Illinois provides very clear and uncomplicated regulations and procedures for all landlord-tenant formal interactions. Both tenants and landlords need to thoroughly understand all rights and duties to create and maintain a productive and healthy relationship for the duration of the occupation of the rental unit.  

Rent and Payment laws

For a lease longer than a year, a written rental agreement document is required.

Security deposits

In Illinois, if the property has more than five units, you cannot hold any deposit until you provide a detailed damage report to the tenant and the estimated cost of repairs.  In the absence of a detailed list of damages, you must return the security deposit 45 days from the date of eviction. If there are no damages, you need to return it in full to the tenant upon vacating the property. 

For buildings of more than 25 units, you will need to pay interest from the date the deposit was paid, if it has been in your possession for more than 67 months. Keep in mind that each municipality in Illinois may impose additional charges or obligations regarding security deposits. 

Does Illinois have rent control laws?

There are no rent control laws in Illinois, but you can only raise the rent on your rental property after the year-to-year lease expires. In addition, you can raise the rent by any amount for a week-to-week lease, with a seven-day notice, or for a month-to-month lease with a 30-day notice. 

Accessing the rental property

In Illinois, there is no regulation for the right of entry, but in the city of Chicago, you are required to provide a 48-hour notice before entering the unit. In emergencies where people or the property are in danger, the entry law is waived. In this case, you may need proof of emergency if the tenants request it.

Do I need to rekey (change locks) between tenants in Illinois?

Yes. When the renter moves out, you must change the locks of the rental unit when the new tenant has a written lease agreement. If you do not, you can be liable for any theft or damages to the property.

Rekeying exemptions:

  • If the property has less than four units
  • If the renter rekeys the unit by themselves
  • If you, the owner, occupy another unit in the building
  • If the unit is in a county with more than three million inhabitants


Illinois law does not have any specific regulation regarding pet laws for rental units, owners, or tenants. You can create your requirements. Keep in mind that federal law waives the 'no pets' policy if your tenant is a person with a disability and needs a service animal for medical reasons. You can charge a pet deposit or additional pet rent if you choose. 

What are my tenant's duties and rights?

Illinois landlord-tenant laws define the following landlord requirements:

  • If a building was built before 1978, you must provide tenants with information about lead paint hazards, any disclosure of lead paint in the building
  • If you test your property for radon and it comes out positive, you must let your tenant or prospective tenant know.
  • You can divide the utility expenses between tenants, including the common areas, but this has to be stated in the lease agreement. The lease needs to detail how the calculation is done, and upon request, you must provide copies of the utility bill.
  • You are responsible for repairing anything in the rental unit within 14 days if your tenant sends you a request via a formal letter. For emergency repairs, you need to address it within 72 hours. If you, the landlord, do not take care of the repairs, your tenants can hire a professional and then deduct the cost from the next month's rent.
  • If there are pests on-site, you are responsible for extermination, but If the tenant is the cause of the infestation, you can charge them for it.
  • If there are bedbugs on the property, the landlord is responsible to remove them unless they were brought unto the property by the current tenant 

The tenant is required to:

  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep the rental property undamaged and clean
  • Be responsible for any damage repair beyond normal wear and tear
  • If stated on the rental lease, pay the utility bill
  • Ask for landlord approval for any modification to the rental unit
  • Provide written notice before moving out

Illinois eviction laws

In Illinois, you can evict a tenant for the following reasons:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Breaking any rule in the lease agreement
  • Cause of property damage
  • Stays on the property after the lease has ended

To evict a tenant, you must provide a written Notice to Terminate Tenancy.
A five-day notice for the non-payment of rent must include the property address, the notice date, the date the lease will end, the amount owed, a statement of the process details for the tenant. When a tenant pays within the five-day notice, you must accept the money. If within five days the tenant does not pay you can file an eviction case in court. 
A 10-day notice for a lease agreement violation must include: the laws that were violated, the date the lease will end, the full address of the unit on hand, the notice date
A 30-day notice must include the last day of the lease period, the address of the property, notice date. This is mainly for month-to-month leases or when a yearly lease is not renewed. There may be slight alterations to these regulations for some Illinois cities and counties.

Evicting a squatter in Illinois

In Illinois, a squatter needs to physically live on the property for at least 20 straight years to file a Possession Claim. Illinois doesn't have specific laws outlining the removal of squatters from properties. As such, you must follow the standard eviction process of the State of Illinois, the same measures that you would if you were removing a tenant.

Start by providing a five-day notice to pay rent. If the squatter does not leave after the five days are over, you can file for an eviction. More often than not, the judge will likely rule in your favor but remember; you cannot carry out the eviction, only a law enforcement authority can.

How does landlord insurance cover rental properties?

Honeycomb's landlord insurance is available in Illinois. It’s a fully customizable insurance policy available online for multi-family properties. It covers:

  • Landlord property protection for repair from fire, lightning, wind, hail, vandalism, electric or gas failures, or tenant-caused issues
  • Landlord liability protection helps cover landlord expenses if found responsible when someone is injured on your property, if you are accountable for another property's damage, and also legal defense expenses and court decisions.