What Landlords Need to Know About Chicago’s Fair Notice Ordinance

Although the calendar has just turned over from 2021 to 2022, it’s time for Chicago landlords to start thinking about the spring rental season. Passed and signed in July 2020, Chicago’s Fair Notice Ordinance made significant changes to Chicago landlords’ obligations to their tenants in the event the landlord elects to terminate a lease or raise the rent. These changes mean that some Chicago landlords must think about notifying their tenants now of proposed changes, even if those changes will not go into effect until the spring.

Which Landlords Were Affected By The Change?

Although the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO) generally does not apply to owner-occupied buildings with six units or fewer, the Fair Notice Ordinance does not share these small-unit exemptions, and applies to all landlords in the city. The form of the rental agreement is also irrelevant — these requirements apply to formal leases, month-to-month agreements, and even verbal rental arrangements. 

Notice Of Intent To Terminate Or Not Renew A Lease

The Chicago Fair Notice Ordinance mandates that landlords provide extended notice periods of the intent to terminate or not renew a tenant’s lease. These notice periods are based on the length of the tenancy, with longer notice periods required for tenants of longer standing. ​​Specifically, for tenants who have lived in a rental unit for more than three years, the landlord must provide 120 days of advance notice of termination or non-renewal. Tenants with a tenancy between six months and three years or tenancy are entitled to at least 60 days advance notice. Finally, tenants whose tenancy has extended less than six months are owed 30 days advance notice. 

This notice applies both to month-to-month arrangements and to written leases. That is, if a landlord wishes to terminate a fixed-term lease at the end of the lease period, the required notice must be given before the end of the lease period. These notice periods do not apply if the landlord has initiated eviction proceedings due to nonpayment of rent or for another violation of the lease. 

Notice Of Rent Increases

The Fair Notice Ordinance also establishes notice requirements in the event that a landlord implements a rent increase. The notice periods for a rent increase are similar to the periods for notice of intent to terminate. That is, tenants who have lived at a unit for more than three years are entitled to 120 days of advance notice; tenants of six months to three years are entitled to at least 60 days notice of a rent increase; and tenants who have occupied the unit for fewer than six months are entitled to 30 days advance notice of an increase. 

The Ordinance applies to all rent increases, and like the notice requirements for termination, does not apply if the landlord has initiated eviction proceedings against a tenant for failure to pay rent or violation of the lease.

What Happens If I Don’t Give A Tenant The Required Notice?

If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with the required notice of intent to terminate the lease agreement or raise the rent, the tenant is afforded some rights. For tenants who have resided in a rental unit for fewer than three years — including tenants with tenancies of fewer than six months — the tenant is entitled to remain in the unit at the previously established rental rate for 60 days from the date the required notice is actually provided. For those with tenancies of longer than three years, the tenant is entitled to remain in the unit for 120 days at the previously established rental rate. 

What Else Do I Need To Know?

Chicago landlords who own a building with more than six units, or a non-owner-occupied building with six units or fewer, should also be aware that tenants have a one-time right to cure nonpayment of rent, even after eviction proceedings have been initiated. Tenants have the right to remain in their unit and end the eviction case if they pay all back rent owed and the landlord’s court filing fees in initiating the eviction proceeding. 

Wondering About The Pros And Cons Of Owning Rental Properties?

Owning investment or rental properties can be complicated. Working with professionals who know the rules of the road can help you understand your obligations as a landlord. 

For all these matters and more, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re looking to buy or sell in 2022, Real Group RE is here and ready to help make things easier. 

Our real estate experts can help field your questions and give you the guidance you need to succeed, backed by our unparalleled breadth of experience, market-leading tools, and commitment to always being available to you. 

Have any more questions? Ready to set your real estate goals in motion? Drop us a line today to get the conversation started.

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