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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279 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 best 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?


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Audrey,

      Do the locks need to be replaced? Meaning, were they damaged or compromised somehow during the break in? If not, then I don’t see why anyone has to change the locks, and it would be on the landlord’s dime.

      But if you lost a key, and then there was a break-in with no sign of forced entry, then you might be liable for changing the locks.

      Basically, it really all depends on the situation, and there’s no single answer to your questions. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  • 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

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Daniel,

      Sure, but I imagine that you’d have to prove that the landlord was negligent. Meaning, that you reported it, but he/she didn’t do anything about it. Radon is a naturally occurring gas and it can move around underground. So, you could certainly sue him, but I don’t know if you would win. You’d have to talk to a lawyer.

  • 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?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Dee,

      What does your lease agreement say? Were you supposed to give a deposit? If not, then I don’t see how the landlord can ask for it now.

      Sorry for the delayed response. What did you do?

  • 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.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Marcella

      This is a common problem when tenant’s aren’t supposed to sublet. While you might have some rights to avoid getting kicked out, I think you will eventually lose an eviction case if it comes to that. The reason is because you don’t have the right to occupy the dwelling since the original tenant shouldn’t have made the deal in the first place.

      So, if I were in your shoes, I would move along as quickly as possible, and consider suing the other tenant in small claims for your damages. Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • 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.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Tina,

      Yes, they are doing more than just evicting you. The HOA will take title of the unit, but if you have a fixed-term lease that has not expired, I think they would have to honor it – as long as you keep paying rent (to them). Please talk to lawyer though, because a lot of your situation depends on the condo rules and regs. They might be able to terminate your lease – which is something you probably agreed to. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Patricia

    I let someone stay in my home with the stipulation they pay $250.00 a mth. and pay for their own food. I have since been buying food which they eat, they have moved into my living room instead of the basement, where they agreed to live and remodel. I have told them they have until November to get out, now they say they are not paying rent since they are leaving. Can I demand my rent or take legal action against them?

  • Shyvonne

    My son recently had to move out of his apartment and enter rehab for addiction. He cannot return there and will be moving back to his hometown for aftercare. The doctors agree he cannot move back there as there is drinking and drugs in the house. There is an early termination clause in the lease. However, they signed it together. Can he get out the lease under the early termination clause (only him) for medical reasons (or any reason for that matter)?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Shyvonne,

      If he signed a lease with the other roommates, it’s very difficult to separate them. The landlord and all the other roommates would have to sign an addendum that releases him from the lease – meaning everyone would have to agree on it.

      In situations like this, the other roommates usually try to find a replacement tenant, and then the landlord creates an addendum for everyone to sign that removes one tenant, and adds the replacement. Until he is removed from the lease, he could still be held liable for the full rent.

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

      • Shyvonne

        Thanks. That’s what I was thinking. The roommates have not been very helpful finding a replacement and the leasing office tries to contact them and they are dodging them. I think the office will press them if I just stop paying. So far I have paid the 3 months since he moved and will not continue to do that as there is still 7 more months on the lease. It may just have to hit their credit. :-( Thanks for the information.

  • Shawn Knetzer

    We are late on our re t by 2 weeks. I have most but not all. He wont accept the money unless its total. And now is telling me i am getting a 5 day notice then hes locking my 2 children my wife and myself out. Do i have any rights. Im not with holding the money i nust dont ha e the full 610. I told him i can give him 450 in the mor ing and he said ” not good enough” this dude has been threatining to kick us out consistently for the last 3 years. We are moving at the end of october. What can i do?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Shawn

      It’s perfectly okay for a landlord to reject payment unless it’s in full. However, it’s not okay for a landlord to lock out a tenant. They must go to court first.

      If I were in your shoes and the landlord locked me out, I would call the police.

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

  • Jo

    I have a month-to-month agreement, just verbal, nothing in writing. When I moved in, I agreed to give 30 days notice. In IL, can 30 days be any 30 days, or does it have to be the 1st of the month? I gave notice on the 10th and agreed to pay thru the 10th of next month, but she wants to charge me for all of next month. I know states vary on this, but I haven’t found an answer re: Illinois. I also read that if a tenant leaves a lease early, the landlord is responsible for helping find a new tenant for the rest of the term. If my landlord does nothing and just collects money from me next month, is she in violation of that and would I have any recourse? I’m trying not to pay double rent next month if I can help it.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Joe,

      Generally speaking, giving notice on a month-to-month agreement means that you give notice 30 days from the day rent is due. If rent is due on the 1st, then you should give 30 days from the 1st. If you give notice on the 10th, you haven’t provided a full 30 days from the date rent is due, so the clock starts counting on the next rent due date.

      Here’s the statute that talks about month-to-month notice (735 ILCS 5/9-207):

      Notice it doesn’t specificially state what I stated above, but my explaination is the generally adopted practice of month-to-month tenancies.

      Also, you are correct, a landlord must attempt to mitigate damages to the tenant who is breaking or ending the lease. The most common method is to find a new tenant so the old tenant doesn’t have to pay for rent while he didn’t occupy the place. But this statute is usually enforced to yearly tenants who are trying to end their lease months early. It’s not very applicable to monthly tenants because it often takes a month or more to find a replacement tenant, and by that time the monthly lease has naturally expired anyway. See my point? Here is the statute: (735 ILCS 5/9-213.1)

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

  • Katie

    We recently moved from a 1 BR to a 2 BR unit in the same complex. Their transfer request form, which we did not sign or turn in to the office, states “A resident who wishes to transfer to a different apartment during the current lease term may do so for a nominal fee of $475.00. This fee is required to offset the unanticipated costs of painting and cleaning the apartment, and shampooing the carpet in the apartment to be vacated.” However, we notified them 45 days in advance (per our lease) that we would not be renewing our 1 bedroom lease. We requested the move at the end of our lease. Can they charge us for this fee? We did not move DURING the current lease term, and actually had to go month to month waiting for a 2 BR to open.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Katie,

      That’s a tough one to answer. If you fulfilled your old lease, and signed a completely new one for the new unit, and gave a new deposit…. and did everything the same as someone new coming in off the street, then I don’t see how they could call it a “transfer”. But if you didn’t give a new deposit, or sign a brand new lease (rather, you signed a renewal), then it would probably be a transfer even if you didn’t sign the doc. You proceeded with the move after receiving that doc, so your actions could be interpreted as approval.

      Just my two cents…. I don’t actually have enough info to evaluate it accurately, so I think you’re probably just going to have to work it out with the apartment complex. You could always get a lawyer involved (which I am not) but that’s an extra cost that you is likely more than $475. Good luck to you.

      • Katie

        Thank you very much; I appreciate your input. We did sign a new lease and had to put down a new deposit for the unit. We will continue our discussion with the office.

  • Keri

    My lease said electric and gas were to be transferred into my name by 5/31/15. It was so hot when I moved in, turning the gas on seemed pointless so I was told it was okay to wait til September when it was cold again. I would rather use space heaters though. The gas is not connected, I cant use it, it won’t turn on, but it is still in my landlords name. Do I have to hook up the gas? I know I’ll need a deposit and I can’t afford another unnecessary expense. I was told by another tenant I will get evicted if I don’t do it.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Keri

      My suggestion would be to follow your lease agreement, and do whatever it says. The time to negotiate something different has passed.

      If you don’t, you could be cited with a lease violation, which could lead to an eviction if you don’t comply. But it really depends on how strict your landlord is, and if he even cares one way or the other. It’s probably best to have a polite discussion with the landlord about it.

      Good luck.

  • Elizabeth Eilts

    Daughter is 4 mo’s into a year lease. Other renters had bedbugs & told landlord (6 wks ago). Orkin confirmed Apt across the hall has infestation. Mailboxes in common hall area, she was bitten, suffered allergic reaction. Went to doc, has letter showing allergic reaction to bedbug bite. Turned into open wounds, works in hospital, concerned about getting MRSA. Sent landlord another text (4 weeks ago) she called Orkin. “Will deal with it later, probably fleas” Orkin verified her apt not infested, but were out prior this month for Apt across hall, landlord refused $1,000 treatment! Landlord won’t deal with problem until she told him she had to move. She will lose security deposit – doesn’t care. Is she liable for rest of lease?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Elizabeth,

      The landlord is required to provide a habitable dwelling. You’d have to check with your local county about what their stance is on Bed Bugs. Unfortunately, there is no federal or state statute regarding this, so liability is usually determined at the county level. If the landlord is not providing a reasonably inhabitable dwelling, then the tenant(s) could potentially terminate their lease. But please, talk to a lawyer (which I am not) about this before taking action.

      Good luck to you.

  • Dee

    Month to month lease in the State of Illinois.

    Month to month states that landlord can give 30 days notice to vacate and needs no reason. Tenants signed lease with no questions about this provision. Generally speaking as long as no discrimination of tenants is involved notice in writing should be sufficient?


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Dee

      Yes, written notices are typically the standard method of giving notice of lease termination.

      If you want proof that they received it, then send it via certified mail.

  • Mo Olu

    Good day,
    According to the law, when is our landlord supposed to put on and put off the heat (as part of our rental contract) yearly?
    We moved this year, it was still cold and I noticed and complained he put off the heat too early. Our baby was seven months then. Landlord quoted the law and refused to leave it on. Winter is coming now, and I’m afraid.


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Mo,

      Every county is different, so I’d check with your local code enforcement office. Sometimes it’s Oct 1, other times, its Nov 1.

      Even so, in my county (in a different state) it only applies to apartment buildings or multi-unit buildings.

  • Mary


    I live in Arlington Heights IL, the heat is included in my rent. The landlord told me that he won’t turn on the heating until November. Is this legal? He knows that I’m not from here and I don’t know the rules..

    Thank you very much!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Mary,

      You’d have to check with your local county code enforcement office to find out what the rules are in your county. Some counties require Oct 1, others Nov 1 (and anywhere in between).

  • Kate

    I thought I read somewhere that a landlord in IL was responsible to change the carpet in an unit every 5 or 7 years. Is this accurate? And does this apply to a tenant who has been in the same unit for more than that length of time? I have a senior neighbor who has had the same carpet in her unit for 17 years. The complex offered to split the cost of new carpet with her, and told her she would also be charged per room to move the furniture for the carpet installation. Can the complex charge her for the carpet and the furniture being moved? I don’t want to see her be taken advantage of because she’s older and might not know her rights as a tenant.

  • monique

    My landlord keeps entering my apt without notifying me he says only a person on drugs would care if the landlord entered without notice. He has called my boss on her cell phone harassing her and insulting her saying that I owed rent. He posted a five day notice at the main entrance of the building and on my apartment door with all my info on it. He has blocked in with his car a friend who dropped me office yelling racially charged insults at her saying she needs to know that I owed him rent is there anything I can do?

  • Bryan

    We just moved out of our apt after 4 years living there. Never had issues and were his “favorite” tenants. Now he won’t return our deposit because he had to replace the carpet which was very bad when we moved in to begin with. We didn’t damage it over 4 years. It was just bad from beginning. Can they even count replacing carpet as a “cost” when it’s been 4 years? I know he’s just trying to get us to forget about it and walk away but I want my money back.

  • Kelly Gandy

    My boy friend and I just recently moved into a small house with a basement. The hot water pipe burst and flooded the basement with 2 to 3 foot of water the sump was not put together or plugged in We didn’t know this The rent was due the first and the landlord said that it was the cities fault because a main water pipe blew down the street We had a lot of valuable things they brought garbage bags a trash can a tote n a dehumidifier what do we do???

  • rich

    We signed a 3 year lease on a house in Evanston under conditions that a list of repairs be made. The list was drawn up in the lease agreement and signed by all parties.

    We moved in a week ago and immediately began to realize that 90% of the things were claimed to have been done, but in fact they were not (including updating electrical, cleaning vents/HVAC, removing old wallpaper, scraping and repainting windows, etc).

    Now we are in this house with 2 years and 51 weeks to go, and very nervous that we will continue to find big issues.

    The agency said they were very sorry that things weren’t done correctly, and they would get on it right away but based on how they handled it the first time, I’m very wary.

    What to do?

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