Illinois Rental Laws

Last updated on August 24, 2016 by

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.

Official Rules and Regulations


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.
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353 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Lucas, thank you for your time. I am renting an apartment in my grandmothers building where my uncle currently manages as he is her POA. Back in September of 2015 I text him and told him the kitchen sink has a leak from below. My mother acts as liaison and informed him as well. It went ignored. (that is just his way) After making it clear that since we are family we should not have a problem in helping to fix things. So We replaced the faucet. Then in October, the leak turned into a waterfall and caused damage to both mine and downstairs apartments. 5 months have passed and I am still without a kitchen as he has not completed the repairs. I have been paying rent for an apartment with no kitchen. What can I do? I can’t afford to move.

    • lee

      apparently lucas only answers things rarely so why keep posting? call the city housing, call the police, call a tenant’s rights lawyer, call social services for your city/county/town…all free. Why waste time here?

  • Melvin

    I’ve lived in my apartment for ten years and four months. About three years into my time here the original landlord died and his brother and wife took over. The new landlord was also sued by his widowed sister-in-law for withholding the inheritance due to her and the children, he was executor of the will.
    The new landlords wife is somewhat of a control freak. Tenants are not allowed to have anything outside of their apartment, not even a small can on the stoop for cigarette butts, she claims due to insurance purposes. But, there has been a very severe vermin problem with sparrows nesting in the rafters above the sidewalk, puddles and rivers of sparrow poop all over the sidewall. I’m thinking health hazard besides being extremely repulsive.

  • Victoria

    Hi I live in Illinois and just realized that my key unlocks all of the apartments in my apartment building. Is this illegal that my landlord gave us all the same keys? Can I Sue?

  • Matt

    I used to live in a apartment that has not had any real repairs done to it in years. Half of the outlets when you plug something in the plug just falls back out. There a multiple switches that when turned on has a buzzing sound. None of the sinks have a flume in them to stop the sewer smell. Hot water only lasts about 10 min. Multiple windows broken and never fixed from before we moved in. Is there a number for a safety inspector in my area to call to get this taken care of since he’s trying to blame us for the damages???

    • lee

      apparently lucas only answers things rarely so why keep posting? call the city housing, call the police, call a tenant’s rights lawyer, call social services for your city/county/town…all free. Why waste time here?

  • DEB H

    I work at a local health department and I get phone calls from tenants complaining about living in trailers with mold ,leaking roofs ,no heat .All I can do is recommend them to contact the local code enforcer for the town they live with in, but a lot of these small towns don’t have a code enforcer. Is there any laws that prevent these landlords from renting out trailers with mold and leaking roofs.

  • Kathryn

    My family rents a home that had multiple issues before we moved in. Landlord basically put a “bandaid” over the issues and they are back. We have had leaks and I believe there is a mold issue especially in the basement. My dog has been showing signs as well as my family. Landlord is not responsive to fix issues but is quick to raise rent to cover cost or willing to end lease. We cannot move at this time as much as we would like to. Is the landlord legally responsible to fix the mold issue without retaliation towards my family?

  • Bea

    I live in an apartment in Urbana IL with my husband. Last April, the air conditioner smelled of mold so we notified the office. 11 months and two cleanings later (both times the problem arose again), we’re being told they won’t get new units in until May. It’s not a repair we can make, due to the way it’s in the wall (caulked in or something, and we’re on the second floor). I’ve been told we can withhold rent until they fix the problem. Is that true?

  • Bryan

    I regretably made a deal with the parents of an old friend of mine to repair their dilapidated old house in exchange for rent, whatever I spent went towards rent($300 a month). After three years of living there I’ve turned an unlivable house that was getting ready to fall in, into a rentable/ sellable home. The last year I came up short on spending and I’m asking him to put some of the two hundred plus hours of work I have on the house toward the rent and call it even. That way I can walk away clean and he walks away with a repaired home that he had repaired at no cost to him. If this goes to court is it legal for him to turn my receipts that I spent on the house in on his taxes for a deduction?

  • Andrew

    My family and I have lived in our apartment for almost 7 years now. We did sign a one year lease when we moved in and a 1 year renewal after the first year. After that, the building was sold and the new landlord never gave us ANY type of contract. We continued to pay the same monthly rate up till now. My wife and I have now purchased our first home and are getting ready to move. First of all, how far in advance do we need to give notice? Can we be held responsible for any damages (i.e. stained/torn carpet, holes in the walls from pictures, broken faucet, etc)? Will i get my security deposit back even though it wasn’t paid to my current landlord but to the original landlord?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Danielle

      In Illinois at least the deposit is ‘inherited’ to the new landlord and the new landlord must give it back to you – damages. Normal wear and tear should be accounted for however if you have things broken, etc. that may be taken off the deposit. If you are on a month to month lease, at least here in Illinois, the standard would be 30 days, but I would give 60 days at least. Make sure that you are not locked into another year lease and just leaving in the middle.

  • Grace Mccullough

    my last lease was for 2years. I am preapproved for a house, & looking. My lease ends in 1 month,&a week. I ve been here 3years. I asked if I could have a month to month until I close, the response was 1 month. What’s the law of rate increase he can charge for one month?

  • Matt

    Hi Lucas,

    Thank you for being so generous and responding to peoples concerns. I hope you don’t mind if I ask a questions regarding my scenario. I own a property in NC that has a tenant living in this property. Her lease is going to be up ending June 2016, she has not been paying the rent on time (it’s been a history for her, she eventually pays it as the month goes on) But may she paid 1000$ instead of the 1500$ rent and has not paid me yet and not responded to any messages till today. In the Scenario, that she doesn’t pay for the month of June + the 500$ from May what are my options ? ( I do have the fully signed lease in hand)

    Any suggestions comments are welcome, Thank you again.

    • Danielle

      Unless you use an online payment system accepting 1000 in lieu of 1500 implies that her partial payment is sufficient. If she doesn’t pay on time the next month, you can place a notice of eviction on her door and go to court to have her legally thrown out. Then, she would have to pay you everything she owes should she want to stay and you don’t have to renew her lease at the end. More than likely if she’s able to come up with funds, she will. Otherwise, maybe it would be best to just get her out, right?

  • Josh

    Lucas, I have a question about extra charges. . I’m an Illinois renter. Been in my place for just over a year and have recently verbally agreed on a mo. to mo. lease. I just received a letter in the mail from my landlord stating that he is going to charge me $100 for driving thru the back yard from the ally to get to my driveway. There was very good reason why i had done it. One was that my driveway was blocked. The other was that my girlfriends car battery was dead and i had to drive around and thru to give it a jump. He had told me a few months prior to not do it but in the situations i had i did it. The letter states that he had told me not to and i defied him. Nothing in my last lease covers this.. is this legal? What should i do?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Josh

      In this situation, I think you would be responsible for any damages to the yard. Any flat fines , other than actual damages, would need to be stated in the lease. Without it being in the lease, he has no justification for $100. Why not $50, or $500?!?! But actual damages are a different story. If the yard was damaged or needed to be reseeded, you would be responsible for that (IMO). Good luck to you please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

      • Josh

        Thank you for the quick response! Nope! No damages whatsoever. .couldn’t even tell a couple days after.. that $100 was just pulled out of thin air. . Now, him and his maintenance guy have damaged the yard by getting his truck stuck. . Leaving big ruts. With no attempt to fill and fix. I guess my point is… if he was so worried about the yard why hasn’t he fixed the damages already put there by him. . And then without warning pops a fine on me in which no damages were made. . I know he verbally stated no driving thru the yard but wouldn’t a warning letter stating he will fine me the next time be more professional? Idk, i feel this is a illegal charge. . Thanks again lucas!

  • cieara

    my landlord has not come to fixed my air conditioning and the townhome we are renting doesnt even have an option for us to by a window unit because we do not have windows we only have patio sliding doors. everytime we call about the issue he has some excuse as to why he has not got around to it! it has been 90+ degrees in my home for the past month and i have two small children one with severe asthma. is there anything i can do or attempt to report it so something can be done about this matter? we live in illinois.

    • lee

      if its included in rent he is legally obligated to fix it. call the town/city housing dept, village hall, city hall etc and complain. DO something about it. You have the internet – go to your town’s city hall and call and tell them the problem and research. call the social services . if you cn afford to buy a new one, do so and you can deduct it off your rent up to $ 500.00. make a copy of the reciept. have proof that you have called or call more and record these calls. you can buy small, free standing AC things at walgreens. you have no windows in an entire townhouse?

  • Jaime Mojica

    I have a tenant that failed to pay rent for several months. I did not take any legal action against her and she moved out. The problem is that her daughter will not move out. She lives in with her boy friend and they have a dog which I have a no dog policy. I don’t know the daughters name or her boyfriends. She was never on the lease. The mother who signed the lease said that her daughter will not live in the apartment but would come and spend the night once in a while, which is totally acceptable. I live in Illinois and not sure if I should call the police because she is trespassing? Squatting? or what ever its called. What should I do?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jaime,

      You could call the police, but my guess is that they will likely tell you that you’ll have to go to eviction court. But give it a try anyway. Maybe it will scare her into leaving.

      Because she is a relative of the tenant, it’s as if the tenant never really moved out. Plus, whether or not you meant to, you’ve allowed her to live there for a while, so you can’t just change the locks. In fact, trying to force her out by changing the locks or shutting off the utilities can get you in trouble with the police.

      I suggest you talk to your local courthouse about their eviction process or talk to a lawyer (which I am not).

  • CIenna

    Hi Lucas

    Recently, a lot of the high rises in Chicago are starting to charge new lease fees ($200-300) in addition to their typical $200-400 move in fees. Do you typically see owners paying this new lease fee or renters being burdened with the new lease fees? Are owners allowed to make renters pay for new lease fees? I’ve only heard of renters paying move in fees.


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Clenna,

      I’m curious, what are they calling these new fees, and who are they directed to? Are they invoiced to the owner or the tenant by the apartment building?

      I’ve heard of condo associations charging the owner for move-in fees and elevator fees. Those are tacked onto the monthly condo fee.

      Owners and tenants are willing to make whatever agreements they see fit between each other. But we aware, if an owner tries to charge too many fees, the tenants will decide to live somewhere else.

  • Ed

    My landlord is selling the house I reside in, does she have the right to put for sale signs on the property and do what she wants while our lease is still active?

  • Jack Toom

    I need to find a qualified tenant to replace me in my lease and I just want them to be more forthcoming in how to do that. I’ve spoken to them and would like things spelled out or possibly even written out so we’re both on the same page. I’ve spoken to them often but still do not fully understand everything about the sub leasing process…. Any advice on how to get them to communicate better or provide their sub leasing process in writing?

  • Javier Hidalgo

    Hi Lucas,
    I recently had a tenant move out and unfortunately the house is not in the same condition it was when they moved in. Some of the issues are, pest, damage to the grass (had water tank sitting on grass for 3 years), did not notify me about water leak in the basement that caused damage to my drywall which had to be replaced, ceramic soap dish in the bathroom was missing, kitchen countertop baseboard broken, sliding screen door missing and the house was left filthy…besides a itemized list of what was replaced or broken what else needs to be done?

    Also, the rent was always late for the first 2 years…I never charged them. Am I able to do that now or no?

    any information would be awesome, thanks!!

  • Toya

    I have a 6 unit building and I am thinking of purchasing a larger building, do I need to rent through a leasing agent or can I lease the units and maintain the property myself?

  • Clarence Kruthoff

    Does Illinois have a law for apartments to follow for Pro-rating rent? Are they supposed to use the 30 day month to do so? Thanks for any help.

  • Jolene

    I rent a house, and have for the last 8 years from a man. I fell behind on rent and had offered to get it caught up. He gave me a 30 day notice, not notarized, to move out of the house. I have a child under 18 living in my home and I am having a hard time finding a place to move into as there are not many rental listings as to what I can afford to pay. Will he be able to kick me out in the streets that fast?

  • JoFran

    I have signed a lease agreement with my new landlord. I cannot get the keys to move in until halfway through the month. When asked when we will be providing the first months rent I said when we get the keys to move in but the first months rent is being considered part of the security deposit. Once I stated O would not be giving the rent until we can move in and get keys I was told that my lease will be cancelled and our money returned(yes they cashed my check already) I cannot stay in my current apartment because they have already rented it out so I now have to find a new place in a short amount of time. Is this legal can they retract the lease we signed and not allow us to move in?

  • Zuzana


    My boyfriend broke up with me and made me leave the townhouse we rented together. There was no lease because he never returned the signed lease to the landlord back in July. I still have some stuff at the old place and he does not want to give it to me. Also I am trying to get hold of landlord to get half of my deposit back. Any advice is welcome. Thank you

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