Q: Do Chicago tenants have legal right to break lease if heat keeps breaking & landlord offers only temporary fixes?
Do tenants in the city of Chicago have the legal right to break their lease if the unit heat keeps breaking down in winter, & the landlord is only offering temporary fixes? The unit has heat in only living room and no heating unit in the kitchen. It is extremely cold in the apartment. What legal recourse does the tenant have to ensure heat or get compensated for this freezing situation?
A: Yes, it is certainly possible to break the lease and/or receive compensation based on the facts provided. That said, the viability of such a course of action depends on specific facts that are not provided here, such as whether or not the apartment you are renting is subject to the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance. If it is subject to the RLTO, then you may have additional protections, as heat is an essential service, particularly with the weather we are currently experiencing in Chicago.
In sum, I recommend organizing everything in your possession that is relevant to this matter, including your lease and all proof the heat has not been working, and consult with an attorney individually. Many of us offer free consultations, and will advise as to the best course of action moving forward. I recommend acting quickly, because notices pursuant to the RLTO are highly technical and time sensitive.
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