I devote quite a bit of time on this blog to looking at Chicago and state (Illinois) landlord-tenant issues. However, landlords in the northwest suburbs and Chicagoland in general should not think that they are left out in the cold. Yes, you suburban landlords have it much easier (at least most of you do) than the City of Chicago landlords. But, your care-free days may be coming to a close in this new regulation-heavy era.
There was a time when most suburban Chicagoland landlords (save for those in municipalities like Evanston, Illinois which does have a comprehensive ordinance) were free of government interference with their rental properties. However, in a trend that has become more and more common lately, landlords across the suburbs are facing new local regulations of their rental businesses.
These regulations are usually not comprehensive in form like the Chicago RLTO, but instead, commonly come in the form of “crime free leasing programs” or “rental registration programs”. Ordinances mandating these programs are popping up all over the suburbs. Along with them, suburban landlords can increasingly find a municipal code section here or there that sets occupancy restrictions, heat requirements, or other rental-related regulation.
There was a time when a local Illinois government entity with such landlord-tenant laws was the exception. These days, I don’t prepare any lease without checking with the local municipality to make sure that there is not some law or ordinance lurking out there needing special attention in the lease or the landlord’s practices. Landlords in McHenry, Cicero, Skokie, Evanston, Wheeling, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Mt. Propsect, Park Ridge, and Buffalo Grove, to name just a few need to know the local laws that affect them! Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
Over the course of the next few months, I will highlight some of the these local municipal ordinances. You can already find posts on this blog about some of the developments in Evanston and Skokie and I will try to keep up that trend. I will also be putting together a reference list of Chicagoland towns with details on certain laws that commonly affect landlords. There are lots of towns out there, new laws are being added all the time and the ones that exist can change fast. Be warned suburban landlords, don’t rely on this blog alone! Do your homework (or call us to see how we might be able to do your homework for you as part of a lease drafting engagement!). Check with your local government entity and make sure you know all of the local laws that affect you!