Illinois Tenant Rights

By Tiffany Garden
Illinois tenant rights are regulated in the Landlord and Tenant Act.
illinois outline image by Kim Jones from

Illinois tenant rights are regulated under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Law, which consists of individual acts. These acts provide all the laws relating to a landlord-tenant rental agreement. Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities are provided, as well as information about legal recourse if the landlord and tenant are not able to resolve differences on their own.

Security Deposit

The Illinois Security Deposit Return Act regulates when a landlord returns the security deposit to the tenant. The security deposit is not permitted to be withheld unless the tenant moved out while owing back rent. The landlord contacts the tenant within 30 days to explain the security deposit deductions. Receipts for repairs are provided on request, and the remainder of the security deposit must be returned 30 days after deductions. If no deductions are required, the security deposit must be returned within 45 days.

Habitable Residence

The landlord is required to maintain the residence in a habitable state. While it is the tenant's responsibility to keep the household clean, the landlord handles major and minor repairs as requested. The major systems of the home such as plumbing must also be maintained by the landlord. The landlord is also expected to provide utility service for any utilities he is responsible for.


A tenant has several methods of legal recourse when a landlord does not take care of minor or major repairs. A big problem, such as the electrical system being faulty, is reported to the local housing or building authority. A tenant faced with an uninhabitable rental unit has the ability to withhold rent until needed repairs are made. A tenant also has the option of performing the repairs himself and deducting expenses from the rent. The repairs must be performed under the local building codes, and the landlord must be provided a 14 day written notice before the tenant starts.

A home inspector examines the home to determine if the landlord is breaking any housing codes, rending the house unsafe or uninhabitable. The landlord must make repairs or risk the home being condemned by the local housing authority.

Landlord Utilities

The landlord is prohibited from charging the tenant with utilities that are the landlord's responsibility. The Rental Property Service Act allows the tenant to terminate a lease if the landlord cuts off his utilities or puts the burden of payment onto the tenant without written notice.

Protection Against Retaliatory Eviction

The Retaliatory Eviction Act prevent a landlord for evicting due to retaliatory reasons. A retaliatory eviction is a landlord attempting to evict a tenant due to requesting needed repairs, taking legal action against the landlord, or reporting housing code violations to the housing authority. This is an affirmative defense that will get the eviction case dismissed if proven.