If you rent in Chicago and your heat isn’t working, the law is on your side. Your landlord is definitely required to fix the problem, and they have to do it quickly—if it’s not fixed within three days, you have the right to move out.
Are there exact temperature requirements in Chicago?
Every landlord in Illinois is required to provide heat, but Chicago has even more specific rules. During the colder half of the year, which the city defines as September 15th through June 1st, rental units must be heated to the specific temperatures outlined in the city’s building code. During the day (more specifically, between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.) it has to be at least 68°F inside your apartment. At night (between 10:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.), it must be at least 66°F inside.
What should I do if the heat is broken in my apartment?
If your heat falls below the required temperature—or goes off altogether—you should start by reporting the situation to your landlord. You can call them first, but be sure to follow up with a text, email, or letter so you have something in writing. Make sure you’re documenting the conditions in your apartment. Take temperature readings and note the time and date, if possible.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you should call 311 and file an official complaint. If you’d rather not talk to someone on the phone, you can also report it via 311 online, where there is a specific “No Heat” complaint page. Anyone in Chicago can file a complaint, regardless of their immigration status, and you have the option of reporting anonymously.
How long does my landlord have to fix the heat?
In Chicago, your landlord is required to fix your heat within 72 hours of receiving written notice. City law even takes it a step further—if the heat isn’t fixed in that time period, you have the right to terminate your lease completely and move out in the next 30 days.1 (Fun fact: Chicago ordinances are typically more tenant-friendly than Illinois state law.)
What if my landlord refuses to repair the heat?
If you filed a complaint with 311 and your landlord still refuses to fix the heat, continue to document it. Chicago law allows the city to fine landlords up to $500 per day, per violation, for each day the heat goes unfixed.
If you’re completely fed up, you can use local law in your favor. Make sure you’ve delivered written notice to your landlord stating that the lease agreement will be terminated if the issue goes unfixed, and move out if the heat isn’t back on after 72 hours.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.