Chicago Heating Cost Disclosure for Tenants 5-16

CHAPTER 5-16
DISCLOSURE OF HEATING COSTS TO TENANTS

5-16-010  Lease – Disclosure and acknowledgment required – Exceptions.

   (a)   A building or dwelling unit owner, or agent thereof, shall not execute an oral or written lease, contract to lease, or accept any money or other valuable consideration in an application for an oral or written lease for a dwelling unit in which utility service for heat is individually metered to the dwelling unit and the tenant is directly responsible to the utility company for paying the cost of heating without disclosing to the tenant or applicant in written form:

(1)   That the cost of heating shall be the responsibility of the tenant; and

(2)   The annual cost of service from the utility providing the primary source of heat based on energy consumption during the previous twelve months.

The tenant or applicant shall be required to execute a receipt acknowledging that these written disclosures have been made.

(b)   Subsection 5-16-010(a) shall not apply to:

(1)   oral or written leases for rental dwelling units in which the contracting tenant continues his previous occupancy, providing that the tenant, during that previous term, was directly responsible to the utility company for paying the cost of heating; or

(2)   oral or written leases for condominium, cooperative, or other dwelling units in which the primary source of heat is provided centrally by the landlord or building management and the costs of energy for heating are shared and indirectly billed on some basis not directly related to individual dwelling unit usage, such as allocation based on floor space.

5-16-020  Reserved.

5-16-030  Acquisition of information required to be disclosed.

The information required to be disclosed in subsection 5-16-010(a)(2) may be obtained by the building or dwelling unit owner, or agent thereof, from an online website. Alternatively, the information shall be provided, at no direct cost to the requestor or intended recipient, by the utility company or companies that supply to the dwelling unit upon the written request of the building or dwelling unit owner or his agent. Every such written request shall contain an affirmative statement that the person or entity making the request possesses title or, in the case of trust, is the owner of the power of direction to the property in which the dwelling unit is located or is the agent of such person or entity. The utility company receiving such written request shall be entitled to rely on the affirmative representation of such owner or agent and shall not be obligated to do anything further to ascertain or confirm the identity of the owner and/or agent of the property.

The utility company shall devise forms to be used for requesting and providing this information. The city shall undertake a program to educate the public and shall make request forms available throughout the city. Under no circumstances shall the information provided to building or dwelling unit owners, tenants or prospective tenants under this process disclose payment records of or the name to whom the account was formerly billed. The utility company shall provide such information within two weeks of its receipt of a properly executed written request.

Once received by the owner or his agent, the information obtained from an online website or provided by the utility shall be considered valid for the disclosure purposes of this chapter for six months from the date that it was obtained or provided.

The information or estimate disclosed pursuant to subsection 5-16-010(a)(2), subsection 5-16-050(a), or subsection 5-16-050(b) shall not be construed as an offer or guarantee by the utility company to provide energy for the cost reported in the information or estimate, and the utility company shall not be liable for any difference between the reported cost and the actual cost incurred by the tenant or owner to whom the information or estimate is disclosed. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as relieving any person of the responsibility of paying the amounts billed them for utility service by a utility company.

5-16-040  Reserved.

5-16-050  Sale or transfer – Disclosures required – Exceptions.

(a)   All owners of residential dwelling units and buildings (and their agents) shall, at the time of any offering for sale of said residential dwelling units and buildings, or in the case where improved real property is held under trust the sale of real property which forms the corpus of the trust or the transfer of the beneficial interest in such property, including contract sale, be required to provide to the purchaser or prospective purchaser information as to natural gas and electric costs for the dwelling unit or building, as applicable, for the previous 12 months. Such information shall be in one of the following four formats: (1) a copy of each bill for such costs, (2) a copy of each utility budget plan bill for such costs, (3) a copy of each receipt for payment for such costs, or (4) a copy of each cancelled check used to pay such costs.

In the alternative, the disclosure requirement shall be satisfied by providing information concerning such costs acquired in the manner described in Section 5-16-030. The owner or agent shall also inform the purchaser or prospective purchaser whether the dwelling unit or building was occupied during the previous 12 months, and, if so, for what portion of the time.

(b)   No building or dwelling unit owner, or agent thereof, shall execute a written contract for such a sale or transfer for such residential dwelling unit or building

without including within such written contract for sale or transfer the natural gas and electricity cost information required to be disclosed in subsection (a) of this section.

(c)   Subsections 5-16-050(a) and (b) shall not apply to:

(1)   sales or transfers in which the purchaser is currently a tenant of the dwelling unit and is directly responsible to the utility company or companies for paying the cost of heating and electricity; or

(2)   sales or transfers of condominium, cooperative, or other dwelling units in which the primary sources of heat and electricity are provided centrally by the landlord or building management and the costs of energy for heating and electricity are shared and indirectly billed on some basis not directly related to individual dwelling unit usage, such as allocation based on floor space.

5-16-060  Administration.

The commissioner of business affairs and consumer protection shall administer Chapter 5-16 and may adopt rules and regulations for the effective administration of Chapter 5-16.

5-16-070  Penalties.

(1)   (a)   Any building or dwelling unit owner, or agent thereof, who fails to provide or who falsifies information required to be provided by Chapter 5-16 commits an offense and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $500.00 for each offense.

(b)   It shall be an affirmative defense to any prosecution for a failure to disclose information required by this chapter that the utility company failed to timely comply with a properly executed written request.

Any person who falsely claims or misrepresents himself to be an owner or agent in any disclosure or request for information made with regard to Chapter 5-16 commits an offense and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $500.00 for each offense.

5-16-080  Severability.

If any section of this chapter is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.

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