Consumers must remember that when it comes to retaining a security deposit for a rental property in Chicago, there are laws in place that prevent landlords from taking advantage of their tenants.
Even though you have rights as a tenant with regards to your security deposit, tenants often face an uphill battle against landlords. A lawyer can help.
The Chicago lawyers at Markoff Leinberger represent tenants in disputes with landlords. We know the local ordinances and state laws which govern these cases, and we can make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.
This page will provide you with a basic overview of the issues associated with landlord/tenant disputes, especially as they relate to security deposits. But the best way to learn about your rights is to speak to one of our landlord/tenant dispute lawyers. Please call 1-877-905-5161 today to schedule your free consultation.
Experience with Landlord/Tenant Disputes
At Markoff Leinberger, our Chicago consumer rights attorneys can assist tenants with a variety of landlord disputes, including:
- Failure to receive the interest you are owed on a security deposit
- Failure to return a security deposit in a timely manner
- Deducting charges from a security deposit without proper documentation or cause
- Depositing a security deposit in the same account as rent money or failing to inform you of where your security deposit is being held
- Billing for utilities without individual metering, without explaining the formula used to calculate your share of the utilities, or adding processing fees to your utility charges
- Credit reporting and collection issues with landlords
- Conversion of a building to a condominium without providing proper notice to tenants
- Failing to provide written notice to tenants within 7 days of the building going into foreclosure
Security Deposit Issues
In Chicago, your landlord must return your security deposit within 45 days after you move out and pay accrued interest on your security deposit within 30 days after you move out. If you have abided by all the terms of your lease, moved out by the deadline listed on your lease, and did not owe your landlord any outstanding rent or additional charges, you are entitled to receive your entire deposit back. If you owe the landlord less money than the total amount of the security deposit, the landlord must return the remaining portion after the charges you owe are deducted.
Our lawyers can handle cases where landlords have unfairly reduced the amount of the security deposit returned by charging tenants for items such as cleaning, carpet replacement, and painting. Landlords are entitled to deduct the cost of repairs associated with damage you caused, but Illinois law prohibits them from deducting charges associated with “ordinary wear and tear.”
If you feel your landlord has unfairly withheld all or part of your security deposit, speak with a consumer rights attorney at Markoff Leinberger. We can help make sure your rights are protected.
Disputes Over Utilities
In situations where your landlord bills you for building-wide utilities such as water and heat, individual meters should be used whenever possible. If an individual meter is not used, your landlord must clearly inform you in writing of the formula used to determine how much each tenant pays.
In addition, your landlord is not allowed to charge you more than what the utility company charges for these services. We believe that charging tenants a “utility processing fee” violates state law, and we can help you hold your landlord accountable in court.
Getting Help for Your Landlord/Tenant Dispute
The following agencies can also provide you with additional assistance if you are involved in a landlord/tenant dispute:
- Metropolitan Tenants Organization
- Lawyer’s Committee for Better Housing
- Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
For more information about steps you should take during a dispute with a landlord, please call 1-877-905-5161 or contact Markoff Leinberger today. During your free consultation, one of our experienced attorneys can provide guidance and discuss next steps if legal action becomes advisable.