Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance

In Chicago, the legal rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants are covered in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO).

Approved in 1986 and amended over the years, the RLTO’s purpose is “to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens” and “to encourage the landlord and the tenant to maintain and improve the quality of housing” citywide.

The ordinance covers most rental properties located in Chicago except units in owner-occupied buildings with six units or less; most units in hotels, motels and rooming houses; dormitories, shelters, employee’s quarters, and non-residential rental properties; and owner-occupied co-ops.

Rights and obligations covered by the ordinance include:

  • Tenant’s general responsibilities
  • Landlord’s right of access
  • Security deposits and prepaid rent
  • Landlord’s general duties
  • Identification of owner and agent
  • Notice of conditions affecting habitability
  • Landlord and tenant remedies
  • Prohibition of retaliatory conduct by landlord
  • Summary of ordinance attached to rental agreement

Complete RLTO Ordinance

Current RLTO Summary

The ordinance requires that a summary copy of the ordinance be given to prospective tenants by the landlord. The summary must be attached to each written lease agreement and lease renewal, and must be given to the tenant when there is an oral rental agreement.

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