security deposit recovery Reda Ciprian Magnone, LLC attorney lawyers in Chicago assisting landlords and tenants

Are you a tenant or a landlord with a question about your security deposit? Contact us:

Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC
8501 W. Higgins Suite 440
Chicago, Illinois 60631
fax 773.399.1144
email us

Questions from the Email - because email is necessarily brief, the answers below are generalizations and are not intended to be specific legal advice.  Every case is different and no situation can be properly evaluated without a full consultation with an attorney.

Question 1 - What law applies to me?
one emailer writes: "The illinois Security Deposit Return Act says a lessor containing 5 or more units. I was renting a house in Decatur Illinois...just left 12/31/2008. Its been more than thirty days and I have no itemized statement of damage, no recaipts of repair. I don't understand the law when it says 5 or more units....what law pertains to me, I was renting a house? I think she only has three rental houses in town.  We left the house in top shape (a little cleaner than before). I have felt like the landlord is taking advantage of our age. Please, any information will be helpful.  Thank you for your reply in advance.

Answer: Unfortunately, there are cracks in the law of security deposit return.  The first place to check for help is with your local municiplaity.  If the city where you live, such as Chicago or Evanston, has a landlord tenant ordinance, there might be a local law that applies to you.  If your local municipality does not have a law, then you have to look to the Illinois statute.  As the emailer noted, certain landlords are exempt from the law.  The Illinois Security Deposit Return Act is applicable to all landlords of residential property with five or more units.  Usually, the state law does not apply to a four flat or a single family home.  This does not mean that a tenant has no rights.  Instead, the written lease between the landlord and tenant will govern along with the common law (from court decisions) of contracts and landlord tenant law in Illinois.  

What this really means is that a tenant does not have the added protection of a local ordinance or a state statute.  A landlord, without just cause, still has a contractual or legal obligation to return an unapplied security deposit.  Without the extra protections of the statute, however, the landlord does not have the benefit of pre-determined time limits, disclosure requirements, nor the penalties that provide for double damages, attorneys fees, or court costs.  

In these cases, a tenant may still have many rights.  However, it may not be cost-effective to pursue a remedy against the landlord through an attorney.  Many tenants can and do bring their landlord's to small claims court to recover all or part of a deposit.  

Even if a statute or local ordinance does not apply, a tenant should consult with an attorney to know and understand its rights and statutes of limitations on an action against the landlord.

Have an issue?
If you believe your landlord has violated the obligation to make a timely return of your deposit or to pay interest on your deposit, please feel free to telephone us at 773-399-1122 for a free telephone consultation (most consultations require approximately ten to fifteen minutes) or email us.  

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