City of Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance
Municipal Code Title 5, Chapter 12
5-12-150 Prohibition On Retaliatory Conduct By Landlord
It is declared to be against public policy of the City of Chicago for a landlord to take retaliatory action against a tenant, except for violation of a rental agreement or violation of a law or ordinance. A landlord may not knowingly terminate a tenancy, increase rent, decrease services, bring or threaten to bring a lawsuit against a tenant for possession or refuse to renew a lease or tenancy because the tenant has in good faith:
(a) Complained of code violations applicable to the premises to a competent governmental agency, elected representative or public official charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, health or similar code; or
(b) Complained of a building, housing, health or similar code violation or an illegal landlord practice to a community organization or the news media; or
(c) Sought the assistance of a community organization or the news media to remedy a code violation or illegal landlord practice; or
(d) Requested the landlord to make repairs to the premises as required by a building code, health ordinance, other regulation, or the residential rental agreement; or
(e) Becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization; or
(f) Testified in any court or administrative proceeding concerning the condition of the premises; or
(g) Exercised any right or remedy provided by law.
If the landlord acts in violation of this section, the tenant has a defense in any retaliatory action against him for possession and is entitled to the following remedies: he shall recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to and not more than two months’ rent or twice the damages sustained by him, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney’s fees. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all security and interest recoverable under Section 5-12-080 and all prepaid rent. In an action by or against the tenant, if there is evidence of tenant conduct protected herein within one year prior to the alleged act of retaliation, that evidence shall create a rebuttable presumption that the landlord’s conduct was retaliatory. The presumption shall not arise if the protected tenant activity was initiated for the alleged act of retaliation.
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