North Chicago’s Landlord Licensing Law

In mid-2010, the City of North Chicago passed a new ordinance (number 2010-75) requiring the regulation of rental buildings and the licensing of landlords within the city limits.   The new law makes it illegal for any party to rent without a landlord license.  Licenses are to cost $35 per building address per year.  Licenses expire annually on April 30 or when title to at least 50% of the real estate is transferred.  While the North Chicago law is not as expansive as the laws in Chicago and Evanston, the municipality now joins the ranks of the small number of municipalities who regulate local residential rental activities.

The law also requires that buildings be in compliance with the ordinance and building code.  To that end, covered residential rentals need to have a valid “occupancy certificate” from the City of North Chicago that is generally good for a period of two years from the date of issuance or 50% or more title to the property is transferred.  See the ordinance for more details.  Properties without current certificates will have 6 months from the implementation of the ordinance to obtain them.

The new ordinance prohibits the rental of “rooming units” (ie. single or multiple units rented for sleeping only that do not have access to a kitchen) in areas zoned R1 through R3.  Rooming units are allowed in areas zoned R4 and R5 with a special use permit.  In essence, the City probably does not want people renting out a single bedroom from a single family house.

As with many landlord-tenant ordinances, relief exists for certain property owners who are exempt from the requirement to pay for a license (but not the requirement to obtain an Occupancy Certificate).  Among the exempted situations are landlords in owner occupied multi-unit buildings.

In addition to the licensing and inspection requirements, the new ordinance provides guidance on a number of other issues.  The ordinance suggests the use of a “Crime Free Lease Addendum”; defines the conditions and procedures related to a “nuisance property”; imposes record keeping requirements on landlords; establishes compliance procedures and penalties.  The ordinance provides a sample of the crime free ordinance that landlords would be smart to adopt for their leases.

There is a growing list of municipalities with landlord tenant ordinances or with ordinances that directly affect landlords and tenants.  Before drafting or entering into a residential lease, check with your local municipality to be sure to be in compliance with the law.

To get some help with your rental situation, feel free to call us at 773-399-1122 to see if we are a match for a legal engagement to assist.


About Richard Magnone

Co-founding member of Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC, attorney at law and Illinois licensed lawyer since 1996.
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