Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, understanding the details of your rental contract is essential before it’s signed. The state of Illinois protects both parties via rent control legislation. This legislation is updated annually. Therefore, it’s important to be familiar with the latest regulations that affect rental agreements in Chicago in order to make informed decisions when signing a lease.

That said, here are the top five things to consider when signing a rental contract:

1. Know the Law and Your Rights as a Tenant

Rental contracts should always align with the local laws in Chicago. Rent control laws will help you understand the rights of tenants and the obligations of the landlord. If your rental agreement doesn’t comply with rent control laws then you are at risk of disputes. To avoid this, tenants should become aware of the terms in their rental agreements and the intricacies of local law.

Rental contracts outline different rules that you need to abide by, such as rental fees and maintenance requirements. Knowing your rights and the law will help you avoid disputes and better understand the expectations of the contract.

2. Understand Your Property Rights and Responsibilities

As a tenant, you have certain rights in the property you’re renting. It’s important to know these rights so you know what you’re entitled to during your tenancy. Rental agreements may provide you with additional property rights, such as the right to renovate or make repairs.

It is also essential to understand the responsibilities you have as a tenant. These include paying rent on time, complying with the terms of the lease, and taking care of the property. Understanding your responsibilities will help you avoid potential disagreements or potential litigation over tenant disputes.

3. Examine the Terms of the Lease

Rental contracts are legally binding documents that protect the rights of both parties. This means it’s important to examine the terms carefully before signing the agreement. Most leases will contain provisions about rent amount, tenancy length, provisions for late payments, and required maintenance. Make sure that all these provisions comply with local laws and are fair for both tenants and landlords. If there is something in the agreement that you don’t agree with, negotiate with the landlord to make it fair for both parties.

4. Assess the Condition of the Property

Before signing a lease, do a thorough assessment of the property to ensure it’s in good condition to avoid future disputes. It’s also important to document any pre-existing damage or defects in the property. Make sure to take photographs of the property and keep a copy of the lease which states the terms of the agreement and the condition of the property. This will help you in case the landlord tries to hold you accountable for problems that exist before you move in.

5. Hire Legal Representation

Hiring a legal representative will help you understand the terms of the agreement and protect your interests. Many landlords have their own attorneys and it’s important to have qualified legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected. UpCounsel’s network of experienced lawyers can provide the legal support you need to make sure that all aspects of the rental agreement are fair and comply with Chicago rental laws.

Rental contracts are legally binding documents and it’s important to understand the terms of the agreement before signing. Knowing your rights and the laws that affect rental agreements in Chicago, examining the terms and conditions of the contract, assessing the condition of the property, and hiring legal representation are essential for tenants to ensure that their rights are protected and they receive the best possible deal.


Rental Contract,

Tenant Rights,

Local Law