Illinois Landlord-Tenant Laws, Rights, & Regulations [2023]

Explore Illinois' landlord-tenant laws, rights, and regulations highlighting crucial subjects like rent obligations, security deposit protocols, and eviction.

By
Rachel Robinson
|
Last Updated
August 29, 2023
Illinois Landlord-Tenant Laws, Rights, & Regulations [2023]

In Illinois, landlords and tenants must understand the state's rental laws that directly affect their rights, duties, and interactions. While Illinois' landlord-tenant laws are comprehensive and useful, their complexity can feel overwhelming for many.

To assist landlords and tenants in grasping their rights and responsibilities, we've created this complete guide to Illinois' rental statutes. Here, landlords can learn how to safeguard their rental properties and build positive relationships with renters. At the same time, tenants can gain important knowledge needed to assert their basic rights.

Covering a range of topics such as tenant screening, security deposits, lease agreements, and, of course, the eviction process, this guide will help you comprehend the details of The Prairie State’s law under 765 ILCS 705-750.

Let's begin!

Is Illinois considered a landlord-friendly state?

Illinois is only considered somewhat of a landlord-friendly state. While factors like no rent control or security deposit limitations favor landlords, the state has restrictions that limit what they can do to lease their property. Plus, much of the time have more leverage in a lease agreement than the landlord does. This landlord-friendly state ranking list puts Illinois in 43rd place, noting that the state’s rental laws lean in favor of tenants.

Illinois landlord tenant law fast facts

Illinois landlord responsibilities and rights

Rights

Illinois law equips landlords and real estate investors with specific rights that enable them to operate profitable and streamlined rental enterprises, while also providing legal safeguards. A few of their primary rights include:

  • Collecting rent payments when due
  • Collecting and using a security deposit to cover rental damage beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, and unpaid utilities
  • Pursuing the eviction procedure when the tenant violates the lease agreement

Responsibilities

While landlords in Illinois have many rights, they also bear specific responsibilities essential for ensuring a seamless tenancy and a secure living environment for their tenants. Their main duties include:

  • Supplying tenants with a habitable rental property that complies with local housing and building laws
  • Returning the security deposit within 45 days without deductions or 30 days with deductions
  • Making necessary repairs 14 days after being notified in writing by the tenant

Illinois tenant rights and responsibilities

Rights

Similar to landlords, Illinois rental law equips renters with fundamental rights that protect their safety and health while residing in a rental unit. Some of their main rights include:

  • Seeking and living in a habitable rental unit that meets local housing codes
  • Requesting repairs when necessary
  • Living in a property without interference of their privacy and right to quiet enjoyment

Responsibilities

Illinois tenants also have their own set of responsibilities to uphold to maintain a respectful landlord-tenant relationship. Their main duties include:

  • Paying rent on time
  • Keeping the unit in a clean and safe condition
  • Perform minor repairs and maintenance when necessary
  • Not disturbing other tenants or neighbors

Illinois landlord tenant laws through the rental cycle

Illinois rental application and tenant screening laws

Illinois landlord-tenant law allows rental property owners to request rental applications and screen prospective tenants. The state does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee and does not require them to be refundable for potential tenants who aren’t selected.

Additionally, the state does not restrict any specific reports, like a background for credit check, from being used in tenant screening. But it’s important to note that the Federal Fair Housing Act and local ordinances may prevent how the gathered information is used.

Illinois lease agreement laws

Illinois law does not require lease agreements to be in writing, unless it’s for a lease term of one year or greater. However, it’s always recommended to document rental agreements in writing since it grants important rights and responsibilities to both the renter and landlord.

While there are no specific requirements for the contents of an Illinois rental agreement, it’s important to include certain information in the agreement such as name and address of the landlord and tenant, rental payment and increase clauses, and security deposit clauses.

If a tenant wishes to terminate a lease early, they must provide a certain amount of notice to the landlord. Week-to-week leases are required to provide seven days’ notice, month-to-month leases are required to provide 30 days’ notice, and year-long leases are required to provide 60 days’ notice.

Tenants can terminate a rental agreement early for the following reasons:

  • Active military duty
  • Domestic violence
  • Early termination clause
  • Uninhabitable unit

It’s important to note that tenants who break their lease early may still be responsible for paying the rest of the rent owed on the lease. However, the landlord should do their best to re-rent a unit in a reasonable amount of time.

Illinois security deposit laws

Illinois landlords are allowed to collect a security deposit at the start of a tenancy to cover property damage beyond normal wear and tear, plus other unforeseen costs like unpaid rent.

There is no limit on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit, except if the unit is a mobile home, for which landlords can only charge up to one month’s rent.

Other important Illinois security deposit laws landlords should note:

  • Landlords are not required to document the condition of the rental unit in order to collect a deposit.
  • Landlords are not required to provide a receipt for a security deposit.
  • Landlords with 25 rental units in one building holding security deposits for longer than six months are required to pay interest on the deposit.
  • Security deposits do not have to be held in a separate bank account.

At the end of a lease, landlords have 45 days to return the tenant's security deposit. If the landlord made deductions, they have 30 days to return it.

Landlords can legally deduct a portion or all of the funds from the security deposit for reasons including unpaid rent and utilities, damage beyond normal wear and tear, costs due to breaching the lease, and charges mentioned in the lease.

If the deposit is returned late or not returned at all, Illinois tenants can sue for twice the deposit, plus amount wrongfully withheld, court costs, and lawyer fees.

Illinois rent laws

Illinois does not have rent control laws and prevents towns and cities from creating their own rent control laws. This allows landlords across the state to charge an amount of rent they deem appropriate for their property. Additionally, Illinois rental law does not require rent payments to be made at any certain time or in a particular payment method.

Landlords can also raise rent as much as they want and as often as they choose so as long as it’s not during the lease term and it’s included in the lease agreement. State laws also don’t specify how much notice needs to be provided to the tenant before raising rent, thus, should be worked out between the landlord and tenant.

If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, landlords can charge a late fee, but can’t charge a late fee until after five days after the rent payment due date. Late fees cannot be greater than $20 per day or 20% of the total rent payment price.

Illinois repair and maintenance laws

Illinois differs from most states because it only has a few statutes covering requirements for legal habitability. Generally, landlords in the state are required to ensure their rental property is “habitable and fit for living.” At minimum, this means it complies with local housing and building codes.

After receiving written notice from a tenant, landlords have 14 days to make repairs or address a maintenance issue. If the landlord fails to make the repair requested repairs in that time frame, tenants can use the “repair and deduct” remedy if the cost of the repair is less than or equal to the lesser of $500 or one-half of the monthly rent. They may also choose to report the code violations to the appropriate government authorities.

In Illinois, tenants may abandon the property altogether if the landlord does not maintain it in a livable condition. This would be considered “constructive eviction” theory.

Illinois notice of entry laws

Illinois does not have any specific statewide statutes covering notice of entry laws. This leaves it up to the renter and landlord to come to an agreement on a reasonable manner and time of entry. It’s generally recommended that landlords provide at least 24 to 48 hours of notice before entering the property. But, it’s important to note that notice of entry ordinances may vary from city to city.

Illinois eviction and lease termination laws

There are certain legal reasons a landlord can move forward with the eviction procedure in Illinois. The main reasons and the required notice period are as follows:

  • Nonpayment of rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a five-day notice to pay. If the tenant still does not pay, the landlord may proceed with an eviction.
  • Lease violation: If a tenant violates the terms of the lease, the landlord can issue a 10-day notice to cure or vacate. If the issue is still not cured, the landlord may move forward with eviction proceedings.
  • Illegal activity: If the landlord is aware and has legal documentation of illegal activities taking place on the rental property, they may issue a five-day unconditional notice to quit.
  • Lease termination: If tenants “holdover” or do not leave the property at the end of the lease, the landlord must provide notice to vacate. The notice period depends on the type of tenancy. Week-to-week leases are required to provide a seven-day notice to quit, year-to-year leases are required to provide a 60-day notice to quit, and all other terms should provide a 30-day notice to quit.

Like in most states, self-help evictions are illegal in Illinois. Self-help evictions in Illinois include locking tenants out of the property or changing the locks.

Additional Illinois landlord-tenant rental laws

In addition to addressing issues such as repairs and evictions, Illinois state law also covers topics such as housing discrimination and landlord retaliation. Let's explore some of these topics below.

Housing discrimination

In Illinois, discrimination is illegal under both state law and the Federal Fair Housing Act. The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, military status, ancestry, marital status, unfavorable discharge from military service, pregnancy, arrest record, familial status (families with children under 18 years old), source of income (effective 1/1/23), and order of protection status.

It is also against the law in Illinois to discriminate in all aspects of real estate transactions, including renting or leasing, based on a tenant's source of income, such as Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) or disability payments.

Retaliation

It’s illegal for landlords in Illinois to retaliate against their tenants for taking protected actions like reporting the landlord to a government body for housing code violations.

Retaliatory actions in Illinois include threatening to evict the tenant and refusing lease renewal.

Mandatory disclosures

Illinois state law requires landlords to make the following disclosures at the beginning of a lease:

  • Lead-based paint: Landlords with rentals built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint.
  • Radon: Landlords are required to disclose if a radon hazard is found in or near the property. 
  • Shared utility arrangements/master metered utilities: When the tenant pays a portion of shared utilities, landlords must disclose how the tenant's share of the utility bill is calculated. They must also provide copies of utility bills if the tenant requests them.

Why you need to know landlord-tenant laws in Illinois

Gaining a strong grasp of Illinois' rental laws is vital for nurturing a healthy and positive landlord-tenant relationship. These comprehensive regulations are designed to uphold the rights and responsibilities of both parties, fostering an environment of fairness and equilibrium.

For landlords operating in Illinois, comprehending and adhering to these laws not only safeguards their investments but also fosters favorable interactions with their tenants. Simultaneously, these regulations establish the foundation necessary for a secure and considerate living space that tenants can embrace as a home.

Looking for more Illinois real estate insights? Get our Guide to Illinois Landlord Insurance.

Illinois landlord-tenant resources

In addition to this guide, here are a few resources that cover Illinois state and city laws, ensuring you have the information you need to comply with your rental property’s specific regulations and make informed decisions about your rental business.

  1. Chicago Rent Rights: This document covers the different rental rules and regulations specific to Chicago.
  2. Aurora Rental Ordinances: This website covers the city of Aurora’s various rental ordinances specific to the area.
  3. Naperville Fair Housing and Discrimination: This site covers Naperville’s extra legislation protecting tenants from discrimination.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson has 6 years of experience in writing, editing, and SEO, specializing in rental property and real estate. She excels in market trends and landlord-tenant dynamics, producing content that drives traffic and informs. Outside of work, she enjoys climbing Colorado's granite boulders.

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