Landlord – Tenant Relations: Security Deposits

In Chicago, the relationship between residential landlords and tenants is governed by the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance. The ordinance establishes, regulates and determines the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants in the rental of residential dwelling units.

Security Deposits: A security deposit remains the property of the tenant. The landlord must deposit security deposits in a federally insured interest bearing account. The name of the financial institution must be clearly disclosed in the rental agreement. The landlord must give the tenant a receipt for the security deposit.

The landlord must pay interest on the security deposit to the tenant within thirty (30) days after the end of each twelve (12) month rental period. The payment may be made either in cash or as a credit applied to rent that is due.

The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within forty-five (45) days after the date the tenant vacates the dwelling unit. If the dwelling unit is damaged or destroyed in a fire and the tenant terminates the rental agreement, the landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within seven (7) days of the tenant’s notice of termination.

A landlord may withhold the reasonable amount necessary for the repair of any damage to the premises caused by the tenant or anyone under the tenant’s control. Normal wear and tear is to be excluded. The landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized statement of the damages and an estimated or actual cost of repair.

If the landlord fails to comply with any provision concerning security deposits, the tenant is entitled to receive two times the security deposit plus interest. The tenant may also be entitled to other damages.

Chicago Municipal Code 05-12-080