Most residential leases and rental agreements in Illinois require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Illinois landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Illinois law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
No. In Illinois, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level, but check your city and county laws to see if your municipality has set a cap on security deposits for residential rentals.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Illinois for returning a security deposit?
Under Illinois law, for properties with five or more units, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 30 to 45 days after the tenant moves out -- depending on whether the tenant disputes deductions taken out of the security deposit or if an itemized statement and receipts are provided by the landlord.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Illinois landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Illinois?
Yes. In addition to complying with Illinois laws on security deposit limits and how (and when) the deposit must be returned to tenants, landlords in Illinois must pay interest on security deposits held for more than six months if they rent 25 or more units in either a single building or a complex located on contiguous properties.
Where can I look up Illinois law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Illinois law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 765 §§ 710/1 and 715/3. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Illinois. For tips on looking up Illinois state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information in tenant guides, available at http://www.law.siu.edu/selfhelp/info/property/Landlord-Tenant%20Rights%20in%20IL.pdf and http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/landlordtenantrights0404.pdf.