Renters’ Rights for Tenants in Chicago

Chicago area renters in houses, condominiums, and apartments may not be aware of the rights, responsibilities, and protection they are afforded under Chicago’s Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, or RLTO, and the Evanston Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, or ERLTO. What can they do if their landlord refuses to return their security deposit? What if they need help to legally break a lease? What about if they’ve been injured on the rental property? What if the landlord breaks the rental agreement? Renters need to know they can find legal representation with an attorney who specializes in understanding breaking a lease in Chicago.

The RLTO applies to most rentals in the Chicago area. An attorney who works with landlord and tenant rights will be able to determine whether the RLTO applies to your particular Chicago residence. For instance, in a building of less than 7 units, in which the landlord also lives in the building, is not covered by the RLTO. It also usually doesn’t cover renters who rent a single room in a landlord-occupied home. Depending on the circumstances, the RLTO may or may not protect tenants in co-ops, hotels, bed and breakfast establishments.

Tenants who are on a written lease or a month-to-month lease, as well as tenants with a verbal-only rental agreement, may want to move out early and break their lease. This is where a security deposit lawyer can advise them properly on the correct way to provide written notice to their landlord, even on a verbal lease agreement. The attorney can advise whether or not the tenant has a chance at getting their security deposit back; in some cases they can, and in others, it is not possible.

Rental agreements can become more complicated when there are roommates and more than one name on the lease. In that case, all tenants in the apartment can be held responsible for the rent, even if only one of the roommates is not abiding by the rental agreement. This is another situation in which renters should consult with an attorney who regularly represents Illinois renters and understands landlord and tenant rights and agreements in the Chicago area.