Most apartments in Chicago require you to put down a security deposit before renting. Sometimes, it can be hard to get that security deposit back from your landlord when it’s time to move out. You may find yourself in a situation where your landlord is refusing to give your deposit back or has taken an unreasonable deduction from it.
If something like this happens, you should first discuss the issue with your landlord and try to come to an agreement. Mediation services for landlord-tenant problems can also help resolve the matter.
If these approaches are unsuccessful, filing a lawsuit may be the only way to get your security deposit back. It’s in your best interest to hire an attorney at this point. You may be able to recover more than your security deposit if your landlord acted in bad faith.
You will also want an attorney on your side if your landlord decides to file counterclaims for things such as damage to the apartment or unpaid rent. In many cases, the landlord is responsible for paying your attorney fees.
Your Rights as a Tenant Under RLTO
Disputes over security deposits are relatively common. Luckily, Chicago has some of the nation’s best protections for tenants. The Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) provides specific rules that address what happens to a tenant’s security deposit at the end of a lease.
Under the RLTO, your security deposit:
- Must be kept separate from the landlord’s personal funds
- Must be kept in an account that accrues interest
- Must be given back, with interest, within 45 days of leaving the apartment
- Can’t have unreasonable deductions taken from it
If a landlord wants to deduct money from your security deposit for cleaning and repairs, they must let you know in detail all the damages they are planning to repair and give you an estimate of how much the repairs are going to cost. They must then provide you receipts for all repairs. If they fail to do this, they cannot take deductions from your deposit.
Deductions from a security deposit must be for cleaning and repairs that are beyond normal wear and tear from everyday use. If you think your landlord is trying to take unreasonable deductions, or if they refuse to give you any part of your deposit back, contact our consumer law attorneys for a free consultation.
Schedule Your Complimentary Consultation
In addition to security deposit cases, we can help with other tenant/landlord disputes such as uninhabitable living conditions, refusal to perform routine maintenance or respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner, overcharging for utilities, and more.
If you’re a tenant with a dispute against your landlord, don’t hesitate to contact Markoff Leinberger today at 312-726-4162 to schedule your complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and nationwide.