When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Illinois?
In Illinois, it’s illegal for landlords to retaliate byevicting or refusing to renew the leaseof a tenant who complains in good faith about a property’s noncompliance with a code or ordinance.
Although this is the only specific retaliation type in the law, Illinois courts have ruled other types of retaliation are also illegal, as determined case by case. For example, a landlord might be found retaliating if he tries to evict after the tenant joins a tenants’ union.
What Can Tenants Do in Response in Illinois?
In Illinois, a tenantcan claim retaliation as a defense to eviction.If the tenant establishes that the eviction was filed with a retaliatory intention, the court will dismiss the eviction action and might also award monetary damages to the tenant.
“It is declared to be against the public policy of the State for a landlord to terminate or refuse to renew a lease or tenancy of property used as a residence on the ground that the tenant has complained to any governmental authority of a bona fide violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation. Any provision in any lease, or any agreement or understanding, purporting to permit the landlord to terminate or refuse to renew a lease or tenancy for such reason is void.”
“[C]ircumstances may arise where a landlord’s action in seeking to evict a tenant is so invidiously motivated and so contravenes public policy that the court could not implement the eviction in a forcible entry and detainer proceeding.”
Courts will compare parallel statutory standards such as the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Rights Act to infer what the state should consider as retaliation in a standard residential context. See, e.g., 765 ILCS 745/16 (2022) (statutory prohibition against eviction of mobile home tenants for enforcing rights, complaints to authorities, or participation in tenant organizations)