Alderman Introduces "Shall" to "May" Chicago RLTO Changes
Chicagoland Apartment Association Lauds Proposed Ordinance Update to Modernize Language; Prevent Frivolous Class-Action Suits
On Wednesday, March 24th, Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) introduced an ordinance amending the City of Chicago's Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance ("RTLO"). The intent of the ordinance is to curb the onslaught of unscrupulous lawsuits against multifamily owners that result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney's fees assessed. CAA alerted Ald. Hopkins to the issue.
The following statement can be attributed to Tom Benedetto, Government Affairs Director for the Chicagoland Apartment Association:
“The ordinance introduced today by Alderman Brian Hopkins (O2021-1191) provides several small updates to the RLTO designed to modernize communications and improve the efficiency of landlord-tenant relationships. It also provides for judge’s discretion in assessing penalties, fines and attorney’s fees when cases are brought against our housing providers. This is a small, but critical fix to protect against frivolous lawsuits, while ensuring all other protections remain in place for tenants.
Apartment owners of all sizes are at their breaking point. One frivolous RLTO lawsuit could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In one instance, we had a suit brought against a member for $1.40 underpayment on a refunded security deposit that led to $1 million in court costs and ultimately bankruptcy for the landlord; this should never happen.
Following an extremely challenging year for multifamily housing, decreased investment in Chicago, efforts to enact rent control in Springfield, and increased property tax assessments expected in 2021, we trust members of the Chicago City Council will understand the benefits these small updates provide for both landlords and tenants.”