The Illinois residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a written contract for the exchange of the temporary use of a residential property for regular, periodic payments (“rent”). The agreement becomes effective only after it has been signed by both parties.
Illinois Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are required for all residential lease agreements in Illinois.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts or legal liability in Illinois.
Radon Hazard Disclosure
Applicable to any rental unit located below the third floor and also with known radon levels that are considered dangerous.
Radon testing is the only way to determine the levels of radon in your rental unit, while radon testing is not required to be completed by landlords, the hazardous conditions must be disclosed in the rental agreement. It is recommended that rental units below the third floor get tested; however, if there are high levels of radon, it can travel through the elevators or air shafts above the third floor and all floors should be tested. The radon hazard disclosure is not required in cases where remediation is completed to achieve safe radon levels, or in cases where radon levels do not pose a hazard.
Below is an example of radon hazard disclosure:
RADON HAZARD. This property was found to contain potentially hazardous levels of radon gas that may pose a health threat to occupants. Additional information about the health risks posed by radon gas can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Environmental Protection Agency website(s).
Shared Utility Arrangements
Applicable to any rental unit where a meter is shared between tenants or common areas.
The Tenant Utility Payment Disclosure Act applies when a property does not have individual meters for each rental unit or a submetering system in place. The landlord must provide a disclosure in the rental agreement which includes the following:
- Any buildings, units, or common areas that the tenant’s utility meter is shared with.
- A breakdown of how shared utilities are going to be proportioned to tenants.
- Copies of the utility bill for the unit for the past 12 months.
- Any rent reductions offered to compensate for shared utility usage.
The amount charged to shared units must not exceed the total utility charges accrued for the entire building, and the tenant must also provide a copy of the utility bill for any payment made by the tenant upon request:
SHARED UTILITIES. This dwelling unit shares a utility meter with the following parties:
[ ] Common Area(s):________________
[ ] Unit(s):__________________
[ ] Other:____________________
This lease uses the following method for calculating utility charges between Tenant(s):
[ ] Home Square Footage
[ ] Number of Tenants
[ ] Even Split Between Tenants
[ ] Other:_______________________________
A rent reduction of $______ will be enforced in accordance with this shared utility arrangement. Copies of utility bills for the rental unit for the past 12 months are available upon request.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Illinois to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Illinois law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Landlord Name & Address – to create a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord, it is recommended that Illinois landlords provide contact information within or alongside the lease for themselves or anyone authorized to act on behalf of the property.
- Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Illinois law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke to not interfere with other tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
- Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Illinois does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings or walls begin to deteriorate.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to a tenant’s negligence during the lease term. The disclosure notifies the tenants of their duties and responsibilities to prevent mold growth.