The landlord has an obligation to maintain the housing unit. A landlord should schedule a walkthrough with a tenant every few months to make sure the plumbing is not leaking, the exits are not obstructed, there aren’t rodents or insects, the roof does not leak, floorboards are not rotting, paint is not peeling, and plaster is not loose. They should also make sure lights in common areas are working.
The landlord must also provide the following:
- A fire extinguisher on each floor if the building is more than three stories
- Garbage facilities
- Screens up to the 5th floor between April 15 and November 15
- A deadbolt lock and peephole or other viewing device on each apartment door
- At least one smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector for each apartment and interior stairwell
- Heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, and plumbing
In Chicago, between September 15th and June 1st, the temperature must be at least:
- 65 degrees between 7:30 A.M. and 8:30 A.M.
- 68 degrees between 8:30 A.M. and 10:30 P.M.
- 63 degrees between 10:30 P.M. and 7:30 A.M.
Tenants are responsible for keeping working batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
All landlords are required to inform tenants of any lead hazards, they shall mitigate the lead hazard and must obtain a specified certificate of compliance.
Punishing a tenant for complaining
Landlords cannot raise rent or retaliate in any other way because a tenant complained about a building or health code violation. Landlords also cannot evict a tenant because the tenant asked them to make repairs, joined a tenants' organization, or acted on any legal right or remedy. This is called a retaliatory eviction and it's illegal.