Ruling on Security Deposit "Receipt" Favors Chicago Renters Rights

RLTO Section 5-12-080(b)

TOCCARA FAISON v. RTFX, INC, an Illinois Corporation, No. 1-12-1893 (First District, Fifth Division, February 7, 2014)

¶ 45 Plaintiff argues that, because defendant failed to provide her with a receipt for the $10 additional security deposit that she provided on May 1, 2009, defendant violated subsection (b) and she is therefore entitled to twice the amount of the security deposit pursuant to section 5-12-080(f). Prior to being amended in 2010, subsection (f), which relates to remedies, provided:

"(f) If the landlord or landlord's agent fails to comply with any provision of Section 5-12-080(a)-(e), the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest at a rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081. This subsection does not preclude the tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter." Chicago Municipal Code § 5-12-080(f) (amended Mar. 31, 2004).

¶ 46 On appeal, defendant argues that the parties' written lease constituted a receipt under subsection 5-12-080(b) because the lease indicated that plaintiff deposited a security deposit with the landlord and the lease contained the name of the landlord and a description of her unit. Plaintiff counters that defendant waived this argument by failing to raise it in the circuit court and disagrees that the lease could constitute a receipt because it was not given to her at the time she paid the $10 in 2009 and did not contain the required information.

¶ 50 However, regardless of whether defendant waived its argument regarding the receipt, we would nonetheless conclude that the lease agreement signed in 2007 did not constitute a "receipt" under subsection 5-12-080(b) for purposes of the additional contribution of $10 toward the security deposit on May 1, 2009. Although the lease indicated the landlord/recipient information and the dwelling unit and it was signed by the person receiving the security deposit, it was lacking in other respects. The written lease was not given to plaintiff "at the time of receiving such security deposit" on May 1, 2009. Although the lease itself was dated, this was not the same date as when plaintiff provided the additional security deposit amount. Also, while the lease indicated the amount of the initial $590 deposit, it obviously did not indicate the amount of plaintiff's additional $10 contribution in 2009.

¶ 51 Defendant also contends on appeal that the only remedy plaintiff would be entitled to for the alleged May 1, 2009, failure to provide a receipt is the return of the $10 security deposit pursuant to subsection 5-12-080(b), and not the remedy under subsection 5-12-080(f) of twice the amount of the security deposit.

¶ 52 Turning to the language of the ordinance at issue, as noted, subsection (b) provides that "[f]ailure to comply with this subsection shall entitle the tenant to immediate return of security deposit." Chicago Municipal Code § 5-12-080(b)(1) (amended July 28, 2010). In addition, subsection (f) directs that if a landlord "fails to comply with any provision of Section 5-12-080(a)-(e), the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest at a rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081. This subsection does not preclude the tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter." (Emphases added.) Chicago Municipal Code § 5-12-080(f) (amended July 28, 2010).

¶ 53 Based on this language, we believe that ¶ 51 Defendant also contends on appeal that the only remedy plaintiff would be entitled to for the alleged May 1, 2009, failure to provide a receipt is the return of the $10 security deposit pursuant to subsection 5-12-080(b), and not the remedy under subsection 5-12-080(f) of twice the amount of the security deposit.

¶ 52 Turning to the language of the ordinance at issue, as noted, subsection (b) provides that "[f]ailure to comply with this subsection shall entitle the tenant to immediate return of security deposit." Chicago Municipal Code § 5-12-080(b)(1) (amended July 28, 2010). In addition, subsection (f) directs that if a landlord "fails to comply with any provision of Section 5-12-080(a)-(e), the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest at a rate determined in accordance with Section 5-12-081. This subsection does not preclude the tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter." (Emphases added.) Chicago Municipal Code § 5-12-080(f) (amended July 28, 2010).

¶ 53 Based on this language, we believe that the ordinance specifically provides for more than just the return of the security deposit as a remedy for failing to provide a receipt for the security deposit; it also allows for recovery of two times the security deposit plus interest. See Solomon v. American National Bank & Trust Co., 243 Ill. App. 3d 132, 137 (1993) ("We note that the ordinance provides for the return of the deposit and statutory damages where the landlord fails to issue a proper receipt to a tenant or prospective tenant." (Emphasis in original and added.)). ordinance specifically provides for more than just the return of the security deposit as a remedy for failing to provide a receipt for the security deposit; it also allows for recovery of two times the security deposit plus interest. See Solomon v. American National Bank & Trust Co., 243 Ill. App. 3d 132, 137 (1993) ("We note that the ordinance provides for the return of the deposit and statutory damages where the landlord fails to issue a proper receipt to a tenant or prospective tenant." (Emphasis in original and added.)).