By Gianna Baker, Michelle Gilbert, Michael Rabbitt and Sheila Sutton

The proposed Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO), which will go to a vote by the Cook County Board of Commissioners this week, is far from revolutionary. It creates basic floors for landlord conduct that have existed for more than 30 years in Chicago, Evanston, and Mount Prospect.

Landlords who foster good working relationships with their tenants are already doing what the ordinance requires: offering fair lease terms, making repairs, respecting tenants’ dignity and privacy, and ensuring safe, healthy living conditions in their units and buildings. For these landlords, the RTLO won’t make a big difference. By clarifying roles and responsibilities and establishing more uniform standards throughout Chicagoland, it will in fact make life simpler.

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