"The Case of the Missing Landlord"

 

 

Only the Appellate Court gets to name cases.  They called this one "The Case of the Missing Landlord." 

 

In this case the trial court believed the Landlord's claim that she "occupied" her two-unit building in Chicago, thus rendering it "owner occupied" and excluded from coverage by the RLTO.  See  RLTO § 020(a). 

 

The trial court also found that the Tenant held over by leaving furniture in the building after move-out, and awarded the Landlord triple rent plus attorney fees. 

 

Instead of getting his security deposit back, our client ended up with a judgment against him for more than $7,000.  

 

Fortunately, the Appellate Court reversed the trial court's rulings.  The Appellate Court held that the RLTO did apply. The appellate court said:

 

 "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.  The only possible evidence of occupation relates to the information on [Landlord's] driver's license and her testimony that she voted in Cook County.  The remainder of her testimony and arguments on appeal amount to nothing more than a cynical attempt to prevent her tenant from obtaining the beneficial effects of the ordinance."

 

The Landlord's counterclaims and attorney fees were also reversed, and the Tenant awarded his RLTO remedies including attorney fees.