What to Do About a Bad Landlord in Chicago

Home » Blog » General » What to Do About a Bad Landlord in Chicago

If you are seriously injured in an apartment accident caused by a negligent landlord or property manager, The Kryder Law Group, LLC, can help. We represent seriously injured accident victims in Chicago and the surrounding metropolitan area.


Chicago Rental Statistics

According to a 2022 national rent report from real estate platform, Zumper, rents across the country continue to rise dramatically with rental housing in high demand to keep pace with urban development. Chicago ranks as the 13th most expensive city to rent an apartment. On average, a Chicago one bedroom apartment rents for $1,950, which is up by 36.4% from July 2021. A two bedroom apartment rents for $2,250 on average in Chicago, which has dramatically increased from 2021 to 2022 by 32.4%.

Tips for Avoiding Bad Landlords

With rents going up, and with units in high demand, it’s more important than ever to make sure you avoid a bad landlord.

Before signing a lease, always:

  • Check the landlord’s record with the Better Business Bureau
  • Research the property owner online
  • Research the property address online to look for negative news stories
  • Read reviews from other tenants
  • Visit the property and meet the landlord in person
  • Get everything in writing


What to Do If You Have a Bad Landlord

What to Do About a Bad Landlord in Chicago Infographic

If you find yourself with a bad landlord, there are a few things renters can do:

  • Talk to your landlord about your concerns to see if the situation can be fixed, especially if they were simply unaware of any issues with essential services in the property
  • Follow up on the conversation in writing to properly document that you have reported the issue and whether an actual health violation exists or not
  • Keep a detailed log of any health or safety issues you have with the rental property or landlord
  • Contact 311

Building Code Violation Enforcement Process

When you contact 311 to register a complaint, it may be followed up by a Chicago Department of Buildings building inspector to look for building code violations. His or her inspection report includes information about the inspection of the premises to verify the complaint.

They also check for working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, along with building exits. If building code violations are observed, they will issue violations. If they can’t access the building to investigate a tenant’s complaint, they will leave written notice and come back to re-inspect property.

Protections Under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance

If you live in the City of Chicago, you are protected under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO). The CRLTO establishes safety codes that most landlords must follow to provide a habitable condition in their property. Its provisions include requirements that landlords:

  • Provide vital services such as heat, hot water, electricity, and working plumbing
  • Maintain watertight roofs and promptly fix a roof leak
  • Provide fire extinguishers for buildings greater than three stories
  • Supply and maintain trash facilities
  • Maintain elevators and stairwells
  • Keep the premises free of rats or pest infestation
  • Keep the premises reasonably free of insects
  • Repair all rotting floorboards or structural issues and keep walls and ceilings free of peeling paint or plaster
  • Maintain adequate lighting in common areas
  • Secure entrances with locks
  • Maintain smoke detectors
  • Maintain porches and balconies

New Sealed-Battery Smoke Alarm Law

In February of 2021, Chicago City Council passed a new law mandating the use of sealed-battery smoke alarms and impose fines on landlords who fail to provide them or intentionally disable them.

The fines range from minimum $500 to minimum $1,000 per violation per day. The law applies to new or replacement smoke alarms installed in a rental unit beginning January 1, 2022. It also applies to smoke alarms installed by the occupants beginning January 1, 2023.

Who to Contact in Cook County

Other municipalities, including all of Cook County, have similar tenant rights ordinances. If your landlord is violating safety codes, you should notify your landlord in writing. That way you can show proof that the landlord had actual notice of any dangerous conditions if you or someone else is ever injured. If the landlord refuses to comply with any building code violation, you also have the option of contacting your local municipality.

Call 311

For Chicago, you can contact the Department of Buildings at 311 or online. Remember: Chicago landlords cannot retaliate against you for reporting building code violations! This insures that valid concerns will be reported and landlords won’t evict for a perceived tenant’s abuse of the system.

The Chicago Department of Public Health: Healthy Homes

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) also provides resources for Healthy Homes on the health department website. This includes information from the health department for both tenants and landlords about what to do to prevent lead poisoning or how to handle bedbugs.


Chicago Apartment Accidents

Chicago-area landlords are notorious for failing to provide safe housing free of health violations for their tenants. As a result, tenants are at increased risk of accidents requiring costly medical care, missed work, and a painful recovery process. Many accidents may be life-altering or even fatal.

The Kryder Law Group, LLC fights for apartment accident victims to help them receive the maximum compensation they deserve under the law. We will help you through all stages of the litigation process from the initial investigation through trial where we present evidence to a jury.

We offer free initial case consultations for accident victims and their families, so contact The Kryder Law Group, LLC today.


Do I have a case?

To prove your apartment accident case, you must show that there existed an unreasonably dangerous condition on the premises and that your landlord either: 1) created that condition or 2) had actual or constructive control over the particular area where you were injured.

Common areas such as hallways, entrances, sidewalks, parking lots, elevators, and stairwells are almost always considered under the control of the landlord, and you can hold your landlord accountable for any injuries you sustained. However, you typically cannot sue if you were injured in your own apartment unless it was due to a latent defect on the property the landlord failed to warn you about.

How do I prove my case?

To prove your case against your landlord, you must present admissible evidence in court. This will include witness testimony, photographs and video footage, and documentary evidence.

Your lease will be important as it will identify the areas in your apartment building that your landlord still maintained control over. For injuries due to faulty maintenance, inspection logs and repair invoices will be helpful in identify whether the defendant had notice of any defects.

In addition to landlords, you may also be able to hold other defendants liable for creating any hazards. Other common defendants are:

  • Building managers
  • Maintenance companies
  • Maintenance crewmembers
  • Snow removal companies
  • Parking lot attendants
  • Security guards and security contractors


What are examples of injury cases against landlords?

Landlord cases usually arise out of failing to maintain safe conditions in common areas. Examples of injury cases against landlords include:

  • Poor lighting: Landlords are required to supply common areas with adequate lighting. A tenant may trip and fall when a landlord fails to change light bulbs or repair lighting fixtures.
  • Dilapidated flooring and stairways: Slippery or rotted floorboards can pose major safety hazards to tenants.
  • Malfunctioning elevators: Poorly serviced elevators may open above or below the floor grade, creating a tripping hazard. Elevators may also cause injuries by falling or stopping suddenly.
  • Missing or broken smoke detectors: Fires are one of the most common causes of accidental death in residential buildings. To help prevent these tragedies, Cook County landlords are required to supply smoke detectors and may be held accountable for failing to do so.
  • Missing or broken carbon monoxide detectors: For similar reasons landlords can also be held accountable for broken carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Dilapidated balconies: Almost every year a landlord fails to make necessary repairs to balconies, a mistake that ends with tragic results.
  • Unnatural accumulations of snow and ice: Leaking gutters and improperly disposing of snow can create dangerous slipping hazards.
  • No locks or broken locks: All landlords are required to supply locks for homes. If you were assaulted due to a break-in at your apartment, you can hold your landlord accountable.
  • Negligent security: Similarly, you can hold landlords and security contractors accountable if they unreasonably fail to prevent unauthorized entry.


What do I get if I was injured?

In most cases, you are entitled to compensatory damages if a jury finds that your landlord was liable for your injuries. This usually includes:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a normal life
  • Scarring and disfigurement, including any scars from related surgeries
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills and caregiving costs
  • For spouses, loss of love and affection


How can an attorney help?

Landlords and their insurance companies usually hire high-powered defense attorneys to try to escape liability. But you do not need to fight for your rights alone.

The Kryder Law Group, LLC dedicates its entire practice to representing accident victims and their families in personal injury cases. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t need to pay until we win for you.

Past Case Results

We represent seriously injured accident victims and are proud of our results. These results include:

  • $1.4 million for slip and fall in bathroom
  • $1.4 million for carbon monoxide exposure
  • $1 million for family of daughter who suffered burns in a house fire

What to Do About a Bad Landlord in Chicago
What to Do About a Bad Landlord in Chicago

Do I have a case?

    Phone Number (312) 598-1012
    134 North LaSalle St., Suite 1515
    Chicago, IL 60602 Get Directions

    Settlements & Verdicts

    $7.5 Million Recovered for a Construction Worker Injured on Site
    $3 Million Recovered for the Family of a Person Struck by a Garbage Truck
    $2.2 Million Recovered for a Salesperson Injured in an Automobile Collision
    $2 Million Recovered for a Person Struck by a Speeding Vehicle While Waiting for the CTA Bus
    $1.4 Million Recovered for a Computer Programmer Injured in a Slip and Fall
    1.25 Million for a Veteran who Sustained Severe Leg and Arm Injuries in a Motorcycle Collision.  (Policy Limits)
    Phone (312) 223-1700