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Navigating the Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance: A Comprehensive Guide for Landlords and Tenants

Feb 29, 2024

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The Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO) plays a crucial role in regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in Cook County, Illinois. Understanding the RTLO provisions is essential for landlords and tenants to ensure their rights and responsibilities are protected. In this blog post, we'll delve into the key aspects of the RTLO and provide valuable insights for navigating its complexities.

What is the Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance?

The RTLO is a set of laws and regulations governing the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in residential rental properties within Cook County. Enacted to promote fair housing practices and protect the interests of both parties, the RTLO covers various aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including lease agreements, security deposits, eviction procedures, and maintenance standards.

Key Provisions of the RTLO:

Lease Agreements:

The RTLO requires landlords to provide written lease agreements to tenants for tenancies lasting more than six months.

Lease agreements must include essential terms such as the rental amount, payment due dates, security deposit requirements, and the duration of the lease.

Security Deposits:

Landlords are limited in the amount they can charge for security deposits, typically capped at one-and-a-half month's rent.

The RTLO mandates landlords to provide tenants with a written statement detailing the condition of the rental unit at the time of move-in and move-out, along with any deductions made from the security deposit.

Maintenance and Repairs:

Landlords are obligated to maintain the rental property in compliance with local building and health codes.

Tenants have the right to request repairs for essential services such as heating, plumbing, and electricity, and landlords must address these requests in a timely manner.

Eviction Procedures:

The RTLO outlines specific procedures and requirements for landlords seeking to evict tenants, including notice periods and court proceedings.

Evictions must be carried out in accordance with the law, and tenants have the right to defend against eviction actions in court.

Tips for Landlords and Tenants:

Know Your Rights:

Familiarize yourself with the provisions of the RTLO to understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or tenant.

Maintain Clear Communication: Effective communication between landlords and tenants is essential for resolving disputes and addressing concerns promptly.

Document Everything: Keep thorough records of lease agreements, rental payments, maintenance requests, and communications to protect yourself in case of disputes.


The Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance serves as a vital framework for regulating the landlord-tenant relationship in Cook County. By understanding the provisions of the RTLO and adhering to its requirements, landlords and tenants can foster positive and mutually beneficial relationships while ensuring their rights are protected. Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, familiarizing yourself with the RTLO is key to navigating the rental process successfully.

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