According to a recent story by The Chicago Sun-Times, recent changes to Illinois’s law regarding the carrying of concealed weapons is generating some confusion among Chicago area landlords as how to deal with tenants and visitors legally carrying guns. The new conceal carry measure provides that owners of private property, such as stores and restaurants, are permitted to prohibit the possession of firearms on their premises.
Owners of residential rental properties, however, have not yet figured out how such provisions might apply to them. For instance, can a landlord ban his or her tenants from storing weapons in their apartment? The confusion in Illinois is alleviated somewhat why the fact that all other 49 states in the Union have already adopted conceal carry laws, but not by much.
During a recent workshop put together by the Chicagoland Apartment Association, a number of legal experts attempted to sort out these issues with some certainty. One expert, Jessica Ryan, an attorney with a Chicago law firm, commented that she believed most of the issues raised by the legislation will have to be resolved through litigation.
Ryan’s theory appears to be supported by the flurry of activity on both sides of this issue. Gun rights activists contend that allowing landlords to prohibits tenants from keeping firearms on their premises would violate the tenant’s Second Amendment Rights. According to Illinois State Representative Brandon Phelps under the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, landlords cannot keep a tenant from possessing a gun in their dwelling.
On the other side of the issue, landlords claim that they can legally prohibit concealed firearms anywhere on their properties, including individual apartments, as long as the lease includes language allowing them to do so. Victor Rodriguez, a property management consultant for a development company with 3,600 units in the Chicago area, stated, “We are going to be prohibiting [conceal carry], absolutely.” A building manager familiar with the requirements of the Chicago Housing Authority, which administers the City’s subsidized housing choice voucher program, already prohibits residents from keeping guns in public housing.
According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, in 2012, there were over one million renters living in nearly 300,000 apartments in Chicago alone. According to Illinois State Police officials, approximately 5,000 of the first concealed carry licenses were printed and mailed out in the first week of March. The same officials indicated that more than 50,000 applications for CCW licenses had already been received. Clearly, based on those numbers, there is bound to be some significant intersection between renters and holder of CCW licenses.
As this blog has mentioned before, both the Illinois and Chicago laws governing landlord-tenant relationships can be very complex. Accordingly, it is almost always in the best interest of a tenant that has become embroiled in a dispute with his or her landlord to consult with an experienced Chicago tenants’ rights attorney.
If you have questions regarding the rights and obligations you have as a tenant or believe you have been the victim of the unfair practices of a landlord, contact the experienced real estate attorneys at The Slater Firm, Ltd. today.