It’s your security deposit. Get it back.

If you live in Chicago and your landlord has illegally kept your security deposit, you may have a case.  Here are some legal tips you may not know about security deposits…

• In Chicago, your landlord must provide you with any security deposit refund you are entitled to within 45 days of your moving out.

• In Chicago, your landlord must tell you about any deductions to your security deposit within 30 days of your moving out.

• Have you gotten your interest this year? In Chicago, most landlords must pay you security interest on your deposit every year.

• Chicago landlords are usually required to keep your security deposit in a special account set aside for only security deposits.

• Landlords are not allowed to spend your security deposit on their own expenses.

• In Chicago, if your landlord sells your unit to a new owner, the new owner is responsible to refund your security deposit. The new owner may NOT ask you to pay your security deposit again!

• In Chicago, most landlords are required to give you a receipt for any and all security deposits they obtain from you.

• Illinois landlords are not allowed to require tenants to pay gas/heating, water, or electricity bills that cover common areas of the building or other units. Some exceptions do apply to this general rule.

• In Chicago, landlords must disclose any existing city building code violations to you before you sign your lease.

• If your landlord is being foreclosed, you are entitled to specific consumer protections under Federal, State, and in some cases City law. The interplay of these laws can become very complicated. If your landlord is in foreclosure, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney about your rights.

• Your landlord is generally responsible to maintain your property up to code and in a good and habitable condition. If your landlord fails to maintain your property, there are a number of options for enforcing your rights. You may not need to move out. In some cases, you can “abate rent,” meaning you simply pay less rent until the problem is resolved. Before doing this, though, you must be careful to give the proper notices to your landlord. Otherwise your failure to pay rent may allow your landlord a reason to evict you.