Illinois Tenant's Rights for Service Members

How the Landlord Tenant Act Protects Service Members in Illinois

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Illinois’ landlord-tenant law grants certain rights to every tenant. In addition to these rights, Illinois provides additional protections to tenants who are service members. These rights include the ability to terminate a lease early under certain circumstances without penalty. Learn how service members are protected in the state of Illinois.

Who Is Considered a Service Member Under Illinois Code?

In Illinois, to be considered a service member, a tenant must first be a resident of the state of Illinois.

Next, the tenant must be a member of at least one of the following.

  • Any division of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • The National Guard of Any State, the District of Columbia, U.S. Commonwealth or any U.S. Territory.

How Does Illinois Define Military Service?

Under Illinois’ landlord-tenant law, military service is defined as any full-time training or duty. This training or duty must have been ordered by the President, a Governor of a State, U.S. Commonwealth or territory or by any other authorized military personnel.  

Do They Have to Be an Active Service Member?

Yes. In Illinois, to have the ability to terminate a lease early without penalty, the tenant must be an active, full-time service member.

What Benefits Are Granted to Tenants Who Are Service Members?

In Illinois, tenants who are active duty service members have the right to terminate their lease early without penalty. However, there are certain conditions that the service member must meet in order to do this.

Reasons a Service Member Can Terminate a Lease Early

After Signing Lease Agreement:

After signing a lease agreement, a service member or any member of the service member’s family who also lives in the rental unit has the right to terminate the lease agreement if the service member has received orders that require him or her to serve for a period of 29 consecutive days or more.

Before or After Signing Lease Agreement:

A tenant who is already in active duty military service, whether the service began before or after signing the lease, has the right to terminate the lease agreement under the following conditions.

  • He or she receives orders for a permanent change of station.
  • He or she receives orders to deploy with a military unit or as an individual for a period of 90 days or more.

If the above conditions are met, the service member or any member of the service member’s family who also lives in the rental unit has the right to terminate the lease agreement.

Required Tenant Notice to the Landlord

To terminate the lease without penalty, the tenant or member of the tenant’s family living in the unit must provide written notice to the landlord. This written notice must include:

  • A copy of the military orders which extend the tenant’s current military service or which call for the tenant to enter into military service for a period of 29 days or more.

When Does the Lease Terminate?

Assuming the tenant has met all qualifications and has given the landlord the required documentation in the written notice, the lease will terminate 30 days after the landlord receives the tenant’s notice to terminate.

If rent is due every month, then, after receiving written notice to terminate, the lease will not terminate until 30 days after the next rental payment is due.

Responsibility for Advance Rent

If the tenant had paid any rent in advance, then the landlord must return any portion of this payment that is due back to the tenant. The landlord must also return the tenant’s security deposit. The landlord is allowed to make lawful deductions from the deposit for reasons such as damage to the unit.

What If a Landlord Refuses to Accept Lease Termination?

If an Illinois landlord refuses to accept a service member’s lease termination, the landlord will be in violation of Illinois’ Human Rights Act. Any money awarded as a result of this civil rights violation will be given to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.


Illinois’ Landlord Tenant Law for Service Members

If you would like to see the actual text of Illinois’ law regarding tenant’s rights for service members, please consult Illinois Compiled Statutes 765 ILCS 705/16.