Residential tenants have responsibilities under new Chicago Bedbug Ordinance

chibb4The bedbug fun is not limited exclusively to the landlords.  Chicago tenants are also subject to the provisions of the ordinance.  Based on what is believed to be the text of the ordinance, Section 5-12-040 of the CRLTO has been amended to indicate that:

Every tenant must:
(a) comply with all obligations imposed specifically upon tenants by provisions of the municipal code applicable to dwelling units, including section 7-28-850; (new verbiage in bold)

So, tenants have new responsibilities under the health and safety section of the municipal code.  Here’s the text of 7-28-850 that establishes the new requirements for tenants in bed bug situations:

7-28-850 Tenant Responsibility.
(a) A tenant shall immediately notify, in writing, the landlord of any known or suspected bed bug infestation in the presence of the tenant’s dwelling unit, clothing, furniture or other personal property located in the building, or of any recurring or unexplained bites, stings, irritation, or sores of the skin or body which the tenant suspects is caused by bed bugs.
(b) The tenant shall cooperate with the landlord in the control, treatment and eradication of bed bug infestation found or suspected to be. in the tenant’s rental unit. As part of that cooperation, the tenant shall:

(1) not interfere with inspections or treatments:
(2) grant access at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice to the tenant’s rental unit for purposes of bed bug infestation inspection or treatment:
(3) make any necessary preparations, such as cleaning, dusting or vacuuming, prior to treatment in accordance with any pest management professional’s recommendations: and
(4) dispose of any personal property that cannot be treated or cleaned before the treatment of the tenant’s dwelling unit.

(c) Prior to inspection or treatment for bed bug infestation, the landlord shall send a written notice to the tenant of a dwelling unit being inspected or treated which advises the tenant of the tenant’s responsibilities under this section and sets forth the specific preparations required by the tenant.
(d) This section shall not apply to any tenant of an assisted living or shared housing establishment, or similar living arrangement, when the establishment is required to provide the tenant assistance with activities of daily living or mandatory services. In such cases, the landlord will be responsible to make the necessary preparations, such as cleaning, dusting or vacuuming, of the tenant’s dwelling unit prior to treatment in accordance with any pest management professional’s recommendations. For purposes of this subsection, the terms “assistance with activities of daily living.” “assisted living establishment.” “mandatory services” and “shared housing establishment” have the meaning ascribed to those terms in the Illinois Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act. 210 ILCS 9/10.

So, let’s break this down.  First, a tenant must give a landlord written notification of any “known or suspected” bed bug infestation.  Next, a tenant must cooperate with the landlord in the treatment of the pests.  (This provision actually tries to resolve the very common problem of tenants who will not provide access to exterminators or who will not dispose of possessions that are infested).  The third tenant requirement is actually a landlord requirement (funny how the code works, isn’t it?) that requires the landlord to send written notice prior to inspection or treatment advising the tenant of the tenant’s responsibilities under this section and setting forth any required preparations (I suppose I will need to start drafting a new form for my Chicago landlords!).

Just like the landlords, a violation of the tenant’s duties is subject to a fine from the City of Chicago of between $300 to $1000 per day.

About Richard Magnone

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