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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Landlord obligated to return security deposits
Part of a series
by Roger McCaffrey
2012-04-04

This article shared 2825 times since Wed Apr 4, 2012
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Q. I am planning to move out of my apartment during the spring. I expect to have a problem with my landlord in getting my security deposit refunded when I move. What is my landlord's responsibility under the law to return my security deposit?

A. Chicago's "Residential Tenant and Landlord Ordinance" applies to all residential, rental real estate located within the City of Chicago. The law establishes responsibilities for landlords not only in leasing apartments but in handling their tenant's security deposits (the law does not apply, however, to owners of buildings of six units or less AND owner occupied).

The landlord must pay interest to his tenants. And the landlord is obligated, within 30 days of the end of each 12 month rental period, to pay any interest due to the tenant by cash or a credit against the rent.

When a landlord receives a security deposit from a new or existing tenant he is obligated to give a receipt to the tenant showing the date received, the amount of the deposit and the name of the person receiving it.

The security deposit cannot be used for the last month's rent although it is a very common practice. Under the law the tenant must pay the last month's rent even though they plan to move at the end of the last month. When the apartment is vacated the landlord has 45 days within which to return the security deposit to the tenant plus any interest.

Your landlord may deduct from the security deposit any unpaid rent and a reasonable amount necessary to repair any damage to the property. If the apartment is damaged and your landlord wants to deduct money from the security deposit to pay for the repairs the landlord must within 30 days after the tenant vacates the apartment deliver or mail to the tenant an itemized statement of the damages caused to the premises and the estimated or actual cost of repairing each item. If the items have been repaired the landlord must attach copies of the paid receipts for the repairs or replacements.

If the landlord or the landlord's agent (management company) fails to comply with the city ordinance or refuses to return the security deposit the tenant can take the landlord to court and recover an amount equal to two times the security deposit plus interest with court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.


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