Representing Businesses and Individuals in Chicago and Northern Illinois

New rights accorded to tenants in Cook County after negotiation

The ongoing health crisis has had a decidedly problematic impact on landlords and tenants in Illinois and across the nation. Federal and state governments have been taking various steps to provide protection to those who are facing challenges because of it. While there might be an automatic perception that tenants who suddenly have diminished income or are out of work entirely and cannot pay their bills are the main victims, these issues are also causing problems for landlords who are confronted with the lack of payment to rent and maintain their properties.

As the pandemic continues, it is important to pay attention to how lawmakers are addressing this issue. For those who are dealing with legal problems because of it, having experienced advice may be essential.

Ordinance grants new rights to renters and landlords in Cook County

Two county commissioners forged an agreement that was unanimously approved by the Cook County board. Representatives for landlords and tenants made concessions to make the agreement possible. The legislation is known as the Residential Tenant and Landlord Ordinance. In it, the county has issued new rules that place a limit on security deposits and late rent fees. Renters now have the right to withhold their rent if there are repairs that haven’t been made, if there are utilities that are supposed to be provided but are not, and they can issue punishments for lockouts.

Nearly a quarter-million local renters are now shielded with the ordinance. Rights violations are common for low-income individuals. Some landlords have been accused of taking advantage of people who do not have the means to move forward with an extended protest or are unaware of their rights.

Buildings in which the owner resides and have six units or less are exempt from the ordinance. Also, single-family residences where the owner or a relative of the owner lives are exempt. Landlords have some leeway to repair a problem in two business days and avoid a lawsuit. The ordinance goes into effect on June 1.

Tenant rights have become even more critical

Now more than ever, tenants need to understand their rights. The pandemic has placed many people who were not in the unfamiliar situation where they are suddenly concerned about their housing status and if they faced eviction or other problems due to late rent. This ordinance provides a respite to some of the challenges renters were facing. There are other laws in place to protect them. When there is a landlord-tenant dispute, tenants should be protected and have guidance and advice from experienced legal professionals who have their interests in mind.