This question posed to your guides seemed oddly well timed considering the topics of our recent posts. A writer asks:
Am I obligated to allow my landlord to show my unit while my lease is still valid?
My lease ends on July 1st, 2008 and rent has been paid on time. I do not intend to renew the lease in July, and my landlord wants to give a key to his friend to show the home to potential renters. I don’t feel comfortable having a strangers with a key to my unit. Am I obligated to allow the landlord to do this?
The short answer: Yes.
In Chicago, a landlord is allowed to enter your apartment for lawful purposes after giving appropriate notice. It has become accepted practice that 48 hours is the appropriate amount of notice for non emergency entry into your apartment. The law only states that a "reasonable" amount of notice should be given, but judges seem to have settled on 48 hours as the "reasonable" guideline.
Your landlord can also specify someone who can act on his behalf – such as a leasing agency or real estate agent – to conduct the showings. Most of the time, the Leasing Agency or Real Estate Agent is a person holding a real estate license, so you would not have to worry that some random stranger has a key to your apartment.
If you deny access to the apartment for showings, your landlord has several recourses. He can begin eviction proceedings against you. He can also give you an unfavorable landlord reference to your next landlord. If your lease outlined any fines or penalties for denying a showing request, these fines or fees could be deducted from your security deposit.