Illinois Residential Lease Termination Notice

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Purpose. An Illinois lease termination letter (“Notice to Vacate”) is a required document to end month-to-month lease agreements in Illinois. State law requires giving at least 30 days notice for termination. However, state law does not require notice to be given to end fixed term lease agreements on their end date.

Read further to learn more about notice requirements and the residential lease termination process in Illinois.

What is a Lease Termination Notice?

A residential lease termination notice is delivered to a tenant when a landlord requests to end the lease agreement.  The ultimate goal of this notice is to have the tenant move out of the property within the specific time frame indicated by Illinois law.

Notice requirements depending on 2 things: whether or not there is a fixed term, and, if there is no fixed term, the intervals of renewals or payments (e.g. month-to-month, week-to-week). For leases with a fixed term, the lease terminates at the end of the fixed term without the need for a notice from either party. If the lease is “at-will” or has no fixed term, Illinois Statutes (Illinois statute 735 ILCS 5/9-205 and 207) provides the notice periods as follows:

  • For week-to-week leases, the landlord may terminate the lease by providing a 7-day notice of termination;
  • For month-to-month and other leases with a term of less than 1 year, the landlord may terminate the lease by providing a 30-day notice of termination;
  • For year-to-year leases, the landlord must provide a 60-day notice of termination, but such termination notice can only be given starting 4 months before the last 60 days of the year.

This period is easily long enough for a renter to find new accommodations and an owner to seek out new tenants for the unit. This is also advantageous because there is no need to file a Notice to Quit document for particularly difficult tenants; simply provide this document, and the monthly-renewing month-to-month lease will cease renewing.

How to Write a Lease Termination Notice

Despite the utility of this kind of notice, it’s imperative that all of the appropriate information is included so that there’s no question of its legality. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to find the required information in the original month-to-month lease agreement, so having a copy of this at-the-ready will significantly make things easier. Some of the information that’ll be needed will include:

The Tenant or Landlord Information

It’s critical that the information for all involved parties is included here. For the sake of comprehensiveness, for tenants, the party that is receiving this notice should be the lessee that’s on the month-to-month lease. The name of this tenant should be precisely as it appears on this original lease. In addition, if there are associated roommates that are also on the lease, then they should be here as well. When this is being submitted to the landlord, his or her full name or the management company that manages the property should also be included. Effectively, there should be no question about who the notice is addressing.

Property Information

Also, for a complete picture, the property in question needs to be thoroughly described. This means that the address, building number, unit number, county, city, and zip code should appear precisely as they did on the original lease. Mention of the property type can also be included in this section. In addition, the address where the security deposit may be delivered can also be included for convenience.

Lease Information

Placing the full lease information in this section is essential because it establishes the rules of the original month-to-month agreement. The information included here should entail:

  • The Date and Terms of the Original Lease: The original date that the lease was signed should be included. Month-to-month leases usually last for a single month and then automatically renew at the beginning of the next one, so if the lease mentioned processes for the termination of the lease, this information should also be included.
  • The Amount of Agreed-Upon Notice: As mentioned previously, the state of Illinois allows both tenants and landlords 30 days of notice before move-out, but some lease terms may extend this to as many as 45 days. If this is the case, then the notice needs to mention this explicitly.
  • Information for the Tenant if they opt not to Move Out: In some cases, a tenant may wish to remain on the property. In these situations, there are a few options for recourse that can be considered. For example, if the tenant isn’t able to move out in the period, they can ask for an additional 30 days. Additionally, for tenants that refuse to move out, the landlord can pursue eviction.

Signature Section

Once all of this information has been covered, it’s critical for the document to include signatures by both parties. These signatures should also be accompanied by signed-by dates as well as printed versions of the names of both the lessor and lessee.

Delivery of the Notice

Once the document is wholly written up and ready to be delivered to the other party, it must be understood that a 30-day notice period must be honored. This period, in the state of Illinois, begins only when the other party has received the notice, so if there are problems delivering it, then the period will be extended. For this reason, simply mailing the notice 30 days in advance will not mean that the notice period starts when the letter is sent off. Also, this letter should be mailed in such a way that it is able to be proved that the recipient received it. This can include first-class, registered, or certified mail.

Ways That the Notice Period Can Be Shortened

While the state of Illinois provides 30 days for both the renter and the owner, there are extenuating circumstances where this period can be significantly shortened. These include:

  • When the Lease Allows for It: Some leases will allow for an extended notice period, and some may even call for a truncated one. These can be particularly convenient for a landlord that wants to move into a property or one that has tenants in mind for the property.
  • If the Renter has Violated the Lease Terms: Similarly to the circumstances where a landlord might provide a Notice to Quit, if a renter has violated lease terms, then there is grounds for a shortened lease termination notice period. For example, some reasons for this include:
    • Having pets in a non-pet-friendly property.
    • Bringing in unauthorized tenants.
    • Doing harm to or harassing other tenants.
    • Engaging in illegal activities inside the unit, such as dealing or using drugs.

For tenants, there are also ways to move out earlier without the 30-day notice:

  • When the landlord harasses or violates the privacy of the renter.
  • When the landlord doesn’t fulfill legal responsibilities on the property.
  • When the landlord doesn’t disclose potentially health-altering aspects of the property.