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Tenant Rights

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The landlord shall give the tenant at least two days notice of his intent to enter the apartment (if the tenant is not at home) and may enter only at reasonable times; except in cases of emergency.

Why 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 (example: a broken pipe)

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). Note: this does not apply in an emergency situation.

What should I do about repairs?

Know “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 the problem in the residence within 14 days (and the reasonable cost of compliance is less than $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: Chicago-Mun. Code CH. 5-12-110

TGS - Student Legal Services Office - FAQs

The Student Legal Services Office provides an attorney, with an office, to full time graduate students at TGS -- check out the advice given in their FAQs.

More Information

For more information about tenant rights, refer to the Evanston Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance

Chicago residents should see the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance