The Chicago City Council passed the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) in 1986 to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of Chicago’s renters. It contains the rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant in the rental of Chicago apartments. The RLTO details what the landlord must provide and maintain in the apartment and what remedies are available to the tenant if the landlord does not do so. It also details the responsibilities of the tenant and the remedies available to the landlord if the tenant does not fulfill them. Other subjects of the RLTO include security deposits, subleases, the landlord’s right of access and illegal lease clauses.
The RLTO applies to all apartment buildings in Chicago, unless the building has 6 or less units and the landlord lives there. Some of the landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities under the Chicago RLTO are:
- Late fee amounts are limited to $10 for the first $500 of rent and 5% on the rest;
- Landlords cannot ban subletting. The tenant is allowed to sublet to someone as long as that person meets the same qualifications required for all tenants; and
- The tenant always has a right to a jury trial. The lease cannot prevent this.
Landlords in Chicago must give their tenants a written summary of the RLTO. A printable version can be found on the City of Chicago website.