails to correct the condition within 14 days after being notified by the tenant in writing, the tenant may, during the time such failure continues, deduct from the rent the stated amount. Failure to provide hot and cold running water as required by the municipal code.

However, these remedies require strict technical compliance and should not be attempted without the assistance elto an attorney. Residential Tenants’ Right to Repair Act Allows renters to make repairs in certain circumstances and deduct the costs from rent.

If the unit is in foreclosure prior to the tenant signing the lease, the proper notification must be given before the tenant enters into the agreement. The basis for the claim must be that rent was overpaid in the past in light of material non-compliance by the landlord that diminished the fair market rental value of the rental unit.


Tenants pursuing damages under this section are advised to have some actual evidence supporting their claim that the landlord’s non-compliance actually caused them damages, and how much. In addition to any remedies provided under federal law, a tenant shall have the remedies specified in this section under the circumstances herein set forth.

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.

Failure to maintain exit, stairway, fire escape or directional signs where required by the municipal code. He must give the notice in good faith using a method reasonably likely to provide the tenant notice. As such, we have a whole article devoted to Chicago security deposit law. The RLTO mandates that the name and address of the financial institution holding the security deposit be listed on the written lease or, if there is no written lease, be disclosed to the tenant in writing within 14 days of receipt of the security deposit.

Retaliation is a defense in a lawsuit for possession and a tenant may also recover twice the rent or twice actual damages, whichever is greater. The landlord shall return prepaid rent, the security deposit and interest as well as any portion of rent attributable to a portion of the term after the casualty.

The notice must be made within 10 days of the transfer of the deposit and specify the name, business address and phone number of the transferee or his agent. Failure to supply screens where required by the municipal code. For a more user-friendly version of Chicago tenant rights, keep reading. The tenant may recover the cost of the reasonable value of the substitute housing up to an amount equal to the monthly rent for the each month or portion thereof of noncompliance as prorated.

Moreover, a tenant may also: The list of examples of a failure to maintain the property is long, it includes: Obtain heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing and deduct the cost proven by receipts from the rent; or Sue the landlord for damages based on the reduced value of the apartment; or Obtain alternative housing, not pay rent, and recover the value of the substitute housing so long as it is reasonable and does not exceed the monthly rent.


The security deposit must be returned within seven days of notice when the tenant vacates for casualty damage and within 45 days of move-out in any other situation. If the landlord is making deductions from the security deposit for damage to the unit, the landlord must take the following steps: If the tenant notifies the landlord of the deficiency in writing and the landlord fails to correct the condition within 14 days after notification, the tenant may deduct the reasonable reduction in value from the rent for as long as the deficiency exists.

If the landlord has, pursuant to this ordinance or in the rental agreement, informed the tenant of an address at which notices to the landlord are to be received, the tenant shall mail or deliver the written notice required in this section to such address.

Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO)

The disclosure obligation is a continuing obligation. The landlord must return rlo rent, the security deposit and interest. If the landlord is able to sublease the unit, the tenant who terminated is only responsible to the extent that the landlord receives less in rent than he would have under the broken lease. The letter must advise the landlord of the specific problems that the tenant alleges are rendering the rental unit uninhabitable.

Chicago Tenants Rights – A Comprehensive Guide

However, citation by the City for code violations also isn’t a requirement before a tenant can allege non-compliance. Under Illinois state law it needs to be sent certified mail, but under the RLTO it need only be in writing. This provision is one of the most commonly violated by landlords as they often omit paying interest on the deposit when a tenant renews his lease.

If the landlord does not fix the problem, the lease terminates and the tenant must vacate the unit within 30 days. The remedies provided for violation of the duty to maintain the property are among the most complicated in the RLTO and all tenants should consult with an attorney before attempting to exercise their rights as landlords often seek to evict or sue tenants when they do.