State Landlord-Tenant Laws For Illinois



  • Not required, but recommended.
  • No limits on security deposits.
  • Landlords have 45 days to return the security deposit after a tenant moves out.


  • Rent control laws are banned.
  • Landlords are required to give sufficient notice before raising rents.


  • Tenants have a right to privacy as covered in the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
  • Landlords should give reasonable notice (at least 24 hours) before entry and only enter during reasonable hours (9am to 5pm).


  • Landlords must rekey between tenacies for written leases 1 year or longer.


  • Rental agreements are required for leases  1 year or longer.


  • The landlord can charge a ‘reasonable’ late fee of $20 or 20% of the rent.
  • There is a mandatory grace period of 5 days.


  • No statute.


  • Landlords can charge a pet deposit as long as it is written into the lease.


1. Illinois Landlord-Tenants Rights & Responsibilities

Like most states in the U.S., Illinois has provisions through laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships. These laws provide certain rights and obligations to both landlords and tenants within the state. 

Below is a breakdown of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Illinois. 

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities

  • A tenant has the right to insist on a signed lease with a landlord to prevent future misunderstandings.
  • A tenant should pay rent dues on time.
  • A tenant should keep the rented property tidy and undamaged. 
  • A tenant would be liable for any damage beyond normal wear and tear to the rented property.
  • If stated in the signed lease, a tenant might be liable to pay for the utility bills of the rented property. 
  • A tenant cannot make changes or modifications to the rented property without proper consent from the landlord. 
  • In the event the tenant breaks a lease early, the rentee should notify the renter in writing (which should be 30 days' notice, unless the lease stipulates otherwise)
  • The landlord cannot kick a tenant out for reporting to a human rights commission, housing inspector, or other government agency under the Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act
  • A tenant has the right to repair the property themselves and deduct the cost from the rent however, the cost must not exceed one-half of the rent or $500. (765 ILCS 742)
  • Tenants are allowed to withhold rent should the landlord fail to provide essential services such as water, heat, etc. (765 ILCS 735)

Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities

  • The landlord should ensure the rental property is habitable.
  • The landlord should ensure all required repairs are done before signing a lease.
  • The landlord should maintain the rental property per local, state, and federal housing and health laws.
  • The landlord has the right to decide on the amount of rent and security deposit to be paid by the tenant. 
  • The landlord can impose a ‘reasonable’ late fee on the tenant in the case of default on rent.  Defined as $20 or 20% of the rent, beginning on the fifth day after the rent is due (770 ILCS 95.7.10)
  • The landlord can enact fair laws and guidelines that govern tenants on their rental property. 
  • Landlords in Illinois must change the locks or keys every time the house is vacated or between tenants (765 ILCS 750/1).
  • Landlord must provide a formula for dividing up utilities when utilities are split among multiple tenants. (765 ILCS 740/5)
  • Landlords can request, but cannot require tenants to pay rent online. (765 ILCS 705/4)

Source: Illinois Landlord and Tenant Rights Laws

Required Notices Before Entry

Are Landlords in Illinois required to give notice before entering the property?

There is no statute regarding this in Illinois. However, it is best practice to give your tenant reasonable notice before entering the property to avoid infringing on the covenant of quiet enjoyment. This is an implied term in every lease that the tenant shall have quiet and peaceful possession of the leased premises against the lessor

Are landlords allowed to enter the property to conduct maintenance and repairs?

Yes, landlords can enter the property to carry out maintenance and repairs in Illinois as long as they give reasonable notice before doing so. Reasonable notice is generally considered 24-48 hours. (735 ILCS 5/9-102)


2. Illinois Rent Increase Laws

Illinois rent increase laws are somewhat landlord-friendly. Currently, there’s no law barring landlords from increasing rent, as long as the tenant gets prior notice before the raise. 

However, landlords are prohibited from raising rent when there’s a fixed lease agreement in place or the lease hasn't expired. The only exception is if it’s stated in the lease that the landlord can make changes to the rent during the lease term. 

Illegal Cases

As mentioned earlier, having a fixed lease means your landlord can't change the terms unless it's spelled out in the agreement. That also goes for discrimination—it's illegal. 

The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from being discriminated against based on things like race, religion, or disability. 

Here's a full list of what's covered:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Familial status
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Military status
  • Income 

Notice Period

There’s no specific timeframe mandated by the state of Illinois for landlords to give tenants a notice before increasing rent. However, some cities have their own specifications about the notice period for a rent raise. 

Rent Increase Frequency

Landlords in Illinois can raise rent whenever they want, as long as they follow the laws about giving tenants prior notice. This provision is because rent control laws are banned in Illinois, and there haven't been any efforts to bring them back.


3. Illinois Rental Agreement Laws

According to Illinois law (Landlord and Tenant Act), if a tenant is renting a place for more than a year, there's a need for a lease agreement. This is a legal document that spells out the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord. 

While landlords can use verbal agreements, it's not recommended. A written lease is better because it creates a clear record of everything you agreed to, helping to avoid any confusion later on.

Here's what most leases in Illinois typically cover:

  • Contact information: This includes the names and addresses of both the tenant and landlord. 
  • The property: This section describes the rental unit you're leasing. 
  • Rent: This explains how much rent you owe, when it's due, and how you should pay it. 
  • Security deposit: This covers the details of your security deposit, including the amount, when you get it back, and under what circumstances the landlord might be able to withhold some of it. 
  • Maintenance and repairs: This clarifies who is responsible for fixing things in the rental unit.

Get a free state specific residential lease agreement


4. Illinois Security Deposit Laws

Maximum Deposit

There are no statewide limits on security deposits in Illinois. 

Landlords typically ask for one or two months' rent upfront, depending on the property type. 

When it comes to payments, Illinois landlords have the flexibility to accept one check or transfer for both the security deposit and the first month's rent. They have five business days to accept the security deposit and must put it in a federally insured, interest-bearing account.

Source: Bill Status of HB4983: Illinois 101st General Assembly

Pet Deposits 

In Illinois, landlords can ask for a separate pet deposit on top of the regular security deposit, as long as their lease agreement mentions it. This is allowed by state laws and security deposit rules.

However, there's an important exception: Landlords cannot charge pet deposits to disabled people who need service animals for emotional support. Doing so would be considered discrimination under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Source: The Illinois Assistance Animal Integrity Act

Allowable Deductions

Landlords can only withhold money from your deposit for a few reasons:

  • Unpaid bills
  • Damage beyond normal wear and tear, or 
  • Fees in your lease agreement

You'll get your security deposit back unless you break the lease terms in these ways.  

Holding Deposits

By law, all landlords in Illinois must put the tenants' security deposit in a federally insured interest-bearing account approved by the state. This protects the money and ensures it's available when the tenant moves out. If the landlord doesn't follow this rule, they could face penalties.

Landlords also have just five business days to put the security deposit in the account. 

Returning Deposits

For most Illinois renters, landlords have 45 days to return your security deposit after you move out. They can return it in person or mail it to your last known address or a forwarding address you provide.

However, things get a bit trickier if the landlord wants to keep some of the deposit. They have 30 days from the tenant's move-out date to give you an itemized list of any damages beyond normal wear and tear. This list should also include estimated or actual repair costs with receipts.

The landlord can deliver this list in person, by certified mail, or by email to a verified address. 

If the landlord fails to return the security deposit within 45 days, the tenant is recover twice the amount owed, plus court costs and “reasonable” attorney fee.

Source: Illinois Security Deposit Return Act

Security Deposit Interest

Landlords who own 25 or more units must pay interest on deposits held for 6 months or longer. The interest rate must match the rate paid by savings accounts held at the largest commercial bank in the state as of Dec. 31 prior to the start of tenancy. Earnings from the interest must be credited or paid-out to the tenant every 12 months. (765 ILCS 715/1&2)



5. Illinois Eviction Laws & Notices

In Illinois, there are several grounds for a landlord to evict a tenant. However, the landlord must first end the tenancy before filing for eviction. 

Usually, the landlord complies with legal requirements by providing the tenant with a Illinois eviction notice. The landlord may file an eviction case with the court if the tenant disregards the written notice (this action is also frequently referred to as a forceful entry and detainer suit).

Illinois Notice to Quit With Cause

Before the conclusion of the tenancy, a landlord can't force a tenant to vacate a rental property without a valid justification from the law. A landlord may terminate a tenancy early for several reasons. 

Tenant nonpayment of rent and/or lease or rental agreement violations are the most frequent causes. If the tenant has used or dealt drugs at the rental property, the landlord may also terminate the lease early. 

For these various circumstances, different Illinois eviction notice are required.

  • Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent: The landlord may send a renter a five-day notice if they don't pay their rent on time. This notice will notify the tenant that the landlord will end the lease and start the eviction process if the rent is not paid in full within five days.

Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 5 days to pay or move-out. (735 ILCS-120(d))

  • Ten-Day Notice to Quit: The landlord may give a tenant a ten-day notice to vacate if they break any clauses in the lease or rental agreement. Ten days are given to the tenant to vacate the rental unit due to a lease violation, according to this notice. The renter is not entitled to a grace period from the landlord to remedy the breach. The landlord may end the tenancy and file an eviction case with the court if the tenant does not vacate the rental unit within ten days.

Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 10 days (735 ILCS 5/9-210)

  • Unconditional Quit Notice: A tenant who uses, possesses, or sells illegal narcotics or controlled substances on the rental unit's property may also be evicted by the landlord. In this instance, the tenant is entitled to an unconditional five-day notice of termination from the landlord. Tenants are given five days from the date of this notice to vacate the rental property. The landlord may discontinue the lease and file an eviction case against the tenant if the renter does not vacate by the conclusion of the five days.

Illinois Notice to Quit Without Cause

Even if there's no cause to terminate the tenancy, landlords can still give the tenant a notice to quit. However, the notice period varies depending on the rental agreement type. 

Month-to-Month Rental Agreement

If a landlord would like to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement or lease, the landlord will need to give the tenant a 30-day notice. This notice will inform the tenant that the tenancy will expire at the end of 30 days and the tenant must move out of the rental unit by that time.

Fixed-Term Lease

When a renter has a fixed-term lease or rental agreement, like one that lasts six months or a year, and the landlord wants the tenant to relocate but doesn't have a good reason, they have to wait until the end of the tenancy before taking any action.

The landlord has to give the tenant written notice to vacate, either 30 days or 60 days before the lease expires depending on the length of the lease.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even if the landlord believes the eviction case is warranted, the tenant always has the opportunity to contest the eviction. 

If the landlord fails to maintain the rental property following the law or makes procedural errors during the eviction (such as serving a notice incorrectly or failing to wait long enough before filing the eviction action), the tenant may have a strong defense. 

Removal of the Tenant

Attempting to evict a renter from a rental property is against the law. A sheriff or constable is the sole person with the authority to evict a tenant, even if the landlord wins the eviction litigation. 

The landlord may discover personal belongings left behind by the renter after they vacate the rented home. The landlord has seven days to store the personal belongings if the rental property is located inside the city limits of Chicago. 

The landlord may dispose of the property if the tenant does not claim it within seven days. When a landlord discovers abandoned property somewhere other than the city of Chicago, they are required to notify the renter and provide them with a fair window of time to claim it before they are forced to dispose of it. 

Source:735 ILCS 5/9-209


6. Illinois Rental Application Laws

Illinois permits landlords to freely choose their application process, including fees and background checks. Additionally, there's no limit on how much they can charge for Illinois rental applications, and they don't have to refund it if the tenant doesn't get the place. 

Landlords can also use any kind of tenant screening report, like credit checks or background checks. But it's important to remember that federal and local laws might limit how that information is used.

See more at 735 ILCS 5/9-106.3


7. Breaking a Lease in Illinois

Illinois permits tenants to terminate a lease for any reason, provided they give enough notice to the landlord. However, there might be a small fee to cover any inconvenience caused.  

Below are some laws governing breaking a lease legally in Illinois.

Early Termination Clause

The "Early Termination Clause" section in a lease agreement spells out exactly what happens if a tenant moves out before the lease expires. In most cases, landlords are allowed to charge a fee for early termination, and the amount can vary depending on the situation.

Uninhabitable Unit

Landlords in Illinois have a responsibility to keep their rental properties safe and in good living conditions. This means fixing broken items and making sure the property doesn't have any health hazards.

On the other hand, tenants also have the right to request a landlord fix any safety issues in the apartment. If a landlord ignores this request, it could be considered a "constructive eviction." This means the tenant may legally break the lease agreement. 

Privacy Violation or Landlord Harassment

Tenants may break the lease early on the grounds of harassment and invasions of privacy. The landlord may be subject to legal action if they consistently infringe on the tenant's privacy.

These two typical situations are regarded as harassment:

  • Locks are being changed without permission or consent from the tenant.
  • Cutting off utilities, taking out doors and windows, or breaking into the property frequently without permission.

Although Illinois law is silent on notice requirements before accessing a property, it is generally accepted that giving at least 24 hours notice will prevent issues.

Active Military Duty

For a minimum of 90 days, individuals who enlist in the active military are eligible for protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). 

Tenants may be permitted to terminate the lease without incurring fines if they are being relocated due to deployment or a change of station.

In general, tenants are required to provide their landlord with written notice along with a copy of the deployment orders. Additionally, the renter needs to demonstrate that they signed the lease before enlisting in the military.

SCRA personnel and commissioned corps are safeguarded by the following:

  • Armed forces
  • The Public Health Service
  • National Guard
  • Administration for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric

Domestic Violence

The state of Illinois protects tenants who are victims of sexual or domestic abuse. Tenants occasionally have the option to ask their landlord to alter their locks. For their protection, some people might choose to vacate the site, though.

In the latter scenario, the renter is required to give the landlord documentation attesting to their status as a victim of domestic abuse. Moreover, the landlord is not allowed to divulge that information to anyone.

Source: Illinois Compiled Statutes


8. HOA Laws in Illinois

Illinois Common Interest Association Act

The Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act governs the management and operation of HOAs in the state. This clause applies to homeowner associations that own detached or attached townhouses, single-family homes, or villas.

To be recognized under this statute, community associations must also have a minimum of 11 private properties and an annual total assessment collection of more than $100,000.

Illinois Condominium Property Act

The formation, management, and supervision of all condominium organizations are governed by the Condominium Act. If you are in charge of a condominium association, you must give this act extra consideration.

Act of 1986 Concerning Illinois General Not-for-profit Corporation

Associations governed by the General Not-for-Profit Corporation Act of 1986 are those with ten units or less. Moreover, it applies to homeowner organizations with yearly dues collections of $100,000 or less.

By a majority vote of the board or community members, these associations may decide to abide by the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act. Because condominiums are not allowed to be incorporated as not-for-profit corporations in Illinois, this Act does not apply to them.

Illinois Human Rights Act

The Illinois Human Rights Act aims to safeguard everyone from damage by outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, sexual orientation, color, ancestry, national origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, religion, familial status, military status, and handicap.

Illinois Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson Act

This statute encourages alternative dispute resolution procedures for all homeowner associations (HOAs) governed by the Condominium Property statute and the Common Interest Community Association Act.

Illinois Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act

This act requires community association management companies and HOA managers to be licensed and regulated.

Federal Laws That Regulate Illinois HOAs

Federal regulations also govern common interest communities in Illinois, in addition to these state statutes. Included in this are the following:

  • Federal Flag Display Law: The guidelines for flying the American flag are outlined in this law. In Illinois, homeowner organizations are not permitted to forbid flag showcasing as long as it is done in compliance with this legislation.
  • Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act, like the Illinois Human Rights Act, aims to shield homeowners from prejudice based on racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.

Source:Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation


9. Squatters Rights in Illinois

Even though dealing with a squatter occupying your property can be unpleasant, you must take into account Illinois state laws that grant squatter's rights to occupants who are not authorized to be there while resolving the issue.

Illinois Adverse Possession Laws

The requirements and squatters' rights established by the state to regulate the handling of an adverse possession claim are referred to as adverse possession laws. The requirements for a squatter to establish a legal claim over another individual's real estate property are delineated by these statutes.

The law stipulates, as an illustration, that twenty years of continuous occupancy are necessary to have a claim for adverse possession considered. Numerous additional comparable prerequisites must be fulfilled before granting a property to a squatter.

Additionally, adverse possession laws prescribe the measures that the property owner may employ to evict the intruders if required.

Illinois Squatter's Rights

Squatters in Illinois only have the right to stay where they are if they can show the following:

  • More than 20 years have passed since they first moved in.
  • Five important things must be true for an adverse ownership claim to be valid.
  • The building wasn't being used for illegal things like prostitutes or selling drugs.
  • The people who lived there paid property taxes during that time.

Illinois Eviction Process

Whether it is a good faith mistake or intentional trespassing, landlords are advised to approach the case with caution.

You need to be careful not to infringe on their squatters' rights, so take the following steps:

  • Call the local Police/Sheriff: Calling the police is the first thing you need to do to not only protect yourself but also to get a police report issued, which is important for any future eviction proceedings.
  • Serve Eviction Notice: Serve the squatters with an Illinois eviction notice clearly stating that, as the owner of the property, you want them to leave the premises by a certain date or risk further legal action.
  • Initiate the Eviction Process: If the squatters still refuse to vacate, you can approach the sheriff's office, and they will help you with the eviction process.

Source: (735 ILCS 5/) Code of Civil Procedure