No tenant wants to open their mail to find a rent increase letter telling them that the landlord intends to raise the rent at renewal, but landlords shouldn't procrastinate if they intend to do so. For legal and practical reasons, you should let your tenants know as soon as you have decided to raise the rent so that they, in turn, can decide whether they’ll be renewing.

Local regulations require landlords to inform tenants of a rent increase at least 30 days before a lease expires (see Municipal Code Section 5-12-130(j)).  Consider utilities, too – if the current lease provides that any utilities are included in the monthly rent, but you intend to transfer responsibility for utilities to your tenant at renewal, you need to give 30 days’ notice of that change, too (see Illinois Rental Property Utility Service Act, 765 ILCS 735/1.2).

What if you don't intend to renew the apartment lease as a landlord?

In Chicago, apartment landlords are required to provide at least a 30-day notice to tenants (written notice) of any intention not to renew a Chicago apartment lease (termination letter). Failure to provide the written notice allows the tenant to remain in the apartment for at least 60 more days, even if the lease technically would have expired in the interim. The details can be found in Section 5-12-130(j) of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.

So, don’t be late in sending the rent increase letter! But if you choose to let your tenants know early, which you certainly can do, remember that you can’t ask them to renew until 90 days before the lease terminates. The Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance states that “no tenant shall be required to renew a rental agreement more than 90 days prior to the termination date of the rental agreement.” Chicago Municipal Code Section 5-12-130(i).

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Summary of the CRLTO