Illinois Habitability Laws

Illinois law governs all landlord/tenant issues in the state. Read further to learn what landlords are responsible for providing and how long they have to make repairs. Learn how tenants should request maintenance and how habitability applies to damages and security deposits.

Quick Facts for Illinois

Who Does The Warranty of Habitability Apply To?

The Warranty of Habitability in Illinois applies to short-term and long-term rental properties that are single-family or multi-family dwellings, as well as mobile home parks. It does not apply to hotels/motels.

How Long Do Tenants Have to Make Repairs?

10 days after receiving written notice.

What Are Tenants Responsible For?

Tenants are required to keep the rental reasonably clean; landlords can ask a tenant to clean up if they are not doing so. Tenants are allowed to deduct the costs of any repairs they make from their monthly rent.

What are Landlords Responsible For Providing?

The warranty of habitability is very vague in Illinois and no specific responsibilities are addressed by law.

How Long Do Landlords Have to Fix Something?

After tenants request repairs, landlords must make them within 14 days.

The following chart lays out which types of rental units the law applies to.

*Mobile home parks have their own separate set of landlord/tenant rules and will not be addressed in this article.

Understanding the Law

For all residential properties, landlords are required to ensure the property complies with any and all building codes and housing codes as they relate to the safety of the building and/or the health of the residents.

They’re also required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant. 

Tenants are required to pay for any repairs caused by their own negligence or intentional acts, which may come out of the security deposit.

Rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities

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

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.

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.

Addressing Habitability Issues

For any repairs the landlord makes due to the tenant’s actions, the landlord can:

  • Use the tenant’s security deposit to pay for any damage to the property when the tenant moves out.
  • Evict the tenant.

Under the law, tenants are allowed to have ten days’ notice prior to eviction.  

Tenant Repair Requests

Tenants must request repairs in writing.  The landlord will then have 14 days to make the repairs after receiving written notice.

If the landlord fails to make the requested repairs within 14 days, a tenant has the right to make the repair themselves and deduct $500 or half the monthly rent (whichever is less) from the next month’s rent.

Landlord Access

Tenants are not required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. 

If this is something that matters to you, make sure it’s written into the lease agreement, and includes when a landlord is permitted to enter, under what circumstances, and how much notice is to be given prior to entry.

Failure to Provide the “Essentials”

If a landlord intentionally or negligently fails to provide heat, water, electricity, and/or other “essentials,” tenants are allowed to:

  • Pay for any necessary utilities themselves and deduct this amount from the monthly rent until the landlord begins paying for utilities again.
  • Terminate the lease.

Retaliation

Retaliation against tenants for requesting repairs that affect habitability is illegal under Illinois law.

Security Deposits and Repairs

Finally, if the costs for any repairs were taken out of the tenant’s security deposit, the landlord is required to give them an itemized list of everything paid for from the deposit within 30 days of the lease’s termination, including any receipts.

Otherwise, the landlord will be required to pay their tenant double the amount of the security deposit.

Sources

  1. Illinois General Assembly, Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 765, Property, Landlord and Tenant.
  2. Illinois Attorney General, “Landlord and Tenant Rights and Laws.”

 

Read About the Warranty of Habitability in Other States