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A Chicago landlord honestly answers tenant questions

A Chicago landlord honestly answers tenant questions
Photograph: Jeremy Atherton/Wikimedia Commons

On the condition of anonymity, a Chicago landlord answered questions we fielded from Time Out Chicago readers and others around the city.

Is it the tenant’s or landlord’s responsibility to shovel sidewalks?—Greg, Wrigleyville

Legally, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to salt and shovel the sidewalks and make sure they’re safe to walk on—although we hope tenants will do it. If you do find yourself stuck shoveling, ask your landlord for some money for the job.

My roommate moved out, and the building manager is trying to force me to allow his niece to move in. I don’t want to live with someone I don’t know. Can he do that?—Kat, Evanston

I doubt it. Suggest a few tenants. They can only be rejected for objective reasons: bad credit, a fake bank account—stuff that can be documented. If your suggested roommates are unsuitable, then your landlord can choose a tenant.

I just got a car. Is there any way I can get the garage spot my landlord is renting to someone else?—Libby, Rogers Park

Check your lease. If it doesn’t mention that you get to use the garage in the rental agreement, your landlord can do what he/she wants with it.

My landlord painted a few rooms and brought in a washer and dryer. Now he’s trying to raise the rent. Can he even do that?—Samir, Lincoln Square

Refer to your lease. If your lease is up, he can raise the rent, but if you’re in the middle of a lease, the rent can’t be increased until the contract is up for renewal.

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