Tenant resources

For eviction resources, see "Eviction Help".

Chicago and IL legal resources

Laws related to tenants

Illinois Housing Law Outline

Chicago Residential Landlord Tenants Ordinance (RLTO)
The RLTO applies to many tenants in Chicago whose landlord has seven or more units. Read section 5-12-020 to see if you are excluded from these laws.

Legal aid

Please talk with an attorney before acting on any advice that you find or are given in order to make the most accurate and appropriate decision. Tenants United cannot provide legal advice.

Lawyers Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) may be able to represent you for free or give you free legal advice. Use the Rentervention tool to request legal aid.

Westside Justice Center offers a community-based legal services clinic where you can call to receive a free legal consultation, have your case assessed for representation by a Before the Law attorney, get referrals to other free legal aid programs, and receive step-by-step pro se litigant assistance. To connect with Before the Law, call 773-940-2213 Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. You can also email info@westsidejustice.org to schedule a free attorney consultation.

Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO). Step-by-step instructions, court forms, checklists and plain language legal info to fight an eviction order, renew housing voucher, get a security deposit back, deal with foreclosure and break a lease.

Chicago Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) Volunteer Hotline MTO's volunteer hotline can help you navigate tenant laws.

Organizing guides

(Note: these resources contain a mix of general organizing information and guidance for tenants in particular cities, regions, and states. For information about IL and Chicago laws, see "Legal resources".)

Tenant organizing hub public resources folder

Autonomous Tenants Union organizing guides and resources

Kansas City Tenants United organizing guide

Philadelphia Tenants Union's COVID-19 organizing guide

Tenant organizing history and case studies

Inside the St. Louis Strike of 1969

This Is Parkdale. Video of the successful tenants strike in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto, Canada.

Crestwood Tenants United case study . A Kansas City tenants union takes on a succession of slumlords and wins.

Political Economy of Housing

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Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State. How have landlords and politicians helped raise rents and push the poor to ever more marginalized neighborhoods? What's the connection between all this and Trump, the first real-estate developer to become President? Samuel Stein's book answers questions like these in a clear, engaging style. Focused on New York rather than Chicago, his book is relevant for understanding cities across the country.

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The Housing Monster. A unique illustrated essay that takes one seemingly simple, everyday thing—a house—and looks at the social relations that surround it. Starting with construction and moving through housing policy, finance, and the politics of renting, the Housing Monster describes complicated processes with clarity—and beautiful pictures.