Illinois Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Illinois Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: April 21, 2023

Tenants in Illinois have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord in writing and allow 14 days for the repairs to be made.

Illinois Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Landlords in Illinois are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing.
  • Heating.
  • Hot and cold water.
  • Roof and structure.
  • Common areas.
  • Anything required for local code compliance.
  • Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability.

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Illinois?

Illinois tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they deliberately or negligently cause to the premises.

Requesting Repairs in Illinois

Illinois tenants must request repairs by notifying the landlord of the issue through registered or certified mail only. To reserve the option to repair and deduct, the tenant must state this intention in the repair request.

An example of language a tenant might use to state this intention is: “If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter may in 14 days exercise his right to have repairs professionally done and deduct the cost from rent.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Illinois?

Illinois landlords usually have 14 days to make repairs after getting a written request through registered or certified mail, although a shorter time period may be reasonable for emergencies.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Illinois?

Illinois landlords can’t refuse to make repairs in most cases. The law isn’t clear on the landlord’s obligations when property is uninhabitable by code due to damage caused by the tenant, because landlords have to keep property habitable but don’t have to pay for repairs to damage the tenant causes.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Illinois?

Illinois landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Illinois

Illinois tenants have the option to repair and deduct costs up to half the monthly rent or $500 (whichever is less) when repairs aren’t made. For situations where this isn’t applicable or practical, the tenant’s primary option is to report the landlord to local code compliance authorities.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Illinois?

Illinois tenants are never permitted to completely withhold rent payments. In some rare cases, the tenant may be able to withhold a percentage of the rent, but without getting a signed rent settlement from the landlord, this usually risks eviction.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Illinois?

Illinois tenants may arrange for repairs and deduct up to $500 or half the monthly rent (whichever is less). The tenant must give notice of this intention through registered or certified mail and wait 14 days. After that, the tenant can have repairs professionally done.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Illinois?

Illinois tenants usually aren’t allowed to break a lease. The only exception is when a landlord’s failure to keep his obligations under the rental agreement substantially prevents the intended use of the property, and the tenant subsequently moves out. This is called constructive eviction and breaks the lease.

Can the Tenant Sue in Illinois?

Illinois tenants can sue for repairs that don’t fall under the repair-and-deduct statute, assuming they are current on the rent. Paying rent is the tenant’s obligation, so a tenant keeping his promise to pay rent can sue the landlord for breach of his obligations if he fails to repair.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Illinois?

Illinois tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in Illinois

Illinois landlords aren’t allowed to retaliate by evicting a tenant after the tenant has reported the landlord to the authorities for failure to keep legal obligations.

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