According to recent data, there are approximately 1.4 million tenants in the state of Illinois right now, meaning that there are great opportunities for landlords who want to rent their property there, but they all must follow the Illinois landlord-tenant guidelines.
The Illinois landlord-tenant law is fairly simple to understand and follow since it doesn't request many specific clauses for landlords and tenants. However, some areas, such as the City of Chicago, have particular laws regarding security deposits.
Complying with these laws is essential to maintain great relationships between the landlord and tenant in every lease agreement case. In this article, we're going to show an overview of the landlord-tenant laws in Illinois so that you know what the tenant and landlord must do in a tenancy.
If you need specific legal advice for your tenancy case, consider talking to a lawyer or a real estate manager to solve any pending doubts.
Is Illinois a Landlord-Friendly State?
Illinois is not usually considered a landlord-friendly state since there are several restrictions for landlords and what they can do to lease their property. On average, tenants have more leverage on a lease's guidelines than landlords.
What Does a Rental Agreement Include in Illinois?
According to Illinois law (Landlord and Tenant Act), a lease agreement is required for any tenancy that goes longer than 12 months (One year). The landlord is allowed to use an oral agreement if they want, but they're not too viable since there's no physical proof of everything that was agreed upon.
These are some of the clauses that most leases in Illinois include:
- Name and address of the landlord and tenant.
- Description of the leased property.
- Rental payments clauses.
- Security deposit clauses.
- Information about the person responsible for repairs and maintenance services.
What Are Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities?
These are a set of guidelines that every landlord must follow throughout the duration of the tenancy. The guidelines may vary depending on the landlord, but generally, they work the same.
Landlords have the right to collect rent payments when they're due, as well as use security deposits to cover damages that exceed normal wear and tear, unpaid utility bills, or unpaid rent. Finally, the landlord has the right to evict their tenant if they don't comply with the lease terms.
While Illinois law doesn't state any specific responsibilities for the landlord, they are expected to provide the tenant a habitable unit that complies with local housing laws. Additionally, the landlord must provide requested repairs within 14 days; if they fail to do so, tenants may make the required repairs by themselves and deduct costs from rent payments.
What Are Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities?
The state law allows tenants to seek habitable housing, meaning that the property should be presented in good condition by the landlord. In case the property suffers from damages that exceed normal wear and tear, the landlord must provide repairs within a reasonable time frame. Otherwise, tenants may make the required repairs themselves or seek legal advice.
Aside from being required to pay rent on time, here's what Illinois tenants have to do to comply with the required state laws during the lease:
- Keep the property in good condition.
- Provide any required repair service for the unit.
- Do a regular maintenance service to the utilities.
- Not disturb other neighbors or tenants.
Illinois Landlord-Tenant Laws - Clauses
Landlords may choose to include as many clauses as they consider appropriate as long as they're compliant with state laws. However, there's a list of general guidelines that most leases include. Here's an overview of those guidelines:
Rent Payment Clauses
Generally speaking, landlords are allowed by state laws to charge any amount of rent they consider appropriate since there aren't any rent control policies in the state.
On the other hand, landlords can raise rent prices whenever they consider it appropriate, as long as they do it after the lease ends. Normally, landlords are not required to give any notice, but at-will tenants must be given at least 30 days of notice.
There are a few limitations regarding late fees in Illinois. In essence, these fees must not be greater than $20 or 20% of the total rent price. If the landlord wants to charge rent fees to their tenant, they must include a clause in the rental agreement document.
Rent is considered "late" if it isn't paid within five days of the due date. If the landlord wants to include a grace period in the lease, they must include a rental document clause.
Security Deposit Clauses
A security deposit is mainly used by landlords to cover any bills or damages that the tenant may have caused during the lease term. There isn't a minimum or maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord may charge, so it's assumed that they can charge any amount they consider appropriate.
According to landlord-tenant laws in Illinois, the landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 45 days of the date they leave the unit. If the landlord decides to withhold a security deposit partially, they must send an itemized list of damages to the tenant within 30 days of them moving out; in that case, the landlord has to provide the necessary repairs within 30 days. If the landlord fails to make these repairs, they must give the deposit back within 45 days of the tenant leaving. Otherwise, they might be sued by their tenant.
The landlord may legally withhold a security deposit in these two scenarios:
- There's unpaid rent.
- Some damages exceed normal tear and wear.
Security Deposit Interest
According to the Security Deposit Interest Act, any landlord who has a property with 25 units or more must pay interest on any deposits held for a minimum of six months.
In the city of Chicago, landlords must open an interest-bearing deposit unless the tenant is in owner-occupied buildings of six units or less. If you want to check the yearly interest rate in Chicago, make sure to read the Chicago Municipal Code.
Lease Termination and Eviction Clauses
Illinois tenants can terminate the lease after it ends. However, they must provide the following notice depending on the type of lease:
- Weekly Lease - Seven -day notice.
- Monthly Lease - 30-day notice.
- Quarterly Lease - Non-applicable.
- Yearly Lease - 60-day notice.
Alternatively, the lease may be terminated early for any of the following reasons:
- Domestic violence.
- Unacceptable living conditions.
- Early termination clauses.
- Active military duty.
Regardless of the reason, tenants may be required to pay rent until the agreement ends, and they may not be allowed to fully break the lease after said rent is paid.
On the other hand, landlords may terminate the agreement for any of the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of Rent - Five-day eviction notice to pay or quit.
- Breach of Lease Terms - 10-day eviction notice to cure or quit.
- Criminal Activity - Five-day unconditional eviction notice.
In the case of at-will tenants, landlords must give a 30-day notice before the eviction process happens.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for Illinois.
The Fair Housing Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act protect tenants from any kind of discrimination against them based on their race, national origin, familial status, religion, sex, disability, and others.
If the landlord is deemed guilty of violating either the Illinois Human Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act, they may have to pay up to $21,039 or $16,000.
Additional Landlord-Tenant Clauses in Illinois
These are some clauses that aren't found in every rental document in Illinois, but they should still be considered by landlords to promote a safe and healthy relationship that complies with state laws.
Landlords' Right to Entry
There aren't any specific rules regarding landlords' rights to enter their unit, meaning that they may enter at any point of the day without any kind of notice. However, it's considered good practice to come to an agreement with the tenant on notification policies.
It's important to note that landlords in Chicago are required to provide two days of written notice to the tenant before they enter the unit.
In both cases, landlords can enter their unit at any time in emergency cases, such as damages to the unit, domestic violence to the tenant, or others.
Small Claims Court
A small claims court in Illinois can hear rental cases of up to $10,000.
If the county where the rental unit has over three million people living there, the landlord is required to change the locks after the term ends for security measures. However, the tenant has the right to request a lock change if they become victims of domestic violence.
In that case, the domestic violence victim should send notice to the landlord so they can change the locks promptly.
Following the law during the tenancy is the first step toward having a great relationship. If landlords and tenants are fully compliant from the beginning, the tenancy is likely to go through without any issues.
If you have to clear up any additional information, seek help from a lawyer or real estate manager.
Must the landlord disclose information about hazardous materials?
If any hazards are affecting the habitability of the rental unit, landlords have to inform the tenant.
What is the proper procedure in the case of the presence of mold and asbestos?
If there's any presence of mold or asbestos in the rental unit, landlords must disclose that information to the tenant with advanced notice.
Does the landlord have to assist the tenant in calculating utilities bills?
Landlords must inform the tenant how the utility bills are calculated and if there are any utilities outside of the unit that count toward the bills.
Is the landlord obligated to disclose information about lead paint used on the property?
If the unit was built before 1978, the tenant has to know of any concentrations of lead paint in the place. The landlord can provide the tenant with a copy of EPA's pamphlet for further information.