Tenants' Rights in Illinois

6 Rights of Tenants in Illinois

Landlords and tenants in the state of Illinois are protected under Illinois’ landlord-tenant act. This act helps landlords and tenants understand their role in the landlord tenant relationship. The act grants tenants in Illinois certain rights that landlords must be aware of so that they do not violate these rights. Here are six rights of tenants in Illinois.

Illinois Tenant’s Right to Fair Housing

775 ILCS 5

Any prospective tenant in the state of Illinois has the right to equal opportunity housing. These tenants are protected by both the Federal Fair Housing Act and Illinois’ Human Rights Act.

The goal of each act is to end discrimination in any housing related activities. This could include renting a home, trying to obtain financing for a home and during the actual tenancy.

The Federal Fair Housing Act protects seven classes of people. These include:

  • Color
  • Disability (Physical and Mental)
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex

In addition to the seven classes that are already protected by the Federal Act, Illinois’ Human Rights Act protects seven additional classes of people. These include:

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Marital Status
  • Military Status
  • Order of Protection Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Unfavorable Discharge From Military Service

An example of a discriminatory practice by a landlord that these acts are trying to prevent could be a landlord raising the rent on a tenant once the landlord learns the tenant’s religious affiliation.

The landlord would have to be specifically targeting the tenant because the landlord does not agree with the tenant’s religious practices.

Illinois Tenant’s Right to the Security Deposit

765 ILCS 705 to 715

Illinois’ landlord tenant law includes a clause about the security deposit that a landlord is allowed to collect from their tenants.

Illinois does not set a maximum on the amount that a landlord can charge as a security deposit. Therefore, it is up to the landlord as to how much he or she will charge. Although a landlord is free to charge whatever he or she wants as a security deposit, the landlord still needs to find a tenant who is willing to pay that amount.

Illinois law does not place any restrictions on how a landlord must store a tenant’s security deposit if the landlord owns fewer than 25 rental units. If the landlord owns 25 rental units or more, the landlord must place the tenant’s security deposit in an account that earns interest. The interest must be paid to the tenant every 12 months.

Tenants in Illinois have the right to the return of their security deposit. Landlords have the right to make deductions from the deposit to cover issues such as unpaid rent or unpaid utility bills.

If a landlord is taking deductions from the tenant’s deposit, then the landlord must return the deposit within 30 days of tenant move out, along with a written itemized statement of the deductions that have been taken. If the landlord is returning the entire security deposit to the tenant, then the landlord has 45 days from tenant move out to return the tenant’s security deposit.

See Also: Illinois Security Deposit Law

Illinois Tenant’s Rights for Service Members

765 ILCS 705/16

The state of Illinois has certain rules which protect all tenants. It also has certain rules which protect specific tenants. Included in Illinois’ landlord tenant act are certain privileges which are given to service members.

Under normal circumstances, if a tenant breaks his or her lease early, the tenant is still responsible for paying rent until the landlord finds a suitable new tenant to fill the vacancy. In the state of Illinois, a tenant who is also a service member is able to terminate their lease early without penalty if the tenant meets certain qualifications.

The tenant must be considered an active duty service member. The tenant must have either received new orders for a period of at least 29 days after signing a lease agreement or must have received a change of duty to existing orders.

The service member must notify the landlord in writing of his or her desire to terminate the lease agreement and must include a copy of the military orders.

See Also: Illinois Tenant's Rights for Service Members

Illinois Tenant’s Rights After Domestic Violence

765 ILCS 750

The state of Illinois has a law in place, known as the Safe Homes Act. This act is meant to protect victims of domestic violence. It aims to allow these victims to quickly and safely move from a home where they face an imminent risk of violence.

Under the Safe Homes Act, tenants who have been victims of domestic violence have the right to terminate their lease agreement early without penalty. The tenant must provide the landlord with written notice of their desire to move out of the unit and must also provide a copy of some form of evidence that supports their claim of domestic violence. This evidence can usually be some type of police report, medical report, court document or a report from an employee at a rape crisis or other victim center.

Tenants who have been victims of domestic violence also have the right to have the locks on their doors changed. These locks can either be changed by the landlord or by the tenant. Whoever changes the lock must provide the other party with a copy of the new key within 48 hours of changing the lock.

See Also: Illinois Tenant's Rights After Domestic Violence

Illinois Tenant’s Right to Have Locks Changed

765 ILCS 705/15

Illinois' landlord tenant act is concerned with a tenant's safety. One way the act tries to keep tenant's safe is by requiring a landlord to change or rekey the locks on a dwelling unit after one tenant moves out of the unit and before the new tenant moves into the unit. If a landlord fails to change a tenant's locks and a theft occurs at the property, then the landlord could be liable for any damages caused by the theft.

See Also: Illinois Tenant's Right to Have Locks Changed

Illinois Tenant's Rights After Landlord Retaliation 

765 ILCS 720

In most states, acts of retaliation by a landlord are illegal. The state of Illinois is no exception. If a tenant commits an action that the landlord does not approve of, such as complaining to a government agency about a possible health violation at the property, the landlord is prohibited from retaliating against the tenant. The landlord cannot legally take actions which would be considered revenge against the tenant, such as raising the tenant’s rent or decreasing necessary services to the tenant.

Illinois’ Landlord Tenant Law

To view the actual text of Illinois’ law regarding landlords and tenants, please consult Illinois Compiled Statutes 765 ILCS 705 to 750