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Should a landlord be responsible for adding security measures (e.g. adding locks) when there may be crime risks to the property?

Chicago, IL |

I live in a 3-floor building w/ 2 front building entrance doors & a 6-foot back gate. My room is next to the back door of the unit & my landlord's room is close to the unit front door.It happened for 3 times the upper deadbolt on the back unit door was unlocked at night but the lower knob lock stays fine. I concern about safety, someone may go through the back gate of the building, the type doesn't prevent people from coming in, pump/pick the deadbolt.

I told her what happened to the backdoor although nothing's stolen. She's unwilling to pay for changing the deadbolt & adding a chain lock - she's okay with me doing all these - and she wanted to wait for it to happen again to ensure there WAS a thief. I want to move out b/c I don't feel safe but she says I can't since I signed the lease

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

Landlords in Chicago are required to "maintain windows, exterior doors or basement hatchways in sound condition and repair and substantially tight and to provide locks or security devices as required by the municipal code, including deadlatch locks, deadbolt locks, sash or ventilation locks, and front door windows or peepholes;" (CRLTO 5-12-110).

I recommend consulting an attorney to discuss this issue in more detail, specifically whether or not the locks and security you have currently comply with the City of Chicago Building Code. If they do not comply, you may be able to make the repairs and deduct them from your rent.

However, if you are going to repair and deduct, I highly recommend having an attorney help you with the formal procedure so it complies with the CRLTO and you don't run into problems for not paying rent.

This answer is intended as informational only, and does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship between us.

Emma Lee Scott

Emma Lee Scott

Posted

And if you want to terminate your lease based on the conditions, you must first go through the formal notification process. An attorney can help you do this in compliance with the law.

Asker

Posted

Yes, the apartment has standard locks that are required. The tricky part is that the deadbolt is never broken, was only unlocked. Nothing is stolen. There’s no camera to technically confirm there was any thief/burglar who picked/bumped the lock at night at the backdoor. She even doubted if I sleep walk while I have no history and family history of that. That is why she doesn’t want to do anything.

Posted

My colleague is correct. I'll add that depending on your state's laws, a landlord might have a duty to ensure the safety of his tenants if there's a propensity for criminal activity in the area.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.

Posted

The advice you have been given is excellent. Additionally, if all you are looking for is a new lock and chain lock, the cost of same would be less than hiring an attorney.

Asker

Posted

thank you. I installed everything by myself, but I feel I need to learn my rights too

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

You are right. Find a new place to live when your lease is up.

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