Illinois landlord-tenant law governs the relationship between landlords and tenants and covers lease agreements, rent payments, security deposits, property maintenance, and eviction procedures.

Knowing the law helps landlords manage their properties effectively and legally. It allows them to set proper expectations for tenants, enforce lease terms, and handle disputes or evictions within the bounds of the law. Landlords must also understand their responsibilities, such as maintaining a habitable living environment, complying with lease agreements, and following proper eviction procedures.

Tenants benefit from understanding Illinois landlord-tenant law by knowing their rights and protections under the law, including the right to a habitable dwelling, privacy, and protection from unfair eviction practices. Knowing the law can help tenants address issues with their landlords, such as repairs or maintenance concerns, without fear of retaliation. Here is a guide to Illinois tenant rights, landlord rights, and each party’s responsibilities regarding the relationship.

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Illinois Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

In Illinois, landlords have certain rights outlined by state law to ensure a fair and lawful rental process. These rights include the following.

  • Right to collect rent. Landlords have the right to collect rent from tenants following the terms of the lease agreement. This includes setting the amount of rent, determining the due date, and specifying acceptable payment methods.
  • Right to enter the property. Landlords have the right to enter the rental property for specific reasons, such as performing repairs or inspections. However, they must provide reasonable notice to the tenant, usually 24 hours, except in cases of emergency.
  • Right to evict. Landlords have the right to evict tenants for reasons such as non-payment of rent, lease violations, or failure to vacate after the lease term has ended. However, landlords must follow the proper legal procedures for eviction, including providing the tenant with written notice and obtaining a court order if necessary.

Landlords also have certain responsibilities that are imposed on them by state law.

  • Maintain habitability. Landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining a habitable living environment for tenants. This includes ensuring the property is structurally sound, with adequate heating, plumbing, and electricity, and complying with local health and safety codes.
  • Comply with lease agreements. Landlords must comply with the terms of the lease agreement, including providing the agreed-upon services and amenities. They must also respect the tenant’s right to privacy and not unlawfully enter the property or harass the tenant.

The state also has specific requirements concerning security deposits.

  • Security deposit limits. Landlords in Illinois are allowed to collect a security deposit from tenants, but the amount is limited to the equivalent of two months’ rent for unfurnished units and three months’ rent for furnished units.
  • Use of security deposit. Landlords can use the security deposit to cover unpaid rent, damage beyond normal wear and tear, and cleaning costs when the tenant moves out. However, landlords must provide an itemized statement of deductions and return any remaining deposit to the tenant within a specified timeframe.

Understanding the rights and responsibilities of landlords in Illinois is essential for landlords to create a safe and comfortable living environment for their tenants while protecting their own interests. What a landlord cannot do in Illinois can vary by county, and landlords with questions about their responsibilities to their tenants should seek legal advice to help protect their rights.

Illinois Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants in Illinois also have specific rights and responsibilities outlined by state law. Understanding these rights and responsibilities is crucial for tenants to ensure fair treatment and to protect their rights if necessary. Under the law, Illinois renters’ rights include the following.

  • Right to a habitable dwelling. Tenants have the right to live in a rental property that is safe, sanitary, and meets local building and health codes. Landlords are responsible for ensuring the property is habitable and making necessary repairs.
  • Right to privacy. Tenants have the right to privacy in their rental units. Landlords must provide reasonable notice (at least 24 hours) before entering the property for non-emergency reasons, such as repairs or inspections.
  • Right to a return of security deposit: When a tenant moves out, they have the right to receive a refund of their security deposit, minus any deductions for unpaid rent, damages beyond normal wear and tear, or cleaning costs. Landlords must provide an itemized statement of deductions within 30 days of vacating the unit.

Just like landlords, tenants have responsibilities that go along with these rights.

  • Paying rent on time. Tenants are responsible for paying rent on time according to the terms of the lease agreement. Failure to pay rent can result in eviction.
  • Maintaining the property. Tenants are responsible for keeping the rental unit clean and in good condition. They must also promptly report any maintenance issues or repairs to the landlord.

Lease agreements outline the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, including the rent amount, lease term, and any rules or regulations that tenants must follow. Tenants should carefully review any lease agreement before signing to understand their obligations and seek legal advice should they have any questions or concerns about a lease agreement.

Common Landlord-Tenant Conflicts

Disputes between landlords and tenants can arise for various reasons, with one of the most common reasons for disputes being eviction. Evictions can occur due to non-payment of rent, lease violations, or other breaches of the lease agreement. Disputes over the return of the security deposit are also common, including disagreements over deductions for damages, cleaning costs, or unpaid rent. Additionally, violations of the lease agreement, such as unauthorized pets, subletting, or noise violations, can lead to disputes between landlords and tenants.

Overview of the Eviction Process in Illinois

Before an eviction can happen, landlords must provide tenants with written notice stating the reason for eviction and giving them a specified amount of time to remedy the issue or vacate the property. The tenant has five days to remedy the rent-related disputes and ten days to address lease violations. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit in the appropriate county court. The court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present their case, and if the court rules in favor of the landlord, a judgment for possession of the property may be issued. 

Location Matters

Illinois counties can have slightly different requirements when it comes to landlord-tenant relationships. While the state sets the baseline regulations, individual counties can enact additional requirements or rules that landlords and tenants must follow. These differences can include variations in eviction procedures, security deposit limits, rental inspection requirements, and even lease termination notices. For example, Cook County, including Chicago, has its landlord-tenant ordinance that supplements state law. This is why if you find yourself in a landlord-tenant legal dispute in Illinois, promptly seeking legal advice can be the key to a positive outcome.


Contact Us

Landlord-tenant issues can have a significant impact on both parties. If you are facing a legal dispute related to Illinois landlord-tenant law, you may need the assistance of an Illinois attorney to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal process. Here at Vantage Group Legal Services, our subscription service allows you to access legal assistance for a monthly fee. Give us a call to set up a free consultation, or fill out our online contact form to get started today.

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