Annual Heating Estimate
If a dwelling unit is separately metered for heat, Chapter 5-16 of the Chicago Municipal Code requires the landlord to provide every prospective tenant with written disclosures that (1) the tenant is responsible for paying the utility costs (assuming that's the case) and (2) a statement disclosing the annual cost of service from the utility company that supplies the primary source of heat, based on energy consumption over the preceding twelve months. If a written lease assigns the tenant with responsibility for paying the heating costs, the first of these disclosures will have been satisfied. In addition, tenants are required to sign a receipt indicating that the disclosures were made. (The domu form lease contains a line at the bottom of the first page where the tenant acknowledges receipt of the disclosure.) In buildings with central heating or where heating costs are allocated among tenants based on unit size or other criteria, no heating cost disclosures are required.
Landlords who do not have this information handy may call the utility company directly or fax in a standard form requesting it. The official City of Chicago form is made available on this page. After the utility company receives the completed form, it is required to provide the requested information within two weeks, and a failure to respond in timely fashion may be raised by the landlord in defense of any claim alleging non-compliance with the ordinance. Landlords who fail to make the requisite heating cost disclosures may be fined $500 per violation.