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Renters have rights!

By Amy Clark on September 28, 2017

Did you know that October 1st is the second busiest moving day in Chicago? (only May 1st is busier). While finding bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, and moving help (either professional movers or friends who work for pizza and drinks), are high on many to-do lists at this time of year, many people who are moving and settling into new apartments don’t know that Illinois law gives them certain protections as renters. And some cities in Illinois (Chicago, Rockford, Dekalb, Urbana, Evanston, and others) give renters even more rights than state law does.

When landlord-tenant disputes (such as evictions and disagreements over leases, rent, and repairs) go to court, landlords are likely to have attorneys to represent them, while renters are often pro se (representing themselves without an attorney), because they cannot afford an attorney and do not have access to a free legal aid attorney. This leaves renters at a great disadvantage, especially when they are not aware of what their rights are. That’s why IllinoisLegalAid.org has a lot of information that explains renters’ rights and how to enforce them.

ILAO can also now send information about renters’ rights through text messages. Renters who want to know more about their legal rights can text “renter” to 773-985-3425* and receive IllinoisLegalAid.org articles in the form of text messages. After texting “renter” to this number, they can select their legal issue, and receive legal information about getting a security deposit back, renting a new apartment, what to do if a landlord doesn’t make repairs, and much more.

In partnership with LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago), ILAO’s “Renters Have Rights” texting campaign is designed to reach more renters and raise their awareness of their legal rights. It opens communication with people who are less familiar with the internet or who prefer texting over other forms of communication. This project is funded via the Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grant program.

Starting on October 2nd, riders on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line train will see ILAO’s “Renters Have Rights” ads, which provide the texting information above. Let us know if you see them, and help share ILAO’s resources with Illinois renters - knowledge is power for renters in Illinois!

*By texting “renter” to 773-985-3425, you agree to get text messages about renters' rights. By sending the text, you are giving your consent. Standard text message and data rates apply. Not all carriers covered.