“Laws Affecting Rental Properties In Illinois” – KSN attorney Jessica Ryan discusses important laws affecting rental properties, legal updates including evictions, notices, tenant screening, and more. (49 mins.)
The KSN Podcast examines various aspects of association law, landlord/tenant issues, property tax appeals, and more.
In each episode, KSN attorneys share their experience and knowledge as they discuss legal updates, best practices, industry trends, and more.
KSN Podcast episodes are available here: www.ksnlaw.com/podcast
Subscribe to the KSN Podcast where podcasts are found including:
Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. Additionally, we represent clients in real estate transactions, collections, landlord/tenant issues, and property tax appeals. We represent thousands of clients and community associations throughout the US with offices in several states including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
For more info about our law firm and legal services, please visit www.ksnlaw.com.
Nikki: You are listening to the KSN podcast and today we’re talking about laws impacting rental properties in Illinois. Welcome to the KSN podcast where you’ll hear from KSN attorneys as they share their experience and insight on legal issues surrounding community associations, collections, property tax appeals, and landlord tenant law. I’m Nikki and today we’re joined by KSN attorney Jessica Ryan. Jessie practices landlords/tenant law as well as condominium, townhome and homeowner association law. Please note that this is a previous webinar recorded on January 20th, 2022.
Jessica: Thank you all for joining today. This is the kickoff of our 2022 landlord tenant webinar series. We’ll be trying to put on a webinar every month. You may have already seen the schedule. We’re going to skip the summer months because who wants to be sitting inside on a webinar when you could be sitting outside in the sunshine on a patio, having lunch and looking outside my window today, that is where I would rather be; on a patio somewhere in the sun. So appreciate everybody joining and keep a lookout for the schedule for the entire year, we’re going to be putting on lots of webinars and get everybody kind of up to speed on where we are now, since most of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
My name’s Jessica Ryan. I’m the head of our landlord tenant department here at KSN and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now, which is unbelievable and I really enjoy it. I love what I do. I am involved with the Chicagoland apartment association. The national apartment association really try and keep abreast of what’s coming down the pipeline to make sure that not only am I and our attorneys informed, but all of our clients are informed as well, which is why we put on these free webinars. Today’s topic; I’m kicking off the year with probably the most boring topic of all of them, which is just going to be an overview of laws that affect rental properties. So I’m apologizing in advance, it’s going to be a little bit bland, not as many colorful stories that I can throw in, as you know we would with an eviction seminar or a discrimination seminar and of course there are so many laws and regulations that affect rental properties one way or another. We’re not going to be able to get through every single thing that could possibly affect a rental property, but we will get through the most important ones, the ones that come up the most often, get violated the most often.
So I’m going to go through the presentation. If you have questions, please feel free to put them in the chat. I think Nicki put a nice little note up if you could just make sure everybody is on mute, it’ll cut down on the background noise. I think we’re all so used to the zooms where we’re going, please go on mute, please go on mute. So if everybody could do that now, we will get started. All right. So let’s head first into the Illinois landlord and tenant act. So this is an Illinois statute that covers just some kind of miscellaneous provisions on the landlord tenant relationship. You would think that the landlord and tenant act would be kind of an all-encompassing statute that covers everything and when things need to get added, they just add it to the landlord and tenant act, but that’s actually not the case. It’s a fairly short statute and it’s really just kind of a mush mosh of different miscellaneous provisions. So I’m just going to talk about a few of the most important or most interesting ones if you can call any statute interesting, but you know, that’s what I do. So I find it interesting.
Section one, it just lays out legal theory that everybody knows that a landlord cannot be exempt from liability if the landlord is negligent in the operation or maintenance of the property. So you cannot include a provision in your lease that says if you as the landlord are negligent in operating the property or maintaining the property, you will have no liability to your tenants. You just can’t do that. It’s prohibited by the Illinois statute. Jumping a little bit to section five is also an interesting one, it lays out a process where a landlord can, and I’m quoting the statute, void the lease if they have the federal HUD addendum for drug free housing and the tenant commits and is indicted for a class X felony at the property. If you have a combination of those things, the statute says you can void the lease by serving a five day notice and filing an eviction. So if any of you are familiar with how we go about filing an eviction for cause if criminal activity is perpetuated at the property, we serve a 10 day notice and then file an eviction. So although the statute seems to be trying to help landlords and give you a tool for voiding a lease and getting rid of a tenant, it’s really not any different than having to go through an eviction for cause process. The only difference is you get to serve a five day notice for cause in this case, versus you’d have to serve a 10 day notice, but otherwise you still have to file an eviction and go through the whole process.
So I have had clients read that section and get excited. There was a class X felony. We just get to void the lease and move all of his stuff out tomorrow and unfortunately that is not the case. It still makes you go through the whole eviction process. So I don’t really think the legislators hit the nail on the head on that one. Jumping here to section 15, it talks about rekeying units and this section is only applicable to counties with 3 million or more population, which really is just Cook County. So this section only applies to Cook County and it says that the landlord has a duty to change the locks of a unit between tenants in any building that has more than four units where the owner does not live. So, I think it’s an interesting kind of narrow requirement where it’s only Cook County and does not apply to owner occupied buildings of four units or less, whereas the duty then doesn’t necessarily really exist. Now, we have ordinances and we have different, smaller, local regulations that would cover this as well but under Illinois statute, they only really place this duty of wreaking the unit between tenants on the landlord in Cook County and in larger buildings that are not owner occupied.
So kind of interesting there, I also think it’s just kind of a no-brainer if the building is owner occupied, let’s say it’s a mom and pop who has a three flat and they live in one. I mean, that is for a safety issue. That owner is going to definitely want to rekey all of the locks between tenants. So making it only for non-owner occupied buildings, doesn’t really seem to connect for me. So, a lot of these statutes, I think the legislature just didn’t really understand how it was going to play out and logistically be implemented when they wrote some of these things. So, it’s interesting. Section 16 of the landlord and tenant act is that military personnel clause. So if any of you guys use the blue moon lease, the one that’s issued by the national apartment association and actually there’s quite a few of the form leases have that military personnel clause that says that if a tenant is on active military duty, they can terminate the lease without penalty if they have orders for a permanent change of station or get deployed. So, if the tenant has that circumstance, they have to submit the actual orders to you as the landlord or property manager and the termination is effective 30 days after the date they tender that notice. So they are still responsible for rent for 30 days after the date they tender the notice but if they are on active military duty and get deployed or get transferred, you have let them out of their lease.
So, the reason behind that provision in your lease is this section of the Illinois landlord and tenant act, the military personnel clause. All right, we’re ready for the next slide. All right. So the Illinois eviction act back in the day it was called the Illinois forcible entry and detainer act, which I always said to people it’s just a fancy way of saying eviction and finally the legislature decided we don’t need the fancy way, it’s confusing for a layman and we just are going to call it the eviction act, which makes things a lot simpler. We are having a full webinar on the entire eviction process, which will go through all of the eviction procedures that are laid out in the eviction act. That webinar will be in February. So look for that invitation and please join us. I know Julie Jacobson is giving that and she is excellent. She’s really funny, has great stories and will keep you entertained. So there are a couple of things in the eviction act that don’t have to do necessarily with eviction and are interesting and important that I wanted to point out to you. First, in the eviction act there is a provision for a barred person notice. This section of the act allows a landlord to serve a notice on a tenant guest or unauthorized occupant who does not have a right to possession and the notice can say you are barred from the property.
If that guest comes back to the property after being served with the notice, you can call the police and have that guest or unauthorized occupant arrested for criminal trespass. So this is a very, very useful tool if you have a tenant’s guest on the property who are causing a lot of problems, engaging in criminal activity, you can just have them removed from the property and it does work. Just this past weekend actually I had clients confirm that a guest was arrested for criminal trespass due to a barred person notice that we had served about two weeks prior. So definitely a good tool. I can help you draft the appropriate notice under the statute and have it served appropriately on the tenant and on the guest and keep in mind too, Julie will go over this, but if you have a tenant where one of their guests has been barred and that tenant allows the barred person back into the property, once, twice, three times, you also have the right to evict that tenant under a 10 day notice. So lots of tools there if you have disruptive guests on your property.
The other section of the eviction act that doesn’t have anything to do with evictions but is important is the notice by non-resident owner. Now this applies to properties of more than four units. Every provision they have more than five units, more than six units, more than four units. I think it’s really just to mess up us attorneys so we can’t keep them all straight, but this one is for buildings of more than four units, so five or more and it states that if the owner does not live in the property and there’s no management office on the property, then the owner has a due to either post a notice or include a disclosure in the lease that gives contact information of the person responsible for managing the building, whether that be the owner or a managing agent and the insurance information that is carried on the building. So, a lot of my smaller management companies and definitely investor owned properties without managers aren’t aware of this requirement and sometimes don’t disclose those things in the lease, don’t post a notice on the property and they can get themselves into trouble. So, obviously if you are a larger management company with a leasing office on site, this does not apply to you but for any smaller properties, a three flat where the owner does not live there, for instance, this section would apply and those disclosures need to be made either in the lease or a notice that’s posted at the property.
So just a couple of interesting things that are kind of thrown into the eviction act that aren’t really under the eviction umbrella. So I want to talk about those, but definitely don’t miss our eviction webinar in February. Let’s move on. So we’re going to talk– As you can see, I’m kind of hitting all of the Illinois statutes first and then we’ll kind of get more and more local. We’ll go to Illinois, then we’ll do some county stuff and then some local city and municipality ordinances. So we’re going to talk about the Illinois security deposit interest act and then also the next one is the Illinois security deposit return act. Now keep in mind that the new Cook County RTLO and the Chicago RLTO as well as any municipalities that have their own ordinances that cover security deposits, those local ordinances or county ordinance would super seed and take precedence over the Illinois act. So if you are in Chicago, you still have to abide by the Chicago ordinance. However, if you are outside of Cook County in a municipality that doesn’t have any type of landlord tenant ordinance with security deposit provisions, then this Illinois statute would apply to you and your properties.
So the security deposit interest act says that you have to pay interest on a security deposit that is held longer than six months where the unit is in a building of 25 or more units and that interest has to be paid upon termination of tendency. So unlike Chicago, you don’t have to pay it at the end of every 12 month period. You can pay the interest at the termination of the tenancy. The only caveat to that that’s in the statute is that if the interest for a 12 month period is more than $5, then you would have to pay it at the end of the 12 month period. But if you’re familiar with security deposit interest, it’s usually pennies. So, we are a long way, inflation is a long way from hitting $5 in security deposit interest for a 12 month period. The next one, and we can flip slides is the security deposit return act. This is for apartments in buildings with five or more units and the statute says that you have to return the deposit within 40 days of the date the tenant vacates. Now that’s important. I kind of slowed down on the date the tenant vacates, because it’s not 45 days from the end date of the lease. It’s 45 days from the date the tenant vacates.
So your lease might be up until January 31st, and you had no idea the tenants actually vacated on January 30th cause you weren’t keeping tabs on the property and now your clock starts ticking from January 20th and you only have 45 days from January 20th to return that security deposit versus from January 31st. So it’s important toward the end of the lease to be in contact with your tenants, know the date that they plan to move out, check in on the property, make sure they have vacated and just know that date of vacating if you’ve taken a security deposit that needs to be returned. Now, if there are withholdings, either there’s unpaid rent or there’s damage to the property, you have to give an itemized written statement of those withholdings within third 30 days of the date the tenant vacates and you have to include either the estimates, if you have not been able to finish the repairs or the paid receipts if they’ve been completed. Now, in the case of estimates, you get an additional 30 days to then tender the paid receipts to the tenant. So, it’s actually a pretty short window. There’s substantial damage to your unit, you really only have a total of 60 days to get those repairs done so that you have paid receipts that you can tender to the tenant to withhold that amount from the security deposit.
Now it sounds ominous if you can’t get repairs done and nowadays with the supply shortages and contractors being so backed up, I’m having a lot of clients have trouble getting repairs done within that time frame, within two months, but you blow the deadline for withholding from the security deposit, that doesn’t mean you can’t recover those amounts, that tenant still owes you for the damage to the property. You would just have to file breach of contract lawsuit in order to regain the amount due or send it to a collection agency because if you don’t have the paid receipts within 60 days, you do have to return the security deposit without the withholdings and then you go after the amount of damages later down the road.
The next two acts we’re going to talk about have to do with utilities. So the first one is the tenant utility payment disclosure act. This is in buildings with master meter utilities. You have to disclose the formula that you’re using to calculate that particular tenants allocation of and their share of the utilities based on the total bill that you have. So the calculation can reflect the apartment size or the usage, which usually goes to occupancy. So you can make the calculation dependent upon how many people are in the units. Let’s say you have a three bedroom and you have two tenants in one three bedroom unit and five tenants in another three bedroom unit. You can use the increased occupancy to have those tenants have an increased percent of the total master meter utilities. Keep in mind though that whatever calculation you use, the total that you are billing all of your tenants in the building for any given month cannot exceed the utility provider’s bill for that month. So you just have to be careful that you’re not overcompensating or overcharging tenants. In the summer, maybe the gas bill is really, really low. So you just have to be careful that your utilities never outweigh the provider’s actual bill. And the reason you do have to be careful is because if a tenant requests the actual utility bills, you are required under the statute to provide those bills.
So, this sounds complicated and I think a lot of my clients get nervous about the calculation they’re using and whether they’re allocating everything correctly, it does not have to be as complicated as the statute makes it seem. A lot of larger management companies use a flat utility fee based on the size of the unit. So one bedroom has this utility fee, two bedroom has this utility fee, three bedroom has that utility fee and that’s disclosed in the lease and that is enough. So as long as you are disclosing the allocation that you use to come up with that tenants utility bill when it’s master metered and it’s not over inflated to exceed the amount of the actual utility providers bill, you should be fine. You don’t have to overthink it. It’s not rocket science by any means.
So the next one is the rental property utility service act. Nikki, if we could flip the slide, thank you so much. Oh, it’s not going, but I’m going to keep talking. The Illinois rental property utilities services act talks about a landlord’s duty to pay the utilities under the lease. So if the landlord has a duty under the lease to pay the utilities, the landlord has to pay them in full and on time to avoid any disruption in the tenant services. Now, if the landlord fails to pay any utility, the tenant can terminate the lease or the tenant can pay the delinquent utilities to the provider to get them restored. Nicki, are you there, are you able to flip the slide for me? Also keep in mind that the tenant can ask the utility provider to put the utilities in the tenant’s name for the remainder of the lease. However, the tenant has to fulfill whatever credit obligations and deposit obligations that the utility provider might have and the tenant has to agree to pay all the future bills for the duration of the tenancy. So, if a tenant really has a problem landlord who isn’t paying the utility bills, the tenant can have the utilities put in their name as long as the tenant agrees that the utility will be in that tenant’s name for the remainder of the lease, and can’t keep flopping back and forth. And then whatever the tenant pays in utilities from that point on, the tenant can deduct that amount from the monthly rent.
Now, there is a section that says that the lease cannot require the tenant– Here we go and we ought go one more, Nikki, we just covered all of that. Thank you. Perfect. The lease cannot require the tenant to pay utilities for the common areas directly to the utility provider unless these four contingencies are met. The landlord has to provide a written statement to the tenant that sets forth the specific areas of the building that are going to be covered by the bill that the tenant is paying and the nature of the utilities and exactly where the meter is that the tenant will be responsible for. The tenant also has to provide the tenant with copies of the utility bills for 12 months prior, the landlord cannot make the tenant collect any money from other tenants and the landlord has to put forth in writing any proposed rent reduction to compensate the tenant for the payments the tenant is paying directly to the utility provider. So as you can imagine, this is very uncommon. I have not come across this in years. This is not a situation where you kind of calculate in that master metered calculation we just talked about where you kind of add in some of the common area utilities and you kind of have this major bill and then allocated amongst the tenants.
The statute is contemplating a situation where a landlord would actually have a tenant pay the common area utilities directly to the utility provider. So it is very, very uncommon that this happens and if it does, if the parties want it to be set up that way, they just have to meet these four criteria. The next section of the utility service act is section 1.3, and it discusses the tenants remedies if they have to pay for utilities when the landlord is otherwise required to do so under the lease. So obviously the tenant gets to recover the amount that they paid for the utilities but if the court finds that the landlord violated the act on purpose knowingly or intentionally, the court can award triple damages. So whatever the tenant paid for utilities, any consequential damages, meaning anything that happened to the tenant because the utilities went unpaid, the court can triple those damages as a penalty against the landlord and if the amount paid was over $3,000, the tenant also gets their attorney’s fees. So you definitely don’t want to violate this one. If the landlord is required to pay utilities under the lease, pay those utilities.
The next section 1.4 is common sense, landlord cannot terminate utility services as a means of wrongfully evicting a tenant. So I think we all know that one. You have to be very, very careful not to intentionally ever turn off utilities as a way of trying to get rid of your tenants. If this happens and if the tenant can show that the landlord intentionally turned off utilities as a way of trying to get rid of the tenant, the tenant gets 100% rent abatement for the entire period they went without utilities. So this is not a set off for the amount the tenant paid in utilities, this is 100% free rent for that period. They also get their consequential damages and in the court’s discretion, there’s an additional penalty of between $305,000 that the court can award the tenant against the landlord. So again I think most of the clients that we work with here at KSN never use these means to try and get rid of a tenant but it’s very, very good to know how steep the penalties are if you were to try to get away with something like that.
Let’s move on. The next is the safe homes act. So the safe homes act gives remedies for a victim of domestic violence to either get out of their least and move away or to have the locks changed against another tenant who is abusive. So let’s talk first about the termination provisions. For termination, the safe homes act allows a tenant to terminate the lease early with no penalty only in two situations. So the first the tenant has to give notice of termination within three days of moving out when there is a credible, imminent threat of domestic violence or sexual violence at the property. So a couple of layers there, one they have to give notice within three days of moving out so they can move out and then give you notice within three days afterward that they have left. So obviously what’s contemplated here is the victim fleeing in the middle of the night from an abusive relationship and seeking shelter somewhere else and then going about terminating their lease with notice to you afterwards. So that’s what’s contemplated with the three days within three days of moving out, they can give notice.
The second part of that is they have to show that there is a credible imminent threat of domestic or sexual violence and that’s a very, very vague statement, a credible imminent threat. What constitutes a credible threat? What constitutes imminent? Lots and lots of wiggle room. In my opinion, if the victim’s police report has anything to show that there has been a history of violence, I advise clients to just let them out of their lease and logistically here’s what would happen. So if the tenant flees in the middle of the night, gives notice within three days, but we don’t feel that whatever the facts are in this case rise to a credible imminent threat of violence, then we would hold that tenant responsible for rent through the remainder of the lease or through the date of re-rental Once that tenant lease comes to an end, the lease term comes to an end or it’s re-rented and we now want to send that tenant to collections or file a breach of contract lawsuit for the unpaid rent, the tenant would bring a defense under the safe homes act saying that they properly terminated the lease due to their credible imminent threat. At that point, it would be in the hands of the judge whether to determine if there was a credible, imminent threat of violence. If the tenant has police showing prior violence stalking orders, things like that that show that there is a history and that this person was in the vicinity, knew where the victim lived, more likely than not the judge is going to side with the victim and find that there was a credible, imminent threat of violence at the time the victim fled the property.
So that is the reason I usually say if they set up any facts that show that there has been a history of violence and that the aggressor or perpetuator of the violence is nearby, knows where they live we should let them out of the lease because more likely than not, when we get down the road and try and collect rent from them, the judge is going to side with them and you’ll have only wasted attorney’s fees and court costs. So that is the first way that a tenant can terminate under the safe homes act. The second one is a lot more specific and it’s a lot easier for you to enforce. So the second one is similar in that the tenant can give notice of termination within three days of vacating the property, of moving out and this is where the tenant is actually a victim of sexual violence on the premises. And they have to provide proof of that violence in the form of medical court or police reports or statements from a victim services or rape crisis center where the tenant sought services and the tenant has to show that the sexual violence occurred within 60 days prior to the day of them moving out. So if there was sexual violence actually on the premises, at the property and the tenant can establish that, then you have to let them out of the lease without any penalty. A little more black and white there.
Then we go on to the lock change. So under those two situations, the tenant can terminate. The lock change provision comes into play when there are two tenants, one is the victim and one is abusive. And in that case, the landlord is required to change the locks if the tenant provides a written statement that there is a threat of violence on the property, and they tender an order of protection or a civil no contact order that grants them exclusive possession of the property. So this again is very black and white. The tenant has to have an order of protection where the judge said that they get exclusive possession of the property. If they tender that to you, you have to change the locks against the other tenant. So this actually sadly comes up more than it should and this comes up quite often and it’s something that you should be aware of working day to day because it’s not uncommon and I have had clients deny tenants’ rights, not knowing that this act exists and then we kind of have to backtrack and let them out of the lease and kind of placate the tenants’ rights attorney that they have hired. So important to know upfront.
Now we’re ready to move on. How are we doing? Oh, we’re doing great on time. So Illinois statutes protecting tenants in foreclosure. For a lot of larger management companies, this will not affect you, but now, especially after the pandemic with investor owners hurting and not being able to keep up on their mortgages, we may see an increase in foreclosures again, like we did back in 2009, 2010. So I do want to hit on this. If there is a foreclosure the lender who takes back the property or the purchaser at a foreclosure sale can only terminate what’s called a bonafide lease on 90 days written notice. So tenants cannot be evicted if they were just the innocent tenants in a foreclosed property. They have to be given 90 days written notice to move out. Now that’s only in a bonafide lease. So what constitutes a bonafide lease? There are several criteria areas that must be met for that 90 day notice to kick in. First the mortgage or who is the person who’s being foreclosed upon, who is the owner of the property that’s being foreclosed, if it’s them, their child, spouse, or parent as the tenant, that is not a bonafide lease. So having your child live in the house and saying that that’s a lease will not constitute a bonafide lease.
The lease has to be the result of what’s called an arm’s length transaction. So that’s where the parties didn’t know each other, it was a business transaction. That type of lease is a bonafide lease. The rent collected has to be approximately fair market value and either the lease has to be entered into prior to the date of filing what’s called a Lis pendens notice. That is the notice that the lender records with the county before they file the foreclosure lawsuit and it kind of puts everybody on notice that this is a foreclosed property. So if the lease was entered into before that was done or before the judicial sale takes place and it’s for a term of one year or less, then it is a bonafide lease. A couple of other things here, if there was a lease that was entered into, it meets all of those criteria, but it’s more than a one year term, so let’s say the owner’s trying to stick it to the lender and they enter into a five year lease with tenants, that lease will only be considered a one year lease and the lender can then keep the tenants for the one year or provide that 90 day notice to vacate. Otherwise, an oral lease that was entered into or a written or oral lease that was entered into late in the foreclosure process, as long as they meet all the other criteria of a bonafide lease, those would be considered month to month tendencies, and the lender can decide whether to keep the tenants or provide that 90 day notice of eviction.
So that was important for some of the management companies that represent investor owners, if any investor owners are having trouble with their mortgages and start having foreclosure issues. It is important to know all about the bonafide lease and the 90 day notice to evict tenants after a foreclosure. So let’s talk about fair housing laws. So we are going to have a full webinar on fair housing and discrimination in fall of 2022. I don’t want to set the date quite yet since it’s so far out, but be looking for that there. That will be a really, really good discussion about fair housing and discrimination cases. So you definitely don’t want to miss that one, but I’m just going to give you kind of a little overview of the different fair housing laws and ordinances that are at play. So in Illinois, we have the Illinois fair housing act, which prohibits discrimination in housing transactions on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, family status and disability.
Now, other municipalities, Chicago, Cook County, there are some municipalities like Naperville, and I think Evanston that add additional protected classes to that list. Chicago adds parental status and Chicago, Naperville, Evanston, all add sources of income. Now, source of income is important. I’m sure most of you are aware that when source of income is a protected class, you cannot and I don’t even want to use the word discriminate, you cannot deny an applicant based on their source of income, including vouchers and subsidies. So if you are in a municipality that has source of income as a protected class in their fair housing ordinance, you cannot deny section eight tenants basically.
Now, you also have to be careful if you are outside of these municipalities, because even though the Illinois fair housing act, where that would be applicable, let’s say in McHenry County or DuPage County, even though that act does not include source of income HUD has come out with lots of guidelines. I won’t go as far as saying regulations, but HUD issues, their memos, a lot of times as guidelines, which are then followed by courts around the country and HUD has said that if you deny section eight tenants as a bright line policy at your properties, it could be considered discrimination because it causes what’s called a disparate impact against minorities. So this whole disparate impact theory, it’s what has established the criminal background check issue with the just housing ordinance that we’ll talk about in just a minute and it also relates to section eight housing because if you deny section eight housing, you are denying generally the statistics of HUD so you would be denying a greater percentage of minorities than you would if you were accepting section eight. So even though the outlying counties don’t have a source of income as a protected class, you should still be a little bit careful about a bright line rule for denying section eight, just because that idea of disparate impact is out there.
In Illinois, we also have the Illinois human rights act, which generally prohibits discrimination, not specifically for housing transactions, but general discrimination and protects people based on age, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military status, domestic violence victims, and pregnancy. So here’s where you might get a request for an accommodation for a disability under one of those protected classes and they would like some type of accommodation at the property because they fall within one of these protected classes. So that’s where the human rights act fits in there and like I said, we will have a full seminar/webinar on fair housing and discrimination. So I just wanted to kind of give you a little taste of what’s out there and what you have to think about but definitely tune in for the full hour so that you can get a much more detailed understanding.
The next one, we’re going to start moving now away from state laws and start getting a little bit more local. I just mentioned disparate impact and criminal background checks, that all came to a head when Cook County adopted the just housing ordinance, which prohibits criminal background checks that look back more than three years from the date of the application. So, if a tenant has a conviction for murder seven years ago and was just recently released, you cannot consider that because it is further back than three years. The ordinance also establishes a bifurcated screening process where you have to approve the tenant based on their credit first and if the tenant is approved on credit then, and only then can you review their criminal background. The ordinance also establishes a detailed procedure with four or five now, that’s teasing you to tune in to the fall webinar cause I can’t remember it’s four or five notices throughout the screening and application process that you have to tender to the tenant letting them know what stages of the application process you’re going into with regard to their criminal background. So lots of details in this ordinance. Very, very important if you live in Cook County and you are screening for criminal background that you are in compliance with this ordinance.
So again, this is going to be a webinar that we are giving in the fall. So definitely tune in for all of those details. If you have concerns in the meantime, absolutely reach out and we can go through the just housing ordinance and make sure that your process is in compliance. So the Cook County residential tenant and landlord ordinance, this is the new one that just went into effect in June of 2021. I was going to say this year, but we’re already in 2022, gosh, time is flying and it governs the landlord tenant relationship for most residential rental properties in Cook County. There is an exemption for municipalities that have their own substantive landlord tenant ordinance in place. So, obviously Chicago has the RLTO. Evanston Oak Park Mount Prospect all have very robust landlord tenant ordinances. And so, those municipalities would be exempt from the Cook County ordinance but otherwise, if you have a property in Cook County, you will have to comply with the RTLO, which like I said is brand new, only six months old. This ordinance, we are having a full webinar on in April, April 27th. We have that date set. So mark your calendars. We don’t have time today obviously to go through all the intricacies, but it is important to know that that is out there.
Next, very similar is the Chicago RLT O. This governs the relationship of landlords and tenants in Chicagoland. May 25th is our full webinar on the RLTO, so tune in for that cause it’s very important for Chicago properties. And then we have, like I mentioned, local landlord tenant ordinances. Evanston, Oak Park, Mount Prospect all have very, very detailed landlord tenant ordinances that you may need to comply with. Aurora also has a pretty good landlord tenant ordinance. So there may be different restrictions or regulations that you have to comply with in those municipalities that you need to be familiar with outside of the Cook County ordinance. So definitely, definitely need to know where you are and what those ordinances are and then moving on a lot of local municipalities have what they call crime free leasing ordinances. Now these are very narrow ordinances. These ordinances do not cover the entire landlord tenant relationship. Those are the type of big substantive ordinances that Evanston, Oak park, Mount Prospect have. These crime free leasing ordinances pop up all over in the suburbs and really the main things that these ordinances establish is a required addendum, which outlines how the property is crime free and how the landlord has the ability to evict tenants for failing to abide by that or for engaging in criminal activity at the property. So it gives landlords a little bit more means of eviction for criminal activity and usually these ordinances require the landlords to take some type of class or get some type of certification through the municipality. So those are your local crime free. So we’ve kind of gone state and moved all the way down through Illinois.
Let me take some questions, I think we are ready for questions now. I got to figure out how do I get there to the chat. “So Regarding criminal conviction history, do the rules differ for landlords versus association leasing restrictions?” So yes, so the just housing ordinance refers to landlords who are renting a property to a tenant. So I think this question might have to do with a condominium association. If the condominium association owns a unit and is renting to a tenant, or if the association has possession of a unit because of an order for possession and is leasing to a tenant, then the just housing ordinance and the criminal conviction history rules would apply. Otherwise if the association has leasing rules in place, there are just a few things with the just housing ordinance that the association cannot force the owner to do. So if you have further questions about that, please email your association attorney at our firm to get some more details about that.
“For Rules of around security deposits with five or more units, what about rentals in a condo building where more than five units are rented out?” It’s just if the building has five or more units and you take a security deposit, then– You know what, and I’m sorry, I guess this question is if it is an individual investor owner who owns a condo, but is only renting one unit, they only own one unit, but there might be a bunch of other owners who own other units, I’m guessing the question is who own and rent other units. It only applies to that if an individual owner, investor owner who’s renting. So that investor owner would not need to pay interest on the security deposit if they are only renting one unit.
“How Can a landlord trespass a visitor for your tenant?” So that goes back to the barred person notice. So if there is a disruptive visitor, a visitor engaging in criminal activity, you prepare a barred person notice under the statute and the notice should be served upon and given to the tenant to whom the visitor is visiting, as well as the visitor. When the visitor enters the property, your front desk or concierge could have a copy of it or when you know the visitor has gone up to the unit, you can go up to the unit and serve the visitor and the tenant at the same time. And once that barred person notice has been served on the visitor, you then ask the visitor to leave. If they refuse to leave at that time, you can call the police and have them arrested for trespassing, or if they come back another time, you can call the police and have them arrested for trespassing. When you call the police, you will need to have the barred person’s notice handy and ready to show the police officers as well as the date that you served the visitor and the tenant with that notice.
All right. So I think we covered everything and I appreciate everybody. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. My contact information is there. I appreciate everybody’s time today and I just want to remind everybody to jump on in February for our evictions seminar. Thank you so much.
Nikki: That was KSN attorney Jessica Ryan. She practices landlord tenant law, as well as condominium, townhome and homeowner association law in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. KSN is an experienced legal resource ready to provide you with quality advice and exceptional service. We look forward to demonstrating how we have earned the trust of thousands of clients over the past 35 years. If you’d like to reach Jessi or any of KSN’s experienced attorneys, please call (855) 537-0500. You can also visit ksnlaw.com and complete the contact form to send us a message. Thanks for listening.
Outro: The music for this show is provided by podcastthemes.com. Please note the material contained on the KSN podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney client relationship is established by your review or your receipt of the information contained on the KSN podcast. You should not act on the information discussed on the KSN podcast without first obtaining legal advice from an attorney duly licensed to practice law in your state. While KSN has made every effort to include up-to-date information on the KSN podcast, the law can change quickly. Accordingly, please understand that information discussed on the podcast may not yet reflect the most recent legal developments. Material is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date. KSN reserves the right to revise or update the information and statements of law discussed on the podcast at any time without notice and disclaims any liability for your use of information or statements of law discussed on the podcast or the performance of the podcast generally. The KSN podcast may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under applicable laws and ethical rules or regulations.
Please note the material contained on the KSN Podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by your review or receipt of the information contained on the KSN Podcast. You should not act on the information discussed on the KSN Podcast without first obtaining legal advice from an attorney duly licensed to practice law in your State. While KSN has made every effort to include up-to-date information on The KSN podcast, the law can change quickly. Accordingly, please understand that information discussed on the podcast may not yet reflect the most recent legal developments. Material is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up to date. KSN reserves the right to revise or update the information and statements of law discussed on the podcast at any time, without notice, and disclaims any liability for your use of information or statements of law discussed on the podcast, or the performance of the podcast generally. The KSN Podcast may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under applicable law/s and/or ethical rules/regulations. © 2022 Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, A Professional Corporation.