It has been two years since the Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (the “CCRTLO”) went into effect on June 1, 2021 (Cook County Mun. Code 42-101 et seq). Tenants, landlords, and their attorneys are still navigating the provisions of the relatively new ordinance. However the idea of a residential landlord tenant ordinance is not new and there are other similar laws that the CCRLTO mimics in its protections and exclusions.
The CCRLTO only applies to certain "dwelling units" that are located in Cook County. A major exception is when other, more local, ordinances already cover the same protections and in those cases the more local ordinance applies and the CCRLTO does not. It matters where the unit is located, found by the city listed in the address for the unit at issue. For instance, Chicago, Evanston and Mount Prospect are all in Cook County but all have local landlord tenant ordinances and the CCRLTO does not generally apply to those units in those cities. (Click here to read on the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance: https://www.ctmlegalgroup.com/resources/what-included-with-lease
). If you read each ordinance you will see common themes in the rules they impose but also should note some differences.
While the CCRLTO is the youngest ordinance and mimics the language of many other older ordinances, it does have some notable differences. Like other ordinances, the CCRTLO does not apply to owner-occupied buildings with six or fewer units. However unlike some other ordinances, the CCRTLO interestingly requires landlords to notify tenants if that unit is excluded from protections of the ordinance before accepting any fees.
As compared to the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (the “RLTO”, Chicago Mun. Code 5-12-010 et seq), the CCRTLO puts greater pressure on landlords to cure defects with the tenancy by reducing the length of time available to properly cure. For example, landlords are required under both ordinances to provide tenants with written disclosure of the name, address, and phone number of: (a) the owner or individual authorized to manage the premises; and (b) an individual authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting for notices and demands. If the landlord fails to disclose this information timely, the tenant can demand the landlord cure this defect through a cure notice. While the RLTO permits landlords to cure within fourteen days, the CCRTLO requires that landlords must cure within two business days of receiving the tenant's notice.
Unlike other ordinances, landlords are also afforded the opportunity to cure the following defects when provided a two day notice to cure is issued under the CCRLTO:
- Failure to provide the current, approved U.S. Environmental Protection Agency federal pamphlet on bed bug prevention, detection and control;
- Failure to provide a lead-based paint disclosure;
- Failure to provide tenant with the summary attachment of the CCRTLO;
- Failure to disclose, in writing, to the tenant that a foreclosure action has been filed against the owner or landlord of the unit;
- Failure to clearly and conspicuously disclose the name of the financial institution where the landlord has deposited the security deposit on the lease;
- Failure to give the tenant a receipt for the security deposit with specific information required by the CCRTLO.
If the landlord does not comply with the cure request timely, the tenant may be awarded damages statutorily set by the CCRLTO.
The CCRLTO also goes farther than other ordinances with regards to charges imposed on the tenant. Under the CCRLTO a security deposit cannot be more than 1.5 times the monthly rent. Further, landlords are prohibited from issuing late fees of more than $10 if the rent is $1000 or below and more than $10 plus 5% for any amount of rent over $1000.
This post covers only a fraction of the new rules that apply to Cook County landlord tenant relationships. Landlords and tenants should both be seeking counsel if they have any questions about how to navigate the new rules. If you are either party, do not hesitate to contact CTM Legal Group as our attorneys can help you understand your rights and explain the ordinance's application to your unit. You can reach us at 312-818-6700.