Illinois Landlord Tenant Laws [2023]: Renter's Rights & FAQs (2023)

Last Updated: January 6, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

As is the case in most states, leases in Illinois are considered to valid if they are written or oral. According to Illinois law (IL Landlord and Tenant Act), any rental agreement comes with responsibilities and rights for landlords, such as the right to rental payments and the right to evict if the lease terms are violated.

Tenants also have such rights, including the right to seek habitable housing.

Note: These rights and responsibilities still apply even if they are not explicitly included in the lease agreement.

Questions? To chat with an Illinois landlord tenant attorney, click here

Landlord Responsibilities in Illinois

Illinois is one of few states that does not explicitly outline the necessary amenities that landlords are responsible for. Rather, landlords have a general responsibility to make sure that units are “habitable and fit for living.” Precedent has determined that this implied warranty of habitability is violated when “the defect must be of such substantial nature as to render the premises unsafe or unsanitary, and thus unfit for occupancy”

Landlords must also make requested repairs within 14 days. If they do not, then tenants may choose to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services or they may make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from future rental payments.

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Tenant Responsibilities in Illinois

Apart from paying rent on time, Illinois tenants must:

  • Keep the unit clean and undamaged
  • Remove any hazards and keep the unit safe for occupancy
  • Perform minor repairs and maintenance
  • Not disturb other tenants or neighbors

Evictions in Illinois

The most common reasons that Illinois landlords pursue eviction include:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – If rent is late, landlords can issue a 5-Day Notice to Pay. If the tenant continues to not pay then the landlord can begin formal eviction proceedings.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms – If a lease violation occurs, then landlords may issue a 10-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate. If the issue is not remedied then the landlord may begin formal eviction proceedings.
  3. Lease Termination – If tenants holdover or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, the landlord must give the tenants notice depending on the type of tenancy.
    • Week-to-Week – 7-Day Notice to Quit
    • All Other Terms Except Year-to-Year – 30-Day Notice to Quit
    • Year-to-Year60-Day Notice to Quit
  4. Foreclosure– For a rental property that is being foreclosed upon, the landlord must provide a 90-Day Notice to Quit.
  5. Illegal Acts – If a landlord has documentation of illegal activities taking place on the property, then they may issue a 5-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit.

Landlords are also not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.

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Security Deposits in Illinois

  • Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – None
  • Time Limit for Return – 30 Days
  • Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds rent then they may be required to pay up to twice the amount of the deposit plus any applicable legal fees.
  • Allowable Deductions – Missing rent, repairs for damages beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning costs.

Landlords that own more than 25 or more units have special requirements for handling security deposits.

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(Video) Illinois Landlord Help - Tenant Late with Rent? |

Lease Termination in Illinois

Notice requirements. If a tenant wishes to break a lease, they must give the following amount of notice.

Rent Payment FrequencyNotice Needed
Week-to-Week7 Days
Month-to-Month30 Days
Quarter-to-QuarterNo statute
Year-to-Year60 Days

Questions? To chat with an Illinois landlord tenant attorney, click here

Early termination. Illinois tenants may legally break a lease early for the following reasons:

  1. Early lease termination clause
  2. Active Military Duty
  3. Uninhabitable unit
  4. Domestic violence

Keep in mind that tenants who break their lease may be responsible for paying rent until the end of the original term. Illinois landlords are obligated to re-rent a unit in a reasonable amount of time.

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Rent Increases & Related Fees in Illinois

  • Rent control. Illinois state law preempts any form of rent control. As such, landlords are allowed to set rental prices to whatever they want.
  • Rent increase. Illinois landlords may raise the rent as much as they want as long as it is not during the terms of the lease. For at-will tenants, landlords must give at least 30 days’ notice.
  • Rent-related fees. Later fees may not exceed $20 or 20% of rent. Payments are considered late if they are not paid by the 5th day of the month.

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Housing Discrimination in Illinois

Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. These rules do not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Illinois has extra provisions to protect individuals on the basis of their age, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military status, domestic violence history, or pregnancy.

Discriminatory Acts & Penalties. Actions that may be considered discriminatory in Illinois:

  • Refusing to rent or buy
  • Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
  • Coercion or harassment

If landlords are found guilty of violating the Fair Housing Act or the Illinois Human Rights Act, they can be held liable to up to $21,039 or $16,000 respectively for their first violation.

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Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Illinois

Landlord Right to Entry in Illinois

Illinois law has no provisions governing landlord right to entry. However, in the city of Chicago, landlords must provide at least 2 days of notice before entering the premises.

Small Claims Court in Illinois

Illinois’s small claims court will handle rent-related cases totaling up to $10,000. Filing fees are generally in the neighborhood of $20.

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(Video) An Intro to Illinois Landlord Tenant Law

Mandatory Disclosures

Landlords are required to give the following mandatory disclosures before executing a lease:

  1. Lead-Based Paint –Landlords who own homes built after 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint used in the building.
  2. Radon- Landlords are required to disclose if a radon hazard is found in or around the property. They are not required to test for Radon though.
  3. Shared Utility Arrangements –Landlords are required to discuss how the tenant’s share of the utility bills is calculated. The Landlord must also provide copies of utility bills if the tenant requests.

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Changing the Locks in Illinois

In counties with over 3 million people, Illinois landlords must change the locks after the conclusion of a lease. Landlords must also change locks when requested by a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Landlords are prohibited from changing the locks as a form of eviction (i.e. lockouts).

Local Laws in Illinois

Chicago Landlord-Tenant Rights

Chicago has many specialized laws relating to housing. You can find a summary of these different rules and regulations here on the city of Chicago’s website.

Aurora Landlord-Tenant Rights

The city of Aurora includes a requirement that all landlords operating within the city limits include an addendum in their leases that requires disclosure of information relating to other local ordinances that regulate noise abatement and property maintenance. To read more about Aurora-specific policies, click here.

Naperville Landlord-Tenant Rights

The city of Naperville has extra legislation protecting tenants against discrimination based on military status and legal source of income, in addition to all other state protections. More information on these policies can be read here.

In addition to the below, check your local county and municipality for additional information about landlord-tenant regulations.

Questions? To chat with an Illinois landlord tenant attorney, click here

(Video) My tenant stopped paying rent. Now What?!? | 5 Day Notice | Illinois Landlord Help |

Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission in Illinois?
Landlords generally are allowed to enter without permission, except in Chicago which requires at least 2 days of notice. Landlords and tenants can agree on specific entry notification policies in the lease agreement. Read more »
Is Illinois a “Landlord Friendly” State?
Illinois is not considered a very landlord-friendly state as many cities and counties have fairly strict rules on what landlords can do. Tenants tend to have more leverage than average in Illinois. Read more »
What Are a Tenant’s Rights in Illinois?
Illinois tenants enjoy a number of rights. They have the right to certain mandatory disclosures and they have the right to take alternative action by making repairs and deducting the cost of rent. Read more »
Can a Tenant Change the Locks in Illinois?
Tenants are not allowed to unilaterally change locks in Illinois. Landlords must change locks after the end of a lease if they are in a county with more than 3 million people. Illinois tenants can request a lock change if they are a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Read more »


What a landlord Cannot do in Illinois? ›

A landlord may not refuse to rent or lease an apartment or house to potential tenants or have different rental terms on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex and marital status, or disability.

What should you not tell your landlord? ›

  • 'I hate my current landlord' Every potential landlord is going to ask why you're moving. ...
  • 'Let me ask you one more question' ...
  • 'I can't wait to get a puppy' ...
  • 'My partner works right up the street' ...
  • 'I move all the time'
May 11, 2017

What is considered landlord harassment in Illinois? ›

Harassment is when a landlord uses persistent aggressive methods, fraud, coercion, or intimidation to get a tenant to do what the landlord wants.

How often does a landlord have to replace carpet in Illinois? ›

How long does carpet last? IRS Publication 527 states that carpet in a residential rental property wears out after 5 years, at least for tax purposes, based on the general depreciation system.

Can I sue my landlord for emotional distress in Illinois? ›

Can Tenants Sue Landlords for Emotional Distress? In short - yes. Every resident of the United States has the right to file a civil lawsuit against another they believe caused them harm.

What is the Illinois tenant Protection Act? ›

The Immigrant Tenant Protection Act prohibits Illinois landlords from harassing, threatening, or evicting tenants based on any perceived immigration or citizenship status. All people have the right to a safe and stable home to build better futures for themselves and their families.

Can I refuse access to my landlord? ›

Yes, they can. In 99% of cases a tenant refusing entry to a landlord will usually boil down to convenience, or lack thereof. Simply adjusting the time and date will be enough to gain access to the property.

Can a landlord enter your property without your knowledge? ›

You are paying rent to the landlord for exclusive use as the property as your home and as such you have the right to decide who enters it and when. If a landlord enters your home without permission they are, technically, trespassing, unless they have a court order to allow them otherwise.

Can a landlord walk around your property? ›

Your landlord can enter your rental unit for these reasons: To respond to an emergency that threatens life or property. To make repairs or alterations that are necessary or that you have agreed to. To show the place to potential buyers, tenants, or repair workers.

What is intimidation in Illinois? ›

(a) A person commits intimidation when, with intent to cause another to perform or to omit the performance of any act, he or she communicates to another, directly or indirectly by any means, a threat to perform without lawful authority any of the following acts: (1) Inflict physical harm on the person threatened or.

What is the most a landlord can raise rent? ›

Landlord may increase rent once every 12 months, limited to 3% of the current rent, or the regional Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is higher. Rent increases are expressly subject to the provisions of AB 1482 California Tenant Protections Act (Cal. Civ.

Can you sue your landlord? ›

You can take your landlord to court if they won't do repairs after you've asked them. You're more likely to win your case if you give the court as much evidence as possible. The judge will look at the evidence you and your landlord provide before making a decision.

Can landlords do random inspections in Illinois? ›

Provides that before entering leased premises without the tenant's permission, a landlord shall provide the tenant with at least 24 hours notice except the landlord or the landlord's representative may enter without notice in an emergency.

Can a tenant refuse entry to landlord Illinois? ›

Procedure for accessing the unit

The Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance sets out the procedure for access: A landlord may access the unit with consent of the tenant. However, the tenant may refuse consent if the access is not for a proper purpose, at a proper time and with proper notice.

How long can a guest stay before being considered a tenant in Illinois? ›

Any guest staying in the property more than two weeks in any six-month period will be considered a tenant, rather than a guest, and must be added in the lease agreement. Landlord may also increase the rent at any such time that a new tenant is added to the lease or premise.


1. Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance Explained - Tenant & Landlord Rights
(The Jon Gil Show)
2. Navigating the New Eviction Process in 2023: A Guide for Homeowners in 2023
(Rosa M. Collado)
3. 2023 Chicago Landlord Tips - Move In Fee or Security Deposit In Chicago
(Gabi Rozborska - Nex-Gen Real Estate )
4. Illinois Rental Assistance Program - Up to $25,000 for rent - Know Your Rights Legal Information
5. Eviction Process in Connecticut: Laws for Landlords, Property Managers, and Tenants
6. A Landlord's Guide to Eviction in Illinois
(Garces Law)
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