Illinois Residential Lease

Illinois Residential Lease

Make Unlimited Leases for 1 Year

Easily create a residential lease with single or multiple tenants in Illinois with this ready-to-use legal form, complete with detailed clause-by-clause instructions, so all you have to do is fill in the blanks. This form lets you specify who can live on the property, the amount of rent, and how it's to be paid; set the security deposit and explain how it will be used and returned; explain your rights to enter the rental and the tenant's and landlord's upkeep responsibilities.

You can save and edit the form before you buy--just create a Nolo.com account. It's easy, free, and there's no obligation to buy anything. If you purchase the form, you'll be able to print, send, or download it.

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Illinois landlord? Sign a residential lease or month-to-month rental agreement

If you’re an Illinois landlord, you need leases and rental agreements that are tailored to Illinois law. With this form, you can easily create a residential fixed-term lease or a month-to-month rental agreement that contains all the terms you need to comply with state law requirements.

This easy-to-use, plain-English legal form comes with detailed clause-by-clause instructions-- all you have to do is fill in the blanks. You’ll specify who can live on the property, the amount of rent and how it's to be paid, how large a security deposit you’re collecting, and how it will be used and returned. Your rental document will also explain your rights to enter the rental and the tenant's and landlord's upkeep responsibilities. Includes a link to an additional form, the Early Termination/Liquidated Damages Agreement, should you choose to use it.

Additional Technical Support FAQs

FAQs

Where can I find any relevant local laws?

In some cities or counties, local ordinances or laws require certain language or information to be in a lease or rental agreement. We cannot list local requirements for every locality in Illinois (though we do so for those properties subject to Chicago's ordinance), so to be extra careful, take a moment to find out whether local laws affect your lease.

Fortunately, many cities and counties have placed their local laws online. To find out whether your local government has done so, go to www.statelocalgov.net., choose Illinois, and look for your county and/or city. Or simply call your local city or county attorney and ask whether residential rentals are covered by local ordinances and, if so, where you can obtain a copy. If local law varies from state law -- by imposing a different interest requirement for security deposits, for example -- be sure to follow the local rule.

What are the rules for Chicago landlords?

The city of Chicago has a comprehensive landlord-tenant ordinance ("City of Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance"). The ordinance imposes additional requirements on late fees, the handling of security deposits and other issues, and requires landlords to attach additional documents to leases and rental agreements.

This product gives you Chicago-specific language for those clauses that require it and necessary attachments (it also tells you how to find them online). In the instructions for particular clauses, Chicago landlords will be alerted to Chicago-specific rules and use the additional documents.

How do I determine whether I am subject to the Chicago ordinance?

Not all rental property within Chicago is subject to the ordinance. Importantly, owner-occupied properties of six or fewer units are excluded. You will need to determine whether your property is subject to the ordinance (follow the instructions below for accessing the law. Exclusions are covered in Section 5-12-020).

For simplicity's sake, throughout this form when referencing properties subject to the ordinance, we refer to "Chicago landlords," and "the Chicago rule," but you should remember that because not every Chicago rental is subject to the ordinance, not every Chicago landlord must follow it.

To find the Chicago ordinance, go to amlegal.com, and choose Code Library. After selecting Illinois, choose the Chicago link, then the Municipal Code. In the resulting Table of Contents, the relevant ordinances are in Title 5, Chapters 5-12 and 5-16. (This link will get you to the Municipal Code of Chicago Table of Contents.)

For more information on Illinois law regarding Landlord and Tenant Rights and Laws, see the state Attorney General's Landlord and Tenant Rights and Laws.

Are you making a lease or a month-to-month rental agreement?

This rental form allows you to create either a fixed-term lease or a rental agreement.

  • A lease runs from one specific date to another, and typically lasts for a year. The lease expires on its own; neither landlord nor tenant need give notice. The terms of the lease cannot be modified midlease unless both parties agree.
  • A month-to-month rental agreement self-renews every month, unless landlord or tenant gives the required amount of notice. Landlords may modify the terms of the agreement using the same notice period.

By law in Illinois, landlords must give tenants at least 30 days' written notice to change or end a month-to-month tenancy. Tenants must give landlords at least 30 days' notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.

How do I establish a legal occupancy policy for this rental?

If you are renting to more than one tenant and want to avoid overcrowding, you may want to set an occupancy policy, which sets the maximum number of residents who may live in the rental. Your policy must comport with federal, state, and local fair housing laws. These laws prevent landlords from setting low occupancy rules as a way to discriminate against families with children.

A rule of thumb is to allow two residents per bedroom. Some Illinois landlords add, "plus one more." This means that a two-bedroom unit should be able to accommodate four (or five) persons. Be sensible when applying this standard, taking into consideration the age of the residents and the relative size of the rooms. Be realistic when dealing with newborns and infants, who do not require much room.

What are the rules regarding rent concessions?

Rent concessions are a rent credit or rebate paid after the tenant has paid rent; free rent for a period of time or reduced rent for all or a portion of the tenant's residency; or any other valuable right, thing, or agreement. Concessions don't include repairs and decorations, nor are they the landlord's agreement to waive any terms or conditions of the lease other than the rent.

By law in Illinois, when landlords grant a rent concession, they must write "Concession Granted" across the face of the rental agreement, in letters one-half-inch tall or more. In the margin or across the face of the document, you must describe the amount or extent and nature of such concession.

To comply with this requirement that the information be written "across the face" of the rental document, use a pen to enter the needed information, after you've printed your agreement.

What does "joint and several liability" mean?

Your rental document advises multiple tenants that each tenant will be responsible for paying rent and abiding by all terms of the agreement. (If you're renting to a single tenant now, it puts this tenant on notices that tenants who join the lease later will also be subject to this rule.) The rule means that you can legally seek the entire rent from any one of the tenants should the others skip out or be unable to pay. It also gives you the right to evict all of the tenants even if just one has broken the terms of the lease.

How do I establish a legal late fees policy?

Late fees can be a powerful motivator for on-time rent payments But they must not be excessive, or a thinly disguised profit center. A late fee isn't to penalize the tenant -- it's to compensate you for your losses caused by the late payment.

Illinois state rule. Illinois law allows you to choose an initial fee and a subsequent daily fee. To estimate your losses, consider the interest you'll lose on the unpaid rent, the staff time it will take to document unpaid rent and request that it be paid, and other direct consequences of late payments. As a general rule, total late fees that are more than 3% to 5% of the total monthly rent are targets for lawsuits. So, for example, if the monthly rent is $1,500, you shouldn't charge more than $45 to $75 as a total late fee. You could write your policy like this: "$25 for the first day the rent is late, plus $10 per day for each succeeding day, up to a maximum of $75."

Chicago rule. Landlords subject to the ordinance may not charge more than $10 for the first $500 of rent, plus an additional 10% of any rent in excess of $500. For example, if rent is $1,500 per month, your fee could be no more than $10 (for the first $500 of rent) plus $50 (5% of $1,000), for a total of $60. Of course, you may impose less if you like.

What are the rules concerning security deposits?

Certain landlords must pay interest on deposits and give tenants additional information on where they will be kept and when the interest will be paid. All others need not pay interest, but if you would like to, your agreement includes an optional clause for this purpose.

Illinois state rule. Landlords who rent 25 or more units in either a single building or a complex located on contiguous properties must pay interest on deposits held for more than six months. The interest rate is the rate paid for minimum deposit savings accounts by the largest commercial bank in the state, as of December 31 of the calendar year immediately preceding the start of the tenancy.

Chicago rule. For properties subject to the ordinance, you must keep tenants' deposits in a federally insured, interest-bearing account within Illinois. For tenants who lease from you for six months or more, you must pay interest every 12 months, according to the interest rate published by the Department of Housing.

The Signing Instructions include directions on accessing the "City of Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance: Rate of Interest on Security Deposits." You'll need to download and attach the city's latest version to your agreement (we'll remind you).

You must also give tenants a receipt for their deposit. Use our Receipt for Security Deposit, which you can download for free. You can attach it to the Agreement when you print it.

Utility Costs: The Chicago Rule

How does the Chicago ordinance treat utility costs?

If the rental is subject to the Chicago ordinance and the unit is heated primarily by natural gas or electricity, and your tenants will pay a gas or electric company directly for heating costs, you will need to inform tenants in the rental agreement that they are responsible for heating costs; and you must give them the annual cost of service from the utility providing the primary source of heat, based on energy consumption during the previous twelve months. This requirement does not apply in multifamily rentals, cooperative, or condominium situations, where the primary source of heat is provided by the landlord and tenants are billed on some basis not directly related to individual usage, such as allocations based on floor space.

Utility companies must provide you or your manager with this information (when requesting that information, you must state that you are the property owner or an authorized agent).

Contact the company that services your rental, obtain the projected average, and enter it in the space provided. When you're done with your lease or rental agreement, make sure you complete the required receipt, Receipt for Average Monthly Cost of Heat, which you can access here for free. This receipt independently establishes that you gave the tenants this information. If you're renting to more than one tenant, it's sufficient to ask only one cotenant to sign the receipt. Make sure you keep a signed original for your records.

What does the "covenant of quiet enjoyment" mean for both landlord and tenant?

Your rental document requires both landlord and tenant to refrain from violating laws and causing disturbances, and to maintain the tenant's right to "quiet enjoyment." In particular:

Landlord. Your promise to give the tenant "quiet enjoyment" means that you will preserve the ability of the tenant to use and enjoy the rented premises. Examples include not allowing garbage to pile up, dealing with a rodent infestation, and controlling a neighboring tenant on your property whose constant loud music makes it impossible for other tenants to sleep.

Tenant. This clause also forbids tenants from interfering with other tenants' or nearby residents' ability to reasonably enjoy their homes. For instance, a tenant who hosts loud, late parties has interfered with others' quiet enjoyment. Serious and repeated violations of the covenant of quiet enjoyment on the part of the landlord entitle the tenant to break the lease and move out. Such violations on the part of the tenant allow the landlord to terminate the tenancy.

What are the rules regarding repairs and alterations?

Your tenant may not alter the premises without your consent. The clause's "except as provided by law" language refers to the fact that in certain situations, tenants have narrowly defined rights to alter the premises, as long as they follow proper procedures (and always with notice to you). Examples include:

Alterations by tenants with a disability. Under federal and state law, tenants with a disability may modify their living space to the extent necessary to make the space safe and comfortable, as long as these modifications don't pose an unreasonable burden on you.

Satellite dishes and antennas. Federal law gives tenants limited rights to install wireless antennas and small satellite dishes.

Use of the "repair and deduct" procedure. Tenants in Illinois have the right to repair defects or damage that make the premises uninhabitable or substantially interfere with the tenant's safe use or enjoyment of the premises. The tenant must first notify you of the problem and give you the time specified by law to fix it. (765 Ill. Comp. Stat. Section 742/5.)

Rent withholding. Tenants also have the right to withhold rent when landlords have failed, after adequate notice, to repair serious defects or supply essential services. (765 Ill. Comp. Stat. Sections 735/2, 735/2.2.)

How do I supply legally-required lead-hazard documentation?

With some exceptions, all landlords must complete the federally required Lead Paint and Lead-Paint Hazards Disclosure form and give it to prospective tenants. Your lease includes a clause in which landlords who are not exempt from this requirement state that they have complied with the rule (exemptions are explained in the Help sections of the clause). You can download the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards from the EPA website. Fill it out by hand. Be sure to keep a copy for your records.

Note that if you're renting a unit in a multitenant building, the requirement that you disclose information includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units, when such information was obtained as a result of a buildingwide evaluation.

If you are not exempt, you will also need to give your tenant a copy of the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home, available at the EPA website.

What are my disclosure duties with respect to radon?

Landlords are not required to test for radon, but if you have tested and learn that a "radon hazard" is present in the rental, you must disclose this information to current and prospective tenants. A radon hazard exists when one would be exposed to indoor radon concentrations at or in excess of the recommended Radon Action Level, as determined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Division of Nuclear Safety.

If a tenant notifies a landlord that a radon test indicates the existence of a radon hazard in the rental unit, you must disclose that risk to any prospective tenant of that unit, unless a subsequent test by the landlord shows that a radon hazard does not exist.

Requirements do not apply if the dwelling unit is on the third or higher story above ground level, or when the landlord has undertaken mitigation work and a subsequent test shows that a radon hazard does not exist. (420 Ill. Comp. Stat. Section 46/15, 420 Ill. Comp. Stat. Section 46/25.)

What is the Chicago rule regarding disclosures of code violations and utility disruptions?

If the rental property is subject to the Chicago ordinance, two additional requirements may apply.

Code violations. If the dwelling unit or common areas have been cited by the City of Chicago for code violations during the previous 12 months, choose this option. You'll be asked to provide details.

Intended utility service terminations. If you've received a notice of intent by the City of Chicago or any utility provider to terminate water, gas, electrical, or other utility service to the premises or common areas, choose this option. You'll be asked to provide details. Keep in mind that you are under a continuing obligation to disclose this information throughout the tenancy.

What is the Chicago rule regarding bed bug disclosures?

Landlords whose rentals are subject to the Chicago ordinance must give new and renewing tenants, prior to signing a lease or rental agreement, a copy of the bed bug brochure developed by the city's health department. You can access the booklet online: Preventing Bed Bug Infestations in Apartments.

How do I comply with the Chicago rule that I give tenants a copy of the city's summary of the Chicago ordinance?

Landlords whose rentals are subject to the Chicago ordinance must give new and renewing tenants a copy of the department of planning and development's summary of the local ordinance before signing a lease or rental agreement. The summary may be downloaded and printed: City of Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance Summary.

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