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Landlord Tenant Law

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  • 1. Chicago Landlord/Tenant Law: The basics Bradford Miller Namit Bammi Attorney at Law Attorney at Law Miller Bammi LLC Miller Bammi LLC 312-238-9298 312-952-7733 bmiller@millerbammi.com nbammi@millerbammi.com www.millerbammi.com www.millerbammi.com LANDLORD/TENANT LAW IN CHICAGO – THE CRLTO Every landlord should have a basic understanding of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (“CRLTO”). It is extremely important that they follow it because if they don’t, it can result in huge monetary awards for the tenant. Chicago is VERY TENANT FRIENDLY. The CRLTO was enacted in 1986 and its main purpose is to protect and establish tenants rights. MANY first-time landlords have never heard of it but absolutely need to understand it. Generally, the CRLTO applies to all landlords except: Dwelling units in owner-occupied buildings containing six units or less; hotels, motels, inns, bed- and-breakfast establishments, rooming houses and boardinghouses, hospitals, convents, monasteries, extended care facilities, asylums or not-for-profit homes for the aged, temporary overnight shelters, transitional shelters, or in dormitories owned and operated by an elementary school, high school or institution of higher learning; A dwelling unit that is occupied by a purchaser pursuant to a real estate purchase contract prior to the transfer of title to such property to such purchaser, or by a seller of property pursuant to a real estate purchase contract subsequent to the transfer of title from such seller; A dwelling unit occupied by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in or about the premises; and a dwelling unit in a cooperative occupied by a holder of a proprietary lease. As you can see from above, most landlords fall under the ordinance! Where landlords get in trouble with the CRLTO Many landlords simply do not know about the CRLTO. And often times, they only learn about it the hard way – when their tenants sue them. Landlords typically get in trouble when it comes to the security deposit and the lease itself. This is intended to supply general information to the public. Although the information is generally accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. The nature of the law is that it changes quickly, and people should always insure that legal information is accurate before relying on it. The above information applies the law of the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. The law in your jurisdiction may be different. This information is necessarily brief and may or may not apply to your situation. In all cases, PLEASE, consult a lawyer before acting. This is not intended to be advertising, solicitation, or legal advice. Thus, the reader should not consider this information to be an invitation for an attorney-client relationship, should not rely on information provided herein, and should always seek the advice of competent counsel in the reader's state.
  • 2. Security Deposit Issues -According to the CRLTO, the landlord MUST put the tenant’s security deposit in a separate, interest bearing account. The interest rate is set forth every year by the City of Chicago. The security deposit should NEVER go into a landlord’s personal account, even if it is only for one day or even one minute. The landlord should ALWAYS ask for the security deposit to be written on a separate check. In other words, do not accept one check for both the first month’s rent and the security deposit. It can be construed as co- mingling. The penalty for co-mingling and/or not putting the tenant’s security deposit in a separate account is equivalent to two times the amount of the security deposit. -Another example of where landlords get in trouble is not giving a proper receipt for the security deposit. According to section 5-12-080 of the CRLTO, “any landlord or landlord’s agent who receives a security deposit from a tenant or prospective tenant shall give said tenant or prospective tenant at the time of receiving such security deposit a receipt indicating the amount of such security deposit, the name of the person receiving it and, in the case of the agent, the name of the landlord for whom such security deposit is received, the date on which it is received, and a description of the dwelling unit. The receipt shall be signed by the person receiving the security deposit. Failure to comply with this subsection shall entitle the tenant to immediate return of security deposit.” Lease Issues -What is the number one common problem landlords face with leases? They forget to attach the latest summary of the CRLTO. That summary contains vital information that the City of Chicago wants the tenant to have. Thankfully, most of our offices automatically attach a summary to the lease, however, do not assume that is the latest summary. Failure to attach the proper summary can result in a $100 fine and gives the tenant the right to terminate the lease upon written notice. -Landlords must also disclose their information to the tenant. A landlord or any person authorized to enter into an oral or written rental agreement on the landlord’s behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name, address, and telephone number of: (a) The owner or person authorized to manage the premises; and (b) A person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting for notices and demands. Failure to comply can give the tenant the right to terminate the lease and possibly one months rent or actual damages whichever is greater. This is intended to supply general information to the public. Although the information is generally accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. The nature of the law is that it changes quickly, and people should always insure that legal information is accurate before relying on it. The above information applies the law of the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. The law in your jurisdiction may be different. This information is necessarily brief and may or may not apply to your situation. In all cases, PLEASE, consult a lawyer before acting. This is not intended to be advertising, solicitation, or legal advice. Thus, the reader should not consider this information to be an invitation for an attorney-client relationship, should not rely on information provided herein, and should always seek the advice of competent counsel in the reader's state.
  • 3. EVICTING A TENANT IN CHICAGO When a landlord has to evict a tenant in the city of Chicago, it can be a very frustrating experience. There are many, many things a tenant can do to prolong the process and there is simply nothing the landlord (or his attorney) can do about it. Below is a general outline for an eviction case. Please know however that there are thousands of different ways it can actually go – there is no one simple way. First things first… Proper notice must be given to the tenant. Typically it is the 5-day notice, which is for non-payment for rent. Please note: there are many requirements necessary for the 5- day notice so you should consult with an Attorney. If the 5-day notice is defective, you will have to start all over again! Complaint and Summons Next, the landlord’s attorney will draft a complaint and summons and the Sheriff will serve it on the tenant. Court dates The tenant will possibly show up by himself or herself, with an Attorney, or not show up at all. Depending on what happens, the process can be fairly brief or significantly long. What is the landlord seeking? Landlords seek an order of possession and possibly monetary damages. GENERAL ADVICE FOR LANDLORDS IN CHICAGO -Do NOT wait until your tenant is two or three months behind on rent to seek an eviction. The eviction process can be complicated and lengthy so the quicker you get it started, the better off you will be. -Make sure everyone that is living in the apartment signs the lease. That will prevent many, many problems. -Follow the CRLTO!!!!! About our law firm -We handle almost everything regarding real estate. Closings, leases, landlord/tenant disputes, and evictions are just some examples. We also help people in need modify their home loans to prevent foreclosure and help business modify their commercial loans to prevent default. We also form LLC’s and negotiate employment contracts among other things. We also have one attorney who handles all of our litigation matters. This is intended to supply general information to the public. Although the information is generally accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. The nature of the law is that it changes quickly, and people should always insure that legal information is accurate before relying on it. The above information applies the law of the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. The law in your jurisdiction may be different. This information is necessarily brief and may or may not apply to your situation. In all cases, PLEASE, consult a lawyer before acting. This is not intended to be advertising, solicitation, or legal advice. Thus, the reader should not consider this information to be an invitation for an attorney-client relationship, should not rely on information provided herein, and should always seek the advice of competent counsel in the reader's state.
  • 4. Bradford Miller Namit Bammi Attorney at Law Attorney at Law Miller Bammi LLC Miller Bammi LLC 312-238-9298 312-952-7733 bmiller@millerbammi.com nbammi@millerbammi.com www.millerbammi.com www.millerbammi.com This is intended to supply general information to the public. Although the information is generally accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. The nature of the law is that it changes quickly, and people should always insure that legal information is accurate before relying on it. The above information applies the law of the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. The law in your jurisdiction may be different. This information is necessarily brief and may or may not apply to your situation. In all cases, PLEASE, consult a lawyer before acting. This is not intended to be advertising, solicitation, or legal advice. Thus, the reader should not consider this information to be an invitation for an attorney-client relationship, should not rely on information provided herein, and should always seek the advice of competent counsel in the reader's state.