Key Points of the Illinois Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Under Illinois law, a lease may be an oral agreement or it may be in written form.

If a lease is to exceed 12 months, then it must be in writing according to the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Here are some of the other key points to know about this law.

1. Tenants Are Not Allowed To Sublease.

The only exception to this key point would be if a landlord specifically grants permission for a sublease.

Otherwise the only people who are permitted to live full-time in a rental unit are the renters named in the lease.


2. Landlords Can Enter a Rental Unit At a Reasonable Time.

There are no rules in Illinois about when a landlord can or cannot enter a rental unit.

Tenants do have the right to enjoy the private use of a rental property, however, so consistent entries by a landlord may violate this – especially if the time of entry is outside of regular business hours.

3. There Is a Duty To Mitigate Damages.

A tenant is obligated to fulfill the full payment terms of their rental agreement whether they live on the property or live elsewhere.

Illinois law does require a landlord to mitigate damages to limit the losses a tenant may suffer from breaking a lease.

4. Renters May Have The Right To Have Utilities In Their Own Name.

Landlords are permitted to keep utilities in their name for their rental unit and have tenants pay them an agreed upon amount. If a landlord fails to pay the utility bill on time, however, Illinois law allows for a tenant to request the account be transferred to their name and be responsible for whatever deposits may be required.


5. The 5% Security Deposit Interest Rule Can Be Confusing.

If a landlord owns 25 or more rental units, then they are required by Illinois law to pay 5% interest on the deposit if it is held for more than 6 months.

Landlords who own 5 or more units must return a security deposit or a notice of itemized deductions within 30 days of the date a tenant leaves or they will be liable to return the full deposit within 45 days.

These key points of the Illinois Residential Landlord and Tenant Act are just a brief summary of the most commonly asked questions.

If you need further assistance, seek out the statutes that cover your situation or ask a legal professional for advice.

Posted on Mar 04, 2016


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