1. Tenants must pay rent on time in order to have the right to live on a property. A tenant has only 5 days to pay rent or move out before a landlord can file for eviction.

The first of the month on a desk calendar is marked in red marker as a reminder to pay the rent.

2. If a tenant intends on moving out, it is required that at least 30 days of notice be given.

An animated figure in a white t-shirt holds a cardboard box that reads “I am moving out!”

3. A tenant has the right to sue his or her landlord in small claims court for the return of a security deposit for amounts up to $10,000.

A polished wooden gavel hovers, ready to strike, in the hand of a judge.

4. If a landlord fails to pay a utility bill for which he or she is responsible, the tenant has the right to pay the bill and deduct that cost from the next month’s rent.

A finger points to the tab on a file folder labeled “Utilities”.

5. Tenants will be held responsible for any damages beyond normal wear and tear, and the cost for repairs can be deducted by the landlord from the security deposit.  

A giant hole in the wall exposes the white bricks beneath it and several rooms beyond it inside the house.

6. Tenants cannot alter the rental unit without the permission of the landlord.

Several cans of vibrantly colored paint sit open next to a few paint brushes with the heading “Not allowed!” in red across the top.

7. If a tenant resides in Cook County (most of Chicago), it is required that the locks on a property be rekeyed or changed between each tenant. This must occur on or before the date the new tenant moves in. It is important that tenants be aware of this rule and follow up to make sure the required lock rekeying service has been performed. If a tenant does not reside in Cook County, this procedure is not mandatory but can still be requested of the landlord.

8. If a tenant is military personnel, that tenant has the right to terminate a lease in the event of a permanent change of station or deployment that will last at least 90 days. Documentation must be provided to the landlord of the service member’s orders as notification of the lease termination.

Soldiers dressed in camouflage stand at attention, saluting the large American flag stretched out before them.

9. Tenants do not have the right to withhold rent in an attempt to force a landlord to comply with suggested repairs or in protest of something a landlord has or has not done.  

A bald man in a dress shirt is tightly grasping a pile of money stacks with a worried expression on his face.

10. The security deposit must be returned in full to a tenant within 45 days of moving out unless the landlord provides an itemized list of the damages caused and the cost to repair them.

An outstretched hand offers a set of keys to another outstretched hand holding a fan of fifty dollar bills.

11. Tenants are permitted to pay all or a portion of their rent by working on the property, but this is only valid if a specific agreement is made before the tenant does the work. It is best to put this agreement in writing as proof of the agreed upon terms.

A woman in a sweatshirt and work gloves stands on a ladder and scoops handfuls of leaves and debris out of the gutters of her house.

12. It is the responsibility of the tenant to keep working batteries in both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Hands grasp a white smoke detector mounted on a pale yellow wall as a new battery is inserted into the alarm.

13. In the case of roommates, every tenant sharing the space is responsible for the entire rent amount, not just an individual portion. If one roommate does not pay his or her allotted portion, the other roommate or mates are required to cover the cost, or the landlord has grounds to evict for failure to make rent.

Characters Joey and Chandler from the TV show “Friends” sit thoughtfully in a wooden canoe in the middle of their empty apartment.

14. Tenants should expect a clean rental property. While they do not have the right to ask that the property be professionally cleaned, a tenant can ask this of the landlord as part of the negotiation process before signing the lease

 A yellow plastic bucket is full of vibrantly colored cleaning supplies, including brushes, sponges, and spray bottles.

15. A tenant does not have the right to sublease the property being rented to someone else without the written permission of the landlord.

16. While the law does not require it, tenants are recommended to ask for a walkthrough before moving into a property if the landlord has not already initiated one. Documentation should be made and pictures taken to record the condition of the property in order to protect tenants from losing money out of their security deposits or in the case of other disputes with the landlord.

A woman with a clipboard listens as a nicely dressed man points toward something on the ceiling of the empty living room in which they are standing.

17. Tenants have the right to collect interest on their security deposits if they live in a complex or building that contains more than 25 units, and their deposit is held for more than 6 months. A tenant should receive an interest payment within 30 days of the end of each 12-month rental cycle.

Eight stacks of gold coins grow in height from only one coin on the left to a tower of coins on the right.

18. A tenant maintains the right to file a complaint to governing authorities about building, housing, and health code violations without the threat of retaliation from the landlord. The tenant cannot be evicted and the lease cannot be terminated as punishment for addressing the habitability of a property.

 A cartoon depicts a man at a window labeled “Complaints” that is directing him to an open window around the corner.

19. Tenants have the right to terminate a lease 14 days after notice is given of a violation that affects habitability and the landlord fails to make the necessary repairs.  

Only the lower half of a woman is shown as she stands on the porch in a white skirt with two teal suitcases in hand.

20. Tenants have the right to remain in a unit even if the property is purchased by a new owner. A tenant’s lease will remain valid and the tenant cannot be evicted or the lease terminated by the new owner for any reason other than a violation of the terms of the lease.//giphy.com/embed/11pQizRLu1JP0c

21. Tenants are covered by an implied warranty of habitability. This means that a tenant has the right to a certain standard of living within a rental unit including the presence of adequate heating, running water, hot water, gas, plumbing, and electricity.

The outline of a house is filled with different sections each containing images representing different amenities including lighting, heating and cooling, gas, electricity, water, and cable and internet connections.

As a tenant, you want to make sure that where you are living is secure. Making sure your landlord has changed or rekeyed your locks between you and the previous tenant is crucial to improving your home security and is even required if you live in Chicago. Mr. Rekey is America’s Largest Residential Locksmith®, and they offer an easy, affordable option for rekeying. Their Rekey Special® includes rekeying up to 6 locks, cutting 4 new keys, and the addition of SPAX® doorjamb screws for doubled deadbolt strength. Talk to your landlord today, or just give us a call at (872) 205-0506. Mr. Rekey can make sure the locks on your rental home are secure, so you don’t have to worry about old tenants or anyone else having a key to your home.