Evanston Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance



Security Deposit Rights Lawyer

         The Evanston Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (ERLTO) predates the Chicago RLTO.  The Evanston RLTO does share some features of the Chicago RLTO, and also contains the state's only 21-day security deposit return and accounting rule.  This is the timeline Wisconsin residents are used to.  The ERLTO also requires landlords to account in writing even for rent they are withholding from the security deposit of a tenant.  This is not required statewide. 


    Evanston renters of a duplex, townhouse, apartment, condo, or single  family home may email attorney Silverman for a free initial review of their Evanston landlord - tenant situation and rights.












































Title, Purpose and scope

General Definitions; Principals of Interpretation

Rental Agreement: Terms and Conditions of Lease

Effect of Unsigned or Undelivered Rental Agreement

Prohibited Provisions in Rental Agreements

Tenant Obligations:  Maintain Dwelling Unit

Rules and Regulations


Tenant's Use and Occupancy of Dwelling Unit

Landlord Obligations:  Security Deposits


Maintain Fit Premises

Limitation of Liability
Lead Disclosure Requirements

Landlord Remedies:  Noncompliance with Lease

Abandonment; Subleases

Waiver of Landlord's Right to Terminate

Remedy After Termination

Disposition of Abandoned Property

Tenant Remedies: Noncompliance by Landlord

Failure to Deliver Possession

Self Help For Minor Defects and Rent Withholdings

Wrongful Failure to Supply Essential Services

Landlord's Noncompliance as Defense to Action for Rent

Fire or Casualty Damage

Holdover; Abuse of Access:  Holdover Remedies

Landlord and Tenant Remedies for Abuse of Access

Notice of Refusal to Renew Rental Agreement

Retaliatory Conduct

Civil Actions by City

Attachment of Chapter to Rental Agreement

Condominium Conversions

Interruption of Tenant Occupancy



Civil Remedy

Tenant's Right to Terminate


Evanston's Security Deposit Interest Rates (same as Chicago)



   Two Times Security Deposit Returned 22 Days After Move-Out Instead of 21  Evanston Tenants Rights Opinion  evanston security deposit case

Examples of Cases from Mark Silverman Law Office Ltd., (312) 775-1015

(A) A landlord may not demand or receive security or prepaid rent or any combination thereof in an amount in excess of one and one-half (1 1/2) months' rent; provided, however, that rent paid on the first day of the month or upon any other day mutually agreed upon by the parties, due and payable in advance for that month, shall not be construed herein as either security or prepaid rent and therefore shall not be included in the computation of the aforesaid one and one-half (1 1/2) months' rent. The tenant shall pay the landlord, at the time the tenant moves into the premises or at any other time mutually agreed upon by the parties, the amount of the security or prepaid rent required by the landlord. However, if the landlord requires a security deposit or prepaid rent in excess of one month's rent, but not exceeding one and one-half (1 1/2) months' rent, that portion in excess of one month's rent at the election of the tenant, shall be paid either at the time the tenant pays the initial security deposit, or shall be paid in no more than six (6) equal installments no later than six (6) months after the effective date of the lease. Interest on that portion of a security deposit or prepaid rent exceeding one month's rent, if paid in installments, shall not be computed until all installments are paid to the landlord. (Ord. 22-0-89)


(B) Effective October 1, 2002, a landlord who receives security or prepaid rent from a tenant shall pay interest to the tenant at the rate equal to the interest rate paid on such security deposits in the city of Chicago. Interest on security deposits on leases commencing prior to October 1, 2002, shall be paid at a rate of four percent (4%) per year through December 31, 1975, and five percent  (5%) per year from January 1, 1976, through September 30, 2002. A landlord shall pay to the tenant interest on all deposits within thirty (30) days after the end of each twelve (12) month rental period, by cash or credit to be applied to the rent due, except when the tenant is in default under the terms of the rental agreement. Interest on that portion of a security deposit or prepaid rent exceeding one month's rent, if paid in installments, shall not be computed until all installments are paid to the landlord. (Ord. 81-0-02)

(C) Upon termination of the tenancy, property or money held by the landlord as security or prepaid rent may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with section 5-3-4-1 of this chapter, all as itemized by the landlord in a written notice delivered to the tenant together with the amount due twenty one (21) days after tenant has vacated his unit. Any security or prepaid rent not so applied, and any interest on such security due to the tenant, shall be paid to the tenant within twenty one (21) days after tenant has vacated his unit. In the event the rental agreement terminates pursuant to subsection 5-3-7-4(A)1 of this chapter regarding landlord's wrongful failure to supply essential services, the obligations imposed on the landlord pursuant to this subsection (C) shall be performed within forty eight (48) hours after the expiration of the seven (7) day written notice to the landlord to restore service. (Ord. 97-0-06)

(D) A landlord shall hold all security deposits received by him or her in a federally insured interest bearing account in a bank, savings and loan association or other financial institution located in the state of Illinois. A security deposit and interest due thereon shall continue to be the property of the tenant making such deposit, shall not be commingled with the assets of the landlord, and shall not be subject to the claims of any creditor of the landlord or of the landlord's successors in interest, including a foreclosing mortgagee or trustee in bankruptcy.

(E) The city shall cause the new rate of security deposit interest to be published once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in two (2) or more newspapers of general circulation in the city. The city manager shall direct the human relations department to prepare and publish for free public distribution at government offices and libraries, a pamphlet or brochure describing the respective rights, obligations and remedies of landlords and tenants with respect to security deposits, including the new interest rate as well as the interest rate for each of the prior two (2) years. Said pamphlet shall also be available on the city's website. (Ord. 81-0-02)

(F) If the landlord fails to comply with subsection (C) of this section, the tenant may recover the property and money due him together with damages in an amount equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney fees.

(G) This section does not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter. (Ord. 19-0-75; amd. Ord. 81-0-02)


    In Evanston, almost all Landlords who take a security deposit are required to return, account for, and pay interest on that deposit within 21 days after a tenant vacates.  Even if the landlord is withholding deposit for rent, that rent has to be itemized and accounted for within 21 days.  Under subsection 5-1(B), the interest must be paid at the same rate as required by the Chicago ordinance, which changes every year. 


    When a landlord doesn't comply with the requirements of 5-1(C) of the ERLTO tenants may recover an award equal to twice the amount of the security deposit wrongfully withheld plus court costs and attorney fees. 


    We have obtained the double-damages for Northwestern University students renting in Evanston in two cases decided by the Court of Appeals.


      What about subsections (A), (B), (D), and (E)?  Under (A) a landlord is not allowed to take more than one and a half month's rent as a security deposit, but if they do, there is no remedy.  Under (B) a landlord has to pay interest, every 12 months, at the same rate that the Chicago RLTO requires.  If they don't, there is no remedy.  Under (D) a landlord must not commingle the security deposit, but if they do, there is no remedy.



Title 5 Chapter 3 of the Municipal Code of Evanston