Under Illinois law, a landlord must disclose certain information to a tenant (usually in a lease or lease agreement), such as a rental benefit. For a complete list, see Illinois asking landlords to disclose.
Illinois law does not limit the amount of money landlords can collect. However, it does limit the time it must be returned (between 30 and 45 days after the tenant moves, depending on whether the tenant objects to the amount deducted from the deposit or whether the landlord provides itemized statements and receipts) and other deposit restrictions. For more information on this topic, see Illinois security deposit limits and periods.
Tenants can sue their landlords in small debt courts to refund their deposits up to $10000. For advice on litigation for tenants, see filing a margin action in the Illinois small claims court. Landlords defending deposit litigation should refer to the small claims court Illinois landlords deposit disputes guide.
State law regulates several rent related issues, including the amount of notice that the landlord must raise the rent for the tenant (at least 30 days in Illinois) and how much time or rent the tenant must pay (five days in Illinois) to pay the rent. The landlord can apply for eviction. For more information, see Illinois termination and other rent rules for non payment of rent.
State law specifies when and how the landlord will terminate the lease. For example, a landlord can provide an unconditional exit notice to an Illinois tenant who fails to comply with any term of the lease, which gives the tenant ten days to move out before it can be evicted. For more information about such termination notices in Illinois, see the state law for unconditional exit termination and the state law for breach of lease termination.
Several other Illinois landlord / tenant laws affect property owners and tenants, including:
Retaliation against tenants’ landlords who exercise legitimate rights (such as complaining about unsafe living conditions) (see Illinois state law against retaliation for details)
Special protection for tenants of victims of domestic violence (see Illinois law affecting tenants in the event of domestic violence)
How must landlords deal with the procedures of abandoned property left by tenants and fair housing rights
Many public libraries and most law libraries open to the public (usually in county courts, State Capitol buildings, or public law schools) offer Illinois regulations.
Cities and counties usually pass local laws, such as health and safety standards, noise and nuisance laws, and anti discrimination laws that affect landlords and tenants. Many cities have websites that simply search Illinois for the name of a particular city and then search when you search on the website. For example, if you search for service regulations on the Chicago City website, you can easily find the Chicago landscape regulations.
State and local governments on netand municode are good resources for finding local governments online. In addition, your local public library or city attorney, mayor, or city or County Manager’s office can provide information about local laws affecting Illinois landlords and tenants.
While most landlords and tenants will focus on state laws in Illinois, some federal laws are working. Congress enacted laws and passed federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of housing and urban development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that have passed regulations covering discrimination and landlord liability to disclose environmental health hazards, such as lead based paint.
The United States Code is the starting point for most federal statutory studies. It consists of 50 separate numbered titles, each covering a specific topic. Most federal regulations are published in the code of federal regulations (CFR) and are also divided into 50 different titles by topic.
To access US regulations and federal regulations codes online, see the nolos federal legal resources page. In addition, the Cornell Legal Information Institute provides the entire U.S. code and federal regulations. Finally, check USA.gov for government information.
The nolos law and law research page contains links to state and federal laws, explains how to study and understand regulations, and provides advice on finding local statutes and court cases, including Supreme Court cases. To go further, check out Stephen Elias and Nolo’s legal research: how to find and understand law. This non-technical book provides easy-to-use step-by-step instructions on how to find legal information.
You will also find a lot of information in the landlord and tenant rights section of Nolo’s website and Nolo books, such as the law guide for each landlord and the law guide for each tenant.