There are several Illinois state laws that give both landlords and tenants specific legal right. These laws and judicial decisions help landlords avoid violating tenant rights. Here are 5 things every landlord must know about tenant rights in IL.
Illinois Tenant’s Rights, Laws, and Protections
The Right to Fair Housing in Illinois
Whether you’re looking to buy or rent a property in Illinois, the Fair Housing Act, or FHA, protects tenants and landlords from illegal discriminatory actions. This federal law states that landlords cannot refuse to rent to anyone based on one or more of the following factors:
- Disability (Physical and Mental)
- Familial Status
- National Origin
The Federal Fair Housing Act also protects additional classes of people, including age, ancestry, marital status, military status, sexual orientation, unfavorable discharge from military service, and order of protection status. Discrimination not only occurs during tenant prospecting, but it can also occur during the actual tenancy.
What Happens if You’re a Victim of Discrimination?
If you’re a prospective tenant and find yourself discriminated against under the Fair Housing Act, contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Security Deposit Rights in Illinois
An important part of landlord-tenant laws in Illinois governs the security deposit. Landlords may require tenants to pay a security deposit that will cover unpaid rents, repair and damages, and cleaning fees. Although there is no legal limit on the amount of a security deposit, most landlords charge an amount equivalent to one or two months’ rent. A pet deposit may also be charged with no specified limit. If the tenant breaks the lease, the landlord may keep all or part of the security deposit to cover costs. Landlords with 5 or more units must return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 to 45 days after the tenant vacates the property.
The Right to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The state of Illinois has granted protections to tenants who are service members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard. Under the landlord-tenant law, tenants who are active duty service members have the right to terminate their lease early if he or she receives an order for permanent change of station or to deploy for 90 days or more.
Required Tenant Notice
The tenant must provide the landlord with a copy of military orders in order to terminate the lease without penalty. If the tenant has met the necessary qualifications, the lease will terminate 30 days after the landlord receives the termination notice.
Tenant’s Right to a Lock Change
Tenants in Illinois have the right to have the locks changed prior to moving in. Landlords can meet the obligation of the law in 5 different ways:
- Replace the entire lock
- Replace the internal cylinder
- Change the combination in a digital lock
- Changing the electronic lock
- Switching the type of lock
Landlords who fail to properly change the locks after a previous tenant moves out could be responsible for the current tenant’s stolen or damaged belongings. In some cases, landlords may specifically state in the lease agreement that the new tenant must be responsible for changing locks.
Landlord Retaliation Rights in Illinois
In Illinois (and most states), it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against tenants for acting within their legal rights. For example, if a tenant complained to a health inspector, building inspector, or any other government agency, the landlord cannot retaliate against the tenant. Retaliatory acts may include:
- Increasing rent
- Eliminating complementary and necessary services
- Refusing to renew a lease
Proving Landlord Retaliation
Tenants may fight back by filing suit and defending against an eviction. Although Illinois protects tenants in retaliation, it may be hard to prove. In most cases, tenants must prove that the date of their action and the date of the landlord’s retaliation is one to six months apart.
Chicago North’s Property Management Experts
As a property investor in the state of Illinois, it’s essential to understand the landlord-tenant laws. Keyrenter Chicago North Property Management has helped thousands of property managers understand landlord-tenant laws. We are always committed to providing services that are comprehensive, professional and affordable for both tenants and owners nationwide. For more information about tenant rights in Illinois, contact Keyrenter Chicago North Property Management today.