Yelping about heating cost disclosure

All of YoChicago’s rental Guides link to Yelp reviews of buildings and landlords where they’re available, but those reviews aren’t the only useful info that renters can find at Yelp.

Yelp Talk has an informative thread on Disclosure of Heating Costs to Tenants ordinance ordinance, Ch. 5-16 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.

If you’re looking to rent an apartment for May 1st the last thing you’re probably thinking about is next winter’s heating costs, but they should be top of mind if you’ll be paying the heating costs at your next place. Many a tenant has been surprised by a $400, $500, $600 or higher monthly heating bill.

The Chicago ordinance requires that the landlord and any agent of the landlord provide tenants, in writing, disclosure of the estimated heating costs before accepting any money in an application for a lease on an apartment that’s tenant-heated. The lease itself must contain the heating cost disclosure.

The discussion at Yelp makes it clear that tenants often don’t receive the required disclosure, which landlords and agents can easily obtain in writing, at no cost, from Peoples Gas or Commonwealth Edison.

If you’re going to be paying the heating bills on your next apartment, don’t hand over any money – any money – to the landlord or his agent until you receive the required written disclosure.

Rental services / locators (a/k/a bedbugs) are, in almost every case, a) legally the landlord’s agent and b) subject to the heating cost disclosure requirement. Both a) and b) will come as a complete surprise to many rental agents. And that’s disturbing.

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