Illinois Landlord Tenant Laws
Illinois has passed many different acts at the state level that affect the dealings between landlords and tenants. Given this, and the fact that the state has not adopted the provisions of the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, it is important for both landlords and tenants to take the time to carefully understand Illinois rental law as it differs from the laws seen in many other states in a number of key ways.
Keep in mind that cities and counties also have their own local ordinances that may add on to or take precedent over state law. Chicago in particular has a number of added ordinances such as the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, which virtually replaces the state laws. The city of DeKalb also has adopted the DeKalb Tenants Bill of Rights, which adds certain stipulations such as added terms of habitability and advance notice before a landlord can enter the premises. In other locations you may wish to consult a law library, public library or the local city or county manager to see what added rental ordinances there are in the area. Generally speaking, if the area of Illinois rental law that you are looking at does not have statutes at the state level, you can expect that the local city or county has stepped in with some sort of provisions of their own.
Please also keep in mind that this what follows is a general overview and is not intended to be legal advice. Always consult a licensed attorney with any legal questions, and check referenced statutes to verify that they are still current.
What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Illinois?
The best place to start with Illinois rental law is the Landlord and Tenant Act 765 ILCS 705. Landlords and tenants should also be familiar with the Security Deposit Return Act (765 ILCS 710) and the Security Deposit Interest Act (765 ILCS 715) if a deposit is going to be part of the rental agreement. The Rental Property Utility Service Act (765 ILCS 735) and the Tenant Utility Payment Disclosure Act (765 ILCS 740) are also likely going to be relevant to most lease agreements.
There are a number of other acts that are more situational, such as the Retaliatory Eviction Act, the Property Taxes of Alien Landlords Act, the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenants Rights Act and the Residential Tenants Right to Repair Act.
Security Deposit Rules
Illinois has no statutes regarding a security deposit maximum or the type of account in which the deposit needs to be kept. However, interest on the deposit must be paid to the tenant if the landlord owns 25 or more rental units in the state and the deposit is held for more than six months, under 765 ILCS 715. The amount of interest paid must match the rate currently paid by a savings account at the largest commercial bank of the state. This interest must also be paid out at least once every 12 months.
Under 765 ILCS 710, landlords have 45 days to return a security deposit to a tenant after the lease has been terminated. They may withhold monies from the deposit for unpaid rent and damages, but must provide the tenant with an itemized list of each expense. There are no statutes in the state on pet deposits and keeping records of deposit withholdings.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
Illinois has no statutes for late fees, returned check fees or advance notice of an increase in rent. These items are usually agreed to in advance by all parties within each individual lease.
Under 765 ILCS 735, tenants are allowed to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services, and for needed repairs that they make themselves. However, the repair amount is limited to no more than one half the monthly rent or $500, whichever number is lower. In turn, landlords are allowed to recover court and attorney fees, and must also make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages if the lease is abandoned.
If the landlord has been paying utilities as part of the rent, this arrangement cannot be changed without 30 days advance notice before the current lease ends. It can then be changed when a new lease is drafted.
Notice and Entry Rules
Advance notice is required for a tenant to terminate a lease in Illinois, and these terms are spelled out under 735 ILCS 5/9-205-207. 60 days notice is required for a yearly lease, 30 days for a month-to-month lease and seven days for a weekly lease.
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant for nonpayment, they have to give them five days notice to pay or quit. An eviction for a lease violation requires 10 days of advance notice. The specifics can be found in 735 ILCS 5/9-209-210.
The state has no statutes regarding advance notice for entry by a landlord. Landlords are not allowed to lock tenants out or shut off their utilities to make them move out under any circumstances, however.
Required Disclosures and Notes
Illinois law has some stipulations that are not seen in the rental laws of many other states. For example, according to 765 ILCS 740, the landlord is required to get involved and provide a formal arrangement for dividing the cost of utilities when multiple tenants are sharing a dwelling (such as roommates sharing a house or an apartment with multiple bedrooms). And if a property with growing crops is abandoned by the tenant, the landlord is allowed to harvest the crops to offset the costs of remaining unpaid rent on the lease (as stipulated by 735 ILCS 5/9-318).
Landlords in Illinois are also required to change out the locks and keys each time there is a change in tenants, and to disclose any existence of radon gas if the unit is on the second floor or lower (though there is no requirement that they test for radon). Landlords also cannot retaliate against a tenant by terminating their lease if they make a complaint to a government agency, as stipulated by 765 ILCS 720.
Illinois offers some of the strongest tenancy protections for domestic violence victims among all the states. Most of these rights are covered under 765 ILCS 750. Tenants are allowed to terminate their lease early under certain circumstances involving domestic violence, sexual assault or sexual abuse. Landlords are allowed to ask for proof of domestic violence victim status, but they are not allowed to disclose this information to anyone once it is provided. Once the existence of domestic violence has been established, landlords are required to change the locks out anytime the tenant requests it.
Rent concessions must be described in the lease and must be accompanied by an itemized list of the nature of each concession and the specific amount. The words “Concession Granted” must also be printed on the lease in letters no less than a half of an inch in size. Failure to do this is considered a misdemeanor on the part of the landlord.
Small Claims Courts
The small claims court limit in Illinois is $10,000. Unlike many other states, eviction cases are allowed in small claims court.
- Illinois AG Small Claims Court
- Circuit Court of Cook County: Per Se Small Claims
- Kendall County Small Claims Court
- DuPage County Small Claims Court
- McHenry County Small Claims Court
- Jersey County Small Claims Court