The Chicagoland Apartment Association publishes this as a public service. It is meant to inform and not to advise. Before enforcing any rights or remedies you may want to seek the advice of an attorney who can better analyze the specific facts of your case.
Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) Requirements
Identification of Owners or Agents
- The name, address and telephone number of the building owner or authorized manager and a person authorized to receive notices must be provided in writing with all new leases.
Notice of Conditions Affecting Habitability
- Any code violations cited by the City of Chicago for the building and the unit during the previous 12 months and notice of any pending enforcement litigation (with case number) or administrative proceeding (with identification number) must be provided in writing with all new and renewing leases.
- Any notice of intent by the City of Chicago or any utility provider to terminate water, gas, electric, or other utility service to the building or the unit must be provided in writing with all new and renewing leases, as well as throughout the tenancy.
Summary of Ordinance
- The Summary of the RLTO must be attached to all written and oral leases, whether it is a new lease or a renewal of an existing lease.
Renewal of Lease Agreement
- The landlord cannot require a tenant to renew a lease more than 90 days before the existing lease expires. (eff. 1-1-92)
- No written or oral lease agreement may provide that a landlord or
- Agrees to waive rights or remedies contained in the RLTO.
- Confesses judgment on a claim arising out of the lease.
- Agrees to the limitation of liability.
- Agrees to waive any written termination of tenancy notice or other legal notice.
- Agrees to waive the right of any party to a trial by jury.
- Agrees that the tenant will pay the landlord’s legal fees, except as allowed by law.
- Agrees that either party may terminate the lease in a time different than the original lease, if disclosed in a separate written notice and agreed upon by the other party.
- Agrees that a tenant shall pay a late fee, or receive a bonus for early payment (eff. 1-1-92), in excess of $10.00 per month for the first $500.00 in monthly rent plus 5% per month for any amount in excess of $500.00.
- The landlord shall accept a reasonable sublease offered by the tenant without additional fees.
- The original tenant remains responsible for any rent not paid by the subletting tenant.
- If the tenant terminates the lease early, the landlord shall make a good faith effort to re-rent the unit at a fair rental.
- The tenant is liable for any difference between the original rent and new rent until the original lease ends, as well as reasonable advertising costs.
- If the landlord is unable to re-rent the unit at a fair rental, the tenant remains liable for the rent due for the remainder of the lease.
Failure to Comply
- If landlord fails to identify the owners or agents or provide the required notices of conditions affecting habitability, the tenant may provide written notice giving the landlord 14 days to provide the information.
- If after 14 days, the landlord still fails to provide the required information, the tenant may terminate the lease and must move in 30 days.
- If the landlord forces a tenant to renew a lease more than 90 days before the existing agreement expires, the tenant shall recover one month’s rent or actual damages, whichever is greater. (eff. 1-1-92)
- Prohibited provisions in a lease are unenforceable and if the landlord attempts to enforce a prohibited provision, the tenant may recover two months rent.
- If a landlord fails to provide the Summary of the RLTO, the tenant may provide written notice to terminate the agreement and move within 30 days and recover $100.00 in damages.
- Written leases are advisable and provide added protection for landlords
- The term of the lease can be of any duration, whether the lease is oral or written.
- There are no controls imposed on rental rates, but landlords should consider turnover costs (i.e. screening and redecorating) when determining rental rates.
- Offer incentives for your existing tenants to provide tenant referrals.
- Keep the line of communication with your tenants open so you receive early warning on renewal decisions.
The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) governs tenancy in ALL residential units in Chicago except units:
- In owner-occupied buildings containing six units or less;
- In hotels, motels, inns, tourist houses, rooming houses and
boardinghouses, but only until such time as the dwelling unit has been
occupied by a tenant for 32 or more continuous days and tenant pays a
In a hospital, convent, monastery, extended care facility, asylum or not-for-profit home for the aged, temporary overnight or transitional shelter, or dormitory;
- Occupied by a purchaser or seller pursuant to a real estate purchase contract prior to or subsequent to such transfer of title;
- Occupied by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in or about the premise; or
- In a cooperative occupied by a holder of a proprietary lease
Provisions of the RLTO took effect on November 6, 1986 unless otherwise specified in parenthesis.