Chicago Security Deposits Are Protected - Know Your Rights
Chicago RLTO Sections 5-12-080(a)-(e) mandate that Chicago landlords maintain security deposits in a segregated interest-bearing account, pay security deposit interest annually, give paid receipts (not invoices) for any security deposit deductions, and disclose the bank name and location where the security deposit is being held in the lease. If a Chicago landlord fails to comply with the numerous guidelines of Chicago RLTO Section 5-12-080, including the ones just mentioned, a Chicago tenant shall be awarded damages equal to two (2) times the amount of the full security deposit (including refundable key, pet, and parking security deposits) plus reasonable attorneys fees and costs. As ridiculous as this may seem, the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Regent Realty Group (2003) confirms that a landlord need not acted willfully to have been found in violation of Section 5-12-080 and thus liable to the tenant for two (2) times the amount of security deposit. In other words, this security deposit law in Chicago equates to strict liability. Again, please contact us if you are still in continued disbelief, have a security deposit question, or a security deposit dispute.
As a side note, Chicago RLTO Section 5-12-080(a) prohibits the "commingling" of security deposits with "assets" of Chicago Landlords. In other words, Chicago tenants' security deposits shall "continue" to be the tenant's property, and must be maintained in a separate, interest-bearing account (located in the State of Illinois). These are strict mandates; and are often times violated by Chicago landlords. How do you find out if your Landlord commingled your security deposit? Simply request the front and back bank images of your security deposit payment from your Bank (this information is sometimes easily located online and you can print the images). Is it really worth the effort though? Short answer, yes.