Legal FAQ

Is it true I could receive double my security deposit back? 

“Damages in an Amount Equal to TWO Times The Security Deposit”

Chicago RLTO Section 5-12-080(f)(1) is the key section which provides statutory penalties against Landlords for failing to comply with the law.

“Subject to subsection (f)(2), if the 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.”

Bottom Line:  If a Chicago Landlord fails to comply with the numerous guidelines of Chicago RLTO Sections 5-12-080(a)-(e), a Chicago tenant shall be awarded damages equal to two (2) times the amount of the security deposit (including refundable key, pet, and parking security deposits) plus reasonable attorneys fees and costs.

Email or call us at 312-924-0278 to see if you may be eligible to receive double your security deposit.

As ridiculous as this “penalty” 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.

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? Absolutely.

Chicago RLTO Section 5-12-080(c) mandates that Chicago Landlords pay security deposit interest annually; not in a lump sum at the end of one’s tenancy.  If a Chicago Landlord fails to pay interest annually (or at all) a Chicago tenant shall be awarded damages equal to two (2) times the full security deposit (including refundable key, pet, and parking security deposits) plus all interest (no matter how small) plus all court costs and reasonable attorneys fees.  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 be found liable to the tenant for two (2) the security deposit for failing to pay interest.

Read more about Security Deposit Recovery or call us at 312-924-0278 for assistance.


If I signed a lease that contains unlawful provisions, can you help me?

The Chicago RLTO “Defeats” Any Lease Provision

Chicago RLTO Section 5-12-140(a)  Every day, every hour, thousands of renters in Chicago are forced to sign rental agreements, which contain unenforceable provisions under the Chicago RLTO.  Common unlawful lease provisions include ones which state that the security deposit shall be returned “without interest” and lease provisions that call for an excessive late fee.  The below is the exact wording from RLTO Section 5-12-140.

“A provision prohibited by this section included in a rental agreement is unenforceable.  The landlord may recover damages sustained by the tenant because of the enforcement of a prohibited provision. If the landlord attempts to enforce a a provision in a rental agreement prohibited by this section the may recover two months rent.”

If your landlord even attempts to enforce anything contrary to the law, you may be entitled to two (2) months rent as damages plus your reasonable attorneys fees and costs.  Please contact us by email or call us at 312-924-0278 if you think your rental agreement contains unlawful provisions.


Can you help me break my Chicago lease early?

Chicago RLTO Section 5-12-170  The Chicago RLTO Summary and Chicago Separate Summary of security deposit interest rates are distributed by the Chicago City Clerk’s Office and must be given to all Chicago renters when the rental is initially offered and renewed (including oral leases).  Chicago Landlords violate Section 5-12-170 frequently and remedies are available in the form of being able to break your lease and also being able to recover $100 as statutory penalty (plus your reasonable fees and costs as also allowed for by the Chicago RLTO). 

Call us at 312-924-0278 for assistance in breaking your Chicago lease today or read more about Breaking Your Lease in Chicago.