In May, this blog discussed an ordinance proposed in the Chicago City Council that would have permitted the city to fine landlords up to $2000 a day for failing to take action to eliminate bedbug infestations located on their property. In June, the ordinance was passed and went into effect on December 23rd, 2013.
The ordinance imposes several key responsibilities and obligations on landlords and tenants alike. Specifically, the ordinance requires landlords to:
- Supply a tenant with an informational brochure regarding bedbugs;
- Maintain written records of bedbug control efforts;
- Provide tenants written notice explaining their responsibilities before inspections;
- Provide pest control services if bed bugs are discovered as necessary to eliminate the infestation;
- Inspect the units on either side and above and below an infested unit within ten days of a bedbug discovery.
The ordinance also obligates tenants to:
- Notify their landlord in writing of any suspected or known bedbug infestation within 5 days of discovery;
- Notify their landlord in writing of any recurring or unexplained bites or sores suspected to be caused by bedbugs;
- Cooperate with their landlord’s efforts to prevent or exterminate bed bugs;
- Grant their landlord access to their unit at reasonable times upon reasonable notice for bedbug inspection and/or treatment;
- Prepare their unit prior to any bedbug treatment by cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming;
- Properly dispose of personal property that cannot be treated or cleaned by pest control services.
The ordinance also prevents landlords from renting properties that are known to have bedbug infestations, with violations resulting in fines of up to $500 a day for a first offense, and $1,000 for a second and for subsequent offenses.
The new legislation is intended to remedy the ever-increasing bedbug problem plaguing Chicago, and, based on statistics released by pest control company Orkin, could not come at a better time. According to Orkin, Chicago has topped its list of cities with the worst bedbug problems in America for the second year in a row. The list ranks the cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2013.
In response the problem, many landlords are attempting to shift the burden of dealing with bedbug problems to the tenant, by including terms in the lease that make the tenant responsible for extermination if the bedbugs appear after they take possession of the property.
Landlords have also begun including lease provisions that allow the landlord to terminate the lease and evict the tenant if they can show it was the tenant that caused a bedbug infestation. In addition, many landlords are encouraging their tenants to obtain renter’s insurance that will provide coverage in the event of a bedbug infestation.
The qualified attorneys of The Slater Firm, Ltd. have extensive experience representing individuals that have been the victim of unfair practices of a landlord. If you have questions regarding the Illinois’s landlord tenant laws, or believe you have been the victim of the unfair practices of a landlord, contact the experienced attorneys at The Slater Firm, Ltd. today.