Illinois Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Illinois landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Illinois Landlord Tenant Act.

IL Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Illinois Statutes Chapter 765, 765 ILCS 705 - Landlord and Tenant Act

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

If a prospective tenant is accepted and moves in, this application fee cannot be used as part of the security deposit.

If a prospective tenant is accepted but chooses NOT to move in, the landlord has to return what's left of the application fee (if any). In this case, the tenant is responsible for the landlord's cost of finding a replacement tenant (which includes lost rent during this period).

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act Sec.604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

In addition, Illinois landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of his or her age (40 years or older), ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status or whether he or she is a victim of domestic violence.

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Tenancy Agreement

If you are renting the property for one year or less, your tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be verbal or written. If you are renting for more than one year, your lease agreement must be in writing.
   
A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

What Landlord Must Disclose

  • Lead Paint: If the property was built before 1978, the landlord must inform the tenant if the property contains lead-based paint (before signing the rental agreement)
  • Radon Contamination: The landlord must inform prospective tenants if the property contains traces of radon [420 ILCS 46/15, 46/25]
  • Rent Concession: The landlord has to inform prospective tenants of rent concessions (that aren't stated in the rental agreement) [765 ILCS 730/0 to 730/6]

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Illinois landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property
  • Name and address of property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner)
  • How utility bills are split (among multiple tenants) [765 ILCS 740/5]

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

There are no Illinois landlord tenant statutes prohibiting certain terms and conditions in the rental agreement.

We recommend that your rental agreement should NOT:

  • make the landlord or tenant give up any legal rights or remedies
  • permit the landlord to get a confession of judgment against the tenant
  • limit the landlord or tenant's liability when they have failed in their duties
  • make the tenant pay for rent when the landlord fails to maintain the property
  • allow the landlord to seize the tenant's personal belongings

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Security Deposit

Illinois landlord tenant law does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord can ask (as long as the tenant is agreeable).

The landlord does not have to pay the tenant deposit interest unless the landlord owns 25 or more rental units AND the deposit is held for six months or longer. The landlord shall pay interest equal to savings account interest rate of the largest commercial bank. The landlord shall pay the tenant interest every 12 months as long as the interest adds up to $5 or more. [765 ILCS 715/1 & 2]

There are no Illinois landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods or other deposits (e.g. pet deposit, nonrefundable deposit).

Deductions and Returns

Illinois landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
   
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of deductions and refund and remaining deposit within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing and contain all receipts involved in the costs of any repairs and replacements.

If there is no deduction, the landlord has to return the full deposit to the tenant in person or by postmarked mail within 45 days (of the tenant vacating the property). [765 ILCS 710/1.(a)]

If the landlord fails to follow Illinois landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover up to two times the amount of security deposit PLUS court costs and attorney's fees. [765 ILCS 710/1.(c)]

If Property is Sold

Once the property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit, prepaid rent, and interest to the tenant (at the end of the tenancy). Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents along with the property. [765 ILCS 710/1.1 & 1.2]

The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The previous owner makes a proper transfer of all security deposits and prepaid rents to the new owner
  2. The previous owner informs the tenant in writing (within 21 days) that the property is being sold and the security deposit has been transferred to the new owner
  3. The new owner and tenant enters into a new agreement on the condition and contents of the property

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Chicago, Illinois IL

Illinois Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

There are no Illinois landlord tenant laws on the time, place and method of rent payment.

Late Rent

If the tenant is late in paying rent for five days or more, the landlord may impose late fees amounting to 20% of the monthly rent. [770 ILCS 95.7.10]

Raising Rent

The landlord has to inform the tenant 30 days (in writing) in advance before he or she can increase the rent or change another term of a month-to-month agreement. For a week to week tenancy, the landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase 7 days in advance.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant include these additional details in the rental agreement:

  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase

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Property Maintenance

There are no Illinois landlord tenant laws stating the landlord's responsibilities or the tenant's duties in keeping the property clean and safe.

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

Under the Residential Tenants' Right to Repair Act [765 ILCS 742/5], the tenant can make repairs and deduct the cost from rent if the repair costs are $500 or less.

First the tenant has to inform the landlord in writing of his or her intention to make repairs (at the landlord's expense). If the landlord fails to make repairs within 14 days, the tenant may proceed to make repairs and deduct the costs from next month's rent. This 14 day notice can be shortened if the property's condition is endangering the tenant's health and safety.

Landlord Fails to Provide Essential Services

If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation) that has been agreed upon in the rental agreement, the tenant has two choices [765 ILCS 735/1]:

1. The tenant can terminate the lease

The tenant can send a written notice to quit to the landlord and move out. This does not clear the landlord or tenant of liabilities incurred during the tenancy.

2. The tenant can pay the bills and deduct the cost from rent

If utility services were cut off because the landlord failed to pay the bills, the tenant can pay the utility bill(s) and deduct the cost from the rent.

The tenant can register future utility bills under his or name by taking the following actions:

  • Provide satisfactory credit references
  • Pay a deposit for the new utility service (as required by Illinois Commerce Commission)
  • Agree to pay for all future bills

Once the tenant has done all of the above, the tenant can pay utility bills and deduct the costs from the rent in the future.

The landlord is not allowed to disrupt or terminate utility services except for emergencies and building repairs. If a temporary disruption is required, the landlord has to inform all affected tenants (in writing) seven days in advance.

If the landlord fails to follow Illinois landlord tenant law for disrupting utilities, the tenant won't have to pay rent for that month.

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Property Access

There are no Illinois landlord tenant statutes on when and how the landlord can enter the property.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When does the landlord require the tenant's permission to enter the property?
    Examples: Making repairs, supplying essential services, inspecting for damages, showing property to prospective buyers or tenants
  • How long in advance should the landlord inform the tenant before entering the property?
  • When is the landlord allowed to enter the property without the tenant's permission?
    Examples: Handling emergencies (such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion), tenant has abandoned the property
  • What are the penalties if the tenant refuses the landlord's valid request to enter the property?
  • What are the penalties if the landlord enters the property without the tenant's permission or without a valid reason?

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Subletting

There are no specific Illinois landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Rockford, Illinois IL

Rockford, Illinois IL

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Illinois landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy [735 ILCS 5/9-207.(a)]:

Week to week tenancy

7 days

Month to month tenancy

30 days

Year to year tenancy

60 days

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Tenant or dependent is a victim of domestic abuse

30 days

Tenant is deployed in the armed forces

See below

Tenant or Dependent is a Victim of Domestic Abuse

If the tenant or tenant's dependent is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, the tenant can terminate the tenancy (without penalty) by giving the landlord a written 30 day notice to quit. [765 ILCS 750]

This notice must include a statement (under oath or affirmation) that the tenant or tenant's dependent is a victim of domestic abuse PLUS a police, court or government record describing the domestic violence suffered by the tenant or tenant's dependent.

Tenant is Deployed in the Armed Forces

If a tenant serving in the military (for at least 30 consecutive days) is deployed to another location for 90 days or more, he or she can terminate the tenancy (without penalty) by giving the landlord a written notice to quit PLUS a copy of the deployment orders [765 ILCS 705/16.(a),(b),(c)]

If the tenant pays the rent in monthly intervals, the tenancy shall terminate 30 days after the due date of next month's rent. Otherwise the tenancy shall terminate 30 days after the notice is delivered to the landlord.

All remaining security deposit and prepaid rents must be returned to the tenant. [765 ILCS 705/16.(d)]

Notice to Quit Contents

If you are the tenant, your notice must contain the following:

  • Address of rental property
  • Termination date and time
  • Signature of person giving the notice

If you are the landlord, your notice must ALSO contain the following:

  • Why the tenancy is being terminated
  • Any corrective action that tenant may take to avoid termination of tenancy and when it must be completed (if applicable)
  • Landlord may sue to remove tenant from the property if tenant doesn't move out by termination date

Giving Notice to Quit

The tenant can deliver the notice to the landlord in person or mail it to the address where the rent is paid.

The landlord can serve the notice to the tenant in the following ways:

  • Deliver the notice to the tenant in person
  • Leave the notice at the property if the tenant is absent
  • Send the notice by registered or certified mail

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Eviction

According to Illinois landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

5 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

10 days

Tenant produced, used, sold or stored controlled substances on property

5 days

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a 5 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. If the rent is fully paid within 5 days, the tenant may stay. [735 ILCS 5/9-209]

This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay the full amount or move out. It also has to include the following:

"Only FULL PAYMENT of the rent demanded in this notice will waive the landlord's right to terminate the lease under this notice, unless the landlord agrees in writing to continue the lease in exchange for receiving partial payment."

If the notice does not include the above statement, the tenant may continue staying after paying part of the rent.

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a 10 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. [735 ILCS 5/9-210] *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. The landlord does not need to give the tenant time to correct the problem and may proceed to file an eviction suit if the tenant does not move out within 10 days.

If the tenant produced, used, sold or stored controlled substances on the rental property, the landlord can send a 5 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. [740 ILCS 40/11]

Eviction Notice

Also known as "Notice of Termination of Tenancy" or "Notice to Quit", Illinois landlord tenant law requires all eviction notices to contain the following [735 ILCS 5/9-211]:

  • Reason(s) for termination of tenancy
  • Date and time that tenancy will terminate
  • State that the tenant must move out of the property by the termination date and time
  • State that the landlord may sue to remove the tenant from the property if the tenant doesn't move out by termination date and time

If Illinois landlord tenant law allows the tenant to avoid eviction by correcting the problem(s), the eviction notice must also contain:

  • The corrective action(s) to be taken by for the tenant
  •  The date and time by which the correction action(s) must be completed

The landlord can serve an eviction notice to the tenant with any following method:

  • Give the notice to the tenant in person
  • Leave the notice at the rental unit if the tenant isn't home
  • Send the notice by registered or certified mail

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Abandonment

There are no specific Illinois landlord tenant laws on abandonment of property by the tenant.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When is the property considered abandoned by the tenant? - Tenant hasn't paid rent for X days, Tenant has been absent from the property for X days (without informing the landlord)
  • After the property is abandoned, does the tenant have to continue paying rent until the landlord finds a new tenant?
  • What will happen to the tenant's abandoned belongings? - Can the landlord dispose or sell them immediately OR does the landlord have to hold it for a period of time?
  • If the landlord is holding the abandoned belongings, how long does the tenant have to claim it back AND does the tenant have to pay the landlord any holding costs?

Dealing with Abandoned Crops

If the tenant abandoned the property, the landlord may seize any crops grown on the property (even if the tenant has paid the rent). The landlord may dispose or sell the seized crops after they mature. The landlord can use the revenue from selling crops to pay for any rent owed and crop-related expenses.

Tenant can recover the seized crops by paying the landlord any rent owed and crop-related expenses.

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Resources

Illinois Landlord Tenant Law: Illinois Landlord and Tenant Act

Illinois Landlord Tenant Handbook: Illinois Housing Handbook

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