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Landlord's claim of owner occupancy denied



In this case the the Tenant rented an apartment in a three-unit building on in Chicago from August, 2005 to April, 2007.  Tenant gave a $750 security deposit. 


After move-out the Landlord returned only $300, keeping the other $450 for alleged damages.  No interest was paid on the security deposit.

Tenant had us send a letter sent to the landlord.  Return of the $450 plus damages plus interest were demanded. 


The Landlord's attorneys wrote back claiming the building was owner-occupied during the tenancy, so the RLTO did not apply (under RLTO § 020).


The Tenant was confident the landlord didn't live at her 3-unit building when she did.  We filed suit for return of the $450.


At trial the Landlord presented testimony from himself, his brother, and the Tenant's former neighbor.  They all claimed that the Landlord had actually lived as the roommate of one of Tenant's neighbors in the building.  We presented a copy of the Landlord's mortgage from during the tenancy that said Landlord's address was somewhere else.


The judge found the building was not owner occupied, so the RLTO applied.  Tenant was awarded damages under RLTO § 080(f) equal to two times the $750 security deposit; or $1,500, because Landlord violated RLTO § 080(a) by commingling and (c) by failing to pay interest. Tenant was also awarded the $750 deposit back, plus court costs and attorney fees.


The Tenant hired a law firm that just does collection to try to collect the judgment.  The Landlord never has paid, or had assets found that can be collected.

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