Illinois Landlord-Tenant Laws

Written by on November 12, 2012

Flag of IllinoisThis article summarizes some key Illinois Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

This research and information is current as of November 11, 2012.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Limit (765 ILCS 710/1)
  • Security Deposit Interest: Landlords who own 25 or more units must pay interest on deposits held for 6 months or longer.  Interest rate must match the rate paid by savings accounts held at the largest commercial bank in the state as of Dec. 31 prior to the start of tenancy.  This must be credited or paid-out to Tenant every 12 months. (765 ILCS 715/1&2)
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Between 30 and 45 days (765 ILCS 710/1)
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (765 ILCS 710/1)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Late Fees: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes (765 ILCS 735)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, but it must not exceed one-half of the rent or $500. (765 ILCS 742)
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (735 ILCS 5/9-213.1)

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: 60 days (735 ILCS 5/9-205)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: 30 days (735 ILCS 5/9-207)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: 7 days (735 ILCS 5/9-207)
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 5 days to pay or move-out. (735 ILCS 5/9-209)
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 10 days (735 ILCS 5/9-210)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlord must change the locks or keys every time the house is vacated or between tenants.
  • Landlord must provide a formula for dividing up utilities when utilities are split among multiple tenants. (765 ILCS 740)
  • For units on the 2nd floor or lower, Landlord must disclose any existence of Radon.
  • Tenant may terminate a lease early in special circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. (765 ILCS 750)
  • Landlords must change the locks if requested by a domestic violence victim. (765 ILCS 750)
  • Landlords can require tenants to provide proof of domestic violence status from tenants. (765 ILCS 750)
  • Landlords must not disclose the status of the domestic violence victim to anyone. (765 ILCS 750)
  • If property is abandoned, Landlord may harvest and seize crops to reclaim unpaid rent. (735 ILCS 5/9-318)
  • Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority (765 ILCS 720)

Court Related:

  • Small Claims Court Limits: $10,000
  • Eviction Cases Allowed: Yes

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.
Topics:
  Laws & Regulations
Automate
Your Rental
Properties

99 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Lindsey

    Hello,
    My in-laws have been renting a home for several years now and just got new tenants who have been nothing, but trouble. They first broke the lease because the couple broke up and the husband moved out and a new boyfriend moved in. My in-laws were nice enough to amend the lease to include the new tenant and remove the old one. Since the changes they have been late with rent several times and now have missed rent completely for 2 months. They have tried to talk to the renters and set up some sort of payment plan, but the renters are refusing to pay. My in-laws decided that they tried to be nice, but enough was enough and told them they were going to terminate the lease and they needed to move out. The renters refused to move out. They have a lawyer and are planning on taking them to court. Are there any other options besides a long drawn out court process?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Lindsey,

      Eviction court is the appropriate place for them. Eviction court is specifically designed to remove tenants that won’t pay or leave. Wait times vary from county to county but often times are only 2-8 weeks.

      I suggest filing for eviction as soon as they can. In Illinois, a landlord needs to give a 5-day written notice to pay up or the lease will terminate. After the 5th day, they can file for eviction with the courts (735 ILCS 5/9-209).

      A lawyer is helpful, but not necessary to file the court case.

      Tell your in-laws not to waste any more time on these deadbeat tenants.

      Keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice. I’m just and experienced landlord.

      • Nara

        Hello,
        My situation is that my friend allowed to stay at their place (which is either a condo or a rental property under their name) for free for the purpose of getting back on my feet. I do have proof of this arrangement through texts but nothing official. I have been here for over 30 days. I have paid over $400 in utility expensives (which is under their name , but I paid w my credit card) I have not received any sort of mail here outside of packaging.
        Now they want me to move out and have given me five days. They refuse to give me a reason but have told me they will take me and my things out of here and put us on the street. Can they do this? What are my rights and how can I buy some time?

        • Lucas Hall

          Hi Nara,

          As a guest, you don’t have as many rights a tenant. Since you also never paid any rent, it’s hard to say that you had a right to occupy the unit.

          Tenant or not, no one should be “putting your stuff on the street”, which could be considered destruction of property.

          It sounds like you’ve overstayed your welcome, and you should find another place to stay immediately. If you want to know your legal rights, you would need to talk to a local attorney. I’m not a lawyer nor can I give legal advice.

  • shay

    Hi i moved into an apt in Dekalb IL on Aug 25 from the 1st day til now I have been having issues with the apt and building manager. Upon arrival we found a broken window mind you this is a basement level apt that leads to the parking lot and we are two females with a child in the apt. They “claimed” to have fixed it they didnt. Then we discovered pest issues such as roaches, spiders, bugs again the pest control man came and sprayed under the sink thats it. It actually made it worse again we complained nothing happened. The tenants above us keeps up noise all day we complained the manager told us they were african and didnt speak english basically saying suck it up so we’re dealing with that. We asked the owner(whom we can never get in contact with)to break the lease they refused then lied saying we are rude and didnt have an issue til rent was due but as stated we’ve had issues since day 1. on top of that they personally came and got our rent check after they threatened to sue us if we didnt pay but dont collect other tenants rent…Is there anyway we can get out of this lease ANY advice will help thanks!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Shay,

      I’m so sorry for the situation that you are in. Landlords like that give good landlords a bad name.

      In the end, a landlord is only required to fix issues of habitability. Pests and broken windows definitely can cause inhabitability of a unit. Because the landlord seems like a jerk, you’re probably not going to get any help from him. To report issues of inhabitability, you need to contact the local housing and code enforcement office in your city/county.

      Further, because you are dealing with landlords/managers who seem to be bullies, I suggest contacting a local attorney, who can help you write the legal letters to whip them into shape. If you have a lawyer on your side, they will likely take you more seriously.

      If you qualify for free legal aid, you can find help here: http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com/articles/legal-information/hiring-a-lawyer/legal-aid-free-legal-help-illinois

      Good luck! Keep in mind, you really need legal advice, which I can’t give you since I’m not a lawyer. This is just my opinion based on non-legal life experience.

  • Veda Smith

    I was renting a townhouse and I moved out at the end of August. I’ve contacted my ex landlord on numerous occasions to do a final walk through, but she refuses and comes up with a lot of excuses not to. She has a husband and a handyman that can do the walk through with me if she’s not available to do so. Last time I spoke with her on Sept. 9, 2014 she stated that it wasn’t important to her to do a walk through right now that was the least of her concern. What can I do because I feel that I am entitled to my entire deposit because the unit was left in very good conditions and I have video and pictures to prove it.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Veda,

      To my knowledge, Illinois doesn’t require the landlord to notify the tenant of the move-out inspection date/time. The inspection can be done at anytime after you move out.

      You did the right thing by cleaning well, and documenting the condition with videos and photos. That way, if the landlord tries to charge you for something that you didn’t damage, you’ll have proof.

      Now that you’ve moved out, your only option is to wait the 30 to 45 days (765 ILCS 710/1) that the landlord has to return your full or partial deposit. Read the statute for more details: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2202&ChapterID=62

      If the landlord charges you for something inappropriately, and refuses to compromise, your only option is to take the landlord to small claims court.

  • Meghan

    My husband and I moved into a privately owned apartment complex in Will County, Illinois this past March 29th. Since living here we’ve had a few routine issues with our apartment, IE: air conditioning unit broke, small gas leak witch Nicor was called 2 times. The owner of the property apparently complained to the manager about our car being “insightly.” My car was called a “piece of junk” by management. Our lease terms state specific rules about the condition of vehicles allowed to park here and my car was within the lease terms. Upon moving in I did have a face to face discussion with the property manager at which time we agreed that my car was in good enough condition to park on this private property. We’ve been parking our car across from the management office because the parking spaces here are very close together and me being handicapped it’s sometimes difficult to navigate in small spaces. We were told to fix our car even though I had a previous agreement. The owner of the property called me a liar, rule breaker, etc…. I’ve since noticed ALOT of cars with damage done to them that violate the lease terms and I’ve taken pictutes. Was the landlord in his legal right to force me to fix my car, can he name call me? I asked the manager if they were going to allow us to renew our lease and I was told they don’t know yet. Can a landlord refuse lease renewal because they don’t like me? I’ve never been late on rent, place is very clean, we’re quiet people and our neighbors don’t complain about us. Police have never been called to my home. I’m scared that I might be forced to move. Thanks for your help!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Meghan,

      The landlord can only to force you to do things that are in your lease or are required by law. They probably just don’t like your car because it sits outside the leasing office, and gives a bad first impression to potential tenants.

      Most leases state that a car must be in working order, but they usually don’t say anything about condition.

      If there’s nothing in your lease about it, then they can’t force you to do anything more than keep it operational. However, they also don’t have to offer you a renewal lease. A landlord can choose to not renew a lease for any reason at all.

      I hope that clarifies things for you. Keep in mind, this is not legal advice. I’m not a lawyer, but rather just a landlord trying to help.

  • Ally

    I rented a house with 3 other girls in Normal, Illinois. The lower level had a sitting area, bathroom, and two bedrooms. This area was occupied by myself and one other girl. the other two girls lived in the upstairs area with a living room, kitchen, bath and two bedrooms. I had permission to have my dog in the house with me. He was always kept downstairs and was not allowed in the upstairs level. Now, after moving out, my landlord is trying to charge me $600 to fix scratches on the floor upstairs which they say were caused by my dog. There was no move out inspection because the new tenants were moving in at the same time I was moving out. Is there anything I can do to fight this?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ally,

      Typically, the landlord would charge the damage to the lease, not a specific person. If you signed a single lease with the other roommates, then you all are held responsible for the damage. It’s up to you and the other roommates to figure out who is going to cough up the money. The landlord will likely just withhold it from the deposit.

      If you each had separate leases, and the landlord is trying to charge you for the damage that you clearly didn’t cause, then you should tell him “I never let the dog upstairs, go pursue one of the other roommates for the damage”. If he refuses, then your only option to get your money back is to go to small claims court.

      Keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer, so please don’t take this as legal advice.

  • Heat

    Hello!
    My landlord has not turned the heat on in my building yet. He said that he has but the boiler takes time to heat up. I live in Dupage county but can only find heat ordinances for Chicago. It looks like, if we follow the same laws as Chicago the heat should have been turned on in Sept. Is that correct?
    Thanks!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi there

      I wish I could help but this type of law is defined at the county/city level. Check with your local housing authority or code enforcement office.

      FYI, sometimes boilers do take a few days to crank up.

  • Chad Hutchison

    i served a tenant a 5 day notice to vacate for non payment. They said they were advised to not pay rent because i was in violation of the lease. although I have catered to them in all instances. Anyway, a neighbor has informed me that she saw them moving boxes out… at the end of the five days if i believe they have left the house can i change the locks

  • Meghan

    My landlord controls my heat as far as shutting it on or off and I have control of the temperature. I’ve been told that I cannot open my windows during “heating season.” Is it legal for a landlord to deny a tenant of fresh air/ventilation?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Meghan,

      I can’t comment on the legality of it since I’m not a lawyer. In my experience as a landlord, this type of request is a common provision in leases – especially if the landlord pays for the utilities.

      WIth that said, I think that if your unit gets super hot, then it would be unreasonable to prevent you from opening a window to cool things down.

      I hope that helps.

  • anna

    Just found out my tenants that have been living in my apartment for 9 months have not put the utilities under their name. Since I bought the apartment right before they moved in I didn’t add the utilities under their name and past ownervous closed the accounts . I am wondering why comed and people’s gas haven’t turned of the electricity and gas. AM I responsible for past bills?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Anna,

      If the bills are still in your name, then yes, you are responsible to pay the utilities companies.

      With that said, you can withhold the debt from their security deposits. They were the consumers of the utilities, and they should have to pay for it. In the mean time, you might have to shell out the cash so that they don’t put a lien on your property.

  • Rob

    Back in August my little family and I fell on hard times and my mother allowed us to move into a room in her house. She told us that all she ask is we pay her $400 a month for “rent” to help pay mortgage and any increases in utilities. We also put food into the house on a regular basis. My mothers husband (my stepfather) is unhappy that my mother allowed this to happen. He constantly threatening to kick us out. When we leave for work he goes in our room as he pleases and when I commented on this because I found out he had been in there the reply I got was it is his house he can do what he pleases. Is this true? Also recently the locks on the house have changed and I have been told I will not be receiving a new key. So if me and my family go to dinner and return and no one is home we must remain outside until they return to the house. Is that allowed?

  • Lisa

    I live in a 3 flat in Chicago. During the winter we need to have the sidewalk, pathways and behind the garages cleared of snow. Our landlord says it is not his responsibility. He does provide one shovel and some salt. The tenants are required to clear the snow.

    This year I am physically unable to do this. One floor won’t do it at all.

    My question is: What are the landlords responsibility as far as clearing snow?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Lisa,

      It would depend on the local laws in Chicago. Further, it probably depends on if the pathways are on the property, how many units are in the building, and what your lease says.

      In my city (not Chicago), by law, the “occupants” are responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of the property. However, I suppose the landlord would get fined if the tenant’s didn’t complete this task.

  • Damien Ohlendorf

    Hi, my landlord is trying to get me to close the window in the winter, but we have it open for fresh air for my grandmas asthma. He wants me to pay the extra money for the gas their using for my unit. However, the unit is no utilities included and I’m already paying for gas every month. Is gas different from the radiated heat than from the gas I’m paying?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Damien,

      Each property is different. If you live in a multi-unit property, there is probably a centralized boiler that heats the radiators. This central boiler is probably run by gas.

      Though you probably pay a gas bill, it’s probably only for your water heater and stove.

      Again, I have no idea how your building is set up, but it’s definitely possible that he is paying for heat, which you are literally throwing out the window.

      Generally speaking, a tenant is allowed to use the property in a normal manor. Having the windows open in the winter is not considered normal (in my opinion). He can’t really stop you from doing it, but he can certainly demand you compensate him for your living behavior.

      For argument’s sake, lets pretend that you paid for the gas to heat the unit. If you had the window open, you would have to pay for the bill increase due to the open window. It shouldn’t be any different just because he’s managing the bill.

      Anyway, that’s just my two cents, which is NOT legal advice. I’m not lawyer.

  • David

    Hi Lucas,

    We just moved out of a home we were renting, and our landlord took part of our security and spent it on repairs for the yard and house, without letting us know and then sent back the remainder to us.

    I see the “security deposit” law in IL pertains to people who have “5 units or more”…What about renting a house from a private owner? Are there any laws that protect the leasee when it comes to security deposit? We should have seen it in writing first?

    Thanks, David

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi David,

      You are correct, the 765 ILCS 710/ Security Deposit Return Act does say “A lessor of residential real property, containing 5 or more units, who has received a security deposit…”, so it’s not directly applying to landlords with SFHs. Though I didn’t see any statutes that regulate the deposit procedures for SFHs, it would be wise for the landlord to follow the guidelines for 5+ units. In the end, I think it would probably come down to what a Judge thinks is reasonable.

  • Alana

    We have a townhouse that we rent. The vents are blowing cool air even though we have the thermostat set at 75. (We really like it at 65 but it was freezing). They said they cannot have anyone come and look at it until Tuesday. Isn’t there any laws that say they cannot make us live in such a cold home? They should have to supply us with an alternative place to live like a hotel? Or since rent is due today should we avoid paying until it is fix? I don’t know where you are but it is 25 degrees outside here.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Alana,

      Though I can’t quote the statute, there is always the implied warranty of habitability. It’s possible that they just haven’t switched the unit over from AC to Heat. Some units do it automatically, some don’t. Or perhaps its just broken.

      Seeing how today is Tuesday, did they show up?

      I don’t ever suggest withholding rent when they are in the midst of trying to schedule a repair person. Have you considered space heaters as a temporary solution unit the furnace is fixed? I know it’s no idea, but you landlord might buy a few for you. Otherwise, you could ask to be put into a hotel, which seems reasonable.

      Let me know how it goes.

  • Katie

    I moved into my appartment in july two weeks ago I didn’t take my garbage out cause it wasn’t even half full so I waited a week and then took it out. My landlord left me a message saying another tenant complained and another neighbor said she doesn’t like my fiance so the landlord wants me to move out I asked her to call me in regards to her message I have a child in school and the holidays are coming that we were not in violation of our lease. She never called me I just asked her if we could meet to pay the rent and she said she wants me out by the end of the month still I told her I wanted to talk about what she wanted us out for and again she is just ignoring me. I have not been given a notice or anything can she refuse my rent payment or evict me with out cause??

  • Whitney

    Hi there. My fiance and I have been renting a house for 2 months now. When we moved in, the heat wasn’t working. The landlord had someone come and fix it. The problem now is that the heat isn’t working properly and it is extremely cold in our house. The upstairs is freezing and that is where my daughters and we sleep. I usually keep the thermostat at 70 degrees. I had to buy a space heater for my 1 year old’s room. I will have to buy one for all 3 bedrooms if nothing gets done. I have told my landlord 3 times and she has told me she will have someone come. Nobody has come to fix it. It’s getting colder outside and colder inside my house as well. What can I do?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Whitney,

      Heat is an essential element of habitability. However, sometimes repairs are necessary. If the landlord doesn’t try to address it within a day or two, then you should talk to a lawyer about the best way to break the lease (if you want to leave).

      Alternatively, you could schedule the repair yourself, as allowed by 765 ILCS 742, but it must not exceed one-half of the rent or $500. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2605&ChapterID=62

      I hope that helps. Keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer nor should you consider this as legal advice.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Landlordology is a moderated community.
If you want your photo to appear next to your comment, create a Gravatar.

Get Updates by Email

Join Thousands of Landlords