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Illinois Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin


Security Deposits

  • In Illinois, like other states, security deposits are designed to prove a tenant’s financial stability and secure a payment for damaged property.
    • Most landlords in Illinois collect a security deposit that is equal to the monthly rent price. There is no limit on the security deposit amount, however. (765 ILCS 710/1)
  • If there is no reason to withhold funds prior to a tenant moving out of the property, a landlord must return the security deposit within 45 days. (765 ILCS 710/1(a)
    • If the deposit is not returned in full, an itemized list of what/how the money is being used for must be issued within 30 days of the tenant moving out. (765 ILCS 710/1)
    • If the landlord fails to return payment within this time period, the tenant is legally owed twice the amount, plus the cost of legal fees. (765 ILCS 710(c)
  • A landlord is required to pay interest on a security deposit if the rental property has over 25 units, and/or the deposit will be kept for longer than 6 months. The interest rate in the state of Illinois differs from that of Chicago, and each of these rates change yearly. Such earnings owed must be credited or paid-out to the tenant every 12 months. (765 ILCS 715/1&2)
    • If the deposit is held for more than 6 months, or the landlord owns more than 25 units in a single complex, it must be kept in a separate account.

Rent and Late fees

  • Landlords in Illinois are allowed to charge a late fee equivalent to $20 or 20% of the monthly rent amount if the tenant has still failed to pay 5 days after rent is due. (770 ILCS 95.7.10)
    • In Chicago, the late fee shouldn’t exceed $10 per month of rent under $500 plus 5% per month on the part of rent that exceeds $500
    • There is no required grace period for late rent, but most landlords include one to make it clear to tenants the exact day that a late fee will be enforced.
  • A tenant is allowed to withhold rent if the landlord has failed to provide essential services (water, heat, etc.) (765 ILCS 735)
  • There is no statute regarding notices for rent increases.

Notices and Entry

  • If a rental agreement is on a yearly basis, a landlord must notify a tenant 60 days prior to terminating a lease early (735 ILCS 5/9-205)
    • If the rental agreement is month-to-month, the landlord must notify the tenant 30 days prior to terminating a lease early (735 ILCS 5/9-207)
    • If the rental agreement is week-to-week, the landlord must notify the tenant 7 days prior to terminating a lease early (735 ILCS 5/9-207)
  • A landlord must notify a tenant 24 hours in advance to entering a rental unit for repairs or property showings. (735 ILCS 5/9-102) However, if there is an emergency, a landlord is not required to give notice.
    • In Chicago, a landlord must give a 48 hour notice of entry.
    • A landlord has 14 days to make a repair after a tenant has provided notice of such damages. The tenant is then allowed to have the work completed at the landlord’s expense if he/she fails to do so in this time frame. (765 ILCS 742/)


  • A landlord is required to disclose any known presence of radon, mold, asbestos, or lead paint on the property. (420 ILCS 46/25)
    • If there is a presence of lead paint in the unit or common area, the lease must include a federally-approved attachment on lead poisoning prevention.
    • In Chicago, landlords must inform tenants if there is a history of bed bugs on their property, along with a bed bug pamphlet.
  • In Illinois, a landlord must change the locks/keys in between tenants (765 ILCS 750/1). Additionally, a landlord must change them if requested by a domestic violence victim (765 ILCS 750/20)
    • The landlord is not allowed to disclose the status of a domestic violence victim to anyone (765 ILCS 750/27)
  • A landlord must provide a formula for dividing up utilities when split amongst multiple tenants (765 ILCS 740/5)
  • The rental agreement must disclose the identity of the property owner.
  • Prospective tenants are required to know if the property is currently in a foreclosure

Eviction Laws

Eviction Step #1: Inform your tenant with an official notice

An official notice is posted to the tenant. Typically, although this varies based State and county, the landlord hands the notice to the tenant in person, or posts the notice to the door if the tenant is not home. You also may need to send a copy via certified mail.

Eviction Step #2: Wait for the tenant to respond

If the tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord must give a 5 day eviction notice (735 ILCS-120(d)). If there is a violation of the lease, a landlord must give a 10 day eviction notice (735 ILCS 5/9-210)

Eviction Step #3: File With Court

If the tenant has not paid you within the time period outlined in Step #2, then file with the local courts for the official eviction. Both you and the tenant will receive a specific date for the hearing.

Eviction Step #4: Attend the court date

You or your lawyer will want to attend the court hearing and bring proper documentation of the lease violation with you. You should prepare to bring the following, at a minimum:

  1. Your lease agreement
  2. Evidence of payment failures / history
  3. Proof that you served the tenant (Step #1)
  4. Any communications or other helpful records

Eviction Step #5: Sheriff to remove the tenant

If the tenant does not leave on their own, then you have a right, within a certain amount of time, to request for a sheriff to remove the tenant.

Eviction Step #6: Collecting damages

Most likely, the tenant owes you money for the lease violation. Here are some ways to collect money from the damages:

  1. Garnish wages
  2. File in small claims court
  3. Use a private debt collector

For more information on Illinois Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.