This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.
This page was last updated on Aug 25th, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
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Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.
It is illegal in Illinois for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must file an eviction lawsuit against you, win the case, and get an eviction order from the court.
Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.
Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.
You should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.
Emergency repairs could be for problems with:
Running water or hot water
Stove, refrigerator, or oven
Missing doors, locks, or windows
If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs and keep a copy of this communication.
Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships. Those programs may be closed, though. You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.
You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.
You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance. Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.
Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.
Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.
If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.
Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.
Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.
Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply. Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.
The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information. Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.
You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.
Your lease is still valid despite the emergency period. However, you can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.
Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease, in some cases penalty-free.
Yes, Illinois renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
Check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
Find more help here if you are struggling to pay rent in Illinois.
Since the emergency period ended on August 31, 2021, landlords can begin to file for evictions and enforce them again.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
After August 31, 2021 in Illinois:
Eviction hearings are proceeding in Illinois.
Check with your local Illinois court for updates.
Renters' utilities can be shut off again in Illinois.
Earlier, the Illinois Commerce Commission has prohibited all utilities from shutting off services or charging late fees during the emergency. There is a moratorium on utility disconnections through at least August 1, 2020.
If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
Illinois renters no longer have emergency protection against eviction related to Covid. The eviction protections expired on August 31, 2021.
Chicago renters may have additional protections. Check the Chicago city government page to find out what your rights and protections are as a renter.
Landlords may now try to sue tenants to evict them. If you are worried about an eviction, reach out as soon as possible to your local legal aid group. The lawyers may be able to help you find protections and services to deal with your eviction.
Earlier Protections Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's Executive Order had stopped enforcement of evictions until August 31, 2021.
Illinois renters also had U.S. national protections against eviction through August 26, 2021.
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