No one wants to think about winter but…

radiatorChicago Landlords Turn Up the Heat

Here’s our annual reminder that Chicago landlords responsible to supply heat to their tenants are now within the required City of Chicago time period for heating.  The Chicago Municipal Code (13-196-410) requires minimum amounts of heat from September 15, 2014 and to June 1, 2015.  Heat must be supplied during the day (8:30am to 10:30pm) at a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit and in the night (10:30pm to 8:30am) at a temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

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Should Chicago landlords want a guarantor?

guarantorTo co-sign or not to co-sign?

The intrepid Kay Cleaves over at StrawStickStone.com contacted me a few weeks ago with a blog idea on the topic of accepting lease guarantors and co-signers.  With students who have little or no credit history in the rental market right now, Chicago landlords may be considering the worth of adding a guarantor to a lease.  First, the basics: a guarantor is a person who voluntarily agrees to be responsible to pay for another person’s obligations if that other person defaults on those obligations.  In a sense, the guarantor “vouches” for the tenant.  So, if mom signs a lease as a guarantor for little Johnny and Johnny fails to pay the rent, in theory, mom is responsible for the rent. Continue reading

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Guest Blogger Ryan Coon talks about developing landlord systems

gblogWhat Large, Successful Landlords Do (and you should too!)

This moth’s guest blogger is Ryan Coon.  Ryan is a co-founder of Chicago-based startup Rentalutions. Ryan has written a short article on how smaller rental operators can get the same results as larger operations.

What separates large property management companies from do-it-yourself landlords is the way that they anticipate and prepare for various situations. Large owners and managers have spent years developing systems and processes for everything from how and when to find tenants to what to do when a rent payment is late. These processes allow the companies to stay organized and to set expectations with tenants, which in turn leads to fewer vacancies and higher profits. Preparing for events and having checklists for different situations is something that all landlords should do. It’s not just for the “big guys”. Continue reading

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New law aims to improve service of process in condos and gated communities

sopNew law makes service on condominiums just a bit easier

Hopefully, things just got a bit easier for process servers in eviction cases.  The State of Illinois has passed an amendment to Section 735 ILCS 5/2-203 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure intended to assist process servers in making access to a “gated residential community”.  The new law requires guards in such a community to permit access to the premises to a process server.  The law defines a “gated residential community” as including “a condominium association, housing cooperative, or private community”. Continue reading

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Illinois court upholds nonrefundable move-in fees under CRLTO

nonrefunableLandlords win in case over move-in fee in lieu of security deposit

For a number of years, landlords in the City of Chicago have sought to avoid the undue burdens and unreasonable potential liability resulting from the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance’s requirements related to security deposits by collecting all kinds of “non-refundable fees”.  Some landlord collect a “non-refundable processing fee”, additional rent, or a “non-refundable move-in fee”.  Tenants rights attorneys and advocates have long shouted “no fair!” at landlords engaging in such practices.  One advocate I know said “this is just the way landlords are trying to avoid liability for security deposit violations!”  Duh! Continue reading

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We do NOT represent tenants in Evictions

sorryJust a friendly reminder

While we sometimes take on a tenant security deposit recovery matter here and there, our office does NOT represent tenants in eviction cases.  There are MANY excellent attorneys in the City of Chicago who do represent tenants and suggest tenants contact one of them for assistance!

If tenants call our office, we will not be able to assist.

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Avoid employee leases in exchange of labor

workWhy it’s unwise to house an employee in return for services

There’s a story making the rounds on the news about a nanny in Upland, California who, despite the fact that she failed to perform agreed upon nanny services, has refused to vacate the home she moved into in return for her services.  The story even indicates that her “former employers” have tried to evict her in court without success.  Now, the family is living a nightmare with their children locked in their rooms at night for safety reasons.  I have always cautioned my landlord clients against a “work-in-exchange-for-a-room” situation.  This is one area where work life and home life should not be mixed.  Why? Continue reading

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The “cost” of having an attorney draft a Chicago lease

lease5Lease drafting not for faint of heart

Landlords are often surprised when they call me to have a lease drafted.  When I tell them that an attorney’s lease drafting assignment for a Chicago residential lease will generally take three to four hours of billable time, they ask me whether or not I have a “standard form” to provide to them at a lower cost. Continue reading

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You still don’t get it, do you Mr. Mark Brown?

everColumnist conveniently ignores fact that eviction system needs reform

Chicago Sun Times columnist Mark Brown is at it again.  He’s written another column calling out State Representative Monique Davis for her (third, revised) attempt to reform our broken Cook County eviction system. Continue reading

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Proposed Eviction Code Amendment Amended

sheriffhatYesterday, Rep. Monique Davis filed a third amendment to her proposed legislation to add a small, but meaningful, reform to the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act and the way that evictions are handled in Cook County.  The law started out as an attempt to thwart the Cook County eviction moratorium and has morphed via two wholesale amendments of the suggested statute into a pretty fair, in my opinion, proposal to change to reduce the Sheriff’s eviction backlog and speed eviction enforcement. Continue reading

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