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Illinois Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

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Illinois Landlord Tenant Law: What You Need to Know?

The Illinois Landlord Tenant law is a set of regulations that govern the relationship between landlords and tenants in the state of Illinois. The law is designed to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants, and to ensure that both parties are treated fairly.

  • Rights of Landlords and Tenants :
    Under the Illinois Landlord Tenant law, landlords have the right to collect rent from their tenants, and to evict them if they fail to pay rent or violate the terms of their lease agreement. Tenants, on the other hand, have the right to a safe and habitable home, and to be free from discrimination.
  • Enforcement of the Law:
    The Illinois Landlord Tenant law is enforced by the Illinois Attorney General’s office. If either a landlord or tenant believes that their rights have been violated, they can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.

Let’s understand Illinois landlord tenant law and regulations through the following –

Leases – A lease may be written or oral. Oral leases are only permitted if the term is less than one year

  • Lease Term – A lease may have an unspecified term like a month to month, and must be ended by notice. A lease may also be for a specific amount of time, like one year, one month, etc.
  • Ending a lease – With regards to a fixed term lease, unless otherwise specified in the lease, the tenant shall move out when the rental agreement ends. 30 Days notice is required for month to month leases and 60 days notice is required for year to year leases. Weekly leases require a 7 Days notice. A landlord is not required to give any reason to terminate a lease.

Security Deposit – There are no statutory limitations placed on the maximum amount for a security deposit but there are several municipalities in Illinois that have comprehensive Landlord-Tenant Statutes. Landlords should contact an attorney or the city agency in which his or her rental building is located to determine municipal-specific statutory limitations.

  • Interest on the security deposit? Rental properties located in Chicago, Evanston, or Mt. Prospect, requires that the tenant be paid interest each year. Elsewhere in Illinois, the landlord is only required to pay interest for a building or complex with 25 or more units.
  • Returning the Security Deposit – The state of Illinois has no comparable statute for houses or properties with fewer than 5 units. Otherwise; The Illinois Security Deposit Return Act requires a landlord to return the security deposit in full within 45 days of the date a tenant has vacated the unit if:
    • Your building or complex consists of 5 or more units.
    • The tenant does not owe any back rent.
    • The tenant has not damaged the rental unit.

Important: Chicago and Evanston may have slightly different procedures for the handling and the return of the security deposit. Check with the proper municipality for specific rules. If the landlord withholds any portion of the security deposit he/she must provide an itemized statement of all damages INCLUDING receipts, within 30 days the tenant vacated the premises.

Subleasing – A tenant is not permitted to sub-lease unless otherwise stated in the lease or the landlord gives permission.

Late Fees – There are no limits on late fees, however, they must be reasonable. A returned payment fee may not exceed $25. Daily late fees are not prohibited, but tend to be a rare practice. There is no legal grace period in regards to payment of rent imposed by the State of Illinois Landlord Tenant Act (ILTA). This is usually governed by the rental agreement, and typically there is a 5 day grace period.

Rent – Illinois does not have a rent control law.

  • Rent Increases – Landlords may schedule a rent increase for a week-to-week tenancy by serving a 7 days notice or month to month tenancy by serving a 30 days notice. It is not permitted to raise the rent during a fixed-term lease. For instance, the landlord is prohibited from raising the rent prior to the end of a lease, if the lease has a beginning date and an ending date. A landlord can raise the rent as much as he/she feels is necessary. To see if your city or county has a rent control ordinance, you should contact your local units of government.
  • Non Payment of Rent – If the tenant breaks the lease by failing to pay rent, a 5 day notice is required before a Summons and Complaint for eviction can be filed. The day of posting does not count, nor does any day in which the court is not open such as holidays or weekends. After the 5 day notice is served, then a court proceeding can be initiated. A landlord may not change the locks or turn off utilities because the tenant did not pay rent.

When is rent legally considered overdue in Illinois?
As an Illinois landlord, you must understand the state’s rental laws regarding delinquent payments. Rent is legally considered overdue in Illinois when it hasn’t been received or paid on the date outlined in a tenant’s lease agreement; however, other specific provisions must also be addressed before pursuing any collection efforts. Take a closer look at when rent is considered overdue under Illinois Landlord Tenant Law and outline the steps involved in properly handling delinquency issues as they arise.

  • In Illinois, rent is legally considered overdue when it is more than 5 days late.
  • If your rent is overdue, your landlord may give you a written notice that gives you 5 days to pay the rent or move out.
  • If you do not pay the rent or move out within 5 days, your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against you.
  • If you are served with an eviction lawsuit, you will have 7 days to file an answer with the court.
  • If you do not file an answer with the court, or if your answer is not sufficient, the court will enter a judgment against you and issue an order for you to be evicted from the property.

Can a tenant withhold rent if repairs aren’t made to the property?
Tenants in Illinois have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the repairs of their rental property. According to Illinois Landlord Tenant Law, landlords are responsible for keeping the property in a safe and livable condition. Unfortunately, if a landlord fails to make necessary repairs, tenants may be able to withhold rent if they follow certain steps outlined by Illinois law. Depending on the severity of the repair needed, tenants should contact their landlord in writing and wait seven days before providing notice, allowing time for the landlord to make the necessary fix. If after seven days nothing has been done, then tenants can contact their local Codes Department or legal aid office for further advice. Taking timely action can not only keep them from being financially liable but also ensure that Illinois Landlord Tenant Law is respected.

If a landlord or tenant doesn’t feel comfortable handling a dispute on their own, is there someone they can turn to for help?

  • Illinois Landlord Tenant Law, the Illinois Attorney General, and the Illinois Department of Human Rights are great resources for landlords and tenants who are not sure how to handle a dispute.
  • Illinois Landlord Tenant Law cover a range of topics from security deposits, eviction processes, leases, repairs, and more. The Illinois Attorney General can provide legal advice in English and Spanish on common tenant issues as well as answer questions about your rights as a tenant.
  • Finally, the Illinois Department of Human Rights can also provide resources on housing discrimination. Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, these organizations can support you with arbitration services to help settle disputes as well.

Are there any specific laws or regulations that landlords must follow when renting out property in Illinois?
Illinois Landlord Tenant Law outlines specific regulations that landlords must abide by when renting out their property. Some examples of Illinois law include strict habitability standards for proper maintenance, clear disclosure of terms in the lease agreement, and tenant protections from unfair or illegal evictions. Illinois landlords must also be mindful of any additional rules or regulations from local county city ordinances. Illinois landlords need to stay on top of the ever-evolving Illinois Landlord Tenant Law to properly operate their rental properties and maintain good relationships with tenants.

What are the most common violations of Illinois Landlord Tenant law?

  1. Not Providing a Written Lease
    One of the most common violations of Illinois landlord tenant law is not providing a written lease. A written lease is important because it sets forth the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant. Without a written lease, tenants may be unaware of their rights, or they may be held to terms that are unfair or unreasonable.
  2. Charging an Excessive Security Deposit
    Another common violation of Illinois landlord tenant law is charging an excessive security deposit. Under Illinois law, landlords are only allowed to charge a security deposit that is equal to one month’s rent. If a landlord charges more than this, the tenant may be entitled to a refund of the excess amount.
  3. Making Unauthorized Repairs or Improvements
    Landlords in Illinois are also prohibited from making unauthorized repairs or improvements to the rental property. If a landlord makes any changes to the property without the tenant’s consent, the tenant may be entitled to a refund of any money paid for those changes. Additionally, the tenant may be able to sue the landlord for damages if the changes result in any type of injury.
  4. Refusing to Make Necessary Repairs
    Another violation of Illinois landlord tenant law is refusing to make necessary repairs. Landlords are required by law to keep their rental properties in safe and habitable condition. If a landlord fails to do this, the tenant may be entitled to withhold rent or sue the landlord for damages.
  5. Retaliating Against Tenants
    Finally, it is important to note that landlords in Illinois are prohibited from retaliating against tenants who exercise their legal rights. For example, a landlord cannot evict a tenant simply because the tenant has complained about necessary repairs that have not been made. If a landlord does take retaliatory action against a tenant, the tenant may be able to sue for damages

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to vacate in Illinois?
For landlords and tenants in Illinois, the Illinois landlord tenant law requires a 30-day written notice to vacate. This means that landlords must give tenants at least 30 days of written notice if they plan to terminate the rental agreement. The notice must include the exact date by which the tenant is supposed to have vacated the premises. During this period, the normal rent payment should still be made as required in the rental agreement. Tenants also have a responsibility to give landlords a 30-day written notice before vacating, following similar terms as above. Following Illinois landlord tenant law can help keep relationships between both parties amicable and legal.

Can a tenant be evicted for having unauthorized occupants in Illinois?
Knowing your rights as a tenant in Illinois is essential. Landlords have the right to evict tenants if they have unauthorized occupants living with them per Illinois landlord tenant law. Tenants should be aware of the consequences of allowing other people to stay on the premises, from being removed from the property to facing eviction or legal action. It’s important for both parties to understand their responsibilities and rights under Illinois landlord tenant law to avoid any unwanted surprises.

What is the process for evicting a tenant in Illinois?
Evicting a tenant in Illinois can be a difficult process, but one that is necessary for some landlords. The process of eviction must always follow the Illinois landlord tenant law and can involve a few steps. First, the landlord must give written notice of the termination of the tenancy to the tenant. Afterward, the landlord may manage an eviction hearing in which a judge decides if an eviction will take place. Following this decision, a 5-day notice to leave is given, and only afterward is the tenant officially evicted and removed from the property. This process gives both tenants and landlords time to understand their rights under Illinois law and ensure their safety through legal channels. Eviction can be costly if done improperly, so it is important to follow Illinois landlord tenant law while ensuring peace of mind during said proceedings.

What to do if you’re being harassed by your landlord?
Struggling to fight against an ill-tempered or oppressive landlord? If you find yourself in a situation of being harassed by your landlord, it is important to know some of the provisions under the Illinois Landlord Tenant Law. These include the right for tenants to obtain a temporary restraining order from their local circuit court if their landlord continues to harass them. Furthermore, tenants should also consider filing a petition in their county’s public housing court if the harassment is related to rental payments. Ultimately, understanding and utilizing these tenant rights can help protect ill-intended landlords.

MORE INFORMATION – It is very important that all landlords and owners of investment property contact their local zoning and housing offices to be sure they are aware of any regulations and/or restrictions. Most larger cities do have their own ordinances.

CHICAGO: Please view the Chicago Landlord Tenant Law Summary, which is available as a free download and contains information that all Chicago landlords should know. Additionally, landlords of high-rise buildings must begin providing Life Safety Disclosure Statements to new AND renewing tenants PRIOR to lease execution. The city clerks office has these available.

EVANSTON: Leases and rules governing Evanston, Illinois are subject to requirements of local ordinances that differ from state requirements which can be found in the document titled City of Evanston Landlord Tenant Ordinance.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

For additional information see our Illinois leasing resources, or feel free to ask legal questions in our Forum.

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