Illinois
Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Landlords must keep the unit fit to live in and in compliance with state and local health and housing codes (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can withhold rent and has the right to repair and deduct cost from the rent to a certain amount (read more).
  • Retaliation. Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act prohibits landlords from committing retaliatory acts toward a tenant for exercising their rights  (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Illinois does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs Not specifically addressed
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Not specifically addressed
Hotels/Motels No

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Illinois, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Not addressed
Provide working HVAC equipment. Not addressed
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Not addressed
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Not addressed
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Not addressed
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Not addressed
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

As you can see, Illinois state law is silent on the specific obligations of landlords when it comes to habitability.

Landlords are required to make sure the rental unit complies with all building and housing codes, however, and you should check with your local government to find out what the specific expectations for habitability are in your part of the state and what your remedies are if those expectations aren’t met, either as a tenant or a landlord.

Insects/Rodents

Landlords are required to exterminate pests, as long as the tenant has not caused the issue by their own actions. Chicago has additional requirements regarding bedbugs that both landlords and tenants must follow.

Radon

If a rental unit has been tested and found to contain hazardous levels of radon, landlords are required to disclose that fact to prospective tenants.
Landlords are not required to mitigate the radon hazard, however, only alert tenants to the elevated presence of radon.

Making Repairs

Tenants must request repairs in writing. 

  • Sending notice – The landlord will then have 14 days to make the repairs after receiving written notice.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are not required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Illinois landlord tenant law allows tenants in Illinois to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct the costs for the repair – given that the cost of the repair does not exceed the lesser of $500 or one-half of the monthly rent.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – landlords can be reported to housing inspectors or appropriate government authority if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation

The Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for complaining to any governmental authority. Tenants in Illinois are protected by this Act against retaliation for:

  • requesting for repairs
  • joining a tenant union
  • writing a 14-day letter
  • exercising their right under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.

Sources