Before you start scheduling showings of your Chicago apartment, keep in mind the two primary considerations that are important to your success: the law, and preserving your tenant’s privacy and happiness.
When Can Landlords Schedule Apartment Showings?
COVID-19 UPDATE: According to guidance provided the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on April 1, 2020, "[s]howings of occupied rental properties are not permitted" under Governor Pritzker's Stay-At-Home Order. Note that the order has been extended through April 30, 2020. Landlords and brokers should consider offering virtual showings of units during this unprecendented time.
Starting with law, remember that the Chicago landlord tenant ordinance requires landlords to provide no less than two days’ notice by mail, telephone, or other written notice, before entering the tenant’s premises for the purpose of showing it to prospective tenants (see Section 5-12-050 of the Chicago Municipal Code). And don’t get started too early! According to the CRLTO, landlords may not start showing an apartment until 60 days or less before the end of the lease. (Not all Chicago apartments are subject to the Chicago landlord-tenant ordinance, with the most common exception being owner-occupied buildings of six units or fewer. For a list of all exclusions, see the Chicago Municipal Code Section 5-12-020).
But what about your tenant’s happiness? Well, if you want the apartment to look its best, be sure the give the tenant as much notice as possible. Your tenant is more likely to tidy up if he or she is not resentful of your intrusion into his or her home.
Communicating with your tenant and being respectful of his or her space is key. It’s important to get in the habit of communicating with your tenants in writing if you’re a landlord. This applies for scheduling showings of an occupied unit.
Work with the current tenant to find time during their schedule if possible, and in case they need an incentive to grant more flexibility, be prepared to discuss this with them. Make sure that the current tenant knows their responsibility for a) cleaning the unit and b) securing any pets that may occupy the unit.
If you’re working with an agent to rent the unit, make sure they understand the basics: good communication, advance notice, tidying up before a showing and no unannounced showings.