Illinois Rental 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


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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241 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kate

    I recently resigned my lease for a 1st floor apt in Chicago. The past few weeks I’ve noticed increasingly suspicious activity right outside of my door and in my apartment complex. I’ve heard gunshots steps from my back door on multiple occasions and again just recently after resigning. I’ve called the police and written a complaint to my landlord. Do I have any right to break my lease because I feel unsafe?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kate

      Generally speaking, suspicious activity in a neighborhood does not give a tenant a right to break a lease. A landlord can’t control the actions of others no more than a tenant can. The appropriate step would be to continually call the police and notify the landlord of any incidents. If enough reports are made to the police, they might patrol the area better. Perhaps you could also ask your landlord to install better outdoor lighting if there is bad activity happening outside your building.

      Last but not least, you could certainly try to negotiate your release from he lease. Perhaps the landlord will let you out without a fee, or perhaps you might have to pay an early termination fee but at least you could move.

      Good luck to you. Please know I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Graeme

    Hi Lucas.
    My lease ends this month, here in Illinois. I want to go month to month, and the landlord want to charge and EXTRA 100 dollars per month. That is almost a 20% increase… is that legal?? Sounds suspicious.

    Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. Thanks for your time.

    • Karen

      They can increase your rent to whatever considering you’re not on a lease. If you don’t want to pay the additional money, I would suggest you be gone in thirty days to avoid the eviction process and damaging your credit.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Graeme

      To the bed of my research, I couldn’t find a statute that limits the amount of rent increase. Once you are not in a fixed term lease, the rent can go up every month with proper notice. I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

    • Graeme

      Hi Lucas,

      Thanks for replying. I appreciate your time and information. Seems I’ll just have to fork over the extra money per month. Seems sad that we are “punished” for not wanting to commit to a whole other year on one place. Oh, well. haha!

  • ThereseMcnerney

    Hi Lucas
    Can a Landlord renig on a contract that has been signed as in my daughter signed a lease for another year on the home she is renting. It was stipulated that she sign and return the lease by July 1st for lease to begin 8/15/15. She did so and had it returned may 15/15. Now the landlord is pregnant and wants my daughter out by
    March 1/16. Does she have any recourse?

    I would appreciate any guidance here
    Thank you
    Therese McNerney

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Therese

      Generally speaking, no. A fixed-term lease is a contract that the landlord can’t terminate without just cause – such as the tenant’s failure to pay rent. However, is suggest reading through the lease carefully to make sure there isn’t a termination clause that gives the landlord the ability to do so.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Audrey


    Someone recently broke into my Chicago apartment. (House split into units) The landlord is charging us for the locks to be replaced. Is it his or our responsibility to pay for the locks?


  • daniel chapman

    recently found radon in my house 3 times the acceptable level..the last 5 years both my wife and me have all the symptoms of radon there any legal action that I can take against my landlord

  • dee

    I pay my landlord rent by depositing it into her bank account she is located out of state i am late on rent but now have the money but today i got a court notice for more than rent. She is claiming a security deposit that she never asked for i have lived here for 4 years. I have the rent should i deposit it and then go to court? Also the 5 day notice was placed in my mailbox by a third party who is now listed as the landlord on my court papers. What should i do?

  • Marcella

    hi I recently moved into my apartment I subletted from the original tenant only to find out 11 days into being here he didn’t get it approved by the landlord who wants me out by the end of the month. What rights do I have? I am not able to get out until the 5th. And even then I don’t have a guaranteed place to go.

  • Marcella

    hi I am in Chicago, Illinois. I recently moved into my apartment I subletted from the original tenant only to find out 11 days into being here he didn’t get it approved by the landlord who wants me out by the end of the month. What rights do I have? I am not able to get out until the 5th. And even then I don’t have a guaranteed place to go.

  • Tina

    I live in IL and my landlord hasn’t paid the The Homeowners fees for several years. Now the hoa wants to evict me. Can they do that. I have a written lease that’s for 2 years and it’s not in the lease that I have to pay the hoa fees. What are my rights. The landlord says he will take care of it but I want to know to cover myself.

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