Schedule a Consultation

What to Do if Your Landlord is Overcharging You for Common Area Maintenance in Illinois

Updated on
November 1, 2019
Article written by
Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we explain what to do if your landlord is overcharging you for common area maintenance in Illinois. We answer the questions: "what is Common Area Maintenance in Illinois commercial leases?" and "what is Common Area Maintenance Fraud?" We then discuss commercial tenants' rights to an audit of Common Area Maintenance Charges in Illinois.

What is Common Area Maintenance in Illinois Commercial Leases?

In many commercial leases, tenants are required to pay a share of taxes, utilities, and common area maintenance charges ("CAM").  The tenant's share will typically be proportional to the amount of space leased by the tenant relative to the total rentable space of the building.  This "additional rent" will fluctuate from year to year.  

What is Common Area Maintenance Fraud?

It is not uncommon for landlords to overcharge their tenants for CAM.   This is referred to as Common Area Maintenance Fraud.

Commercial Tenants' Rights to an Audit of Common Area Maintenance Charges in Illinois

If the tenant believes this is occurring, their best option is to audit the Landlord's expenses to ensure that all of the CAM paid by tenants is going toward actual expenses and that those expenses are for vendors at market value, rather than inflated prices.  

However, unless the lease provides a right to an audit, the landlord is not required to allow one.  In this case, the best option for the tenant is to rely on the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the lease, or the fiduciary duty of the landlord (in the case where the Tenant prepays CAM before expenses are calculated) to obtain an accounting for expenses.  

In the absence of a right to audit in the lease, the landlord may provide evidence of its expenses by any reasonable manner that it selects.  This means that the landlord can provide a simple list of its expenses, and the tenant will not be permitted to investigate further without filing a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is filed, the tenant will be able to use the written discovery process to investigate the records of the landlord.

Therefore, in order to protect yourself against common area maintenance fraud, it is important that your commercial lease include a right to audit the landlord's records.  ​

What to Do if Your Landlord is Overcharging You for Common Area Maintenance in Illinois
Author

Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

Kevin O’Flaherty is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has experience in litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and comprehensive business representation.

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.


9 am - 5 pm M - F
After 5 pm by Appt
11 am - 3pm Sat by Appt
11 am - 2 pm Sun by Appt

Open Hours

Mon - Fri

9am - 7pm

By Appointment

Mon - Fri

after 7pm

Saturday

11 am - 3pm

Sunday

11 am - 2 pm


9 am - 5 pm M - F
After 5 pm by Appt
11 am - 3pm Sat by Appt
11 am - 2 pm Sun by Appt

Open Hours

Mon - Fri

9am - 7pm

Saturday

11 am - 3pm

Sunday

11 am - 2 pm


9 am - 5 pm M - F
After 5 pm by Appt
11 am - 3pm Sat by Appt
11 am - 2 pm Sun by Appt

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone, Zoom Call, or in person at any of our office locations in:

Our attorneys have experience in:

Contact us for a Free Consultation

Who We are

We are your community law firm. Our Iowa & Illinois Attorneys are committed to providing exceptional client service in a cost-effective manner in the areas of Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Guardianship, Criminal Defense, Corporate & Contract Law, Bankruptcy and Real Estate.
Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a consultation specific to your legal situation.