Security Deposit Law



     The family in this case rented one unit in a two-flat in Chicago.  They gave a $1,387 security deposit.  The landlord never disclosed his real address, and instead put the address of the rental property on the lease as his address.  He did not live there, and just came by to pick up mail.  The heat did not work in the winter, and the landlord ignored the tenants' complaints.  The tenants' young son was having a hard time sleeping in the cold apartment.

     The tenants had our office serve a lease termination notice on their landlord compliant with two different sections of the RLTO.  The letter also requested that the landlord return the tenants' security deposit within 45 days after the tenants moved out.

     The landlord never responded to the letter or returned any deposit.  The landlord ignored another letter about 50 days after the tenants had moved out, which inquired after the tenants' deposit.  The tenants eventually asked us to file suit to get their deposit back.   

     At trial the landlord insisted the deposit was validly withheld for rent, because the tenants "broke" their lease.  However, our lease termination was found valid.  So the Tenant was awarded damages under RLTO 080(f) equal to two times the $1,387 security deposit, and the deposit.


Additionally, by your own admission, you did not respond to the letter of March 17th asking for your address specifically, so I think that the plaintiff was able to void the lease under 090 of the RLTO.  Additionally, by your own admission, you did not respond or return the security deposit, so with the address they get one times the security deposit; with the failure to return the security deposit within 45 days, they get two times.  There will be an award of 4161, which is the security deposit of 1387 times three.  The general rule of thumb on this floor is 350 in terms of attorney's fees, unless you want to come in with a petition, counsel.  What do you want to do? 

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