Illinois Landlord Tenant Law
There are quite a few state laws and judicial orders of law that help govern landlords and tenants all over the United States, yet each state law is independent of one another, and varies greatly from place to place. This is meant to serve as a brief set of guidelines to help everyone better understand the rules and guidelines for Illinois landlord tenant laws. This is simply a compiled set of rules, and official governing should be done by the order of the state ordinances listed at the bottom of this article. The reader is responsible for their own research.
Illinois Tenant’s Responsibility and Rights
- Tenants should demand their lease to be written and be sure that they have a copy of it. This can help avoid misunderstandings in the future between them and their landlord.
- It is absolutely essential for tenants to pay their rent on time—with only the few exceptions that are stated in the ordinances.
- Tenants are required to keep their rented home space clean, kept up, and free of damage to any part of the unit. They are fully responsible for damages that happen to the home aside from the daily wear and tear of living.
- If it is outlined in the lease and discussed with their landlord, they are required to pay their utility bills. The landlord is not responsible for these amenities if it is previously stated in the lease and agreed upon.
- Do not alter the rented space in any way (including building on, painting, carpeting, tiling, etc.) without the approval of the landlord and written agreement.
- Tenants are required to give a written minimum 30-day notice when they intend to leave in order to ensure that they do not lose their security deposit. This much notice allows for the landlord to plan a new renter to take the place of the tenant and help offset the cost loss.
- There is a specific act (The Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act) which prohibits tenants from being evicted in the case of a government complaint. This includes people such as Animal Rights Commissioners or home inspectors.
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Illinois Landlord Responsibility and Rights
- Landlords are required to maintain the unit that is up for rental so that it is seen to be in top living conditions.
- Landlords have to make all of the necessary repairs that include the minor wear and tear on the use of the house or rental space. This can include anything from keeping up the chipped paint, to supplying new AC units when needed.
- The rental space must be held in accordance with the local and state health codes as well as the housing codes for your particular sate. These can be found at http://www.idph.state.il.us/rulesregs/rules-index.htm.
- Landlords are required to follow all fair housing laws but may require you to complete a rental application and agree to a tenant screening.
- It is the decision of the landlord to set your rent amount and the amount for the security deposit. This should be agreed upon beforehand with the tenant and put in writing to keep things professional and official.
- Landlords are allowed to charge late or missed fees for receiving late rent (or no rent at all), but the amount is to be determined by the landlord themselves. It must be reasonable and not outlandish.
- They are required to make reasonable rules and regulations as per the natural house ordinances of Illinois.
- The landlord is not allowed to interfere with the tenants “covenant of quiet enjoyment”. Anything that interferes with their quiet enjoyment such as coming onto the premises unannounced or without the tenant’s consent can be justified as punishable.
Illinois Lease and Rent Information
In general, a tenant’s lease may be oral or written. Written is the most secure and can keep the most problems to a minimum. This type is also normally form leases that can be presented to the tenant by the landlord. It is important to realize that tenants can always negotiate with their potential landlords after this form has been presented, but something to keep in mind is to have the form rewritten if they decide upon any changes. This can prevent further future hassle and the following statements always apply to the case of the lease.
- Generally, the rules of contract construction apply to this situation (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs2.asp?ChapterID=62).
- No lease has a specified term or amount within their written or oral clauses.
- Courts often imply a renewable lease term that corresponds to the pay periods. This typically defaults to a payment each month, and sometimes even a payment each week.
- Most form leases require a renewal of the tenant’s lease on a month to month basis (or any other time period previously specified by the landlord).
- Landlords have the ability to raise rental amounts on a weekly or monthly basis.
- If they decide to raise the rent, they must give the tenant a week’s notice in regards to a weekly basis or a month’s notice in regards to a monthly basis.
- If the tenant has a fixed-term lease (paid yearly), the landlord is not allowed to raise the rent prior to the expiration date of the payment.
- Because Illinois does not have laws to control rental fluctuation, landlords have the liberty to raise their rent as much as they deem necessary.
- If the landlord refuses or fails to pay the utilities for the rental space, and they are legally responsible by the way of the lease, then the tenant may pay the utilities and have that amount deducted from their monthly or yearly rent.
- Landlords are not allowed to refuse lease or rent of a unit to any potential tenants or make changes to their rental terms for any reasons on the grounds of discrimination.
- This includes anything including religion, nationality, sex, ancestry, race, color, disabilities, marital status or source and amount of income.
- The Federal Fair Housing Act (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/FHLaws) also states that it is illegal to discriminate toward families that have children in the case of renting an apartment or rental unit.
- If a tenant feels as though they have been discriminated against, complaints can be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. (http://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Pages/default.aspx)
- Landlords do have the right to require the prospective tenant to agree to a tenant background check prior to offering to lease or rent a unit.
Illinois Landlord Tenant Security Deposit Information
Security deposits are basically the same thing as a down deposit that a tenant pays at the time of signing the lease. The amount of the security deposit can depend on the landlord, but typically it averages about the same as one-month’s worth of rent, or slightly higher. This payment basically covers extra accidental things such as unpaid rent, damage repairs to the living space, or the cost of cleaning up and touching up everything after the tenant has moved out.
Illinois Interest and Return of the Security Deposit
Illinois Landlord Tenant Laws require that the landlord pay the tenant interest on the security deposit if it is maintained for a minimum of 6 months. Here are a few pieces of information that touch on this.
- There must be a minimum of twenty-five units in the rental building or apartment complex for this to apply.
- At this point, the landlord is required to pay the tenant the interest amount or to put a credit toward their rent yearly.
- Landlords can potentially be sued for withholding the payment of security deposit interest. The amount varies, but typically tends to stay the amount of the security deposit as well as court of law fees.
According to the Illinois Security Deposit Return Act
(http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs2.asp?ChapterID=62). Landlords are required to return a tenant’s security deposit to them within 45 days of moving from the apartment complex. As long as the following requirements are met:
- The building they were staying in must have a minimum of 5 rental spaces.
- The tenant must not owe any back rent or debt to the landlord.
- There must not have been any damage that came to the rental space aside from the normal wear of living.
- The tenant is required to have cleaned the apartment or rental space thoroughly before moving out.
- If the payment return is denied, the landlord is required to give a written statement of damages as well as each paid receipt within 30 days of the date the tenant moved.
- If these damages are not accurate and your landlord violates the security deposit laws, then the tenant will be able to sue them.
- The funds which you receive from this circumstance vary from case to case but typically cover things such as twice the amount of security deposit as well as court costs and attorney fees.
The Chicago Ordinance
In Illinois, there is an extension on security deposit coverage for those living in the Chicago Ordinance area. This ordinance applies to everything except:
- A rental unit of less than six spaces
- A hotel, inn or boarding house of rent less than a month.
- A hospital or monastery.
- Buildings owned by the tenant’s employer.
- A dwelling occupied by a shelter or school dormitory.
To read further on the Chicago ordinance visit https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/doh/provdrs/landlords/svcs/residential-landlord-and-tenant-ordinance.html.
Illinois Landlord Tenant Lease Termination
It is a very real possibility for your landlord to terminate a tenant’s lease at any given time. This can happen for a number of reasons whether they regard the tenant or not. However, in order to rightfully terminate it, the following rules must be obeyed.
- It is required that the landlord tell the tenant in writing that they are intending to terminate the lease. Verbal statements alone are not acceptable.
- Despite popular opinion, your landlord does not have to give a definitive reason for terminating the lease. They don’t even have to mention it at all, other than to forewarn you that it’s coming.
- If your rent is paid every month, you are entitled to at least a month or 30-day notice for the termination.
- If the tenant pays rent yearly, the termination must be given within a 60 day or two month notice.
Information Regarding Eviction
There are quite a few things to realize about the eviction process to ensure that the law is properly upheld for both the tenant and the landlord.
- The landlord must file a lawsuit in order to appropriately evict the tenant.
- They cannot force the tenant to move by having their utilities removed or turned off, by locking the tenant out, by changing the locks or removing the tenant’s personal property from the unit.
- First, the landlord must provide a written notice outlining the reasons for the eviction. If the reason is for not paying your rent, they must allow five days for you to make the payment. If the reason is due to a lease violation, the landlord is required to give a ten day notice.
- If the tenant willingly stays in the unit once the eviction notice has taken place, the landlord can then file a lawsuit and have the tenant evicted. This summons will require the tenant to appear in court, where the normal trial rights will be awarded to them.
- If the tenant loses the case, they will be ordered to vacate the rental.
- The decision can be appealed but must be done within 30 days of the trial.
- Only a sheriff can physically evict a tenant.
Illinois Tenant Screening Background Checks
A key component of landlord tenant laws is also Illinois Tenant Screening Background Checks. We’ve dedicated an entire page to it because of its importance. Visit Illinois Tenant Screening Background Checks to screen your tenant.
Illinois Landlord Forms
All states require a variety of forms to rent an apartment to a tenant and Illinois is no exception. Check out American Apartment Owners Association’s Illinois Landlord Forms now.
Nationwide Landlord Tenant Laws
Looking for landlord tenant laws outside of Illinois? The American Apartment Owners Association offers helpful landlord tenant laws for all 50 states. Click on any of the states listed below and go directly to its landlord tenant laws page.
- Alabama (AL)
- Alaska (AK)
- Arizona (AZ)
- Arkansas (AR)
- California (CA)
- Colorado (CO)
- Connecticut (CT)
- Delaware (DE)
- Florida (FL)
- Georgia (GA)
- Hawaii (HI)
- Idaho (ID)
- Illinois (IL)
- Indiana (IN)
- Iowa (IA)
- Kansas (KS)
- Kentucky (KY)
- Louisiana (LA)
- Maine (ME)
- Maryland (MD)
- Massachusetts (MA)
- Michigan (MI)
- Minnesota (MN)
- Mississippi (MS)
- Missouri (MO)
- Montana (MT)
- Nebraska (NE)
- Nevada (NV)
- New Hampshire (NH)
- New Jersey (NJ)
- New Mexico (NM)
- New York (NY)
- North Carolina (NC)
- North Dakota (ND)
- Ohio (OH)
- Oklahoma (OK)
- Oregon (OR)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- Rhode Island (RI)
- South Carolina (SC)
- South Dakota (SD)
- Tennessee (TN)
- Texas (TX)
- Utah (UT)
- Vermont (VT)
- Virginia (VA)
- Washington (WA)
- West Virginia (WV)
- Wisconsin (WI)
- Wyoming (WY)
Reminder: This information is a general explanation and summary of Illinois Landlord Tenant Law but is in no way meant to substitute for legal advice, nor does it list all the statutes under the Illinois Residential Landlord Tenant Act.
If You Need More Information
For more information, go online to: http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/landlordtenantrights0404.pdf.
To access the Illinois Landlord and Tenant Act, go to: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2201&ChapterID=62 To view all current and up-to-date Illinois general assembly acts go to: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs2.asp?ChapterID=62