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Policy and governance » Landlord/tenant relations

Landlord/Tenant Ordinance

Evanston, Cook County

The Evanston Landlord/Tenant Ordinance has enabled the City to maintain housing options within the community and foster positive relations between landlords and tenants.

Goal

To make clear the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.

Target

All landlords and tenants of rental properties in Evanston.

Financing

No financing attached.

Success

300 to 400 complaints addressed each year.

Lessons Learned

Offering training for landlords and tenants is a critical component of the success of this ordinance.

Policy background

Evanston officials wanted to maintain a quality supply of rental housing in the city, as well as ensure the rights of both tenants and landlords were understood and upheld. Consequently, in 1975, the City established the Landlord/Tenant Ordinance to educate both partners of their individual obligations. The ordinance was created and presented to the City Council by the Tenants Organization, a local tenant advocacy group.

How it works

The Landlord/Tenant Ordinance addresses such issues as the required components of a lease, security deposit procedures, dwelling unit requirements for maintenance and upkeep, lead disclosure requirements, rent payment default procedures and property abandonment procedures. The City has partnered with Open Communities to provide a full service Tenant-Landlord program for Evanston residents. Open Communities responds to approximately 25 to 30 calls per month from both tenants and landlords, provides at least two trainings each year and trains the Evanston Police Department on tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities. Open Communities holds office hours at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center (every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon) and the Levy Center (first Thursday of the month only.)

The ordinance has enabled the City to maintain housing options within the community and foster positive relations between landlords and tenants. The City handles roughly 300 to 400 complaints each year.

If a party wishes to seek formal resolution to an issue, it may file a civil suit. Open Communities will refer residents to the Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF) if needed.

Public involvement

The Evanston Landlord/Tenant Ordinance was initiated in large part by the Tenants Organization. While local landlords originally opposed the implementation of the ordinance, there was enough community support to pass it. Current community dynamics in Evanston have changed.

Contact

Department of Community Development, City of Evanston
847-448-4311, www.cityofevanston.org

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Chicago, Ill. 60603
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