Why does the City require rental licenses?
The City’s rental licensing program ensures that all who live in West Chicago—whether they are renters or owners—reside in safe and sanitary conditions as required by the City’s Code. The Code has minimum standards for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, safety from fire and other hazards and sanitary maintenance. Landlords further benefit from the licensing requirement to obtain an annual rental inspection because their rental property investment is better protected over the long term.
How do I obtain a rental license?
Please submit a NEW Rental License Application completed , provide a copy of the deed and pay the license fee by cash, check or credit/debit card. You will also need to obtain an approved inspection of your property by the City before having your tenants move in. Please call our office to schedule an inspection appointment. Once all items have been provided for, your rental license will be mailed to you. Also be advised that the annual RENEWAL Rental Property License Application is due by December 31st. Expect to receive your license renewal mailing from the City in late fall of each year.
How do I schedule my annual rental inspection?
Please call our office to schedule. Inspections are scheduled on the hour Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (except 12:00 pm). At the time of your inspection, you must provide proof that your tenant(s) was notified at least 7 days in advance. You must also provide a copy of the signed lease in which permission is granted to the City and landlord to enter the unit(s) for means of inspecting on an annual basis.
How do I prepare for the inspection of my rental property?
An Inspection Report is followed to check for minimum life safety requirements and general property maintenance both inside and out. The inspection will last approximately 30 minutes. If the inspector identifies any code violations and/or property maintenance problems needing correction, you are granted 30 (thirty) days to make corrections and obtain an approved inspection. Failure to make repairs and obtain an approved inspection within the 30 day time period may result in additional fees, citations and possible fines.
How do I renew my rental license if my tenants have not paid their water or garbage bill?
Per Article XV, Sec. 9-305 and Sec. 9-316 of the City Code of Ordinances, no license shall be renewed until all money owed the City has been paid. If you are having trouble getting your tenant(s) to pay their water or garbage bill on a timely basis, it is best to pay the amounts or fines owed directly by the renewal deadline and then ask your tenant(s) to reimburse you. Requiring a security deposit or stipulating payment of utilities in the lease agreement may also help to recoup costs.
I have my rental property up for sale and it is vacant. How do I remove my property from the City’s list of rental properties?
Per Article XV, Sec. 9-302 of the City Code, please keep in mind that “once an owner has obtained a rental license for a dwelling unit, that unit will be deemed a rental property and an annual license will be required until such time as the owner of the property provides proof, to the satisfaction of the city, that he is legally residing in the dwelling unit, maintaining said unit at the domicile and physically inhabiting said unit, or that the property has been sold, or ownership has otherwise relinquished.” As such, you are required to submit your license renewal application and pay the fee by the end of the calendar year. If the sale is completed before, however, no license would be required.
As a new landlord, what else should I know prior to obtaining a license?
Future problems might be avoided through careful screening of tenants (including, but not limited to credit reports and background checks) and requiring a signed lease and payment of a security deposit. However, it also important for you to understand that as the owner, the property upkeep is ultimately your responsibility. If a citation results for such violations as parking on the grass, or for failure to maintain grass and weeds below 8 (eight) inches in height, you as the landlord may be required to pay the outstanding fines/fees for your rental license to be renewed.
To file a complaint, call (630) 293-2200 extension 131 or 141 or email CommunityDev@westchicago.org.