Renters who have rented long enough will run into a conundrum. Do they pay for a repair or wait for the landlord to step in? Below is a look at how tenant rights in Chicago can alter an argument between a landlord and a tenant on the responsibility of cost and repair.

An Informal Agreement

Some tenants and landlords have an agreement between costs and expenses involving the property. A common agreement is that a tenant picks up the payment for repairs. The landlord will either take it out of the month’s rent or apply it upon moving out.

The latter situation is not ideal because it puts tenants in a situation where they need to chase the compensation back for the repairs. Though tenants have the right to withhold rent, this may not pan out while trying to move out.

An informal agreement of this kind is not wise because it leaves too much open for misunderstanding. Tenants may never receive compensation if they do not take initiative on it upfront.

Taking Initiative

Tenants should have some authentication that they followed the proper steps in receiving landlord help. This will include three basic stages. The first is a verbal request for assistance. This is, admittedly, hard to substantiate. It can be followed by a text or email. This, fortunately, leads directly to the second stage. After about one week of no action, a tenant can supply a written documentation requesting help. This can come in the form of an email. Try following up the email again in case a landlord states that it was never received.

There is about a three-week window here where a written request can be turned into formal action. At this point, a tenant is legally allowed to do the work on their own. Tenants can hire someone to do the work and deduct it from the rent for the following month.

This is perfectly allowed. Tenants can withhold rent and have a legal leg to stand on. Tenants in the middle of this situation can contact Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells. The team of Starr and Bejgiert, among others, seeks to help tenants survive against tumultuous tenant scenarios. Follow us on Twitter.