Chicago Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance
Section 5-12-130 Landlord remedies
Every landlord shall have the remedies specified in this section for the following circumstances:
(a) Failure to Pay Rent. If all or any portion of rent is unpaid when due and the tenant fails to pay the unpaid rent within five days after written notice by the landlord of his intention to terminate the rental agreement if rent is not so paid, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement. Nothing in this subsection shall affect a landlord's obligation to provide notice of termination of tenancy in subsidized housing as required under federal law or regulations. A landlord may also maintain an action for rent and/or damages without terminating the rental agreement.
(b) Noncompliance by Tenant. If there is material noncompliance by a tenant with a rental agreement or with Section 5-12-040, the landlord of such tenant's dwelling unit may deliver written notice to the tenant specifying the acts and/or omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than ten days after receipt of the notice, unless the breach is remedied by the tenant within that period of time. If the breach is not remedied within the 10-day period, the residential rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice. The landlord may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-040. If the tenant's noncompliance is wilful, the landlord may also recover reasonable attorney's fees.
(c) Failure to Maintain. If there is material noncompliance by the tenant with Section 5-12-040 (other than subsection (g) thereof), and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as conditions permit in case of emergency or in cases other than emergencies within 14 days of receipt of written notice by the landlord specifying the breach and requesting that the tenant remedy it within that period of time, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit and have the necessary work done in the manner required by law. The landlord shall be entitled to reimbursement from the tenant of the costs of repairs under this section.
(d) Disturbance of Others. If the tenant violates Section 5-12-040(g) within 60 days after receipt of a written notice as provided in subsection (b), the landlord may obtain injunctive relief against the conduct constituting the violation, or may terminate the rental agreement on ten days' written notice to the tenant.
(e) Abandonment. Abandonment of the dwelling unit shall be deemed to have occurred when:
(1) Actual notice has been provided to the landlord by the tenant indicating the tenant's intention not to return to the dwelling unit; or
(2) All persons entitled under a rental agreement to occupy the dwelling unit have been absent from the unit for a period of 21 days or for one rental period when the rental agreement is for less than a month, and such persons have removed their personal property from the premises, and rent for that period is unpaid; or
(3) All persons entitled under a rental agreement to occupy the dwelling unit have been absent from the unit for a period of 32 days, and rent for that period is unpaid.
Notwithstanding the above, abandonment of the dwelling unit shall not be deemed to have occurred if any person entitled to occupancy has provided the landlord a written notice indicating that he still intends to occupy the unit and makes full payment of all amounts due to the landlord.
If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the landlord shall make a good faith effort to re-rent it at a fair rental, which shall be the rent charged for comparable dwelling units in the premises or in the same neighborhood. If the landlord succeeds in re- renting the dwelling unit at a fair rental, the tenant shall be liable for the amount by which the rent due from the date of abandonment to the termination of the initial rental agreement exceeds the fair rental subsequently received by the landlord from the date of abandonment to the termination of the initial rental agreement. If the landlord makes a good faith effort to re-rent the dwelling unit at a fair rental and is unsuccessful, the tenant shall be liable for the rent due for the period of the rental agreement. The tenant shall also be liable for the reasonable advertising expenses and reasonable redecoration costs incurred by the landlord pursuant to this subsection.
(f) Disposition of Abandoned Property. If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit as described in subsection (e) hereof, or fails to remove his personal property from the premises after termination of a rental agreement, the landlord shall leave the property in the dwelling unit or remove and store all abandoned property from the dwelling unit and may dispose of the property after seven days. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the landlord reasonably believes such abandoned property to be valueless or of such little value that the cost of storage would exceed the amount that would be realized from sale, or if such property is subject to spoilage, the landlord may immediately dispose of such property.
(g) Waiver of Landlord's Right to Terminate. If the landlord accepts the rent due knowing that there is a default in payment of rent by the tenant he thereby waives his right to terminate the rental agreement for that breach.
(h) Remedy After Termination. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall have a claim for possession and/or for rent.
(i) Notice or Renewal of Rental Agreement. No tenant shall be required to renew a rental agreement more than 90 days prior to the termination date of the rental agreement. If the landlord violates this subsection, the tenant shall recover one month's rent or actual damages, whichever is greater.
(j) Notice or Refusal to Renew Rental Agreement. Provided that the landlord has not exercised, or is not in the process of exercising, any of its rights under Section 5-12-130(a) – (h) hereof, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing at least 30 days prior to the stated termination date of the rental agreement of the landlord's intent either to terminate a month to month tenancy or not to renew an existing rental agreement. If the landlord fails to give the required written notice, the tenant may remain in the dwelling unit for up to 60 days after the date on which such required written notice is given to the tenant, regardless of the termination date specified in the existing rental agreement. During such occupancy, the terms and conditions of the tenancy (including, without limitation, the rental rate) shall be the same as the terms and conditions during the month of tenancy immediately preceding the notice; provided, however, that if rent was waived or abated in the preceding month or months as part of the original rental agreement, the rental amount during such 60-day period shall be at the rate established on the last date that a full rent payment was made.
This section of the RLTO should be common sense. Tenants are required to pay rent and not destroy the place, etc.
But this section of the RLTO isn't all pain and suffering for Chicago renters. This section actually provides some new and unique ways that landlords can owe their tenants money.
First, see subsection (i), "Notice or Renewal of Rental Agreement." This section awards tenants damages against their landlord equal to one month's rent if the landlord requires the tenant to renew a 12-month lease any sooner than the last 90 days of the lease.
Second, see subsection (j), "Notice or Refusal to Renew Rental Agreement." If the tenant is renting under a 12-month lease, the landlord has to give the tenant written notice AT LEAST 30 days before the lease expires of their intent to NOT let the renter renew the lease. Tenants have no such duty. But if the landlord fails to give the required notice, the tenant gets to stay another 60 days after their lease ends, paying the same rent.