Sunday, December 27, 2009


Utility Disclosure Act

If you have a master meter for a building but still want your tenant to pay a portion of the utility that you need to review the Tenant Utility Disclosure Act. You have to have a written agreement that explain the formula you are using to determine what share of the bill you pay and what share of the bill your tenants pays. That has to be agreed to in writing as part of the lease. Just like in my last post failing to follow these rules will make it easy for your tenant to break all or some of the lease terms.
I was reading an article where the landlord lost an eviction case and had to pay for all the utilities because he was not clear with the formula he was using for the gas bill. This landlord also got in trouble for not serving a five day notice directly to the tenant. Instead he posted it on the door. That is not considered proper notice. If you have a tenant that is just late all the time and you serve them five day notices as a warning then you can probably keep posting it on the door, but if you are trying to evict a tenant you are going to need to serve them in person and have them sign the notice for it to count as service. Please review you lease agreement with an attorney if you have a master meter that is shared by more than two users.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

I know I keep beating this drum but in this difficult rental market tenants are using the Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) to break their leases. I have heard from two landlords and one tenant who are dealing with this issue. If you have a rental property in Chicago, including a condo you are renting, you must follow the RLTO. You need to give a copy of the summary to all of your tenants. You must follow the rules when it comes to security deposits. If you don't and you end up in court you will lose and the tenant can usually recover twice their security deposit in damages.

The newest twist I am hearing about is tenants breaking their lease because they were not given a copy of the RLTO when the lease was signed. If you have not given your tenants copies at this point make sure you do. Make sure them sign something stating that they received it or make a note on the lease agreement when it was delivered. For future leases you can buy lease agreements that have the RLTO attached or make a note on the lease agreement that the tenant has received a copy of the RLTO and make sure they initial that spot. It is a little overkill but I always send a copy of the RLTO with the lease renewals too.

You must return security deposits within 30 days after the tenant lease is over and they have moved out. If there are deductions they should be itemized and when possible copies of receipts should be included. All moneys should be held in a separate account and you must return the security deposit with interest. In fact the interest is due at the end of each lease term. I know a landlord that lost an eviction case because she did not pay interest every year. You can send a check for the interest, I prefer this method as there is a paper trail, or tenants can deduct the interest from their rent but make sure you get something in writing.

see the link by clicking on the title of this post.

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