units in hotels, motels, inns, bed-and-breakfast establishments, rooming
houses and boardinghouses, but only until such time as the dwelling unit
has been occupied by a tenant for 32 or more continuous days and tenant
pays a monthly rent, exclusive of any period of wrongful occupancy
contrary to agreement with an owner. Notwithstanding the above, the
prohibition against interruption of tenant occupancy set forth in
Section 5-12-160 shall apply to every rented dwelling unit in such
buildings within the City of Chicago. No landlord shall bring an action
to recover possession of such unit, or avoid renting monthly in order to
avoid the application of this chapter. Any willful attempt to avoid
application of this chapter by an owner may be punishable by criminal or
(c) Housing accommodations in any hospital, convent,
monastery, extended care facility, asylum or not-for-profit home for the
aged, temporary overnight shelter, transitional shelter, or in a
dormitory owned and operated by an elementary school, high school or
institution of higher learning; student housing accommodations wherein a
housing agreement or housing contract is entered into between the
student and an institution of higher learning or student housing wherein
the institution exercises control or supervision of the students: or
student housing owned and operated by a tax exempt organization
affiliated with an institution of higher learning.
(d) 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;
(e) A dwelling unit occupied by an employee of a
landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in or
about the premises; and
(f) A dwelling unit in a cooperative occupied by a
holder of a proprietary lease.
Unless some exception under this section of the Chicago
Municipal Code applies, every residential rental in the City of
Chicago is covered by the RLTO.
The most common exclusion
faced by regular
Chicago renters is RLTO
Under RLTO §5-12-020(a) there is no RLTO
coverage if the landlord BOTH lives in the building AND there
are six or fewer units in the building. This is the "owner-occupied"
Also, we know that it
doesn't matter how many of the units in the building are
ACTUALLY being rented out or inhabited. The units all
count, as long as they COULD be used as dwelling units. So
RLTO still covers a landlord
who occupies her 8-unit building and rents another
unit to the tenant, and has 6 empty apartments.
The appellate court has said that when
the owner lives in the main house on a parcel of land where
there is also a detached coach house with 1-6 units, and tenants
live in the coach house, those tenants are not protected by the
RLTO. Instead, even though no owner lives in their
building, the owner "occupies" both their main house and also
the coach house pursuant to the definition of "dwelling unit"
found at RLTO § 5-12-030(a).
The appellate court
has also said more recently in an unpublished
Rule 23 order that:
"we find that in order
to 'occupy' a building, there must at least exist a
degree of 'living,' as set forth in
Berven, sufficient to
effectuate the aforementioned purposes of the
owner-occupied exception. * * * An absentee landlord
could keep a unit in numerous properties and claim to be
occupying all of them if he occasionally visited the
location and had mail sent there."
In other words, it sounds like an owner can't live in one
place and claim to also occupy some other place. Just one
occupied place per owner.
under subsection (f)
is not commonly encountered, but has been successfully avoided
in a class action security deposit case filed by our office in