Failure to attach a Summary of the CRLTO Ordinance
Section 5-12-170 of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO) requires a landlord to "attach" a copy of the CRLTO summary to the lease when initially offered to the tenant and at each renewal (or to "give" a current copy to the tenant at lease inception or at renewal if the lease is oral).
The following mistakes by the landlord would allow for lease termination (and no further rent liability) upon written notice: (1) failure to physically attach it to the lease (whether it is given or not), (2) failure to give a copy where the lease is oral, (3) failure to provide all required information (lacking the interest rates or any of the "rights" language), (4) failure to provide an up-to-date copy, (5) failure to provide another at renewal (whether oral or written), (6) using a copy with incorrect information (beyond spelling and grammar), (7) failure to give each tenant a copy when required, and (8) failure to provide the summary when the lease is initially offered.
Prohibition against retaliatory conduct by Landlord
Section 5-12-150 prohibits a landlord from (a) increasing rent, (b) decreasing services, (c) bringing or threatening a lawsuit against the tenant for possession, or (d) refusing to renew because the tenant has in good faith: (1) Complained of code violations to a governmental agency or public official; (2) Complained of a code violation or illegal landlord practice to (or sought assistance from for those reasons) a community organization/media; (3) Requested landlord make repairs as required by code or the residential rental agreement; (4) Became a tenant's union member; (f5 Testified in any proceeding concerning the condition of the premises; or (6) Exercised any legal right or remedy.
This one may be tough to prove (have to show the subjective intent of landlord), but can allow tenant to terminate the lease (beside other potential remedies). This one doesn't specify requiring a written termination notice.
Landlord's failure to maintain
Section 5-12-110 has a laundry list of ways that a landlord may fail to maintain. If you are not sure if one or more of the listed violations are applicable to your situation, you may want to consult with any attorney or someone from the department of buildings. Section 5-12-110(a) allows for the tenant to give a 14 day written notice to terminate with the right to cure. If the landlord cures, the lease continues, if the landlord fails to cure, the tenant may treat the lease as terminated -- which would cut off rent liability.
Failure to deliver possession
Section 5-12-110(b) is fairly straightforward -- if the landlord and tenant sign into a lease and the landlord is unable to deliver possession by the start date, the tenant may give a written notice terminating the lease (and cutting off liability for any rent).
Landlord's failure to provide essential services
Section 5-12-110(f) allows for the right to terminate or find substitute housing if there is a material noncompliance with maintenance by landlord which constitutes an immediate danger to the health and safety of the tenant or if, contrary to the rental agreement or Section 5-12-070, the landlord fails to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing. The tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the material noncompliance or failure, and if the problem is not remedied, the tenant may either find substitute housing (where the rent is excused until landlord complies and where the landlord is responsible for the rent for the substitute housing) or may specify in the notice that the lease will terminate in 72 hours (and when the landlord doesn't cure, the lease is terminated), but not both.
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