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Kevin C. Cruz

In this article, we explain the new Cook County Residential Tenant-Landlord Ordinance (the “CCRTLO”), including:

  • What properties does the CCRTLO apply to?
  • What rights do I have as a Landlord?
  • What rights to my tenants have?

What’s covered under the CCRTLO?

It’s interesting to note that the CCRTLO literally puts tenants first, unlike it’s twin, the Chicago Residential Landlord-Tenant Ordinance. If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, ALL rental units are subject to anti-lockout provisions, with no exceptions. For all other regulations, almost all rental units in suburban Cook County are included (including mobile homes and subsidized units), with only a few narrow exceptions:

  • Units in owner occupied buildings with six or fewer units
  • Units in hotels, motels, rooming houses, unless rent is paid on a monthly basis and unit is occupied for more than 32 days
  • School dormitory rooms, shelters, employee’s quarters, non-residential rental properties, and owner-occupied co-ops
  • A single-family home or condominium if (1) the owner is only renting that one rental property, and (2) the owner or an immediate family member has lived in the home within the year

Also unlike the Chicago RLTO, if the residence is in an exempted unit, the landlord must notify a prospective tenant whether they are excluded from the Ordinance before accepting any fees.

What Rights Do I Have As A Landlord?

The landlord may adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the safety of their property and the convenience of co-located tenants. Landlords must provide a copy of the rules and regulations before the tenant moves in. If the landlord adopts the rules after the tenant moves in, the new rules do not apply to the tenant until the tenant agrees in writing.

A landlord may give a general notice to all tenants if the landlord needs to make a repair on common areas or in other nearby units. The landlord may enter the unit without prior notice if emergency or repairs require access immediately. If emergency access was necessary, the landlord must provide tenant with notice of entry within 2 days after the emergency entry.

Otherwise, the landlord should enter at reasonable times (8:00 AM – 8:00 PM or at tenant’s request).

A tenant landlord may enter the rental unit to:

  • Inspect the premises as required by a government agency
  • Make necessary repairs, alterations, improvements where access is required.
  • Supply necessary services
  • Show the unit to a prospective purchasers or workmen
  • Show the dwelling unit to prospective tenants within 60 days of the expiration of the rental agreement.
  • If the tenant pays rent late, the landlord can charge a late fee. If the tenant does not pay rent, the landlord may give the tenant a 5-day notice of termination of tenancy (Eviction notice).
  • The late fee is $10 if the rent is $1000 or less.
  • If the rent is more, the late fee is $10 plus 5% of the amount over $1000.

However, the tenant has the right to pay the back rent during the 5-day notice. If the tenant does not pay, the landlord can file an eviction once the 5 day notice period has elapsed.

If the tenant violates the lease in a material way other than not paying rent, the landlord may give the tenant a 10-day notice.

However, the tenant has the right to fix the problem within the 10 days. If the landlord accepts the rent due or does not file an eviction 30 days after giving either a 5-day or a 10-day notice, then the landlord cannot file an eviction case.

A Landlord may charge a security deposit, but must:

  • Charge no more than 1.5 times monthly rent for security deposit;
  • Give a receipt for a security deposit that provides the owner’s name, the date it was received and a description of the dwelling unit. It must be signed by the person accepting the security deposit, unless the tenant pays the security deposit by electronic funds transfer, then landlord may give an electronic receipt;
  • Hold all security deposits in a federally insured account in an Illinois financial institution separate from the landlord’s other accounts;
  • Tell the tenant in writing the name of the financial institution where the landlord will deposit the security deposit;
  • Inform the tenant of the new account if the landlord transfers the security deposit into a new account;
  • Return the security deposit within 30 days after the tenant moves out
  • Only keep money from the security deposit if the tenant owes rent or court fees, if the landlord has gone to court (but not attorney’s fees) or for reasonable costs that the landlord has paid for the repair of the unit (but not costs for “ordinary wear and tear”);
  • Provide a detailed explanation of the costs within 30 days if the landlord has kept money from the security deposit for repair;
  • Be responsible to return the security deposit if the landlord sells the property until the first landlord gives the money to the second landlord and gives the tenant written notice; then the second landlord is responsible for the security deposit.

If the landlord charges too much for security deposit, does not return the security deposit, or does not give the tenant proof of the expenses for any repairs deducted from the security deposit, the tenant may sue the landlord and shall receive damages equal to 2 times the security deposit plus attorney’s fees. If the landlord makes a mistake with the paperwork on the security deposit, the tenant must first give the landlord a notice and wait 2 business days to see if the landlord corrects the paperwork. If the paperwork is not corrected, the tenant may sue the landlord.

If the landlord does not give the proper receipt for the security deposit, the tenant is entitled to the immediate return of the security deposit.

What Are My Tenant’s Rights?

The tenant has the right to:

  • A “habitable” unit and property maintained in compliance with the relevant building codes (Such as Sec. 42-805(C))
  • Adequate heat
  • 48-hour notice before the landlord enters the unit except in emergencies
  • A home free of bedbugs
  • General rules, which must be in writing, about the tenant’s use and occupancy of the unit

If the landlord does not make repairs 14 after a written notice from the tenant, the tenant may:  

  • Hold back a reasonable portion of rent to reflect the reduced value of the unit;
  • Make minor repairs costing less than the greater of $500.00 or one-half month’s rent and submit receipts to the landlord to deduct that cost from rent;
  • End the lease when severe violations are present and vacate within 30 days;
  • File a court case for damages and injunctive relief;
  • In case of a fire or other disaster, find another place to stay and end the lease.

With regard to essential services, such as heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, or plumbing, if the landlord fails to correct the condition after the tenant gives written notice, the tenant may:

After 24 hours –

  1. Withhold a reasonable portion of rent to reflect the reduced value of the unit
  2. Get services, and internet if the lease requires it, and deduct costs from rent after giving receipts to the landlord
  3. Recover damages and reasonable attorney fees or
  4. Make landlord pay for substitute housing until condition fixed.

After 72 hours –

  1. End rental agreement and
  2. Vacate unit within 30 days

However, the tenant may not exercise this remedy if the tenant or utility supplier caused

the condition.

The tenant still has the right to pay the rent and certain additional costs after the landlord has filed an eviction case. If rent and fees are paid in full, then the landlord must dismiss the case. The tenant can only “pay and stay” and cause the landlord to dismiss a court case 1 time.

Shockingly, a landlord needs to give a tenant a 60-day notice to renew or end a lease. If the landlord does not give a 60-day notice, the tenant may stay for 120 days after written notice is given. During this time, the terms and conditions of the lease stay the same.

The CCRTLO presents some unique challenges and pitfalls for good law abiding landlords. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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