When renting property, having a comprehensive rental agreement should be top of mind. The rental agreement serves as a contract between the landlord and tenant and establishes a clear understanding for both parties. Unfortunately, there are often misunderstandings that can lead to disagreements between landlords and tenants, especially when the rental agreement is unclear or incomplete.

The City of Chicago has a number of laws and regulations that landlords and tenants must adhere to, making it important to create a rental agreement that includes provisions for resolving disputes, and expresses the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.

Here are the top five things to consider when creating a rental agreement for property in Chicago.

1. Security Deposit

The most contentious issue between landlords and tenants is usually the Security Deposit. A security deposit is held by the landlord and is used to cover damages beyond the scope of normal wear and tear. This amount is stated in the rental agreement and can be a maximum of two months’ rent, unless the landlord has obtained permission from the tenant to charge more. The security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 45 days of the rental agreement ending and the tenant is responsible for providing evidence of any damages.

2. Pest Control

Pest control is another issue covered by the rental agreement. According to Chicago city ordinances, the landlord is responsible for pest and bug control with the exception of roaches and rodents. Reoccurring pest infestations may require the landlord to meet certain standards of treatment like using pest control experts or licensed exterminators.

3. Right of Entry

The rental agreement should specify when and how the landlord may enter the property. Generally, the landlord may enter for reasons within the scope of the agreement such as showings, inspections, and repairs. Unless it is a true emergency, the landlord should provide written notice of at least two days before any entry.

4. Maintenance and Repairs

The rental agreement should outline the procedure for regular maintenance and repairs. In Chicago, the landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential rental property in a safe, sanitary, and livable condition. Landlord responsibilities may include heat, running hot and cold water, contact information, smoking rules, etc.

5. Legal Disclosures

The rental agreement should include legal disclosures such as the names of the landlord and tenant, the terms of the contract, the relocation assistance policy, the amount of rent, the end or expiration date of the contract, the amount of the security deposit, and any items included with the property. It’s important to make sure that all of the necessary documents are included and that they are accurate.

Creating a rental agreement helps landlords and tenants understand their obligations and minimize potential disputes. A comprehensive rental agreement should cover all of the topics outlined above and more. While there are many resources available online, it’s best to work with a local attorney experienced in dealing with Chicago rental law to ensure you create a complete and legally binding agreement.


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