Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

While the landlord is the ultimate owner of the property, the law provides specific rights for Tenants. It's also important for you to know what you are obligated to do as a renter. Learn more about both below.

Tenant Rights

Does the landlord have to give advanced notice to enter my apartment?

  • The landlord shall give the tenant at least two (2) days notice of his intent to enter the apartment and may enter only at reasonable times; except in cases of emergency or unless in is impracticable to do so.

When can a landlord enter an apartment?

  • To make necessary repairs.
  • To supply necessary services (routine maintenance).
  • To show the unit to prospective purchasers, workers, etc.
  • To show the apartment to prospective renters.

When can a landlord enter a unit without advanced notice?

  • If there is a problem in the common area of the building or in another unit and the landlord needs to enter the unit to fix it.
  • If there is an emergency (for example broken pipe, etc.)
  • The landlord must let the tenant know that they entered the unit within two days of entering the unit if the tenant is not home.

Can a tenant refuse to let a landlord into the unit?

  • Yes, but only with good cause.For example if a landlord doesn't provide advanced notice or if the landlord tries to enter the apartment outside of reasonable hours (reasonable hours can be negotiated at the lease signing). This does not apply in an emergency.

"Repair and Deduct"

A tenant should contact a landlord first for minor repairs in the apartment. If that does not produce results, a tenant can send a certified letter to a landlord stating that if the landlord chooses not to remedy a problem in the apartment within 14 days (and the reasonable cost of compliance is less than two hundred dollars--$ 200), the tenant can decrease the next month's rent payment by the repair amount; or half the rental charge (whichever is greater) as long as the repair is completed by a licensed professional (other than the tenant; and with receipts).

Found under Evanston-city code 5-3-7-3

For Chicago Ward residents (slightly different wording): Chicago-Mun. Code CH. 5-12-100

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Keep a copy of your lease--along with cancelled rent checks, receipts and any correspondence with your landlord.
  • Throw out the trash in a reasonable and safe manner.
  • Use all fixtures (such as lights and ceiling fans) and appliances in a reasonable and safe manner.
  • Do not damage the apartment.
  • Do not disturb your neighbors.
  • Make sure family members and guests act appropriately.
  • Obey all the lawful provisions of your lease.
  • Do not engage in illegal activity on the premises--as this allows the landlord to terminate your lease.