Certificate of Zoning Compliance
NOTE: CHANGES TO THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS PAGE REGARDING PAYMENT PROCESSING ARE EFFECTIVE JAN. 11, 2021.
A Certificate of Zoning Compliance is required whenever residential property containing five or fewer dwelling units is transferred or sold in the City of Chicago. The requirement does not apply to the transfer or sale of condominiums or cooperative buildings.
A Certificate of Zoning Compliance certifies the number of residential dwelling units at the property that are legal under the Chicago Zoning Ordinance. Under the ordinance, a dwelling unit is "one or more rooms arranged, designed or used as independent living quarters for a single household. Buildings with more than one kitchen or more than one set of cooking facilities are deemed to contain multiple dwelling units unless the additional cooking facilities are clearly accessory and not intended to serve additional households."
The Department of Planning and Development makes an initial decision within five business days after an application is received. When the number of legal dwelling units cannot be certified based on a review of the ordinance and city records, an inspection of the property is performed.
|Download the Certificate of Zoning Compliance application here. Bring your completed application to Room 107 of City Hall, 121 N. La Salle St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for payment and leave the completed form with the cashier upon payment. The filing fee is $120. Payment checks mailed to Room 905 in DPD will be returned and applications will not be processed.
Certificates, if approved, are issued within five business days (not including date of filing, weekends or holidays) and held at the department's Certification Window. After seven days, certificates are mailed to the applicants. Certificates of Zoning Compliance Notice (PDF)
If certification is denied, the contact person listed on the application will be notified. Any person whose application is denied may request that the Zoning Administrator reconsider his or her determination. If such a request for reconsideration is made, the Zoning Administrator shall review any additional information presented and shall have an on-site inspection of the property conducted, even if an on-site inspection was previously made. No on-site inspection shall be conducted without the prior written consent of the owner or the owner's agent. Within five business days after the request for reconsideration is made, the Zoning Administrator shall render a final decision which shall consist of either issuance of the certificate or issuance of a written statement setting forth the reasons for denial. The failure of the Zoning Administrator to act within five business days of the request for reconsideration shall be considered a waiver of the requirement for the issuance of a certificate.
A certificate does not authorize a property owner to expand a dwelling unit that is a nonconforming use. A nonconforming use is a use that was lawfully established in accordance with the zoning regulations in effect at the time of its establishment but is no longer allowed by the use regulations of the zoning district in which it is now located. A nonconforming use cannot be expanded without an administrative adjustment from the Zoning Administrator or a variation from the Zoning Board of Appeals.