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Chicago Property Management Blog

Renting with Confidence: 21 Questions about Rental Licenses Answered!

  1. What is a Rental License Program?
    A rental license is a government program that provides landlords with consistent enforcement of codes of properties in various Chicagoland suburbs. To learn if your property has a rental license program check our list “here”. You can also google “Yourtown rental license” or visit the municipal website.

  2. Does every Chicago suburb have a rental license program?


  3. How long will it take me to get a Rental License?
    The requirements and procedures set forth by each city may differ, thereby influencing the timeframe involved. In certain cities, successfully passing a single inspection may be sufficient, however if the inspection reveals issues in the property there will be multiple inspections, consequently prolonging the overall duration. As a result, the timeframe for completing the rental license inspection process can range from approximately 14 to 45 days. However, it is important to note that these timelines are subject to variation, as each city operates under its own unique regulations and guidelines.

  4. How can I know if my rental property requires a Rental License?
    To learn if your property has a rental license program check our list “here”. You can also google “Yourtown rental license” or visit the municipal website.

  5. Is there a fee for a Rental License?
    Each city has different fees when it comes to registering for a rental license and it can range from $25.00 to $300.00.  Rental licenses are renewed annually or biannually depending on the rental license inspection results. 

  6. What cities require a Rental License?
    There are around 105 cities in Illinois that require a Rental License .To learn if your property has a rental license program check our list “here”. You can also google “Yourtown rental license” or go to the municipal website.

  7. What is the process to obtain the Rental License?
    The most common process is to complete a Rental License Application Form (typically found on that city's website), sign a Crime Free Lease Addendum, pay the fee and pass a rental license inspection.

  8. What will happen at the Rental License Inspection?
    If that rental license requirement includes an inspection the city will walk the inside and the outside of the property looking for housing code violations or life-safety issues. Some cities will only require inspections for single family homes with no requirement for condos and townhomes while other cities inspect all rental properties regardless of the type of housing provided.  (What you must know about renting your property in Schaumburg)

  9. What are the most common fail items in a Rental License Inspection?
    The most common fail items in rental license inspection are unattractive landscaping, smoke and CO2 detectors not meeting code, peeling interior paint, and missing GFCI outlets. A more detailed example is if the bushes aren’t trimmed or they’re higher than the city approves. 

  10. What if a tenant declines entry to the city Inspector?
    Any fines/notices issued by the city will be the tenant’s responsibility and there could be a 10-day notice to vacate the property issued. It is up to the owner or the owner’s manager to find a resolution to this scenario.

  11. As an owner what would happen if I don’t comply with a Rental License?
    The owner could be fined if the property is tenant occupied or not allowed to have a tenant move in if the property is vacant.  The city may issue a summons to appear and will require immediate action for the property to be compliant. 

  12. As a tenant can I cancel or reschedule the Rental License Inspection directly with the city?
    No, if there is a problem with the inspection date and time and someone over the age of 18 years old won’t be able to be present please feel free to contact GC Realty and request to have the inspection rescheduled at least 72 hrs prior to the inspection date and time. If the owner or property manager has a key to enter the unit, the tenant is not required to be present.

  13.  Is a rental license inspection required prior to a new tenant moving in?
    Some cities do require a rental license inspection prior to moving in a new tenant. They confirm that the property has no maintenance violations and no life-safety issues prior to issuing a license or certificate of occupancy. (What do I need to know about the Hanover Park Rental License)

  14. What is the Crime Free Housing Program?

    The Crime Free Housing Program is a unique, three-phase certification program for rental properties of all sizes, including single family rental homes.  The program is successful because it approaches crime on many fronts. The police cannot solve crime problems alone. Neither can management or residents of rental properties. By working together, the end result has been the most successful approach to crimes in rental communities. 

  15. What is a Crime Free Lease Addendum?

    It's a legally binding agreement between the tenant and landlord which makes criminal and drug activity a lease violation in addition to a police matter. A lease can be terminated based on the prohibited activities.

  16. What is the Difference between a Crime Free Certification and the Rental License?
    The Crime Free Certification is part of the Rental License process. It typically does not cost any additional money and not all cities participate in the crime free program.

  17. As an owner am I required to take the crime free certification?
    If your property is managed by GC Realty & Development, LLC then it isn’t required as we will take the seminars required to be compliant.

  18. What is required to take the crime free certification?

    In order to take the crime free certification, you will need to contact the city and register for the program. The program can take 3-8 hours (depending on the city) and it’s typically taught by a Crime Free Officer. The officer will provide you with  a questionnaire and if you pass, they will provide you with the certificate.

  19. What if a tenant declines to sign the Crime Free Lease Addendum required by the city?
    If a tenant declines to sign this mandatory form, they will be violating their lease and the owner or owner’s Property Manager will need to issue a 10-day written notice to vacate the property. The Property Manager would prepare and deliver the 10-day notice to the resident.

  20. What is a 10 Day Notice?
    A 10-day notice is a letter used when a tenant defaults on any of the terms of their lease agreement.

  21. Can a tenant be evicted by not being compliant with the Rental License process and Crime Free Ordinance?
    Yes, tenants can be evicted by violating their lease and not being compliant with the mandatory rental license and crime free ordinance process required by the city. 
    If the tenant violates the ordinance, GC Realty may issue the 10-day notice and proceed with the eviction process.