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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306 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Andy

    Hi Lucas. I have a property in Lakeview. My new tenant is scheduled to move-in on Nov 1st. They have a signed lease from me which I emailed them too early.. I received just a security deposit and partial first month rent. The agreement was for tenant to pre-pay 2 months rent upon lease signing because they fall into riskier tenant group. 3 weeks later, still no payment and in last email they said the balance will be paid with cash when they get the keys. I do not accept cash and those are not the terms that were agreed upon. So, I am trying to figure my options. My preference would be to terminate the lease and I am ok to refund full amount. Can I? Worst case, can I refuse keys and entry on Nov 1st if I don’t get full amount? Thanks.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Andy

      It sounds like they are violating the lease already. They were supposed to pay 2 months rent, but have failed to do so. If I were in your shoes, I would give them 2 options, 1) pay the full amount due immediately by cashier’s check or bank check, or 2) allow them to terminate the lease, but they lose their deposit. I suppose you could give back the full amount, but I also think you should be compensated for your time – IMO.

      Honestly, as a landlord, this is a huge red flag. If they can’t pay the initial money, you can be sure that they will have trouble paying the rent sometime in the future. I’m certainly not a lawyer, but it sounds like they failed to live up to their contractual obligations, so you might be able to consider the lease void. I’m not exactly sure if you would need to give the normal 5 day notice to pay or move-out due to nonpayment as stated in 735 ILCS 5/9-209 – simply because the lease hasn’t “started” yet and they haven’t moved in.

      Under no circumstances should you give them keys until they have satisfied the lease requirement. You don’t have to accept cash if you don’t want to. They can easily go to their bank or 7-11 and get a certified check.

      If you’d rather just terminate the lease, you could “give it a try”, and just notify them that they violated the agreement, and you are canceling it. I suppose they might try to get a lawyer, but chances are good that they probably won’t. If you give back all their money, they will probably just move along and make some other landlord miserable.

      Good luck – I hope this helps. Please know it’s not legal advice.

  • trisha

    Hi Lucas, I’m currently a tenant in dupage county, I been in this home for seven months now and few months ago in August, my landlord inform me that the home was foreclosure. That I no longer had to pay rent til the bank takes possession. today I received a sheet of paper stating “notice to tenant of tenancy termination” basically giving me 30 days to move and when I asked for my security deposit, they stated that I could no longer receive it since I didn’t pay for September and October.

    Now am I in the wrong?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Trisha

      Who sent you the letter? The bank or the former landlord?

      As an outsider looking in, it sounds like you were set up! I bet they didn’t put that rent waiver in writing, right?

  • Maggy

    Hi Lucas,
    This is Maggie I been renting for about 15 years. The fist owners couldn’t keep up with the house payments and they decided to sell. The agency that was selling it i guess end up buying but they never told us who the new owners are. The agency picks up the rent. Now for the 5 years that they been having the house they been doing some repairs but they never finish them completely. When they show up they dontbgive us a notice saying they will be coming to fix things. What can i do or where i find out who the owners are. Thank you for your time.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Maggie,

      I’d suggest searching online for “YOUR COUNTY NAME Property Tax Records”. Most counties have that public information available online, and you can find out who owns it.

      As for the notice, Illinois doesn’t have a requirement to give notice (from what I can tell). So while it’s very rude just to show up unannounced, I don’t see a statutory reason why they can’t. Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Machell L Johnson

    Had a tenant move into a unit ( mobile home) and lease says tenent pays for power but tenant did not place power in there name what rights do I have as a landlord?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Machell

      You have the right to force your tenant to follow the lease. If they refuse to obey the lease, then the violation could be grounds for lease termination if not remedied. If I were in your shoes, I would send the tenant a “10 day notice to remedy or quit” for the violation (735 ILCS 5/9-210), and if they didn’t change the electric over to their name within 10 days, I would terminate their lease and start the eviction process. I don’t mess around with non-compliance. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Just stick to the lease and enforce it. Make the lease the bad guy, not you.

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

  • Alejandra B

    I have a tenant who has lived in at the residence since April. Tenant notified us that some repairs needed to be done and we tried repairing what he had told us to repair. Now he is withholding rent money because we have not repaired in a timely matter. What can I do?

    • Lucas Hall

      HI Alejandra,

      It’s not okay that the tenant withholds rent just because he’s not satisfied at the speed in which the repairs were made. That’s B.S. The repairs are done. Rent needs to be paid.

      If I were in your shoes, I’d have a phone conversation with the tenant and say “it’s not a proper reason to withhold rent.” And tell him that he has 5 days to pay or vacate (735 ILCS 5/9-209). Then send him a formal written notice to back it up.

      That’s just what I would do. Please know that it’s not legal advice, nor am I a lawyer.

  • Elizabeth

    Hi! I’ll try to keep it short. I had a 1 yr lease, had a roommate. I paid my rent on time, left the home in move in cond.. The move in/ out pictures are identical. During the last month of my lease the roommate signed a new lease. She is also crazy,one of the main reasons I moved out. I also moved out 30 days early (so I paid rent at two locations so I did not have to live with her.) I moved out, my landlord did not do the move out inspection and won’t do it until 7 + days after my lease expires, leaving my totally insane former roommate to do anything to the property and tell the landlord it was me. Since they signed a new lease prior to my move out what can they withhold from my security dpt, especially with supporting pics? Thank you!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Unfortunately, you’re still responsible for any damages up to the day your lease ends. It’s because you and your roommate have joint and several liability for rent and damages if you are both on the lease. Even though the roommate might have signed a new lease, I wonder if the “start date” on the new lease didn’t start until after the old lease is over.

      7 days seems like too long of a period to do a move-out inspection. But as far as I know, there is no statute in IL that regulates move-out inspections.

      If you have pictures of the condition when you moved-out, it seems like that’s all you would need to prove that your roommate caused the damage. If you need to, you could take your roommate to small claims court and get her to pay you the portion that you paid.

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

  • Kim Pearce

    Hi Andy,

    Our current lease expired on May 31, 2015 and our landlord never gave us a new lease to sign. In the original lease, it stated that (1) we had to give a 60-day notice if we were going to move/terminate the lease and (2) that we were not allowed to do so in the months of November, December, January, or February. It also stated that (3) if we terminate the lease early, we would owe a monthly fee for each month left on the lease.

    My questions are: (1) since we don’t have a current signed lease, are we still bound by these stipulations that were in the original lease? (2) are we legally on a month-to-month least status now and if not, what is our lease status in this situation?

    Thank you so much for your time!


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kim

      If a fixed-term lease rolls-over to a monthly lease, then most of the terms rollover with it. The main exception is how much notice is required to terminate the lease.

      Whether or not you are actually in a month to month lease really depends on how your previous lease was written. It might allow a rollover, or it might automatically renew for another year. You’d have to review it carefully.

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

  • Harlie

    I am a tenant with a 9 month old…first night here about 2 weeks ago and roaches came out REALLY bad none of our stuff was even moved in yet. Told landlord and so far nothing tried roach killers myself and nothing. It’s bad I signed a year lease and I’m ready to leave. I need help!! It’s bad for my sons health all these bugs

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Harlie,

      Generally speaking, a landlord is required to deliver a unit free of pests upon move-in. If the landlord refuses to solve the problem soon, I think you should talk to a lawyer about getting help to terminate your lease. Good luck to you.

  • Megan

    My apartment burned on the 5th of November and today’s the 13th my landlord told me today*** I have until tomorrow at noon to have the rest of my belongings out. My job wouldn’t give me time off and I explained that to her but she didn’t care.

  • Jeb F

    I have a single family home that I rent out. The lease specifically states that only the 2 adults listed on the lease are allowed to live there and no children. At some point, the tenant moved her adult son in also. Is this a violation of the lease that could lead to me holding the security deposit?
    2nd the tenant paid a nonrefundable pet deposit and when they moved out there was an abundance of “crap” left in the backyard as well as the house smelling like dog. I understand that this is what the deposit is for. However, the carpet also had holes in it. Can I keep the deposit for carpet and other misc lawn maintenance items? The tenant wants to say the carpet was already ruined but it was worn and no holes. I have no before pictures

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jeb

      Generally speaking, a landlord is not allow to withhold from the deposit without having actual itemized damages. Generally, a landlord can’t just withhold the deposit just because the tenant broke a rule – especially if you don’t have any damages associated with it.

      With that said, you could certainly withhold the cost to get rid of the junk and any other excessive damages. Here’s a related podcast for carpet damage:

  • Ton Trieu

    Hi Lucas

    Is that true that in Illinois as an owner living in the same building with tenants (building must have less than 4 units), owner can set some “preferences” regarding who will be in living in the building since this building is owner-occupied?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ton

      I’m not sure if this clause applies to your situation, but I think the clause you are asking about is 765 ILCS 705/15(e)
      Sec. 15. Changing or rekeying of the dwelling unit lock.
      (e) The provisions of this Section do not apply to (i) an apartment rental in an apartment building with 4 units or less when one of the units is occupied by the owner or (ii) the rental of a room in a private home that is owner-occupied.

      I couldn’t find anything in the IL statutes about screening or fair housing for owner-occupied dwellings (though I’m not a lawyer). However, I do know that some other states, like VA, allow a landlord to discriminate on gender, among other things, if looking for a roommate.

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