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Mandatory Landlord Disclosures in Illinois

Illinois law requires landlords to provide new tenants with information about environmental hazards and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, among other things.

When a prospective tenant applies to rent a unit, the landlord is legally obligated to provide them with additional information about the property before they sign the lease. These are informally called “mandatory disclosures,” and they vary depending on the state. In Illinois specifically, landlords must give tenants information concerning various safety issues, including environmental hazards and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. On a local level, Chicago mandates that landlords provide potential tenants with a detailed summary of the city’s rent laws.

All U.S. landlords must abide by the federal lead disclosure rule

Any landlord in the U.S. renting out units constructed before 1978 must alert potential tenants to the presence of any lead paint in the building, as well as any reports on past lead paint hazards that have already been dealt with. They must also provide new tenants with an EPA-approved pamphlet about the hazards of lead-based paint. This must happen before the lease is signed.1 This federal lead disclosure rule is the only nationwide mandatory rental disclosure.

Illinois state laws require additional landlord disclosures

Illinois landlords must provide several disclosures to their tenants before they sign a lease. This includes information about radon contamination, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, rent concessions, and more.

Radon contamination

Illinois landlords must disclose, both to current and prospective tenants, a variety of information concerning the potential presence of radon contamination in a rental unit.2 Radon is a carcinogenic gas that can cause lung cancer. Illinois landlords must provide potential tenants with a pamphlet issued by the state of Illinois about the dangers of radon which encourages the tenant to have a radon test performed.3 If radon has previously been detected in the rental unit, the landlord must inform the potential tenant of that. When a test detects radon, the landlord must also inform all current tenants. One thing to note: this disclosure is only required for rental units on the second floor or below.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Illinois landlords must provide tenants with written information concerning smoke detector maintenance and testing.4 Similarly, landlords must provide tenants with written information concerning carbon monoxide detector maintenance and testing.5 These statutes do not specify that these disclosures must occur before signing a lease, however. Although many landlords do deliver these materials at the beginning of the lease term—usually as a clause within the lease itself—they could technically give the information to the tenant at any point during the lease and still satisfy the requirements of the law.

Utility costs

If a landlord in Illinois intends to split the cost of heat and/or gas with a tenant, they must include the specific formula the landlord will be using to calculate what the tenant owes in the written lease. The lease must also specifically state that these costs are separate from any rent paid.6

Similarly, if a tenant is responsible for utility payments for any common areas, their landlord must disclose that information in the lease.7 So, if a tenant is going to receive a separate utility bill for electric, gas, or heat—and that bill is calculated by a meter that includes common areas (like washing machine or hallway lights)—the tenant must be informed of this in the lease. If the landlord doesn’t do so, the tenant can sue and have their rent reduced by the amount of their full utility bill.

Rent concessions

Illinois also has an interesting law concerning so-called “rent concessions”—that is, a change in lease terms that benefits the tenant. A typical rent concession involves giving the tenant a free first (or last) month on their lease. In Illinois, these concessions must be described in a written lease, and the lease must state, in bold type, that a concession was granted.8 A landlord who fails to follow this law is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

Some Illinois cities require additional rental disclosures

When it comes to disclosures, Illinois landlords would be wise to check the regulations in their city. For instance, landlords in Chicago have an additional disclosure requirement—the tenant must be given a written summary of Chicago’s housing law, the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.9 This summary must be attached to every lease given to a new tenant by a landlord—otherwise a tenant can automatically break their lease with 30 day’s notice.

[1] Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lead Disclosure Rule

[2] 420 ILCS 46/ Radon Awareness Act

[3] Radon Testing Guidelines Pamphlet

[4] 425 ILCS 60/ Smoke Detector Act

[5] 430 ILCS 135/ Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act

[6] 765 ILCS 740/ Tenant Utility Payment Disclosure Act.

[7] 765 ILCS 735/ Rental Property Utility Service Act.

[8] 765 ILCS 730/ Rent Concession Act

[9] RLTO 5-12-170

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.