Renter’s Have Rights

Have you ever rented an apartment for yourself or one of your kids and wondered if all your rights are being protected and respected when moving into a new apartment? The relationship between a landlord and renter is based on trust and respect. Yet many people feel that their landlord took too long to fix something in their unit or that they have been scammed out of their security deposit at the end of the lease.

Here are ten points that I feel are important when it comes to tenant rights:

  • A lease should always be in writing to avoid misunderstandings between parties. Ex: the amount of rent as well as the due date along with the terms and conditions.
  • The renter is responsible for any damages beyond normal wear and tear. Ex: having a party where someone puts a hole in a wall.
  • A renter cannot alter the unit without the landlord’s consent; once you have permission to make cosmetic changes, make sure it is are in writing. Ex: painting the walls without permission from landlord.
  • Landlords must make any necessary repairs to the building and units.
  • Landlords may charge a late fee on late rent, Ex: the amount or percentage of what the fee will be must be stated on the lease.
  • A landlord must hold all security deposits in a federally insured interest bearing account in a bank, or other financial institutions located in the State of Illinois. The landlord is not allowed to use your deposit as their personal money, nor can it be placed in a personal bank account.
  • The renter has a right to a receipt for his/her security deposit.
  • If you are not re-signing your lease or you wish to get out of lease early for whatever reason, a written full 30 day notice before the start to the month to your landlord is highly recommended to avoid losing a security deposit.
  • If the renter is entitled to a security deposit, the landlord must return it within 45 business days.
  • A landlord may not enter a renter’s unit unannounced unless it is to repair damages or in case of emergency.

Every tenant’s circumstances may not be the same so it is always important to consult with an attorney before exercising your renter’s rights to avoid any liability.