An Illinois lease agreement is a contract that outlines the terms of the agreement between the landlord and tenant. It outlines the pertinent details about the lease, such as the duration of the tenancy, rental amount, security deposit, and other related provisions. It is enforced under the applicable landlord-tenant laws of the state of Illinois. The agreement is executed to outline the lease terms between the landlord and tenant.
The terms must be transparent regarding both parties’ legal rights and obligations. This ensures that each party is protected under the lease, and the document can be referenced to resolve disputes between the parties. Illinois lease agreements can be used for both residential and commercial property. Once crafted, it should be signed to bind the tenant and the landlord.
Below, this article will look at what to include in an Illinois lease agreement and provide some standard provisions you may want to add, depending on your situation.
What is Included?
Lease agreements in Illinois are considered real estate contracts and are written to outline the tenancy terms. This usually includes:
- The landlord’s and tenant’s names and address
- Lease duration
- Amount of rent to be paid, due date, late payments
- Property description, which includes residence address, type of rental (room or apartment)
- Security deposits
- Disclosures regarding health and safety risks
- Pet restrictions
- Utilities included or excluded and utility payments
- Who is responsible for repairs such as maintenance requests, damages
Types of Illinois Lease Agreement
On the surface, most lease agreements are somewhat similar. They often include the standard provisions defining a tenant’s responsibility and liability to the landlord and specifying details such as the property’s location, security deposit, and length of tenancy. However, since the stipulations of these provisions are not fixed for all leases, this creates different types of lease agreements in Illinois. The provisions contained within a lease agreement may vary significantly depending on each situation and the intentions of both parties.
The resulting types of leases include the following:
Commercial lease agreement
Commercial lease agreement are used to lease rental units for commercial or business purposes. This can be done for retail stores, office space, and other commercial real estates. Tenant protection laws do not protect commercial renters, and thus, extra steps may have to be taken to understand the tenant’s rights under commercial leases.
Month-to-month lease agreement
This type of lease means that tenancy is not initially set for a fixed period and can be terminated by either party at any point in time. The tenant or landlord can end the agreement by giving a 30-day’ notice. This type of lease is alternatively referred to as a “tenancy-at-will” and is executed per (735 ILCS § 5/9-207(b)).
Rent-to-own lease agreement
A rent-to-own lease agreement in Illinois is used to allow a tenant the opportunity to purchase a property after the lease has expired. It gives the tenant an option to move in and make monthly payments towards buying the property they are renting. It is an excellent way for tenants to invest in their future and own homes.
Roommate lease agreement
Roommates use a roommate lease agreement to enter a legal contract outlining the cohabitation of individuals in a single dwelling. The agreement will detail how rent and bills will be paid, how responsibilities for repair are shared, the upkeep of the property, and other necessary details for roommates to cohabitate. As a result, this type of agreement is strictly between the roommates. It does not bind the non-lease holder with the property owner.
Standard lease agreement (Chicago only)
The standard lease agreement is used for residential property by people looking to rent out a single room or apartment within Chicago city for a fixed lease term, typically one year. As a result, the standard lease has particular provisions and disclosures needed for lease agreements to be enforceable in Chicago. In addition, the agreement contains specific standardized terms that foster a mutually beneficial, reliable, and positive relationship between the landlord and tenant. Applicable laws for executing this type of lease are outlined under Chapter 5-12 (Residential Landlords and Tenants).
Standard lease agreement (Outside Chicago)
The standard lease agreement is the most common form of lease offered by landlords. It outlines the terms of tenancy, security deposit, length of tenancy, who pays utilities, requirements for tenant references, and other essentials considered standard practice in leasing property in Illinois. It is prepared and executed according to 765 ILCS 705/ – Landlord and Tenant Act.
An Illinois sublease agreement is used to allow a tenant the opportunity to sublet their rental property to another party. This agreement goes between the tenant and the subtenant, detailing how rent payments are shared and how things such as damage deposits will be handled. Tenants who have extra room in their apartments may want to utilize this type of lease agreement to make extra money on their rentals while still having a place to live.
The Illinois lease agreement is a binding contract between the tenant and landlord. State laws require landlords to disclose certain information to prospective tenants in writing before executing a lease agreement. As such, landlords and tenants must take the time to review the lease agreement before signing it fully. There may be provisions within the agreement that could result in legal liability for them if accepted by either party.
Some of these disclosures include:
Carbon monoxide detectors
Under (Public Act 094-0741, Section 10), landlords must install a carbon monoxide detector with an audible alarm at least 15 feet near where the tenant will be sleeping. This disclosure also outlines the precautions and protocols for using the detectors.
The term “concession” is defined as those rights, privileges, or allowances granted by the city or the state of Illinois that are not provided for in the lease agreement. Landlords are required by law (765 ILCS 730) to disclose any concession granted and insert the words “Concession Granted” with a font of a height of at least ½ inches. Should the landlord fail to disclose the concession as detailed, it is considered a misdemeanor.
Lead-based paint disclosure
Lead-based paint may be present in the rental property, commonly on windowsills, fences, railings, exterior doors, steps, and porches. The landlord is responsible for informing tenants of the presence of lead paint in their homes for all buildings built before 1978.
Even though not mandatory, landlords are obligated to notify tenants of the presence of radon on the premises according to (420 ILCS 46) if they are aware of it. However, this isn’t a requirement if the tenant is to occupy a rental unit located on the third floor or higher. An IEMA-approved Radon Disclosure Pamphlet should accompany this disclosure to inform the tenant of the dangers of radon. Radon is a radioactive, odorless, colorless gas that can seep into buildings and increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
Under (425 ILCS 60/3(d)), a landlord must install functional smoke detectors. However, the tenant should maintain the smoke detectors under the Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector Agreement throughout the lease term.
If the tenant shares the cost of utilities with other tenants, the Illinois lease agreement must disclose this to the tenant (765 ILCS 740/5). The disclosure should outline the procedure used to calculate the monthly dues of each tenant.
State laws govern multiple aspects of a lease in Illinois. These laws apply to general leases within the state, and all landlords and tenants must be compliant. If both parties to a lease have a dispute, then landlord-tenant laws will be consulted in addition to the provisions of the Illinois lease agreement to resolve the matter.
Below are the laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships in Illinois:
Warranty of habitability
This legal doctrine establishes the minimum standards of liveability within a rental property. However, the landlord is not required to provide specific amenities or utilities. Instead, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property’s habitability at a reasonable level and will be responsible for any damages due to negligent upkeep. Tenants are given the right to demand repairs, and repairs must be done within 14 days. Failure to do so, the tenant has the right to deduct the repair costs from the subsequent month’s rent.
Evictions should not be carried out without notice. The notice must specifically identify the reason for eviction. Landlords should issue eviction notices as follows:
- 5-day notice for failure to pay rent
- 10-day notice for breach of contract or violation of the Illinois lease agreement provisions
- 5-day notice for illegal and criminal activities within the premises
Landlords are allowed to charge a security deposit. However, the following guidelines are applicable:
Illinois doesn’t regulate how much maximum security deposit landlords can charge.
If a security deposit is collected, it must be refunded at the end of the lease within thirty days after moving out (765 ILCS 710) if no deductions were made. If any deductions were made, the landlord should provide an itemized list of all deductions and refund the remaining balance 45 days after the move-out date.
Additionally, the law stipulates(765 ILCS 715) that if the landlord owns at least 25 rental units, the security deposit should be held in an interest-earning account with an interest rate not less than that of Illinois on December 31st of the immediately previous year.
Illinois lease agreement is binding, and the tenant cannot terminate it unless under one of the following grounds or scenarios:
- Domestic violence
- Active military duty
- Statutory uninhabitable
However, month-to-month leases in Illinois can be terminated by either party with a 30-day advanced notice.
Rent increases and fees
Illinois law doesn’t require landlords to justify rent increases and doesn’t restrict how much they can increase. However, they must issue a 30-day notice to notify the tenant of the rent increase. Additionally, state laws dictate that landlords cannot charge late fees more than 20% of the monthly rent. However, state laws don’t limit how much can be charged for bounced or NSF checks.
Landlords in Illinois are regulated in terms of access to the rented premises. However, landlords have to issue a two-day notice in Chicago before entering the rented property. But, the restrictions are not imposed during emergency entries.
Settling legal disputes
Disputes arising from a lease are often handled by local courts within the jurisdiction of the dispute. Disputes valued below $1000 can be handled in a small claims court within the state.
Download Illinois Lease Agreement sample from our site:
Frequently Asked Questions
The typical lease term of a standard Illinois lease agreement is one year. However, the term can be lengthened if both parties mutually agree.
Lease agreements in Illinois are binding and must be signed by both parties. The agreement remains effective until the lease expires, by mutual consent, or through other legal ways of terminating the lease.
The state of Illinois does not require the notarization of lease agreements. Therefore, the agreements are legally binding once signed by both parties. However, the practice is recommended for durability purposes, primarily for commercial leases.
A lease agreement can automatically renew in Illinois if both parties mutually agree to renew it with prior notice. Thus, if not expressly renewed through notice, the lease agreement should end once the lease term expires.