Chicago Renter’s Rights
In the City of Chicago, renter’s rights are pretty vigorously protected by law. In a city that was rife with corruption under Mayor Richard Daly at one time, things have settled down quite a bit and tenants can live in relative peace knowing that their landlords can not abuse them.
Chicago renter’s rights make it against the law for any landlord to dispossess a tenant from his or her dwelling. This means that a tenant can not simply be put out onto the street even if he or she is considerably behind in paying their rent. The landlord is also not allowed to change the lock, plug the locks or add any locks. In other words, the landlord is not allowed to do anything that would prevent a tenant from entering his or her apartment.
The landlord is also not allowed to interfere with the provision of any utilities to the apartment like the heat or electricity. The landlord is not permitted to remove any of the tenant’s personal belongings. In other words, this means that the landlord can not simply have the tenant’s furniture thrown out onto the street. He or she is further precluded from interfering with any appliances contained within the apartment such as a stove or a refrigerator on which the tenant is dependent to live.
These laws are all laid out in something called the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance. Copies of this are available at City Hall and any public library in the city of Chicago. Every person who is a tenant should have a copy and be familiar with what it says.
In it they will discover that Chicago renter’s rights prohibit any landlord from employing any kind of threats or violence against either the tenant or his or her property as a way of trying to compel them to pay rent that may be owed to them.
Chicago renter’s rights mandate that a landlord who wishes to evict a tenant can only do so with the assistance of the Sheriff of Cook County. This means that any landlord wishing to evict a tenant from a rental unit must first make a petition to the court and obtain a court order. Once the order has been signed, it will be forwarded to the sheriff’s office and he will act. No landlord may forcibly evict a tenant on his or her own. Doing this is an illegal act, punishable by law.
Landlords who are in violation of the Ordinance are subject to fines of up to $500.00. any tenant who feels that his or her rights have been violated should first consult the Ordinance to see if this is the case. If the tenant determines this to be the case, they should first attempt to discuss it with the landlord. If the tenant is unable to reach an agreeable solution to the problem, they may have to consult with a lawyer. There are numerous legal aid clinics in the city of Chicago which offer lawyer’s services at reasonable prices.