Sunday, November 25, 2012

What to know about Vacation Rentals in Chicago

There are a lot of websites now that let individual condo owners rent out their units like hotel rooms, by the night.  In fact, even tenants who are already renting a condo or apartment have been found online trying to rent out their units to someone else at a profit.  Where do they stay in the mean-time?  Maybe with parents.

If you are coming to Chicago and want to opt for a "vacation rental" instead of a traditional hotel, keep the following in mind:

(1)  Your occupancy will not be protected by the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance unless your total stay is for 32 or more consecutive nights.

(2)  Because your stay will not be protected by that local ordinance, the "RLTO", you will have very little recourse against the landlord for their failure to live up to their end of the agreement.  Sure you can sue them for breach of a contract, but that means you pay your own lawyer fees and the most the landlord can probably lose is whatever you already paid them.

(3)  Also because you will not be protected by the RLTO, you are at risk of losing your "reservation deposit" or whatever else the up-front money you paid was called.  Some of the services that connect vacation renters with vacation landlords do offer a kind of guarantee that protects your deposit up to a certain amount, like $1,000.

(4)  As mentioned above, we are aware that some of the people posing as a vacation landlord on the internet are not actually the owners of the proposed vacation rental unit.  They may not be allowed to be renting it out to you.  They might not even be renting the unit, but somehow are able to get you into it and take your money!  You cannot protect yourself completely but some resources that a prospective renter can rely on include the Cook County Assessor website, which can be used to find the property identification number (PIN) for the unit or building they might rent.  The PIN can be plugged into a search on the Cook County Recorder of Deeds website, which can let you know the title holder of record (owner). 

(5)  Finally, remember, your vacation condo landlord might not have paid their mortgage, or condominium assessments, and that may result in an unwelcome surprise during your stay.  The good news is that nothing moves particularly fast in the court system, and we are not suggesting that the sheriff will interrupt your vacation to remove you from the premises.  But, while the RLTO requires that any landlord disclose a pending foreclosure to a prospective tenant before an agreement is entered into, your putative vacation landlord doesn't have to.  The virtual absence of this risk is probably why vacation rentals are cheaper than staying at a real hotel.


Chelsea Richards said...

Yup!!! Good points taken!!! I love your useful article… Thanks for sharing!

Sarrah said...

Such a nice and useful post. It will be very helpful for us. It is true that some of the people posing as a vacation landlord on the internet are not actually the owners of the proposed vacation rental unit. They all are fake. We should try to aware from them and their fraud. Before any dealing related to the vacation rentals we should verify their ownership.


Sarrah @ Chicago Vacation Rentals