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

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.
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208 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Daniel

    I just moved into a new place and noticed that the water takes a ridiculous amount of time to get warmed up. Yesterday to do the dishes, it took a bit over 5 minutes to get hot water. This morning it took about 4:30 minutes to get water warm enough to shower in. While they are “providing hot water” surely there is a limit to how long it can take to get it. In the mean time, I’m wasting gallons of water every time I want something other than cold. What responsibilities does the landlord have to fix the issue and what recourse to have to make sure it gets fixed?

    Thanks.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Daniel,

      It sounds like the water heater isn’t working as it should. Since your only damages are excessive water usage, it seems to me like you could ask your landlord to pay for the repair, or the excessive water usage. You’d have to figure out a realistic amount of usage, lets say 10 gallons every time you have to take a shower or do the dishes, and then subtract that from your water bill.

      I think the best solution is one where you and the landlord agree. If you try to force the landlord’s hand, or withhold rent without the sanction from an attorney, you might get your lease terminated.

      At then end of the lease, when you finally move-out, you could always sue the landlord in small claims for the extra usage as long as you have good records. I don’t know if you’d win, but a lawyer would be able to give you a good estimate.

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

      • Daniel

        Thanks Lucas.

        I don’t actually pay for the water so I’m not out any money, just time. Though I do find it interesting that they seem ok with wasting 10+ gallons a day as you pointed out.

        I was more curious if there were any relevant regulations around this. While they are providing hot water, the fact that so far it’s taken up to 5 minutes to get it seems like they’re complying more through technicality than actual effort.

        Any suggestions for ways I might be able to convince them to act on this? I’m not sure if any other laws might apply along the lines of unit repairs as this definitely seems like a defect. Obviously I’d rather just have the issue resolved than to have to resort to any sort of legal recourse, but I want to make sure that I’m getting what I pay for when it comes to rent and that they are upholding their responsibilities as a landlord.

        Thanks.

        • Lucas Hall

          Hi Daniel,

          If they don’t care about the environment, I doubt you will be able to change their hearts.

          I can’t think of anything that you could do to force them to fix this water issue if they have no desire to do so. Alternatively, they may be open to letting you hire someone, and then deducting it from the rent. Sometimes, a landlord or manager is open to paying for a repair, but not the time and energy it takes to figure out how to fix it.

          • Daniel

            Good thought. They have maintenance out today to look at it so we’ll see what they find. Maybe it’s a water pressure issue they can fix, but I think I’m above the minimum required pressure. They did say though that it’s probably “just the way things are” since I’m so far from the water heater, but I’ve lived in old buildings before where I was far from the boiler so I don’t really believe that excuse.

            Anyway, thanks a ton for your thoughts and feedback. It’s much appreciated.

  • Ryan

    My question is actually for my parents. They own a house and have being renting it out to this young couple. At first they were on time with payments but have now got pretty lax with paying on time. They both say money is tight but he works for the city and has a bass boat and Harley out back but can’t seem to make the rent. Now it’s come to my knowledge that they are trying to sell the house on Facebook with my parents knowledge and this is the second time they have tried to do it….what can my parents do about this?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ryan

      First of all, a tenant don’t have the right to sell a property that they don’t own. Just like you wouldn’t be able to sell a rental car that you borrowed, a tenant can’t sell the house they are renting.

      It’s foolish to think otherwise, and they might be trying to scam other people. Your parents could send a cease and desist letter. If your parents want to actually sell the house, they should hire a real estate agent and do it properly. They will probably be able to get 10% more money for the sale of the house if they used a licensed professional, than if they have their tenants do it on facebook.

      As for their other options, they could terminate the tenant’s lease for nonpayment with proper notice. 735 ILCS 5/9-209 says that they can give 5 days notice to pay or move-out when the tenant doesn’t pay on time. I recommend doing this EVERY time a tenant is late on rent.

      http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+IX&ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=65800000&SeqEnd=73500000

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

  • Dee

    hello, i am renting a room in Chicago on a bi-weekly bases consisting of a total of three rooms and five total roommates. The landlord is subleasing to us all with an individual rental payment of $450-$550 per month. We were just given notice via text message that she will be turning off the electricity because the bill exceeded $200 and as a result being evicted before or at the ending of the month. Can i prevent her from doing this? We have called her regarding the damage to the bathroom shower faucet and leak which she has not repaired and the lack of ventilation in the bathroom, which she said she would send a repair person to check. I know what she is doing regarding leasing and subleasing individual rooms is not kosher but I do not know the law in Chicago.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Dee,

      A landlord is never allowed to shut off the electricity as a method of trying to get the tenants to move out. This is called a “self-help eviction” and it’s illegal in almost every state.

      Here’s an article I did on the topic: http://www.landlordology.com/self-help-eviction-lock-out/

      However, if you rent bi-weekly, then the landlord could give you 30 days notice to terminate your lease. If you don’t leave, you could be held responsible for damages, and even have an eviction judgement put against you.

      But, if the landlord just shuts off the power, then you should call a lawyer, or your local housing authority ASAP.

      Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. A local attorney in Chicago would be able to guide you better.

  • Steve

    I live in a house that I just noticed was leaking bad enough that the whole wall seems to be wet and I now have mold growing on the wall. It does look like it has been leaking from inside the wall and just starting to seep through to the outside of the wall, and noticing the mold. Would it be safe to think that if it is leaking from the inside and there is mold on the outside of the wall, that it must be molded on the inside? Also, can they keep me in the house and in the lease while they tear this all out to fix if it is fixable?
    Thanks,

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Steve,

      There are a lot of tricks to finding the source of the water. Sometimes a leaky pipe, other times, it’s a crack in the weather striping. It’s just hard to tell until someone gets in there, and really starts to explore the issues.

      I also can’t tell you if this issue affect habitability. Most repairs do no require the tenant to vacate, and can be done while the tenant is at work, or out for the day. If it’s a multi-day job, then as long as it doesn’t affect security, water, electricity, or heat, then it usually doesn’t effect habitability. But depending on the type of mold and the severity of the water damage, you could always ask your landlord to put you up in a hotel while he finishes the repairs. You never know, it might help them work faster.

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

  • Annette

    As a landlord, if my tenants have a two year lease and I have a financial situation and need to sell the home, do I give them a notification that the home will be sold and they will have 60 days to move out once sold? If the tenant doesn’t agree once notice is received and they say there’s no stipulations within the original lease document, and there is no wording in the lease paperwork to that effect, does a landlord still have a right to sell property under certain conditions? Can a landlord sell the property at any point in time? Can a property be sold and also require that the lease be amended for that to take place to remedy the landlord losing their shirt, and can the rent be raised at any time during the lease, and if so how do I go about doing that? Thank you.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Annette,

      Generally speaking, a fixed-term lease does not automatically terminate when the house is sold. A tenant has the right to stay there for the term, even if ownership changes. The new owners would simply inherit a tenant. An owner can sell a house at any time, but the original agreement must be honored. Ownership is completely separate from the lease agreement.

      Here’s a podcast episode I did on the topic: https://www.landlordology.com/ask-lucas/006-lease-termination-at-sale-of-property/

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

  • John

    I live in an apartment complex. Recently my vehicle was robbed, so I began parking in a different spot under the cameras. When I began doing that some other tenants began to leave harrassing notes on my vehicle. I reported this to the land lord and he said that he had ‘already spoken with them’, yet it continues to happen. I have no idea who they are, and my landlord won’t tell me, although I found it odd that he was already aware somehow. I have kept records and pictures of everything, and the messages , while at first annoying, are increasingly threatening. What an I do, what are my right, and is the land lord responsible in any way? Thanks in advance…

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi John,

      Your landlord isn’t responsible for the actions of others in the same way that you aren’t responsible for the actions of others. If you feel threatened, you should call the police and file a report. It’s possible they might run fingerprints on the notices and it would be interesting to see if they compare with the prints from the robbery.

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

  • Julie

    How long after an evicted tenant moves out does a landlord have to keep personal property left behind?

  • Jon

    Hi Lucas,

    I am renting a single family home in the Chicago suburbs. The property owners are going through a divorce and the property is up for sale due to a court order. I am up to date on the rent and have taken care of the property. I have 12 months left on my lease, however, the landlords want me out of the property so they can sell the home immediately. They have even offered a $2000 buyout (verbally). While doing a walk through, the landlords found fireworks that were purchased in Indiana legally, how concerned should I be. They have made me aware that the “findings” are being investigated by an attorney. Thank you for your response.

    Jon

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jon,

      I guess it really depends on if your lease prohibits you from having fireworks in the house. If so, they could send you a “notice to remedy or quit”, which means that if you don’t get rid of them within X days, they could terminate your lease. But in that case, you simply just throw them away and it solves your problem.

      Generally speaking, a landlord can’t terminate a lease just because they are selling a property. However, if your lease gives them that right, then that’s a different story.

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

      Sorry for the delay in responding to this. Has anything happened since you commented here?

  • Melissa

    Hello, my boyfriend and I recently broke up (he cheated on me) and we lived together but he wasn’t on the lease. He agreed to pay $600/ month 1/2 on the 15th and the other half on the end of the month. He left to GA over 3 weeks ago has not returned nor has he paid rent. Is that abandonment? Do I have to let him in to get his belongings? What is my legal recourse for all the money he owes me?

  • Victoria

    Hi Lucas: I am currently working towards renting a condo from the owners. They are being relocated for a job. The owners stated their intent to keep the security deposit in their personal bank account. Is this allowed under Illinois law? Thank you for your help

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Victoria,

      I’ve outlined the laws on deposits in the first section of this article. To the best of my research, Illinois does not have a statute that requires the money be put in a separate account – however, they would be wise to do so. It’s a best practice.

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

  • Jessica Bryson

    My apartment building was bought by a new company in October of last year, but before that my lease expired in June 2014
    . I then paid on a month to month basis. I called the new company to get a new lease to no avail. Today a letter and new lease was in my mailbox. Also they want to increase my rent by $65. Is this legal?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jessica,

      Month to month leases are flexible, and as such, they can change every month. A landlord could raise the rent on a MTM lease every single month. On the flip side, a tenant could terminate a MTM lease very easily.

      Illinois doesn’t have a statute on rent increases, so unless you are in a fixed term lease, you really don’t have any protection against them. The only way to prevent them is to sign a fixed-term lease.

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

  • Len

    Hi Lucas, I am a landlord. I bought a house 4 mts later I met my now husband. I moved into his house and have been renting my house ever since (3 years). It has been to the same person and I just recently offered to sell the house to her. When I initially rented to her we had agreed that they would maintain the property. Being the landlord I obviously took care of any repairs that were necessary – hot water heater, heat/ac etc…
    Now that the offer has been made it has been pointed out to my husband and I that the gutters need to be cleaned and that the lawnmower needs a tune up. I left my brand new lawn mower there along with other yard tools and some shelving.
    Am I responsible for this? He is a mechanic and I was under the impression that he was doing this already.
    If they are maintaining the property do I need to supply what they need in order to do this? Also, if they purchase do Ijust take my stuff back at that time?

    The lease expired 2 years ago and we have been mtm since.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Len

      It depends on what the original lease says. If the tools and mower were mentioned in the lease, then yes, you’d have to upkeep them. But otherwise, those are not normal appliances that the landlord has to care for, so the tenant should just be appreciative that he had a free mower for 3 years.

      The gutter cleaning could be viewed either way. I think that the landlord should upkeep this because the tenants rarely ever do and then water leaks into the house causing more damage. But there are plenty of landlords who disagree with me about gutter maintenance.

      If you sell the house, you should remove all your personal property, which would include the tools, furniture, pots and pans, etc. However, you could also sell those items to the tenant with the house, or as a side transaction.

      A real estate agent would be able to guide you better. But if there is no mention of the personal property, you should remove it prior to closing.

      Good luck to you. I hope it works out. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Keyana Riley

    I have been staying in my apartment for 12 years my landlord ask me to take the air conditioner out the window in the beginning of summer but she made sure she gave herself and another tenant central air in their apartment, she told me she told the new tenants that they couldn’t have a window air conditioner but when I asked the new tenants they told me she never told them they couldn’t have a window air conditioner and and wasn’t in their lease and I have her recorded saying it. Is this legal? The air conditioner has been in my window for 8 years now and has been put in professionally by Sears.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Keyana

      Do you own he window unit? If not, then you can’t claim it. It’s not your property. However, I imagine that he landlord has to provide you with some sort of AC since you’ve had that amenity for so long – but it doesn’t have to be that particular unit. So, if he takes away that unit, is he giving you a different one?

  • Katie Marie

    I recently signed a lease, I will be moving into at the end of the week. I was showed an unit which I was interested in while in the unit I checked the water pressure, asked what day the unit was available, how much rent was, etc. I was told that particular unit was available this Friday and rent for that unit was X amount. A few days after I signed the lease I scheduled a time to view the property. I drove an hour and a half and yhe landlord never showed up. He apologized and we rescheduled a few days later this time he was not there again and had a maintenance guy take me to the unit, it was not the same unit I viewed! When I compared what was on my application and what I saw he had changed the unit number which was impossible for me to know at the time since they have hundreds of units and I did not know the number I viewed. My issue, it does not have the same layout, it does not have the same upgrades, and it does not have an exposed brick wall like the other unit did. Is it legal?

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