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Tips for renting out your unit

Always follow the Fair Housing Laws and The Chicago Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO).

Download and print this Illinois Landlord Guide .

Application Process

-Have prospect fully complete and sign a lease application; a landlord can charge an application fee. You should provide the tenant with a receipt.

-Interview prospective tenant and inform them of your expectations (pets, smoking, use of facilities, etc.)

-Obtain a Credit Report (Major providers include Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.)

-Verify Employment or Income Source (Request Pay Stubs, W2s, or Bank Statements & IRS Form 4506).

-Get contact info of tenant's current landlord.

-Interview current landlord to see if tenant has paid rent, taken care of unit, etc.

You can make your decision based on the above information. If the applicant is rejected, send a letter stating so. If approved, send a letter stating so and set up a time for the renter to sign the lease. Remember, good screening prevents future problems! 

Signing the Lease

-All tenants must receive a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Flyer

-Starting Dec. 2013 all Chicago renters must receive a Bed Bug Flyer

-If the lease states the tenant pays for heating costs then the tenant must receive the Annual Heating Cost Form.

-If radon is present, the landlord must notify new tenants residing in units below the third floor.

All tenants residing in units covered by the RLTO must be provided the following:

-Receipt for any Security Deposit received and notification of where deposit is being held.

-Contact information for building owner or agent.

-Summary of any building code violations.

-Summary of the RLTO.

(The law does not require written leases, but it is a best practice to provide written leases even for month to month tenants)

Once you’ve signed the lease

-Do a walk-through with the new tenant and complete a move-in inspection form. Also, see moving-in.

-Put in writing any repairs you agreed to take care of. Have tenant sign off on document.

-Take care of any repairs or issues identified during the move-in walk-through.

-Issue keys and tenant handbook (rules & regulations laid out in the lease.)

During the Tenancy

-Perform regular inspections of the tenant's unit. (MTO recommends once every 6 months.) Provide the tenant with proper notice; use Squared Away to schedule the inspection.

-Always provide tenants with a notice when you intend to enter their unit. Chicago law requires 2-day notice.

-Document payment of Security Deposit interest. Notify tenant where deposit is being held.

-Follow heating laws when needed. (Units must be at least 68 degrees from 8:30AM-10:30PM and at least 66 degrees at all other times.)

-Maintain common areas.

Snow shoveling requirements are as follows:

  • Snow or ice that accumulates before 4:00 p.m. must be removed within three hours.
  • Snow or ice that accumulates after 4:00 p.m. must be shoveled by no later than 10:00 a.m. the following day.
  • Snow or ice that is so frozen that it cannot be removed without damaging the pavement must be treated with rock salt or a similar substance.
  • You are not required to shovel snow on Sunday.

Ending the Tenancy

Our goal is to promote stable tenancies, but sometimes tenants have to move:

-Always give proper termination notice, and put it in writing.

-Set up an appointment to walk through the unit and go over move-out expectations. Put them in writing.

-For units covered by the RLTO, you must provide the tenant with an itemized list of repairs within 30 days. Also, see Security Deposits.

-For units covered by the RLTO, you must return the deposit within 45 days

-For units covered by the RLTO, you must provide the tenant with receipts within 60 days

Resources for Landlords

Chicago Rents Right.....312-742-7369

Spanish Coalition for Housing.....773-276-7633

Community Investment Corporation.....312 258 0070 or via email (preferred): taft.west@cicchicago.com

Neighborhood Housing Services (landlords facing foreclosure).....773-329-4010

Apartment People - Landlord Services Department at 773-248-8800 | landlordservices@apartmentpeople.com | Landlord Resources Page